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"Kinda off topic, but is the lowest priced iBook as of now (from the Apple Store, at $999 with an 800MHz G3) worth it? Does it have decent speed?"
While you would be significantly better off if you were to buy into a G4 or G5, a G3 is still a very capeable machine. I wouldn;t have said that about some of the older G3s, but the newer ones are a great starter Mac if you want to make the transition slowly.
"How slow does slow get on a modern Mac?"
About as slow as you can get on a modern PC.