Looks good Keith, I turned off the dock but now that it autohides I like it a lot better.
Lack of extensions were holding me back but the void is being quickly filled & now that Ubuntu has gnome shell from it's repos it will get adopted fairly quickly & bring with it a ton of users that will add their java scrip talents to the mix. Things should progress rapidly from now on.
I like brainstorming with you guys too.
Looks like you found the magic directory.
Another trick that I found (courtesy of Mr. Finnbar Murphy) makes managing the shell easier is editing your /usr/share/gnome-tweak-tool/shell.ui, line 8
from False to True, the same trick works with some other apps too that hide buttons (gnome-control-center for example).