So I finally got fed up with the pc taking forEVer to start up, open the web, and shut down again. Once it got going on any task it performed pretty well, but switching tasks or starting new ones had become almost painful. Not quite bad enough to drive into town and run errands while saving a file, but getting close! (I am certain this has *nothing* to do with it limping along on a decreasingly supported XP platform in order to keep the high end graphics programs I'm not prepared to upgrade at the mo.)
At any rate, I dodged the entire Vista bullet, so I can't complain. The old XP tower setup will be pared down for drafting and such for my own projects, and the spanking new laptop with "jyint" screen will be for internetting and moovees and all of that. I need to get a mouse as the trackpad setup annoys me, and I seem to be striking random keys on either side of the letters I am trying to type... I expect it to last just as long as its predecessors, so will have many years to get used to this one
note: I enlarged the page view in Firefox and the reply window is randomly ENLARGING and tiny-ing --- and moving the curse-or(!) to other places in the text block -- at its own whims as I am (apparently) striking some sekrit key combination that does not include CTRL+.