Well, the speaker problem has been around, but I've only heard of it a few times, then not again from the same person, so I assumed it was somehow fixed. I'm pretty sure the S/PDIF jack has a red laser because it sends optical signals, doesn't it?
The keyboard, could be just that keyboard, isolated case maybe?
The fans are not usually a problem, but some people have complained about it. But hey, you can't expect everything.
Unit gets hot, well, its a given
Though it shouldn't get that hot, as if it burns to a touch(or 'almost'), the Pentium M should of auto-shut down already, as it's programed to do that.
Not sure about the optical drive, but you can't really compare to a desktop OD, but the Mashita(or however you spell it heh), is known to be...pretty crappy.
Well, networking is always a bitch, sometimes it works right away, at others it doesn't, you can't really blame the laptop. Unless its just the laptop, but everything else is fine, something wrong there. Bad mac address, didn't refresh IP, could be anything.
2.5~ hours is indeed weak, for some odd reason I could get almost 270~ minutes(4 hours+) when I'm at a local cafe surfing and pretending to study
Best of luck.