One hard part about learning Chinese is looking up new characters in a dictionary.
If you find the character online, it's not that hard. You just copy and paste it into a dictionary like dict.cn, and you have your answer.
If you come across a new character in printed form, however, it's not quite as easy. You have to know (or be able to deuced) the main radical, stroke, and count and then look it up in a paper dictionary (which is often a three step process). It is very time consuming for a noob such as myself.
I found a really neat web application / dictionary that lets you search the dictionary by drawing the character.
While you still have to know the stroke order, it's far easier then doing it the paper way (and it seems to be pretty good at guessing what you're doing as long as you draw it mostly correct).
It's called Nciku.