Mainly, I'm glad I'm using Ubuntu instead of WinXP, it's quite shiny, I like it.
Right now is one of those times where I consider going back to XP or even swallowing the "No, fool! You don't want to be able to maximize windows! Idiot! Why would you want to do that?" pill.
Trying to get the shiny Merlin U530 modem which I have managed to get assigned working, I've been advised by people and articles to look at the output of dmesg, grep the syslog for "acm", modprobe stuff, lsmod it, use gnome-ppp, edit
I've had great help on irc (NB to self #ubuntu-it is that much smaller than #ubuntu that you actually get to read the help offered before it disappears off the scrollback), but I'm suffering extreme cognitive dissonance, not sure which manpages I should rtfm - hopefully ones clearer than the pptp docs, something tutorial shaped would help.