I decided to 'root' my phone this AM using the 'OneClickRootCWM188.8.131.52' technique. It worked very well once I got by getting the $%*(# Epic connected to the PC. I do not understand why USB connection with my PC, especially with USB Debugging enabled requires some magic combination of usb cable, port, and PC, but it finally worked on a 2nd laptop I had.... Anyway. I've successfully rooted my phone. Still on factory E05. So now I can finally remove the apps I don't want like Facebook, and the Sprint junk -- NASCAR, SprintZone, etc. I read good reviews on 'Bloatware Freezer." Bzzzt. No longer on the market. Tried a freeware app called 'AppMate' (I think) and I saw the .apk's in /system/app, but it didn't actually delete anything. WTF. Now I'm thinking bigger. What if I....install a new ROM? If so: 1) is there something as stable as my factory EC05? I don't care about Gingerbread. 2) will I need to convert my filesystem to EXT4? When/why is this done? 3) Do some ROM packages include the kernel, so it's a one shot deal? 4) Do I lose all existing data -- contacts, account settings, installed apps? All I really want is a clean, stable phone w/out the Sprint junk and the ability to have more control, tether, etc. I'd greatly appreciate a quick run-down of what the next steps should be. Thx!