newbie questions...

first of all, Hi,
I'm new to arduino so I would like to say hello. also i just got my arduino starter kit from hong kong yesterday, so if my questions seem idiotic i do apologies (I couldn't find a newbie section). I do have quite a few questions though.

I put together my first program (based on 'Blink'), which was ten LEDs in a row, each protected with a resistor displaying a binary number (0 - 1024), which would start at zero and increment up. the rate at which this happens can be adjusted with a potentiometer attached to the Duemilanove board. I also attached a potentiometer in series with the ground coming from the LEDs to act as a dimmer.

first, I'm interested in making a circuit which does the same thing, but doesn't need a digital output for each LED. ie can use just one digital output for all the LEDs. the reason for doing this would be to be able to have an indefinite number of LEDs in the binary string, (I'm thinking about making some art, maybe the number of seconds from my birth, or the Epoch timestamp in binary, perhaps with multicolored LEDs which change colour with the time of day, or with the light. it could go way into the negative powers of two, so the actual seconds were in the middle of the string, and be arranged in a square). any thoughts on how to do this? (i'm thinking about somehow making a hardware based logical circuit, which could be 'wound up' to the correct time).

secondly, I'm having difficulty finding where to upload projects to, so other people can look at them.

thirdly, I attached a piezoelectric buzzer in parallel with the resistor for least significant bit LED (so you could hear a clicking) and bust the LED obviously having the two in parallel lessened the effect. so, are LEDs, and other components really breakable? i don't have a great deal of info about the components I have, so does anyone know a good way of figuring out specs, and what will and wont work.

fourthly, the resistors I have were sold as 200ohm, and they have that hand-written on the packet. However the stripes on the resistors are red, three black and brown (the body of the resistor is blue). these aren't the stripes I expected, though I may have got this wrong.

also is using a potentiometer directly in series with the ground a stupid way to make a dimmer effect (it didn't seem very smooth)?

thanks for anyone got this far through my post. I have very limited experience with electronics (something I'm trying to change), so sorry if these questions seem simple. So far i've really enjoyed playing with my kit.

here's the bits in my kit:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270656049300&ssPageName=ADME:L:OC:GB:1123
and here's my code, if anyone's interested:

  boolean a = false;
  boolean b = false;
  boolean c = false;
  boolean d = false;
  boolean e = false;
  boolean f = false;
  boolean g = false;
  boolean h = false;
  boolean i = false;
  int time = 100;
  int potPin = 0;    // select the input pin for the potentiometer

void setup() {                
  // initialize the digital pin as an output.
  // Pin 13 has an LED connected on most Arduino boards:
  pinMode(13, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(12, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(11, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(10, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(9, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(8, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(7, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(6, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(5, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(4, OUTPUT);
}

void loop() {
  time = analogRead(potPin);    // read the value from the sensor
  digitalWrite(13, HIGH);   // set the LED on
  delay(time);              // wait for a second
  a = !a;
  two();  // wait for a second
  digitalWrite(13, LOW);    // set the LED off
  delay(time);
}


void two(){
  if (a)
    digitalWrite(12, HIGH);   // set the LED on
  else{
    digitalWrite(12, LOW);
    b = !b;
    four();
  }
}

void four(){
  if (b)
    digitalWrite(11, HIGH);   // set the LED on
  else{
    digitalWrite(11, LOW);
    c = !c; 
    eight();
  }
}

void eight(){
  if (c)
    digitalWrite(10, HIGH);   // set the LED on
  else{
    digitalWrite(10, LOW);
    d = !d;
    sixteen();
  } 
}

void sixteen(){
  if (d)
    digitalWrite(9, HIGH);   // set the LED on
  else{
    digitalWrite(9, LOW);
    e = !e;
    thirtytwo();
  }
}

void thirtytwo(){
  if (e)
    digitalWrite(8, HIGH);   // set the LED on
  else{
    digitalWrite(8, LOW);
    f = !f;
    sixtyfour();
  } 
}

void sixtyfour(){
  if (f)
    digitalWrite(7, HIGH);   // set the LED on
  else{
    digitalWrite(7, LOW);
    g = !g;
    onetwentyeight();
  } 
}

void onetwentyeight(){
  if (g)
    digitalWrite(6, HIGH);   // set the LED on
  else{
    digitalWrite(6, LOW);
    h = !h;
    twofiftysix();
  } 
}

void twofiftysix(){
  if (h)
    digitalWrite(5, HIGH);   // set the LED on
  else{
    digitalWrite(5, LOW);
    i = !i;
    fivetwelve();
  } 
}

void fivetwelve(){
  if (i)
    digitalWrite(4, HIGH);   // set the LED on
  else{
    digitalWrite(4, LOW);
    /*
    exit(0);
    */
  }
}

f_g_:
first, I'm interested in making a circuit which does the same thing, but doesn't need a digital output for each LED. ie can use just one digital output for all the LEDs. the reason for doing this would be to be able to have an indefinite number of LEDs in the binary string

Sounds like a job for one or more shift registers. But there are many possibilities. Something other than 'indefinite' would be more easy to deal with.

secondly, I'm having difficulty finding where to upload projects to, so other people can look at them.

Take a look at github.

fourthly, the resistors I have were sold as 200ohm, and they have that hand-written on the packet. However the stripes on the resistors are red, three black and brown (the body of the resistor is blue). these aren't the stripes I expected, though I may have got this wrong.

Red = 2, two blacks are 00, one black is 0 multiplier, and brown is 1%.

fourthly, the resistors I have were sold as 200ohm, and they have that hand-written on the packet. However the stripes on the resistors are red, three black and brown (the body of the resistor is blue). these aren't the stripes I expected, though I may have got this wrong.

If you don't have a multimeter, you need to get one for checking parts and your circuits.

Thanks for your quick reply justjed.

I can see what you mean about shift registers. I guess what I was thinking about making a massive binary adder, out of components, but then the arduino boar would not necessarily be useful (in my mind an oscillation resistor would do the job). hmmm, the 'indefinite' thing is that this is really just a thought at the moment.

perhaps 64 bits/LEDs would be able represent the Epoch time, with more or less equal weighting to negative powers of two, in an 8x8 lattice? (61 would be closer, but that's a prime and therefore wouldn't go into a lattice). this is probably a project I wont actually go through with (also i've got plenty of other arduinoey stuff I can do).

thanks also for you help with the resistors (I don't know why I thought they should look different).
so, github. I had assumed that there it was hosted at arduino.cc somewhere.

thanks again.