I agree with Grif wholeheartedly about the programs to install. You can also install a program called Everest Home Edition from Lavalys (available from Cnet).It tells you about all of your hareware and gives you the driver details and the sites in which to upgrade, if needed. If you want better advice, you need to have all the info posted relevant to your computer and also what you intend to use it for.
There is a lot to consider and be aware of when you are connected to the internet all the time, such as firewalls, antivirus, spyware, which browser to use, etc, etc. MY first recommendation to you, ethellm, especially if you are new to the computer and haven't used Windows ME before, is to change your operating system to either Windows 98 SE or to Windows XP (if you can). They are both easier to learn on, especially Win 98, as they are more user friendly. Secondly, I would recommend taking some of the courses offered by Cnet as they are the easiest (and cheapest) way to increase your knowledge.
In answer to your question about a burner, any CD burner should do the trick. Just ask at the store where you intend to buy. You don't need an expensive one, just good quality. The same applies to the blank media. The biggest thing to be aware of when adding new hareware, is that your power supply is big enough to handle it. Cnets course on ''Build Your Own PC'' is an excellent course to find out what you need to know. There are also tons of good websites out there that offer help as well. Good luck and keep asking questions. Lloyd.