Here are a few tweaks to improve your Ubuntu life.
I prefer Adobe's Acrobat reader to the Ubuntu's default PDF reader. It is not 'free' software (as in freedom) but that is not an issue for me.
To get it - just search for acroread under synaptic: You need to get at least the acroread. the other components get you the ability to read in browser (the mozilla plugin, which I don't care for) and the plug-ins for acrobat itself, such as URL launching, form filling out, etc.
Next - how to change the icons that display on your dekstop. I don't want all my various volumes showing up on the desktop, just a computer icon (and maybe the home folder and trash icons as well) are better for me.
To do so: alt+f2 to bring up the run application box, and enter:
in the config tool, go to apps, nautilus, desktop:
Now you can change the icon optons to your liking.