Well, I backed up my files and software and reinstalled Linux Mint and everything worked fine again -- for about a day and a half. My computer suddenly turned off again (this time I know it wasn't the battery going dead) and when I turned it on again there were no wireless networks available and no sound. Under "Sound Preferences > Output" it says "Dummy Output" which I am pretty sure is not my normal sound card. Has anyone had a problem like this before? Any suggestions would be appreciated. A bit of info:
Linux Mint 13, 64-bit
Dell Inspiron 1525
Perhaps I should post this in a different category, but I'm also a "newbie" so I need instructions at a newbie level.