Please don’t mistake me for a Mac fanboy. I agree on all counts. I’m also not a big fan of removing my fingers from the keyboard. The day I realized I could use Ctrl-F2 to activate the menus brought me great joy (once activated, you can nav the menus with direct-jump-by-alpha, or by arrow keys).
What’s really vexing is the crashing problem you mention. I’m sure you’re well aware of the causes of kernel panics. I’ve found the handful of MacBooks I deployed to be fairly KP free.
One exception turned out to be some bad RAM. If you have the time to run memtest overnight to rule that out, it would be a good start. Run it in single user mode to make sure you have access to as much RAM as possible.
I’ve also noticed an increase in KPs overall in departments that have been shifted to Leopard. I traced most of these issues to an outdated kextcache. This isn’t necessarily Leopard’s fault, more our upgrade process. Trashing the contents of /System/Library/Cache/ and /Library/Cache/ could help (followed by a reboot, of course).
My guess would be that you’ve already tried these steps, but it doesn’t hurt to check. It’s a good thing this is your own site; I’m way off topic!