I don't have the lingo down yet.) I know I can drag the top of the article pane down to the point I can't see it - good - but it doesn't seem to stay there next time I open Awasu - bad. Any way to eliminate that pane and access it by F7?
There is an auto-hide feature for the item list that should do what you want. From the "tools" menu, select "options." Click the "display" button. In the bottom-right portion of the dialog box you will see an "auto-hide feed items" check box. If you check that, the feed items will be hidden by default and will be closed after you click on an item.
There are other options on that screen related to the item list as well. You can position it to the side of the screen instead of the bottom, and you can control how much of the screen the item list is allowed to take up by default.
I'll leave the other questions for Taka. I was just trying to be helpful.