Linux is the operating system I prefer for work and personal use. It is much more stable, secure, modern and comfortable. Is linux good for anybody? Personally I would use a Mac and not bother with Linux for personal use (internet browsing, organizing digital photos, movies, occasional document processing etc.) But if you use your computer heavily for work (research, coding, paper writing etc.) then Linux is a good choice and worth the annoyance it WILL cause. Once you really get used to it, everything about a PC will annoy you and you will never go back. At least that's what happened to me. I have a dualboot system (Windows XP and Fedora Linux) on my laptop and desktop and I noticed that I haven't really touched windows the past 4 years.

If you want to install Linux, I definitely recommend that someone knowledgeable help you. Choice of hardware is important as you might experience difficulties with rare or cheap hardware. I built my own desktop with carefully chosen components and works great. Laptops can be tricky, I happened to buy a really Linux friendly one, a Dell Inspiron 4150. Below is my installation notes for this laptop that might be helpful.

Fedora Core 1 installation notes (on Dell Inspiron 4150).


LyX is an advanced front-end for LaTeX. You don't have to know Latex, but you can type faster if you do. Although I used LaTeX for a long time, now I primarily use LyX. It is not a perfect software. But the convenience is worth the occasional annoyance. Here's what I like about it:

Home-page: http://www.lyx.org

Headphone amps

If you had a nice old stereo, or listened to decent high-end system recently, you probably know that pretty much any mass produced audio product sounds, well, bad. 20 year old 85 watt Sansui Stereos being sold on Ebay are more expensive than a brand new 300 watt dolby digital home theater receiver (including the speakers) for a reason. And if you have visited any high-end audio store recently, you know that they cost an arm and a leg.

I have never tried headphones before, once I did, I was really surprised. They sounded nothing like I imagined. Simply amazing. Good ones are not incredibly cheap, but way cheaper than a comparable stereo. I would recommend one of the better Sennheiser headphones if you like to listen to music.

Some of these 'better' headphones have really high impedances and suck up a lot of power. While they still sound pretty good, they shine with a dedicated headphone amp. If you are inclined, you can build you very own high-end headphone amp from basic components (resistors, capacitors, opamps, etc.) using one of the open-source circuit designs available. You need to know how to solder and need a soldering iron and a multimeter. The webpage below explains how to do this enjoyable DIY project. The end product looks really professional in my opinion.