It's kind of sad, but I am so delighted that the system administration guys at the college were able to solve my problems (i.e. do their job) that I felt this urge to blog it. In just a few simple operations which the head troubleshooter walked me through on the phone, our mutual effort (I feel like I was part of it since I did the actual pushing of buttons and mouse-clicking here) removed a whole set of annoying bugs that have been haunting the desk-top for months while I have been busy. I was afraid that if I drew attention to the problems, the machine would disappear mysteriously and indefinitely as usual. I just love it when people know what they are doing.