Thanks. I think it's starting to come into focus for me. I read many more things this morning, and I think it works like this:
* First I have to root the phone. That doesn't wipe apps.
* Then I can do a full backup using Titanium since Titanium requires the phone to be rooted.
* After that, if I brick the phone, I'll have what I need to get all my stuff back, if I use the "how to unbrick" guides here on the site.
I'm still vastly confused about ROMs and Kernels. I just want my phone to be exactly how it is now as far as themes/appearance/whatever, but with the added "advantage" of it actually working. I just have a stock 2.2.2 phone, I don't play elaborate games on it, I use Google Maps and MyTracks often, text, and occasional email checking.
I *think* if I root the phone, back it up, then install that kernel from [TheAndoid]'s guide, I'll then be able to remove Sprint bloatware and some other useless things and have what I what.
Does any of that sound right to the experts? You guys talk about flashing ROMs/swapping kernels/etc like it's nothing, but I still don't get what the hell that means. I guess this is why I'm a mechanical
engineer and not an electronics engineer/developer...