Looking at the system you can see that it is a credit card, sized unit.
I purchased a pre-loaded 4 GB SD card but I also had a spare 4 GB SD card so I downloaded the distro from adafruit and used it.
Upon investigation, I realized that I needed to solder the pins on the cobbler before using it. Moreover, I realized that I needed a breadboard as well. Adafruit's site had a tutorial that provided the steps in what to solder and where. That was a great help so I printed that tutorial. Based on the tutorial I also purchased a solder gun, solder and breadboard from Amazon and was then ready to get busy.
After soldering the pins and connecting the data ribbon I knew that I needed to find tutorials on what to hook up to what pins, etc. and then purchase those items. What I wanted to do was to conduct the easiest experiment that I could as a first step. I thought, why not get an LED to light up. Perhaps I would find a tutorial on adafruit that was get me there. And yes, the Raspberry Pi E-mail Notifier Using LEDs tutorial was the answer.
Gleaning from the instructions of the tutorial I knew that I needed to setup Remote SSH and install python on the pi. After doing that I read further and noted that I would need to purchase two resistors from 100 ohm up to 1000 ohm as well as a green LED and red LED as well as breadboard wiring. I found that I could get the wires off Amazon for a cheaper price and so made that purchase. The resistors and LEDs I purchased at the local Radio Shack for a good price.
Below is the result thus far.
Now that I had what I need to physically test the next step of the tutorial was to create a python script to interact with the GPIO pins. I was not wanting to take the additional steps of using an IMAP feed parser as detailed in the tutorial I created enough to be able to light the LEDs in a flashing fashion. Here is the code:
I ran the script and here is the output to the screen from the pi:
However, I did not see the LEDs lighting up. Then I realized that I did not have the ground wires connected to the breadboard ground rail. After making the correction I had flashing lights.