The thing that burns me the most is that the mixer is gone. alsa/hda-intel is still missing the piece that turns of the speakers when headphones are plugged in, so I need to do it manually. Now I can't (unless I use the curses alsamixer), not only that, I can do things like adjust input levels independently, turn on/off mic amp, etc, etc, etc.

I seriously don't care about independently adjusting volume for applications much less different alert sounds. The only thing to me that is nice about pulse is that I can easily move music or video streams to a network or bluetooth sink.

And yes, the change of the volume control from up/down to left/right seems incredibly stupid, especially since many cultures read from right to left instead of left to right.

The volume control properties applet itself looks like a UI hell as well.