My Arduino Uno is fresh out of the box. I've installed (I think) the WinVista drivers successfully.
I'm just working on loading and running blink(). The COM port seems to be recognized,
That is a good sign, and that must be the com port number you select before you can upload to the board. So no show stopper here yet.
but as soon as the board has power, I get some random blinkiness on L1, then it cycles on/off about one cycle/sec. Same behavior if I press the reboot button.
That is probably normal as most boards ship these days with the blink program already loaded and it will run as soon as the board has power. The first 'random blinkiness' is the bootloader checking to see if the IDE is requesting a new upload and the steady 1 second blink is the blink sketch running. So no show stopper here yet either.
I get the same error on upload:
avrdude: stk500_getsync(): not in sync: resp=0x30
So did you select the proper COM port and select the proper board type in the tools menu before performing the upload attempt?
Any tips or troubleshooting I can try? I know code, I'm just a total n00b to Uno.