the bad: it was broken, likely dropped, the hard drive clicks now. and we had to fdisk it because it was in a restart cycle. and it took forever to fdisk. from 50% to 67% took two hours, then to 100% took ten minutes.
the good some more: now i start searching for parts. i needed a new hard drive anyway, the one in there is only 5Gb. cryo found me the memory cards and posted where i could get them. and M has a guy at work who's job it is to fix laptops, who will do the favor.
we need a bigger router.
if i can get a solid internet connection on it, i could start the cam back up. i figured out the issue i was having with chillcam was likely the video card and chillcam might work now that the drivers have been updated, sims seems to play fine now.