all the examples on the arduino playground for i2C or serial lcd is just plain outdated code and does not work at all.
No, that's not true at all. No such code is "outdated", if it worked when it was written, it will be working still. But it may not match what you have in hand.
So finding arduino hard enough now i have this Tinkerkit LCD that has its own library to run etc and its just making things even harder on top of hard. Especially since the website is ... not very helpful.
That may well be the case. I took a look for you for your later post and concluded that it was a different implementation to anything with which I am familiar - so am not in a position to help.
The examples are all over the place with no actual code on most of it just snippets of code and hes like put this in and put that in and you are like where and when you finally find out where its like well you should have initialized this firs t and included this library at the top etc. etc.
Actually, that tends to be what this business is about - you start with known working examples, and "mix and match" pieces to do what you want.
Its also missing any kind of datasheet. They say its a full fledged leonardo but there are no basic examples of how to do anything on it so its useless almost to me.
Is it just me
No, you are more-or-less right in general. You do
need a fair few smarts to work through this stuff. Someone here may have been through it before.