Yeah, my first tranny had some chatter noise, then when I got it replaced with another OEM one, I haven't really heard it since. I changed it at 126K when it blew and I am now at 168K ... still running strong through all of my hard pushing in AutoX.
I dont know about confusing 1st with Reverse. Pretty hard to do since their is a gate that you have to put some force on to get it into Reverse.
I do agree that you have to learn how the gears are made in the slots, because it does take a bit of time to get use to as any manual tranny. I also had a hard time doing quick shifts with my first go around with the focus.
But in AutoX, you really don't need to shift that fast, it's really more about timing and when to shift into 2nd.