I may have solved the computer problems, finally. I took it down to one stick of RAM, and there were no problems, then added another and another, and still no problems. Even now with all the RAM back, I haven’t had any random memory access violations that close my programs. I think maybe having the smaller modules in the first slots was part of the problem, or maybe the removing and adding just cleaned some dust out of the contacts or somethings.
Even more good news, I found that one of the old hard drives actually does still work. So I did my first ever installation of Linux, which earned me lots of Computer skill points. First I tried doing the minimal installation of Debian, where you use a CD just big enough to set up network protocols so the rest can be downloaded. But the downloads were taking forever and occasionally having timeout issues, and the Gentoo CD was downloading at over 300 kB/s (and they have a slicker website), so I abandoned that and started over with Gentoo. As it turns out, Gentoo is for the slightly more advanced techie, and I just wasn’t up to the task. So I got the regular Debian CD, and finally managed to get all the way to having a GNOME desktop. As a surprise bonus, I was able to access the shared folder on my laptop through the Linux desktop, perhaps because I named the domain for that computer the same as the Windows workgroup (the the laptop happens to have the FAT file system). Of course, to switch between Linux and Windows I have to physically switch hard drives, and I couldn’t even figure out how to do something as simple as install Firefox in Linux, but all in good time.
I also installed the TI software and put the newest OS on my TI-89. I think my flash had become corrupted before, but now everything is in working order. As I was going through the programs to find the a periodic table, which I always like to keep handy on my calculator, even though I never really use it anymore, I found that there were a whole lot of different ones that had been released since the last time I was downloading calculator programs. So I gave most of the new ones a try in turn, but they were all downright awful compared to the one program I used to use, this one. So I installed it and was taking a look at the readme file, which indicated that the programmer was (at least as of the last update 5 years ago) still interested in adding to it, should the need arise. I sent him an email about how much I’ve enjoyed the program and suggested that he add elements 110 and 111, which have acquired permanent names and two-letter abbreviations since he wrote the program. And general physical information about the elements is much more available than it was then, so I pointed him to a website with some extra info that might be nice to have in his periodic table. It would be really awesome if he actually responds and updates that program, otherwise people will keep making crappy ones and no one new will discover his program.
Also, a few days ago I added a Flickr badge to the ragesoss and ragesossgeneral pages. Quite nice.