I am constantly having both of these issues with my machine. I used the iphone app to level the game side to side with a 6.5 degree pitch. I then bought a digital level just to make sure. I have tried all of the tricks that I have read others posting about, but continue to have both issues. I agree with Snaroff that both #1 and #2 are problems not just annoying. I have played other DI's and watched videos of other DI's where the ball instantly drops at the outlet. Hopefully there is a resolution.
Yes, I would like a better solution than the plastic guard.