Hi Tim,

I'll get back more on the rest of the subjects. I just wanted to adress this, quickly.
Darn. I tried all the instructions including
  sudo echo 2048 > /proc/sys/dev/hpet/max-user-freq

Did you try doing the echo as pure root?
I have found that sometimes (always in kubuntu perhaps?) performing the above line will do the echo with elevated permissions but the pipe will be done as the original user.

So if you do
> sudo bash
before, and efter that perform the procedure
echo 2048 > /proc/sys/dev/hpet/max-user-freq

...If I'm right we should document this better too.