thanks for all the help and suggestions, everyone.
el presidente: here's the link i was given Download 4431.rar from Sendspace.com - send big files the easy way
. i downloaded the file, then extracted it to my c drive. from there, i copy/pasted everything directly onto my sd card. i erased everything else on the card prior, so it was empty.
manute: yeah, i followed those steps exactly and still got the "bad firmware" screen.
could it possibly be the tablet? le pan told me that the build number is also the firmware number? out of the box, the build number is 4078, so i'm assuming it needs the update to 4431.
i tried downloading the file again, and got the same results.