After some late night last minute attempts to make Kismet work last night, I was actually graced with some a bit of minor success. Kismet loaded, and displayed some accurate capture information.
Now if only I could get my "production network tool" to play nicely. It seems to only want to connect to my home network, and disregards everything else it sees. When I search for other networks it finds them by name - but shows a very weak signal for them and won't seem to commit when I tell it to connect. It's a tad annoying, because I can pull out Audrey II (the Mac) and jump onto any one of these networks without a problem.
I am assuming the problem is:
1) The way the driver was written.
2) The utility demands a certain level before it will connect.
3) Power limitations to the card keep it running weaker, but longer on battery.
4) The card just simply is not that good.
It could be a number of those factors run together. I spent some time tonight searching for an option in the driver or with a wireless tool like iwpriv which would allow me to step up the power consumption to get a better wireless reach. I came up empty there. I guess my next step is to see if I can't find a replacement for this native wireless network manager. I hope to have these training wheels off soon. I am anxious to get back to wardriving.