I prefer Evernote, but anything similar, including a pad of paper will work. When I'm having a hard time focusing, keeping the list visible, be it on another monitor, tablet, phone, etc, helps immensely.
...and if you don't like the way Ubuntu does things, you can GTFO.
Like every other Linux distro, major and minor project, including the kernel?
I've recently felt the urge in some circumstances to reach up from the keyboard to swipe or pinch the display while using my laptop and desktop.
I only get the urge to "swipe" a desktop/laptop screen when using Windows.
Trillian (pro) is a lot nicer than the MSN client.