emacs is a powerful text editor and environment that we'll be using heavily throughout our experiences. You can read more about emacs in this guided tour emacs tour but the best way to learn emacs is just by jumping in to the tutorial. Be very, very thorough! However, you may safely skip the sections titled "Multiple Frames" and "Disabled Commands".
Log on to the server and start emacs:
emacs will start. Read the startup screen closely. It's important to learn to read messages thoroughly; don't skim, read. A careful reading will tell you exactly what you need to do to start the tutorial.
A helpful emacs key reference is available here: Emacs Keys
Emacs creates two types of files for your benefit, automatically.
Backup files are created automatically whenever you save a file. This enables you to easily go back to an older version if necessary. The backup file is named the same as your original file but with a tilde (~) as a suffix. If you're certain that you don't need the backup file it may safely be deleted (though it's probably better to simply ignore it).
Emacs automatically saves your files periodically so in case of an unexpected event (e.g. emacs crashes) your file can still be recovered. The auto-save file is named the same as your original file but with a leading and trailing number sign (#). In the event of a crash, the file may be recovered by opening your original file and then executing- recover-file. Emacs will notify you if it detects a file in this state. In general, emacs will automatically delete these files when it cleanly exits.