I quickly learnt that buying a Surface unit was really not an option (too costly) or even necessary to get started. WPF was available on XP and Vista platforms with an IDE in the Visual Studio 2008 Express Editions downloads. Even better that you could get this for free.
I installed the complete package - Visual Basic, C# (C Sharp) and C++. Patience was key during this install. I was eager to get started so it seemed to take even longer.
The next step was to find a book on WPF and some interesting source code to use as a learning tool. After a little research I settled on WPF Unleashed by Adam Nathan. It just seemed that it would have the right balance -- quick easy things to do, but also a book that you can use as you get more experienced. It has turned out to be a good purchase.
The source code was a little more challenging. The physics demonstrations in the Surface blogs were very intriguing. One of these blogs mentioned a program call Crayon Physics. I downloaded the demo, and was absolutely fascinated by it. I thought to myself that it would be great if I could find a demo with physics to use as a learning tool.
Not sure how, but I stumbled upont WPF 2D Physics. As soon as I ran the ClickOnce demo, I knew that I had found what I needed.