For making the environment a bit easier to use for pointing and clicking, tried the following additions:
apt-get install xfce4 # relatively light-weight desktop environment
apt-get install slim # graphical display manager
apt-get install wicd # contains gui for configuring wired and wireless network
df shows disk usage to be about 1.7 GB now.
Also disabled IPV6 by appropriately adding ipv6.disable=1 to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX line in /etc/default/grub and running update-grub.
separation of system from data...
Hmm, if I pick up the wireless usb module mentioned in:
may be I can remove the internal wireless module and put some small form factor small capacity SATA SSD in to put this system on...