If I have to upgrade to Windows 8 (which I don't plan on doing), then I'll just wait until there's a suitable version of the Combined Community Codec Pack for Win8. Really, paying for media playback is just lame.
From what I gather from the summary, the amount of caffeine required to have the same effect as exercising would give you no choice but to get up and move. I mean, have you ever successfully remained calm after downing a whole pot of coffee?
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "A new study says billions of stars in our galaxy likely grabbed planets from the depths of space. The finding may explain the puzzling presence of worlds located far from their suns and even suggests that our solar system could harbor a planet that lurks unseen well beyond Pluto." Link to Original Source
Vigile writes "A recent story that foretold the death of the solid state drive market by 2024 has been making the rounds and the hardware community has been discussing its ramifications. The basic claim was latency increases and error rates would cause its demise but an editorial over at PC Perspective counters that the researchers are ignoring simple improvements in SSD design including write combining, wear leveling, data compression and even bit drift compensation. Latency increases can even be countered by the increased parallelism of additional dies though the paper in question artificially creates a fixed die count for its research. While there are still hurdles for SSDs going forward there have always been those that claim in the end is near — just ask Moore's Law." Link to Original Source
Im sort of in the same boat (Graphic Designer with aspirations to be a UI/UX designer) and am learning to code of my own accord. I've had much success with Processing. It's really easy to get started and get functional code running. Also, you can run your processing files on a webpage with Java or Processing.js. I don't know about the large data sets you're dealing with, but since Processing is java based, I assume there won't be much difficulty