Missing Buttons

Hello everyone, I seem to be missing some buttons under my mesh panel. I’m new to Blender so I don’t know if I need to activate this tools. In tutorials they mention to enable sub-surface by pressing the subsurf button. I don’ have this button. I am also missing the Decimator button. Do I need to download extra software? or is there an on button to turn these on. The picture below is what it needs to look like, but does not. Please help, I really want to use this program to its full potential. oh I also get this window that says:
“compiled with python version 2.4
‘import site’ failed; use -v for traceback
checking for installed python… no installed python found.”
I’m guessing this is causing my problem. Please advice. Thanks

The python message is of no concern, python is only required when you want to get into scripting for blender.
These features and other have been moved into a modifier system you can find out about them here

link > http://mediawiki.blender.org/index.php/Manual/Modifier_Stack
link > http://mediawiki.blender.org/index.php/Manual/Subsurf
link > http://mediawiki.blender.org/index.php/Manual/Decimate

The tutorial you are following is outdated , heres a link to a new tutorial.
Link . http://mediawiki.blender.org/index.php/Manual/Your_First_Animation_in_30_plus_30_Minutes_Part_I

thanks for the reply, I will check these links out.