And then I managed to get myself out of the house (mostly by dint of repeating "I'll be home tomorrow night"), and things stopped looking quite so bad. I even paused at the post office (which 10 minutes previously had seemed like far too big an expenditure of time, given I was trying to get into Ponte to fix broken Samba) and finished renting a post office box. Now I have a safe address to feed NSI and others who want to splatter my mailing address all over the Internet. Call me paranoid if you like -- it's true.
Anyway, made it into Ponte in record time (there's just nothing like driving a reverse commute) to find that Samba was well and happy once Richard had removed the ':w' I had accidentally appended to a key line in the config file (typing over Ponte's slow link with time pressure). Argh!
I have now spent the past ~3 hours beating on an intractible IMAP problem. I'm going to go pick up yohannon at SJC now. And I'm not editing this for publication; it's just going live. Enjoy. Have a nice night.