I soak my chips in water like its said above to help me produce a little more smoke. I usually smoke hams around Thanksgiving when its really cold outside. In my little smoker I struggle to keep the heat as high as 250 degrees.
They sell a little charcoal chimney. You can preheat your charcoal in this and then pour it on your pile. Therefore not losing any heat.
I like buying hams and then making a rub with orange zest and garlic (I believe thats about it). I then start the ham on the smoker and every hour or so I drizzle maple syrup all over it. It creates an amazing burnt crust that is very good. It takes about 9 hours or so to smoke one of these but its worth it.
Good luck with your new toy.
I havent smoked ribs yet. We still boil them first and then slap em on the grill!