Make sure your computer has a Firewire port. (It is not USB.) If you don't have one, they can be bought pretty cheap. Check the forum sticky note. As for editing software, Windows Movie maker is fine for some trimming and effects and it integrates well with Vista's DVD burning program. (You never told details of the computer you have.) If XP, there are many other options. I'd stick with the usual Vegas Studio, Premiere Elements, Video Studio, etc.
I recently captured some video and I would like to put it on my labtop to do some general editing. I have a Panasonic PV-gs85. What cord should I use? What is some good general editing software?