Earlier today got a FedEx delivery of a MakerShed order placed last week. Toys!
One particular toy was a new Arduino Duemilanove. Had to see what made the Arduino popular.
They tell you to install the USB drivers from their files, but WinXP installed the correct driver on it's own when plugging the Arduino into the USB port. Sometimes you follow directions, sometimes you don't. Usually better to follow them though. Next you start the Arduino development program, and check Windows Device Manager to see what port the Arduino connected to. Mine went to Com 7.
You then configure the Arduino download program to use Com7 and also for what board Arduino you have. I had to switch to the Arduino Duemilanove w/ ATMega328. The guide then tells you to connect an LED to pin 13 and ground next door. CAUTION: usually you add a resistor in series to connect an LED to a micro pin. The guide and another Make video source claim a resistor on pin 13, however the schematics show something different. I have my doubts but connected it anyway.
And there is even a pre-made program written to try out the LED. They call these "Sketchs" and show you to go to the File menu, to Sketchbook, to Examples, to Digital, and click Blink. It has a short little well commented
program sketch that sets up pin 13 as an output, then turns it on and off in a loop with a 1 second delay.
And IT WORKS!!! Yea!!!
And no, I didn't try to configure it to run matrix calculations of strain guage bridge resistance readings, while parsing GPS data, and running a 100 Hz dual PID loop when I first got it out of the box, I just made it blink an LED. And I'm happy with that start.