I've been thinking about getting into using some pic microcontrollers, and I found the below two things to help get me started. But, on the product page for the microcontroller, it says 20 mhz, but then in the description it says it has an 8mhz internal oscillator. Which is right? Also, with the programmer below, it says usb to serial adapters don't work, but I don't have any serial ports on my computer, is there anything I can do about that?
The pic 16F88 can run up to 20 MHz with an external oscillator. Then up to 8 MHz with the internal oscillator selected. This is usually done by setting the fuse bits(I use AVR not PICs so not completely sure on how to do that usually in the IDE).
As for the programmer I would look at just getting a PICKIT 2 or 3 for programming easy to use also made my microchip. And forgot to mention USB :).
Forget about those serial port programmers sold by Sparkfun and other suppliers, they aren't supported by MPLAB, they don't program the latest chips, they don't work very well, and you won't get in-circuit debugging. If you don't believe me, look at the posts about them on the Sparkfun forums. Here is a typical tale of woe.
Get a Microchip PICkit 2 or 3, they plug straight into a USB port and the PICkit 3 supports all current devices, and works with the new MPLAB-X IDE.