I highly recommend using a local (or sometimes referred to as a 'soft-firewall') on any personal computer, be it windows, mac, or linux. This guide provides a few basic concepts for using Guarddog as a local firewall.
I've had several people ask me why I go to the trouble of encrypting my Home directory (or SWAP/network drives, disks, etc.)? My first response is "Its really not difficult to do...so why not?". After thinking about the question a bit more I decide a more well-rounded answer could be construed.
UPDATE: guarddog is very outdated and requires pulling in too many dependencies, I recommend ipkungfu as a replacement.
I have a triple boot setup (Xubuntu, LMDE, and crunchbang) on my primary work laptop and have ran into several occasions when an update (always LMDE) breaks GRUB. This article explains how to fix a broken GRUB on a system with several operating systems, all using separate partitions for root (/), boot, home, etc.
If you've ever needed to edit a PDF document containing one or more pages you've probably found it to be rather daunting unless you have some expensive software. I have found two solutions for editing PDFs with open source software; the first (flpsed) allows quick and easy simple edit functionality, while the second (GIMP) allows you to do most anything with a PDF.
dmenu is a dynamic menu for X, originally designed for dwm. It manages large numbers of user-defined menu items efficiently. - http://tools.suckless.org/dmenu/. Simply put, dmenu is an extremely lightweight, text based application launcher. If you are familiar with gnome-do, launchy or the standard run dialog (alt+f2), dmenu provides similar functionality with less of a footprint. For a screenshot of dmenu in action see here.
My laptop has been running hot for the last few months which is not a good thing given it can damage the cpu, gpu, or motherboard but, I had a more annoying side effect, the fan was constantly running at high speed or kicking on/off all day long. I've known several people who have the HP nw8440 or slight derivatives of the 8440 and they have always had heat dissipation problems requiring the fan to always spin up. Mine lasted almost four years before the fan constantly ran so I figured it was time to dig into the issue.