I ran the Hello World program, it works (for completeness sake: it works under both LEGO's firmware and the enhanced firmware). But this information is unimportant because I believe I have figured out the issue. Apparently the 'NXT program' (programming right on the NXT brick itself) programs do not function under the enhanced firmware.
Your post made me realize that I was in fact using the enhanced firmware (lms_arm_nbcnxc_132.rfw). I had collected files and programs and thought the firmware I had downloaded was from the LEGO mindstorms page (apparently I did not pay much attention to the file name other than the numbers because it would have been clear had I given it any thought). I had been using that firmware most of the short time I have worked with it (soon after getting it I already updated the firmware to 1.31, the enhanced one).
Upon realizing this I downloaded LEGO's 1.31 firmware and put that on. The simple 'NXT Program' programs created on the brick itself work when running LEGO's 1.31 firmware. But they do not while running the enhanced firmware. This really is neither here nor there, I do not plan on using that functionality (because it is so limited). I was, when it did not work, however, worried that there was something wrong with the programmable brick (especially since it is secondhand) and that was compounded by not getting the sample Alpha Rex program from http://bricxcc.sourceforge.net/nbc/nxcs ... index.html
to work (It doesn't do anything under either LEGO's or the enhanced firmware... I have no idea what is going on there).
Am I correct that the enhanced firmware does not support the 'NXT Program' submenu? (what a misleading title LEGO came up with for this on brick programming function, could not everything that runs on the NXT brick be considered a NXT program? I keep feeling I need to quality it by explaining that I am refering to the 5 block pictorial programming function)
And yes the forever "Hello World" program works too.
To summarize... it looks like everything is actually fine as long as the 'NXT Program'-on-brick-incredibly-limited-programming-function produced programs do not work while using the enhanced firmware (I can only get them to work using LEGO's firmware). Is this a correct assessment.
Thanks for your help.