I give out the same advice to anyone new. Go to the store. Try out the entry level models as they should have them in there. It might not be able to power up or even work. But the main thing out of this exercise is to figure out which camera in your hands feels like its works with you.
Between Nikon and Canon they are nearly the same on the low specifications. And to be honest unless you hit the higher level cameras and lenses you won't really care. The main thing to look for when you start out is the how the camera fits your hands. Other than that everything else is fixed usually with money
And my next honest answer. Look at the Sony NEX-5. If you're only on the border and the ability to take better photos over your regular Point and Shoot. With image quality generally on par with your entry level DSLRs with even less physical size.