I really need to update this more often.
Anyway, all is well with my laptop. After a bit of hackery with mplayer I got the xv and alsa9 vo/ao options working, with a nice drop in CPU utiliziation when playing DVDs or watching movies. I also enabled 32-bit/async communication with my ICH3M-based IDE controller and got a nice boost in speed. I tried to enable IRQ unmasking, but it made the alpha orinoco_cs drivers I have to use with my WPC11 start to act strange.
Speaking of those drivers, I needed to update because despite updating the WPC11's firmware from 1.1.0/1.4.2 to 1.1.1/1.7.4, I still get IRQ storms which kill userspace when I sometimes do heavy transfers, like downloading kernel source. Under the 0.14alpha2 drivers, I don't get that -- what I get is a somewhat more fragile driver that barfs quite a bit with NETDEV_WATCHDOG timeouts. Sigh :(
Next up on my plate is fixing the IRQ unmasking AND seeing what options I can tweak for my CD drive to get it working as fast as possible (it's already using DMA, but I want to try unmasking IRQs on it as well. All hail the 2.6 IDE drivers!) :D