Currently Being ModeratedApr 21, 2013 4:50 PM (in response to saauld)
Using FaceTime http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4319
Troubleshooting FaceTime http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3367
The Complete Guide to FaceTime + iMessage: Setup, Use, and Troubleshooting
Troubleshooting FaceTime and iMessage activation
Using FaceTime and iMessage behind a firewall
iOS: About Messages
Set up iMessage
iOS 6 and OS X Mountain Lion: Link your phone number and Apple ID for use with FaceTime and iMessage
How to Set Up & Use iMessage on iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch with iOS
Troubleshooting iMessage Issues: Some Useful Tips You Should Try
Setting Up Multiple iOS Devices for iMessage and Facetime
FaceTime and iMessage not accepting Apple ID password
Unable to use FaceTime and iMessage with my apple ID
How to Block Someone on FaceTime
My Facetime Doesn't Ring
To send messages to non-Apple devices, check out the TextFree app https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/text-free-textfree-sms-real/id399355755?mt=8
How to Send SMS from iPad
Don't think is related to the problem, but you should update your iOS.
If you have an iPad 1, the max iOS is 5.1.1. For newer iPads, the current iOS is 6.1.3. The Settings>General>Software Update only appears if you have iOS 5.0 or higher currently installed.
iOS 5: Updating your device to iOS 5 or Later
How to install iOS 6
iOS: How to update your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
If you are currently running an iOS lower than 5.0, connect the iPad to the computer, open iTunes. Then select the iPad under the Devices heading on the left, click on the Summary tab and then click on Check for Update.
Tip - If connected to your computer, you may need to disable your firewall and anitvirus software temporarily. Then download and install the iOS update. Be sure and backup your iPad before the iOS update. After you update an iPad (except iPad 1) to iOS 6.x, the next update can be installed via wifi (i.e., not connected to your computer).
Tip 2 - If you're updating via wifi, place your iPad close to your router to preclude getting a corrupted download.