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Newbie programmer beginning to use Emacs, Help!

From: Sean Ochoa
Subject: Newbie programmer beginning to use Emacs, Help!
Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2007 08:11:59 -0800 (PST)
User-agent: G2/1.0

Hey all.  I'm sure you get this a lot for those adventurous enough to
venture out from windows (notepad-esc) text editors... but I'm totally
confused by the help files about how to use Emacs.  Here are a few of
my questions, for starters:

1.  What is the "Meta" key (I couldn't find a definition that makes
sense in documentation anywhere)?  I'm using a HP Pavillion dv9428nr
laptop running win xp pro and Emacs v22.1.1
2.  How to enter a command like ftp user:address@hidden
password:admin_password, so that I can work on files from my web
server (as a side note, does emacs support ftp 'save-as' to server?)?
3.  What exactly is 'Dired Mode'?

A note for any answers:  I've already read through what I could find
the the user manual, and I'm still stuck.

Thanks for any additional assistance!

 - Sean

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