So here it is, the description (aka my ramblings) for anyone who is interested. I would appreciate any corrections or notes along the way.
The upgrade didnt seem to get everything that was new. I dont know if it was supposed to. So i used the Add/Remove app (Applications > Add/ Remove...) to find new (and popular - which is new) apps to play around with. Here are a few i found useful:
- Wifi-Radar (Applications > Internet > Wifi-Radar) - this replaces my earlier favourite Wireless assistant. This looks and feels a lot like the Windows wireless list. However it has the additional facility of being able to add new wireless points (this can come in handy when i decide to connect to hidden access points)
- Network Selector (Applications > Internet > Network Selector) - this app sits in my system tray (or notification area in ubuntu) and gives me various network related options to use. It shows me some info on my existing connections too.
- EasyTag (Applications > Sound & Video > EasyTAG) - for me this has filled the gap of a good tagging application when i moved from Windows (it was MP3 tag editor - Tag & Rename, back then)
- Sysinfo (Applications > System Tools > Sysinfo) - a handy tool for gathering info on your system. I would specifically recommend this tool to non-techies. The information shown can come pretty handy when you are talking to whoever is helping you with Ubuntu.
- and so on..
As for the optimizations. Well, i realized my PC's running a bit slow (perhaps because i am loading it up with all sorts of apps) :) But then not THAT slow. I have been loading all kinds of non-sense on windows and still it hasnt come down to such a crawl, except when i installed the latest .NET runtime (shudder). So i tried a few tips from this article titled "Fiesty Performance - Fly like a butterfly". Note that, one has to use judgment when trying them out. Don't forget to do a bit of a reading around the topic before you make the actual change. Things like re-compiling your kernel are not for non-techies and novices. They can bring down your machine, if something goes wrong. The best place to ask for opinions or even basic questions is the the Ubuntu IRC channel. You can even browse the Ubuntu Community forums, if you have a bit more patience. But there's a wealth of experience and information in both these places. So, dont hesitate to ask.
The points i used and found useful (or no problems) were:
- Disabling the IPv6
- The one about running boot processes in parallel (especially if you are blessed with a dual core CPU)
- The one about swapiness
- Changes to xorg.conf. I had about 2-3 inexistent font paths in there. And for some reason the installer believed, i had a wacom tablet installed, which i didnt. So i disabled that (note, don't hesitate to ask if you want to do this too)