The websites are the worst--I'm getting a lot of "can't find the website" and "timed out" (after finding the website) for major sites like paypal and livejournal. For some reason, paulgraham.com (a writer for the New Yorker) has been easier to reach. I occasionally do get through, but reaching other parts of a website (say, comments to an lj post) isn't any easier than getting to the main site. On the other hand, I do sporadically reach the major sites.
I've rebooted the computer, which didn't help. I've gotten more dns numbers from my isp. This may have helped a little. I've reverted the drive with goback, but it doesn't seem to go back before the problem, and in fact only offered to go back an unnervingly few days before this problem started.
Even dialing in is unreliable, I get a lot of "can't reach that number" responses compared to actually getting through, and I'm getting more times when it seems as though I've gotten through (all the standard modem tones and the connected icon shows up) but then I can't connect to panix in my telnet screen.
I think this all started after I tried to do some big downloads (big for my 56K modem)--that bad kittens go to a Fat Boy Slim concert piece and the bouncing balls commercial (I got the smallest version, and ambitiously tried for the largest, which I don't seem to be able to get). On the other hand, I can't swear that I didn't try downloading something else at about the same time. That was last week. It's gotten worse over New Year's weekend (I wasn't home to use the computer then).
I might have a virus, but I'm pretty sure my computer isn't sending out spam. I assume that if it were, the red light would be flashing a lot whenever I was connected. The computer seems to operate ok by itself. The problem is all in the connectivity.
I have Windows 98.
In any case, I'd appreciate any advice. If you're willing to talk with me about this and I don't already have your phone number, plase email it to me--it may be hard for me to get at comments.