Hmmmm...as I've said, I'm such a newbie that I can't really begin to imagine what is causing this. However, I do know that the ethernet in my apartment would go off and on when I was in Windoze so I was thinking it could be a connection problem causing it.
Maybe you could disconnect the DSL for an hour or so and run a few programs and see if everything works fine. At least you'd know if it was the broadband then.
Keep me posted since I may have to go through this when I return to school