Happily, since I'm right at the beginning of the dissertation process, I can admit I don't know extremely basic prerequisites for working on it. Better to try to come up with all of these now than later! Compiling the Really Basic list should be more entertaining than the small tasks I've been working on this far, since not only will it be a real step in the right direction, but because it's a lightweight task, I should be able to feel as if I really accomplished something today. We'll see!
If I'm lucky, the computer will come in today. It's been about two weeks since I ordered it.