OK. I got my new Dell Inspiron M5030 laptop set up.
But one thing has been driving me especially bonkers: the touchpad.
I do not like touchpads. Therefore, I plug in a USB mouse. For the first few days, it was nearly unusable, responding in a very choppy manner. I assumed that this was because the touchpad was fighting with it, though the action of the touchpad was normal.
In any case, I wanted to deactivate the touchpad, so I tried every solution on this forum. The most promising one was to install the synaptiks package. Unfortunately, it refuses to work, with rather ambiguous error messages. Essentially, it seems to think either there is no touchpad, that the touchpad can't be controlled, and/or that the synaptics driver is old.
I have had similar luck with every other package I've tried. A simple touchpad toggle always turn the touchpad on, never off. And so forth.
In the course of my travails, I discovered that the choppiness of the mouse was caused by the video driver! Tinkering with that for a bit, I managed to install one that didn't mess up the mouse.
However, the fershlugginer touchpad is still active, and at least twice composing this message caused the cursor to relocate to the middle of an earlier line, resulting in gibberish.
Oh, and I managed to find out some things: the system evidently thinks the touchpad is a PS/2 Generic Mouse, and that the actual USB mouse is a "HID 04d9:048e", which it believes is a keyboard!
Perhaps this is why the software can't find the touchpad???
Or not ...
I am flummoxed. I don't need this aggro during a very difficult time in my life.