Think question 2 should be 1
1) Don't know makerShack ? but - http://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage
- has some nice getting started sketches..
2) There are different sections in this forum and you better follow the different sections for a few days (say a week) to see what kind of questions are in which section. Post your question in the appropiate section. Do not crosspost the same question in different groups as that is annoying for everyone in the end.
Last but not least : in the right upper corner is a search box so you can search the forum if anybody had the same or similar questions you have. That should be the first place to start.