Malcolm Gladwell makes a point, as have some other researchers... and I'm guessing it was common knowledge even before. What I'm trying to say is: practice makes perfect. So I'll write a cute little app to track the hours dedicated to activities and so it's easier to keep track how near you are to being a virtuoso in the area.

Why would anyone do that? Well, just for the hell of it. And because I want to be a good drummer rather badly. And why not? Maybe it'll even help some of my friends track how close they are to being virtuosos in their online games...

And it should be a good chance to practice Javascript and using canvas, if I make it work like tiddlywiki or some reasonable simile. I think a pet project might be gestating.

Just for the record, some features a toy like this would have:
-It must work locally.
-Bars graph: activities and percentage of goal hours.
-Lines graph: activity hours per day / per week / per month
-It must work in at least two different OSes. That might be a good reason to make it html+javascript.

And just maybe, maybe there would be a variant hosted somewhere, so people could just log in and track their stuff. Some ads and SEO later, I'm guessing some decent money might be coming in because of traffic. Only, what would this be named so that people can find it? ""? ""? ""? No, no that one, it is taken at the moment.

I'll stop talking, get some sleep, have a fun day tomorrow and then... then we'll see.
All over the web, long, tedious material tells you how to install lampp / xampp (basically same thing) in Ubuntu.

"sudo apt-get install lamp-server^"

That's all there is to it. Tested from 10.04 to 11.04, worked on all versions. Don't go through too much hassle, just get up and developing straight away.
Finally, I got my environment ready.

My forging environment:

 - the laptop (anvil-o-mobile) running Ubuntu for development.
 - Git for version control.
 - a VirtualBox running my client's OS and software for testing.
 - XAMPP for services and web client.
 - Java for new desktop clients. (Multiplatform is key for me).

I've found the "MySQL Workbench" useful for database design.

On the other hand, in a few minutes I'll put up my first toy: an as of yet unpolished, apparently functional, curses based, clone of bejeweled by the guys at Popcap. Perhaps I'll polish that, or make another toy and put it up one of these days.
Counterintuitively, I won't write too much about this tool. It was simply too quick to install and start using, enough to deserve a very deep recommendation from me. No hassle, just install, go to the source code dir, and 'init', 'add' and 'commit'. Then code, 'add' and 'commit'; rinse and repeat as needed. Good tools harness good development into better performance.
Development environment only missing version control repository. Will set that up soon enough, then start reforging my pet system.
My virtual copy of Windows XP, which I use to maintain an app written in VB6, wouldn't boot in my newest VirtualBox OSE installation. So, I'll reinstall the OS into a new virtual disk on the new VirtualBox, then use the other as slave and migrate everything. Luckily, I have my trusty GNU/Linux up and running.
Wonderful thing for a programmer to suffer through. My disk drive died. So I'll need to fetch a new one, which might take some time. Working on a loaned computer in the meantime, so I should be able to do "something",