net-status-monitor is a simple console script to test whether Internet connectivity is working. If it is, the script tells you the external IP address (in case your dynamic DNS provider is down). If not, it tries to find the point where the connectivity fails. The output is quite simple, so you can put it on your grandmother's PC. "Just tell me what the read line says" should give you enough information.
pyproctools is a set of various command line tools to get information from the /proc filesystem. It is based on the proctools utilities of Solaris. The commands include pwait, which waits for the specified processes to terminate; pstop, which stops each process (with SIGSTOP); pcont, which continues running a previously stopped process (with SIGCONT); pfd, which shows the open file descriptors for each pid; and pldd, which lists the dynamic libraries and other files mapped into each process.