Start slow, especially if you're older and/or don't know what you're doing. Diving in could result in serious injuries at the worst, and at the least could put you off to training altogether. You come off a really sedentary lifestyle after years of abuse, barge into the gym and start fast and heavy, you're going to regret the DOMS.
There's a good reason why many people buy a gym membership, go once or twice, then never come back.
At the gym I go to, from January to July, there were over 800 people who started and quit in that timeframe.
That's pretty much the gist of it, yeah. Once you build a base of information, and learn who some of the posters are (several guys there are published authors, a couple are doctors,) you know where decent information comes from.
Oh, and you say you don't know terminology of simple things like dumbbells and barbells.
If you're REALLY interested in this, at the absolute beginner level you are, consider getting a personal trainer for a few consultations. That whole proposition can be a bit of a hassle, some are simply shit.
Try to find some reviews of ones at your local gyms, if available, or ask a friend who might have went. At your knowledge level, you really cannot start a proper gym routine without some instruction.
Gym memberships are not bullshit. Most people simply aren't motivated enough to workout at home, nor do they have all the equipment to do so. I enjoy getting out of the house and going to the gym, and I've made several friends there. You can get a really good cardio workout on a treadmill at the proper speed and incline...thus, they're not bullshit either.
Some of the rest of that is true. Many of the machines at the gym are redundant and simply don't do as well as their freeweight counterpart, with exceptions. For certain kinds of people, they're fine (i.e. old people, women, and anyone who doesn't know what they're doing with freeweights.)
You can get insanely strong over the course of a year by working out hard and eating big, with the proper training. There are guys at the gym I go to in their 60's who are stronger than me. There's a guy at my gym who is almost 80 and bench presses like 275, and still goes to competitions.
Rest is a big part of it, especially when you're new.
The really popular strength training program for beginners right now is Mark Rippetoe's "Starting Strength."
Locations across the U.S. and Canada — and now, Australia, Denmark, London (where apparently attendees are "foreigners who miss the physical contact they're used to in their home countries and British people who claim to feel uncomfortable about touching." And, shortly, Sweden.
This shit has been around for years. I think I remember posts about it on FC years ago. It's horseshit for quasi-swinger losers and other creepy fucks. No one sane or normal would attend that shit. There isn't enough rubbing alcohol made to feel clean after some weird dude touching your feet.