Hi there, tuxrules
Well, I don't know what you mean by a 'hell of a job' installing Slackware on a laptop -- it's always been the same as a desktop for me.
I use ipw2200 as well, so I think I can help you out with that.
1- I've never installed a Slackware packaged kernel. To update, I've always just downloaded the latest kernel from www.kernel.org
and configured/compiled it myself. That's my advice to you. The ipw2200 README file has all the kernel options outlined that you'll need to get that card working. /sbin/lspci will tell you most everything else you'll need to know to configure the kernel. I spent some time and typed up a howto for my own laptop, but it may help you as well:
2- If you set up networking normally with 'netconfig', you can add this alias to /etc/modprobe.conf and your wireless NIC will be brought up on boot as eth0. The Slack scripts will take care of it from that point.
3- It depends on what the sound card is, honestly. Does yours use snd-intel8x0 ? If that's the case, there's a module that sometimes gets loaded for modem sounds, snd-intel8x0m. Add that to /etc/hotplug/blacklist and run alsaconf again. If you have a different sound chipset, download and install the latest driver/utilities/libraries from www.alsa-project.org.