In an earlier comment, I described my similar frustrations with Vista and a ThinkPad. Since that comment I've tinkered and tinkered, and found uninstalling Google Browser Sync pretty much solves my system stability 100 fold. I miss browser sync, but if the only other option is moving to a Mac without Outlook 2007, I'd rather go browser sync-less.
IMO the Meebo widget is much better. It lets you're readers know when you are there, and when you are offline. As far as interruptions go you can easily set your status to busy, do not disturb, etc. If you are unavailable or busy, your readers can use the Meebo widget to leave you a quick message.
I would also recommend the Firefox Meebo plugin.