LOL, browsing through these old pages this made me chuckle...
"I think software firewalls are good because they provide a human element (you) to them."
Any security expert in the world will tell you that the biggest security risk to any network is the user. Users are stupid, so when you give a user power over something which is there to protect you, you're effectively opening up a big gaping hole.
Hardware firewall is an appliance that sits inline between you and the interweb and filters traffic. Obviously you configure what it should filter. Obviously if you mess up here, you're defeating the point of even having a software firewall, which FYI filters on the NIC of the PC it's installed on.