Great post, Whisper. It isn't the easiest laminate to work with. For the tapping in part, I would be tempted to hook in a small throw away piece and tap that instead to avoid damaging the piece you just installed.
I have had people tell me they put in row 1. Then put together row 2 and hooked row one to row 2. I don't know how much stock to put in this, you would have to be precise and woud need a small army on long rooms.
AC3 is just a wear rating. I don't really place much faith in warranties. They won't warranty against scratches.
A friend put in the weathered amber oak and it showed no scratches, despite the customers making our sample look like a cats scratching post, which is probably where my fears of this product originate.