I did a full reinstall of Debian this morning and installed the Alsa drivers for sound the same way that I always do ( as described in this article: http://kaslit.com/blog.php?id=66
It seems like the latest sources for Alsa have changed to the point that I cannot control my volume through my notebook speakers except to mute them - otherwise they are very loud.
I have volume control with headphones on and in apps with their own volume control. However the Gnome volume control applet and my keyboard volume controls do not adjust the volume.
I used the July 18th alsa-driver-188.8.131.52.gfa552.1132.g89a70.tar.bz2 snapshot from here: http://www.alsa-project.org/snapshot/files/
In the mean time, I will install the earlier version and see if that helps.