The good people of Freenode’s #Slackware IRC channel dedicated inordinate amounts of time and patience to teaching me the necessary skills to use a more advanced GNU/Linux distribution, and I am posting this from that install. The problems were solved by appending “apci= off” in lilo.conf, and upgrading to the latest kernel from http://www.kernel.org. (end of day 2)
Setting wicd as the information source for KDE’s network manager solved my last wifi issues, so I could move my tower back to my room. I have mixed feelings about slackware’s package manager, slackpkg. The search function (slackpkg search ___) is extremely helpful in solving problems finding what packages are called or whether they exist, but little software is available, and I have yet to see installpkg work.