A bar increase is easy to see as it sits on a little horizontal line of yarn (like a tiny bar). usually a bar increase is done on either end of your work where it will be hidden in a seam. I don’t usually do a bar increase. I dont like to increase on the end of my work. I would rather increase a few rows in because seaming my work later will be much easier. since all of my increasing is done a few rows into the work I prefer a more invisible increase like M1.
You may want to try to learn to knit continental, especially if your learning tapes are in continental. When i started to learn to knit, I tried to hold the yarn in my right hand as my book said, I didnt like this method as it was very slow. I kind of gave up knitting knowing that i would not pursue something that was so slow, but then learned to knit continental. After that I picked it up really fast. I have zoomed bast beginner patterns and i can now look up advanced patterns with all kinds of cables and colorwork and no longer be intimidated. I have been knitting now for about 8 months. If i had never learned to knit continental, then i would have put my needles away months ago.
if you want to learn continental knitting, there is a very good video on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuRLFl36tDY