Didn't end up going with a netbook, since it looked like it was going cost more than expected, and wasn't going to let me off without messing with my OS. (It's not that I have something against messing with my OS -- I even kinda enjoy setting that stuff up, given sufficient time -- but thesis has to come first right now, and I *know* how long I'll take if I have a new linux toy to play with...)
This laptop continues to die, though (yesterday's problems involved the many temporary deaths of firefox, partially solved by restarting and/or rebooting and/or having it crash; and for some reason new terminal windows sometimes don't start bash) so waiting it out is becoming increasingly less viable. So I sucked it up and ordered a new macbook. I'm hoping it'll show up next week. I may or may not spend another $100 on one of the nice bags in store when it arrives. ;)
Meanwhile, my continuing DSL modem problems are, well, continuing. I got a loaner modem yesterday that I was hoping would solve the problem, but I've already been disconnected once this morning so I have a strong suspicion that my problem is not solved. Grr.
One wonders why I've been working from home this week if it's been a mild struggle, but with the nice weather, I've actually been shunning the laptop for the library. I have books and a lovely backyard. Who cares if my laptop is problematic? Learning about layout, typography and design for my thesis has proved to be a rather lovely break from my tech woes and security policy documents.