Two toys came in the mail today from Apple: A Sony car adapter, and the "USB2/Firewire Dock Connector". Both worked perfectly the first time.
The car adapter has much less hiss and noise than the Radio Hut version. Not to mention it worked out of the box. There's still some tweaking to do with getting the level balance right, and it seems to kill the low wend, but it's quite usable.
The USB2 cable is oddly designed, but works flawlessly. Linux was happy to talk USB2 High-Speed to the iPod, so transfers are as fast as firewire. No more fighting with firewire for a while...
Next step I've got to clean the id3 tags in the MP3 files up.