Several notes to with regards to information fast that I'm undertaking. And because this is the internet and this is my blog... Well here goes:
I had initially suspected that the cause of my ailment was the special thinkpad-track point driver that deals with scrolling didn't get updated when I upgraded to jaunty. This turns out to not be the case, as I had a freeze (again in firefox) just moving around with the arrow keys. That theory gone.
C.K. and I determined that--counter to my supposition--the slight/occasional clunking noise is probably the drive head parking itself, and doesn't seems to correspond with the problem. So replacing the drive is both awkward (weird form factor) and not likely to fix the problem
I installed emacs-w3m on both computers. It's not entirely intuitive. There are debian/ubuntu packages, but if you install the emacs-snapshot package, then the sequence is upgrade to the latest emacs-snapshot, install w3m-el, uninstall emacs22, and then add w3m code to your emacs init file (.emacs).
It's, remarkably nice, particularly for looking up links while I'm writing something and reading content-rich pages. The key-bindings are, by default excessively lame and require attention (which I haven't figured out yet). I always thought that emacs web-browsing was way too dweab-y for me, but learning that it's actually really cool is a good thing indeed.
This isn't a real fast, as I am still using firefox a little bit bit, and I suspect that I'll always need to have it installed, but I think it's generally good to not have firefox be the default environment for everything that isn't emacs or the terminal.
I've basically been avoiding my RSS reader during the course of this experiment. Which I need to spend some time tending to, at least so that I can start using some other reader. This has been an issue since I switched to Linux, and I've failed to come to anything that I really like. I'm tempted to use the gnus news reader to read the RSS, but I fear this might be incredibly awkward/complciated for a very small amount of pay off.
By moving web browsing, insofar as it needs to occur, into emacs, the windows I see are: stuff inside of emacs (mostly org-mode and writing); and stuff inside of terminals (mutt, Micawber, bash, etc.). As a result, I get the feeling that all of my windows look the same. I'm interested how people might solve this problem themselves. How do you make an entirely text-driven, undecorated environment have texture? Have... variety between windows that might provide some context to specific tasks.
This is an aesthetic/design question more than a programmatic one I guess. I've tried playing around, a little with colors in emacs, and still use the default for emacs23 because the others seem difficult to read. I've tried different fonts (in both programs) and I'm quite wed to my current font. I've tried transparency (which doesn't run well for emacs on the laptop)... I'm thinking that adding Conky, or more informative widgets might be helpful, but I'd love to get some feedback from you all...