You can use the following tutorial to set up the frontpage: http://www.redfactory.nl/themes/therestaurant/2011/06/22/frontpage-widgets/
Regarding the execution time, it would be best to contact your host about this. They’ll know how to change this. The failed media import mentioned above can also be caused due to incorrect write persmissions of the media folder. Be sure that it’s writeable.
Hope this helps!