for 1k you can get a very good setup.. but this is your first personal board.. i would focus on the boots and bindings first.. i believe that until you own your own personal board for a while.. then you really dont have a platform to base another board off of.. example comparing stiffness and flex.. pretend you are looking at a board with a stiffness of 4 and a flex of 5.. these numbers are pointless unless you have a board that you are accustomed to and compare the differences..
all mountain is the best way to start in my opinion.
Regular/Goofy = True Twin Tip.. that means the bindings are evenly spaced and centered with the same amount of flex in the tip and tails.. and then their are directional twins.. different amounts of flex or slightly offset..
in terms of shopping.. i think its good to go into stores and get fitted and find something that will suit you.. in terms of buying.. you get the best prices online! Your local store probably has very little competition and the internet has tons.. retailer competition= lower consumer prices!