Fellow manual owner here. Must say I've noticed both, going from 1st to 2nd in the morning is not a good idea, but only for the first shift. So I'm making a habit of going 1st to 3rd for that first shift, and after that it's all good. Have the whistling noise as well, but I read that that is common with this box.
Did a few track days with it, and it is a very nice experience. I must say, I like the box when you're really on it, and I like the feel of the shifts when everything is nice, really adds to the experience.
Of course, every now and again I screw up when the box is insufficiently warm and I'm trying to go 1=> 2 (and not shifting perhaps as securely as I should) and then I grit my teeth. But that's a small price to pay for the pleasure of rowing your own gears.
That being said, I would probably have been just as happy with the auto, I do think. It's giving up a little enjoyment/awareness that you get with the manual vs. the comfort, noise and performance you get with the auto.
I have a Veloce, with the auto, 8 shifts.
What I don't like is the number of shifts.
When you're accelerating strong, it's shifting up so fast (and smooth) that you don't get much adrenalin.
Next step is an electric car with no shifts : a nightmare for me.
Off course all this is done for smoothness and consumption.
And on a calm ride, it's very fine.
Maybe it's a different feeling in the QV ?
Happily, I have enough kicks in my 4C when shifting