After several days of my first free-time (but payed!) coding venture on Ubuntu, in Java with Swing through Netbeans IDE, I've created my first GUI from scratch, and my first program (which edits XML files). Overall, Java with Netbeans is amazingly simple for a newbie to understand -- and the support on the web (tutorials, etc) are amazing. And it works in Ubuntu just as it does on Windows, which makes me happy =)
Tomorrow I start officially at work (not from home), and it will hopefully be filled with more of these ventures.
Annoying Sound Problem
So after enduring a month or so of not being able to have multiple programs play sound (firefox, rhythmbox, vlc, pidgin) at one time, I've somehow managed to get it to dissappear. The source is probably Ubuntu updates, but I can't tell you for sure because I made multiple, random changes before restarting my computer to find it was gone! But, probably, it was the Ubuntu updates. So, keep downloading your updates, people.
The problem was the switch from ALSA to PulseAudio between Gutsy and Hardy. Some programs lingered that wanted to use ALSA (flash player), and ALSA and PulseAudio can't be playing sound simultaneously.
This forum post explained my issue, and provided workarounds (not sure if they work) for many programs.