Thank you for taking the time to look so carefully. Many of the issues you've discussed are in Sloan's ticket tracker and we will be addressing them. Probably more interesting is that many of the navigation issues are very customizable so if you don't like what we decide for Sloan you can easily change them for yourself.
- MySpace Link: the one in the main top banner is in the "dotlrn-default-master" probably the first file you will change when you customize your system. Note that the "MySpace" at the top and bottom is not permanent its only there if you are in user scope it changes when you enter a group scoped area. The user can also change the page names on the top/bottom to from the portal config page, though I doubt many of them do.
-Calendar/MyCalendar: Also easily changed and customizable on a user-by-user and a group-by-group basis.
-Minimize/Hide buttons: We will probably take these entirely out of the portal style template for our initial launch. Its a cool feature but maybe too confusing for our users at this time. Sloan will probably also not allow users to change their portal themes. Again its easy to make these decisions on a site by site basis based on the needs and sophistication of your users.
-Control-Panel vs Preferences: Call it whatever you like that is also controlled from "dotlrn-default-master" and totally customizable.
Other issues you point out that I totally agree need work and our on our ticket list for Sloan:
-The general UI of the portal config page
Sloan doesn't use the departments feature very much so its not high on our list but I do agree with your comments.