seems it was still too early upgrading to snow leopard even after the 10.6.1 update. the problems are not obvious but pretty annoying: like invisible characters in textmate*, the missing java 1.5 / 32bit jvm, disappearing icons in the dock etc.
next time i will resist even longer.
* which is due to duplicate fonts that even font book cannot resolve; had to manually remove andale mono et al. from my account’s fonts folder.