No network/wireless applet after update to 11.0

I consider myself quite an experienced linux user. Today I finally got around to update my slightly dated opensuse 10.2 installation to 11.0. Now I have a problem that really puzzles me.

After launching the updated system, the first thing I did was to update 11.0 in order to get the newest updates for 11.0. The yast online-update ended in an infinite loop trying to update zypper. Well, this piece of software never worked for me so I decided to make a manual update by downloading all update packages via ftp and writing a tiny script that checks whether an older version of a specific package was already installed in case of which it would be updated. No problem.

There is one strange thing, though:

there simply is no wireless/network applet anymore (I run Gnome). I have checked the NetworkManager packages and everything important seems to be installed. After booting into 11.0 the “nm-applet” crashed. After another reboot it was there and I could select my WLAN. However, for unknown reasons the wireless applet was packed together with two other applets (battery and screen resolution) into one, well, container. I could only move the three of them together within the panel and they all disappeared when I decided to remove the battery applet. I wanted to remove the battery applet because I thought it was a good idea to just add all the applets in the strange container to the panel and remove the “stale instance” in the container.

The problem now is that there is no entry for the wireless applet in the list when trying to add something to the panel. My laptop still connects to my WLAN automatically but there is no way to check the connection status nor to see the available networks. Anyone got any idea what went wrong and what I could try to get the applet back where it belongs?