Back in the 1.x days, Amarok was in my personal opinion, one of the best pieces of open source software around. I convinced several folks to try Linux based on that software alone by just describing the features (i.e. you play a song and it auto-fetches the lyrics & opens the wikipedia page of the band). For large music collections, you could use a real DB like MySQL or Postgres so it's performance blew everything out of the water. At the time, I was a complete Gnome user, and I would install KDE libraries on every PC I owned just for Amarok.
Unfortunately that all changed with Amarok 2. Every year or so, I install it and give it a go, but it's never come close to its former glory. The early releases of Amarok 2 were a complete regression, and even more recent ones are still not up to par with Amarok 1.4. For a few years, I kept maintaining ebuilds/patches in Gentoo for it to continue to compile, but eventually I gave up.
Fortunately some of the ports based on the original Amarok are doing well; my personal favorite is Clementine. These days I mostly use MPD and my cell phone (running MPDroid) for controlling my music collection, but I still miss Amarok at times.
Here's a few generally pratical books that I genuinely believe anyone can find some value in:
Boy Scout Handbook -- Great source of info for anything outdoors related including basic first aid, how to tie knots, survial skills, etc.
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie -- A series of insights on how to effectively deal with people.
The Way to Cook by Julia Child -- Julia considered this book her magnum opus; it teaches you how to cook almost anything you can imagine.
I have owned several T (& W for work) series Thinkpads starting with the IBM T21. I am very satisfied with them, and I plan to replace my current T400 next year with a T440. I have ran Linux pretty much exclusively on the T line (early Fedora Cores and eventually Gentoo since 2004 on the T21, exclusively Gentoo now), and because they use mostly Intel parts, I have never had much trouble getting everything to work.
The features that keep me coming back are:
Availability of decent resolution (1440x900) matte displays
The ultrabay (can be used for an optical drive, second battery, or second disk drive)
The build quality and user replaceable parts.
I got my current laptop from their outlet as a lease return. It didn't include Windows (actually shipped with Free DOS). I immediately bumped the RAM to 8GB, added a SSD, put the original HDD in the ultra bay, and it's been going strong ever since. I have had to replace the keyboard (spilled some aged vinegar on one it), but other than that no problems. I am only thinking of replacing it next year to move to a quicker processor and more RAM.
The system is a little bulky, but the build is quite solid. Mine has taken a couple 1.5 ft. coffee table to floor drops thanks to my dog, and it's kept on ticking. I know they also make a slim line T440s and even an ultrabook (T440u) version although that might require giving up some features like the Macbook Pro.
It will be interesting to see if this move will impact future bundles. I am curious if they will be willing to cannibalize their own store sales, and if other vendors might be less willing to work with them now that they have a permanent store (and might be viewed as a competitor).
This is the most accurate description of a MBA program that I have ever read on Slashdot. I am in a similar situation (I work in IT and am currently studying at Berkeley in the Evening & Weekend MBA program, my undergrad was in EE), and my experience mimics your post. The most popular undergraduate field for my class was engineering at 40% followed by Business/Econ at 24%. We have a myriad of backgrounds from medical doctors to restaurants, and virtually everyone I have met means well and isn't trying to screw society to make a buck. Core courses (basically GEs) covered everything from microeconomics to corporate strategy to ethics.
Overall I'd recommend anyone who criticizes MBAs to try and reserve judgment until you have a chance to go sit in on a class at a good school. I believe that you will be surprised at what it's like, who you meet, and you might even change your opinion.
While it probably won't appeal to many Slashdot readers, the ESPN show, "Pardon the Interruption," is of similar style and caliber. The hosts, Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser, were both veteran staff writers for the Washington Post (and were still active for the first several seasons), and their opinions are consistently well developed and expressed. Even my wife, who only watches the occasional big game, enjoys watching the show.
Just go watch some old episodes of Julia Child or anything by Jacques Pepin. If you're an Amazon Prime member, all 10 seasons of Julia Child's "The French Chef" are available for instant viewing.
If you prefer to read, then the same two people are both great choices. While all of Julia's books are worth reading in my opinion, the first volume of "The Art of French Cooking" and "The Way to Cook" (which she considered her magnum opus) are excellent. Julia doesn't just provide recipes, but she explains techniques (dice vs chop vs mince vs etc.) and rational (i.e. why drying meat before browning is critical).
On the Jacques Pepin side, his Complete Technique is like a textbook for how to cook anything. The best part is there's literally thousands of photos of how to do every step. As the book is really just a translation of his two french books ("La Technique" & "La Methode") there are some parts that might not be too applicable for most Americans, but overall it's well worth a read.
I would also add, "CookWise: The Hows & Whys of Successful Cooking, The Secrets of Cooking Revealed" by Shirley O. Corriher to the list. It explains rational behind why things work the way they do (i.e. why lard or shortening produce a flakier crust than butter). It doesn't shy away from details, discussing things like Maillard reactions, and the recipes are well chosen to focus on what's being described and tasty too.
Installing Gentoo is not difficult per se, but it's certainly an effective way to learn low level system administration and a lot about the Linux ecosystem. Now of course it's entirely possible to install Gentoo and not take away anything from it (i.e. just mindlessly copy-and-paste from the Gentoo Handbook and never attempt to understand what's going on), but even if you just apply minimal effort, it's a great way to learn a lot about Linux.
For example, a typical Stage 3 install will involve manually partionioning (possibly even using RAID/LVM), formating a FS, loop back mounting, chrooting, compiling a kernel, installing GRUB, adding users/groups, networking, cron, etc. That's just off the top of my head. If you make a mistake (like I did installing GRUB manually the first time), you can learn a whole lot more when you try to fix it.
Gentoo also has excellent documentation and, by virtue of being an niche/ethusiast distro, a much more advanced user base compared to most Linux distributions. I'm not saying there aren't folks on other distros that know more than someone using Gentoo, but on average, most Gentoo users (especially those active in their forums) tend to be fairly advanced users.
Finally, Gentoo is extremely flexible, so if you really want to get down to the nitty-gritty, it's certainly possible. Although Stage 1 installs (where you bootstrap your compiler) are no longer officially supported, there's active threads in the official forums on how to do it. If you want to play in the embedded space, Gentoo has one of the best cross-compiling systems out there (a benefit of being source based).
The long and short of it is, installing Gentoo is a great way for someone sincerely interested to learn a lot about Linux.
In my personal experience, using a tablet or phone as a remote over using an actual, dedicated universal remote is one of those things that's better in theory than in practice. This is primarily due to these remotes having a tendency to walk away from the entertainment room, the relatively poor battery life (hours vs days), and the lack of intelligent help & context switching (compared to a Harmony). I can't speak for "ILink", but Logitech has their actual Harmony remotes down to a science. I never understood why someone would spend so much on a remote until I finally bit the bullet and got one (880), and I can honestly say it's one of my best investments in my home entertainment system. Beyond just being able to build macros, it does great things like having an interactive help for when one of the steps fails -- this is fantastic for folks like my wife who no longer needs to know what input the TV & the receiver needs to be set to, what to turn on/change when she wants to watch a bluray, etc. I liked my 880 so much that I grabbed a Harmony One last year. Also, if you're price conscious like me, you can regularly find refurbs for $100 and new ones on sale for $130 around Black Friday. I have no association with Logitech, but the Harmony line is really fantastic.