1. yum update: that's actually an acronym for Yellowdog Updater, Modified. This will ensure that every piece of code in your installation is updated to the latest published revisions. The very nature of open-source makes this almost a necessity: a programmer updates his code which needs to get published and distributed to all of the mirrored repositories, another developer follows suit. Before you know it, that freshly installed OS is staring in the face of 340 additional updates to process.
2. yum repositories: Do a google search for the YUM repositories specifically catering to your brand of OS (example: Yum repositories for CentOS). Add these entries to your /etc/yum.conf file, otherwise your update will not find the available packages.
3. PGP keys: With these publicly-visible packages, there are also security keys in place. Import them into your OS through: ssl --install
Oh, the title of this post. I got rather frustrated with this whole process (being spoiled by Windows Update), but gained clarity from Maya's suggestion of stepping away, meditating, and consuming a cup of tea.
/me now one with his linux server.
until the next time.