Roberto recently asked a few interesting questions that seem worth answering as a blog post. Gnome Shell the windows manager we use has somewhat different interface than the traditional windows managers we're used to using.
Question 0: What do you think about the book Moving from Windows to Linux?
My first impression of this book is that it's quite old in computer terms, written in 2006. I expect you can find better, less expensive, tutorials online with a simple search. For example, this is a relatively new blog about that process. That said, I don't think you'll be harmed by any reading you do regarding Linux, so if you're encouraged to read a book about the subject, then go for it.
Question 1: How do we minimize windows?
The developers of Gnome decided that window minimization is generally unnecessary. If all of your windows are maximized, what good does minimization do? You can read the discussion here. This, of course, still takes away from our normal means of using a windows manager and thus, some people still want the ability to minimize their windows. What can you do? Install the gnome-tweak-tool by running the following command as root.
apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool
This is a GUI interface for modifying gnome, you can read about how to make modifications including adding minimize buttons here.
Question 2: How do you do private chat in xchat?
In order to have a private chat, you'll need to right click on the name of the user you want to chat with, then click "Open Dialogue". That's all, then you'll have a private chat.
Question 3: Is there an Android phone irc client?
There are quite a few irc clients for android, I personally use Yaaic. You should be able to find it in the store, the website is here.
Well, those are the questions posed by Roberto. I hope these answers get you started.