UI2 is intended to be controlled with a gyration remote. That was its intent. Controlling it with IR is possible, but as you are finding limited at times.
UI1 was intended for IR remote control.
Now where was that little gem of information hiding when I was planning my system!!
Thanks for the tips, J. I've actually experimented quite a bit with a Wiimote but one of the main reasons I'm not using this on this MD is because if I ever get my AV switching working, there will be no LinuxMCE on-screen-display while I'm controlling my settop box so the UI2-gyro-type controls will be of no use to me because you need the visual cues (on-screen arrows and things which show if you're controlling lights or volume).
As you point out, though, a combo remote would potentially solve that problem.
I could go back to UI1 but what I really like about UI2 is the constant media backdrop. I load all our family pics onto the screensaver and it is brilliant having them cycle the whole time in the background. I like UI2.
It really can't be that difficult to sort out this page-down issue, though.... and, hopefully, the jump to letter in the playlist. Otherwise, the IR remote is actually controlling it (UI2) very well for me and it's MUCH easier for my wife and children to work with. Also great having a "button" for pause, stop, mute, etc. Those are things you typically want to do in a hurry so to just pick up the remote and press the button works really well.
I will continue digging in the meantime. I think the next step is to review the logs and maybe get stuck into the code of the mediaplugin which I gather hands a lot of these things off to the various devices etc.