I think itís a bit harsh to say that digital zoom is worthless
Don't forget folks, that digital zoom in post is often done on the compressed jpeg, whereas if it's done in the cam, it benefits from the RAW output and noise reduction, before the JPEG compression is applied.
However, I'm in general agreement with its inferiority over optical, and if I was a frequent zoom user, I'd go with optical. But for convenience and occasional touch of digital zoom to get compactness I'm happy with that. In both cases, zoom can be pretty useless without stabilisation, so for serious stuff a tripod is essential.
I wonder how the anti digital zoom users would feel about it in the future, with more pixels on the ccd and digital image stabilisation to work on a compact handheld cam, versus the BIG lens and tripod?