New User, New Problems

My name is Jeff. I was with another host for about three years before I decided to move because of a lot of problems.
I signed up with Dreamhost yesterday, and upon reading these forums, it looks as if I haven’t escaped my problems yet.
In the mean time, I have some questions for you long time users:
(1) Thunderbird. I’m having a lot of trouble setting up my email through Thunderbird, even after following the step by step instructions in the wiki. I used at my old host, and want to continue using it here. Is this part of the problem? Any suggestions?
(2) Do any of you use CuteNews Php? I’m having trouble installing it and would like some pointers if at all possible.