Seconding this, switched to TextSecure when they combined SMS and Hangouts. It is an excellent SMS app replacement. The crypto doesn't get in your way, even when almost none of your contacts also use it.
Yes, I strongly agree. You'd be better off applying directly.
If you're installing it on a laptop just to play with it, perhaps https://www.hostedgraphite.com might be useful. The 14 day trial means you can fool around and dump it for self-hosted at the end of it. :)
I was installing on a laptop to demo during a conference talk. I also had aspirations of contributing to graphite (something I've so far failed to do.) Having said that, I do know that hosting and maintaining graphite internally is a barrier for some companies. Your product looks like it will fill that need very nicely. Kudos!
Thanks. I wrote a simple Ruby script that will "replay" data as if the event were happening live. It's great for a demo because you can leave it up while your talking and known data is streaming in. And for me it's even better since I was demo-ing a monitoring tool and could have known alert occurring live. :)