The best thing about Napster was getting almost any music you could think of in a moment, for free.
The second best thing, a close second, was surfing other peoples' collections. For a few months in 2001, almost every week, I discovered new bands and unknown albums and singles of bands I knew already. I would browse the collections of people who were sharing stuff I liked, and sometimes just download everything -- everything I didn't already have. Since I was on a T1, that could take just a few seconds in some cases. I would have a week of new music to discover, from the collections of people around the country and possibly the world, in an instant.
I wish there had been some way to pay for Napster rather than having it shut down. Both iTunes and the new-style (free, illegal, Torrent-based) file-sharing services pale in comparison, both in user experience and in sense of community (or lack thereof) -- Napster had community, even though I never once made any contact with another user I didn't know, except by downloading and sharing music with them. I'll always be a Napster kid.
I agree with those who say don't bother with Dvorak. I taught myself Dvorak around 2000 until giving it up in 2004 (fighting with library computers throughout the intervening years). I might have been a little faster in my prime at Dvorak, but not much, and that training probably could have been better spent practicing QWERTY.
In theory, maybe Dvorak is faster for someone like you, whose typing is fast enough to challenge his max raw finger speed, because of reduced stretching for common letters. But I would say with the retraining there is *risk* -- learning a new layout kills your old muscle memory. Seems all too possible you might confuse your muscles, tangle up your pathways and never get to where you are at QWERTY, or back to where you were if you switched back.
It is true that the world's fastest English-language typist used Dvorak, however. Barbara Blackburn was a certified Guinness record holder, a Dvorak electric typewriter typist who once maxed out at 212 wpm, and for her efforts was once on Letterman. The Letterman segment is very silly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NndiiezGkNY. NB, the days of the true specialist expert typists are past, alas.
If you think you are pretty good, check out video of Sean Wrona competing at SXSW in 2010. Seems like there is a little circuit where you can try out your stuff and maybe win a bit of cash.
No, I'm not tired either. This is a story that must be told so everyone knows how deplorable Apple's legal strategy is. Apple is cannibalizing the very culture of creativity and innovation that created its success; ultimately, legal impediments like those Apple is throwing up will kill the U.S. tech industry -- yes, and with it, Apple itself -- unless the courts and Congress wake up and put an end to this nonsense.
SOPA died when Congress started hearing from the innovators, the entrepreneurs, and the young people. They heard from them through informal channels, from social media to their own dining room tables (see this article and the linked livestream of Alec Ross at SMWNY 2012 telling this story). Similar forces will be needed to knock back Apple's lawyers and lobbyists bring our IP system into the modern era.
Apple's strategy, though it clearly started well before Jobs died, now it seems to originate in fear: without Jobs at the helm, is the pipeline of new and original products deep enough to support anything like this level of profitability? Apple's actions, like Microsoft's in the 1990s, appear to be those of an industry leader afraid it might be losing its creative edge. A justifiable fear, but not one that we should favor with legal protections for invalidly obvious patents like Apple has been granted in error over the last 10 years. We need to keep calling Apple out on this, and not give the company a free ride just because we like or love its products of the last 5, 15 or 25 years (including NeXT!).
In *some* previous versions of OSX you could turn on alt-sequences. Others, not -- I bought a used MacBook Pro in 2005 and couldn't figure out how to get these to work after ~10 hours of research, so I resold it a month later. I frankly don't use Macs enough to know whether it's easy to do this now, but from casual use I know that it isn't available as a default, which is silly, whereas it is on Windows. And thus Windows encourages developers to include these sequences, which is a real boon for every app where they work.
Mice are great, but they are slow! Why would you ever want to aim three clicks when you could type four letters? Imagine if you had to type text in Word, Excel, VS or Eclipse by clicking an on-screen keyboard with your mouse... you'd probably just give up and write with pen and paper (or a manual typewriter), and hire some low-wage laborers to do all that slow, boring clicking. That's how I feel when I use Excel on a Mac.
Portability is very important to me, so I'd like to go with an "Ultrabook" or a MacBook Air. I'm fairly agnostic as to operating system: Python runs fine on Windows for what I need it to do, though Eclipse on the JVM runs rather slowly. I could see switching to a Mac or dual-booting to Linux if that would make my life better in some way. Any thoughts on best Ultrabook choices for either of the above setups (running Windows only, dual-booting) or the MacBook Air switch would be very much appreciated."