Sorry for coming in on some probably good programmers like a neebie but i am new to this trade and hope to better add to my knowledge on the subject. First of all what is a great book to help learn basic code and code to configure arduino micro controllers. By the way what is a good first microcontroller and from where should i buy it. :~

Also what is a shield?

a shield is essentially a add on if you will. for example there are Ethernet shields that let you connect to a network.

For the other part of your question.

If you are on these forums then the best answer is to buy an Arduino UNO. is my on-line retailer of choice for this because I like supporting what they do. However, Radio Shack has recently started selling them and the slightly higher price (+$4) is well worth the savings in time and shipping.

While you check out Sparkfun's website, take a look at the books they offer. Which book you buy would really depend on what your starting knowledge level is.

For example, if you have never used .net based programming (even would be useful) then you really need to start at a very basic level.

If you have a working knowledge with the programming but have no electronics knowledge, there are books for you as well.

If you have a little knowledge of both, then ask yourself what you would do with the knowledge and there are books that cater to specific areas of interest.

These forums are your friend once you get started but the welath of knowledge I have gained just on the product pages at Sparkfun cannot be discounted.

I started with no programming knowledge whatsoever and wrote a program for a robot arm 2 weeks. Arduino is very easy to learn from examples and the forums are very helpful. books are hardly necessary with all the online resources.

books are hardly necessary with all the online resources.

Books can be read anywhere. Online resources can not. Books can be written in. If you write on the screen while reading online, it makes reading the next page difficult.

Books most definitely still have their place.

I absolutely agree. I have a few books that are great. I am just saying there is often no better way to find the answer to a problem than searching it in this forum or starting your own topic. That is the best part about Arduino. Everyone is always open to helping others. books are good for general topics or precise project guidelines, but when you have a simple programming question, forums can be the best.