lots of instructions aren't extremely thorough, and just seem to expect you to be a guru, though I think things will possibly be changing as to a LOT of new people are trying linux now. Not trying to say anything bad about your knowledge, but for a newbie to get on linux and start with no help, it's hard. I'm still learning it daily, but I know enough to get around and do stuff myself now, somewhat anyways.
I don't know about fedora, but a lot of distros have many, many packages on the CDs. It may be easier and better a lot of the time to grab them from the CDs, that way you are nearly positive they will work.