That's quite a lot to fit into a post..
Can I suggest a couple of places on the web and a few books?
will take you to Microsoft's web pages for this.
Two books I'm reading that may be useful are:
"Inside Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0" by Microsoft Press.
"Inside Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007" by Microsoft Press.
There still don't seem to be many books out there that are all that helpful, hint Wrox..
You want it in half the time? That'll be twice as much...