The last message I posted was the very last thing ever produced by my beloved Toshiba laptop. I had actually written a longer one, but my browser disappeared suddenly. I restarted it and my second effort also terminated the browser before I finished it. I think I managed to get my third effort posted. That was followed by a hard lockup--no keyboard, no mouse, had to use the power switch. I then booted into Windows to see if the problem persisted there, and indeed it did. Windows started, but before I even ran a program, I got a black screen with nothing on it and I had to use the power button.
Attempts to reboot failed. I let the laptop sit unplugged overnight so I could see what happened when it was stone cold. Alas, failed boots, garbled screen at power-on. I couldn't boot a LiveCD. The laptop is over four years old and out of warranty and fixing the innards of a laptop is out of my league.
So I bought a new one. It's a Gateway Turion 64 X2, 2 gigs of RAM, 160 gig hard drive, GeForce graphics chip. Came with Windows Vista Home Premium, which isn't too bad once you figure out how to tame its more annoying aspects.
In addition to the laptop, I got, free-after-rebates, a Canon Pixma MFP and a D-Link wireless router. Both printing and scanning are supposed to work in Linux.
I'm hoping to get VectorLinux installed in a virtual machne on the laptop so I can avoid repartitioning the drive and a dual boot.
I *really* didn't want to deal with the expense and bother of a new laptop at this time, but such is life, I guess.