6) Drop-down calendar
The clock on the panel doesn't just display the date and time. Click it, and it drops down into a calendar for the current month. If you've set any appointments in Evolution, their date is highlighted. Click the highlighted date, and a pane summarizing the day's appointment opens. You can also use the arrows on each side of the month and year to change the calendar display. When you're finished with the calendar, click the clock again, and the calendar retracts, leaving the date and time unchanged.
7) Alacarte menu editor
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After many releases without a menu editor, GNOME finally regained one a few versions ago. Alacarte allows you to customize the menu structure for the current user account. A few standard top-level user items cannot be deleted, only hidden, but otherwise you can add any program you want to any menu except (for some reason) Places.
If you are using Debian or any of the many distributions derived from it, check Alacarte for the Debian menu. If it is available, and you're the sort who prefers to have every available program listed in a menu, you may find its complexity preferable to the carefully selected menus found in most modern distributions.
8) Keyboard shortcuts
If you have any tendency towards repetitive stress injuries because of the mouse, then keyboard shortcuts can lessen your summary. Go to System -> Preferences -> Keyboard shortcuts, and you can set up a short cut using any unused combination of keys for two dozen different actions. You might want to give special attention to the shortcut for logging out and opening a terminal, just in case you every find yourself mouseless.
9) File browser
GNOME's default display of folders is hopelessly inadequate: a collection of icons with a tree hidden in a drop-down list that you can only navigate one level at a time. It improves if you selected View -> View as List, but is still weak if you want to browse files. The solution lies in the System Tools -> File Browser menu, which, although still not perfect, at least gives you a usable browser with a proper directory tree.
Both the default display and the file browser are variants of a program called Nautilus. From either one, you can burn CDs or DVDs with a minimum of options. You might also check whether your distribution contains any Nautilus scripts or extensions to extend their functionality.