Re. Total confusion
I have tried minicom, kppp, gnome -ppp, wvdial, and pppconfig. They all
dial and get connected to my ISP. None get me on to the internet.
As for my printer problem, I think that the facts that the printer is
absent from dmesg and the "echo" test failed, shows that higher programs
like magicfilter are not the cure and /etc/printcap doesn't matter.
It acts like some weird failure in the machine architecture. I am
suspicious of the BIOS settings, but can find nothing to change.