DVD playback...---- when using mplayer it kills xorg...
Run mplayer from the command line and post any error messages that you get.
and xine only plays Some videos... not others
Depending on the type of video you might need to install extra codecs. But it is more likely that you simply have not set up xine properly (right clikc, Settings, Setup or http://www.xinehq.de/index.php/faq
SD card working ---- any suggestions....
Do you mean not working? If so, do you not get an icon on the desktop when you put an SD card in the slot?
and power management... ---- suggestions?
You have not told us yet the make and model of the laptop. What I would do is find out that info and then visit this site:http://www.linux-laptop.net/
THere you might well find a lot of great info on how to get all the hardware of your laptop working.
External HD ----- when i plugged it in it didnt regester it... is there a hack for that...
Unplug the external HD. Open up a terminal and type "tail -f /var/log/messages". Plug in the HD. Watch for the info on where in /dev the system mounts the hard drive. Tell us about it and we will show you how to mount it.
OpenGL-------------- only works for root and not other users???
Did you correctly load the ATI drivers yet? It should work for all users. You can tell if is has or not by running "glxinfo | grep rendering". The output should say "Yes".