Tips and Tricks
Where am I? Press F3 (or fn F3 on a Mac laptop) to have MineCraft show you the x, y, z coordinates of where you are standing.
+X is going East, -X is going West. Y is height above the bedrock, often ground is at 64 height. +Z is South, -Z is North.
Looking for diamonds? They only appear deep, at level 16 or below. Walk or teleport out to somewhere far away so you are exploring new ground. Dig a sloped tunnel down to level 10 or 11. Then dig in a straight line in every direction. Diamond ore must be mined with an iron pickaxe or better. Bring lots of torches and pickaxes with you.
Stopped by a lava lake? Dump a bucket of of water near it. The lava will turn into obsidian and cobblestone. Then you can scoop up the water source to use it again somewhere else.
Are you completely lost? Simply keep exploring until you die from hunger or get killed by a mob. On MinBook Pro, Keep-Inventory is turned on, so you will reappear in your bed with all of your stuff. If you don't have a bed, then you will reappear at the TP tree.
MineCraft Wikki - this is the encyclopedia of all things MineCraft. There are detailed pages about every item, feature, mob, and update.
Beginners should read through the tutorial pages.
If you prefer videos, this youtube series is great for getting a start on the game
You can get a new pre-made skin for yourself at a variety of places: Miners Need Cool Shoes, and MineCraft Skins, and SkinDex. There are also skin editors so you can make your own personal skin at some of those sites and also at Nova Skin.
I created my skin by colouring a page with pencil crayons and taking a picture of it with Skin Scanner (its a paid iOS app).
Upload your new skin by logging in at the Mojang website.