well, of course you are going to install chrome, dropbox, geany, lastpass plugins, and probably some other apps, but to make the system really sing I have some things I always do.
Here you go:
1: Gnome-Shell. This is how I roll. Why not just use the offical gnome ubuntu distro? SHUT UP - that's why! load a terminal:
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-gnome-desktop
be sure to pick GDM3 (as opposed to lightDM) when prompted
2: modify nautilus to show folders before files when browsing:
launch dconf editor
browse to org > gnome > preferences
check the "sort-directories-first" option
3: Install MS TTF fonts. Yes I still do this, I just think the look better. load a terminal
sudo apt-get install ttf-mscorefonts-installer
Note: I've seen this fail on numerous occasions. It appears that the download location of the fonts has been less than reliable. So these may not be around forever
4: I also prefer to use the topicons extension, which moves icons for things like dropbox to the top bar. https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/495/topicons/
Note: This appears to work better in firefox over chrome.
5: Install VLC
sudo apt-get install vlc
if you have a system that has a DVD drive, you can add restricted DVD support by following these instructions.
I always load the time and date settings, and date show, setting the format to am/pm.
I also make some standard changes using gnome tweak tool. I'll detail those later.