Thanks so much for that additional info, Newt, Very helpful, indeed!
I found a short term work around too. It turns out cheaper if I buy a pay as you go cell phone from PagePlus cellular (they use Verizon's network and therefore work where I'll be) - and simply FORWARD my NetTalk number to that cell phone. I'll be able to get calls. Hurray.
The internet solution isn't as good - but I can use dial up when I'm down there - and hey, it is offered free so I guess I'll make that work.
This buys me some time to sort out the rest of the details. All the other info about setting up the mifi etc is still very useful.
FOLLOWING UP ON SOFTWARE ....
I said I would name the specific software I hope will run on Vector using XFCE?
The only program that I'm not sure about is one written originally for Mac OS X - a very light weight and useful little word processor called Bean. http://www.bean-osx.com/Bean.html
I wrote to the author and he said this: "I believe there is a Linux version of Bean out there for the seldom used Gnustep."
Then I found this info on Gnustep's wish list page: "Porting Bean from the Macintosh 10.4 is currently done in the GAP GNUstep application project. It mostly works and the build is done using pbxbuild, but no release to the general public yet. "
So should I assume I can't bring Bean with me to Vector? It sounds trivial - it is such a little program, but I really haven't seen anything nearly as nice offered in any other format (mac, linux or windows).
Barring Bean - I found this: Kword from KOffice.org
It looks like it would let me make the word processor look any way I choose. But can it install on Vector easily? Here is what their downloads page says:
The KOffice project, being part of the KDE community, is dedicated to producing Free Software, therefor you can download and install KOffice in most cases free of charge. While the KOffice project only provides source code, it is easily installable through the package manager of many linux distributions, FreeBSD. There is also preliminary support on Mac OS X and Windows.
Two versions of KOffice are currently available:
1.6.3 – stable full-featured version, aimed at at end users, for use with KDE3 and Qt3; download the source code from KDE HTTP or FTP mirrors. This version is no longer supported by the KOffice developers.
2.3.1 – stable version aimed at developers, testers and early adopters, not at end users, for use with KDE4 and Qt4; download the source code from KDE HTTP or FTP mirrors. Some applications in this version, like Krita, are ready for end users and have surpassed their 1.6 counterpart.
Note: 2.x series do not include Kivio yet, if you want to use Kivio you will need to stick with 1.6.x series.