No problem at all with the questions.. I was in the same boat when I was looking for a stand.
I opted for the cinnamon on maple (the color is actually VERY close to the polk rti speakers), with the smoked glass (I'm very happy I chose this, as the components don't stand out behind the glass). To be honest, it's hard for me to comment on the quality of the hinges/slides, as my carpentry knowledge is not all that. Based on how they "feel" though, I'd say they are very solid/good work. They don't feel cheap by any means, and are very sturdy/stable.
Regarding the picture with the fan, the wood pieces are one "section" of the wood backing. For example, the backing of the stand is composed of 3 vertical "sections" per say. One on each side where the shelves are, and one section where the middle drawers are. The fan and wood piece in the picture are the wood pieces from one "section," specifically, the one behind the glass shelving section. The "section" is composed of the two pieces shown in the picture; a smaller wood piece that goes on the top and has the fan mounted to it, and the bigger wood piece that goes below it. I just wanted to show that they're nicely finished and easily removable.
Yes, the glass shelves are both "vented" with a hole in the middle. It's nice to report that the fans are dead silent (I can't hear them at all). Also, they do a good job keeping the components at a happy temperature. If you can see in the picture, I have a ps3 and receiver in the right shelves. With the fans on in the rear (they're temp controlled, so they kick on and off automatically), the ps3 fan speed never gets very high (I have a 40gb version). There's a front vent in the front of each side of the stand, which is where the "intake" is for each side of the cabinet (of course the exhaust is the fan in the rear). Very nice design.
Setup is very easy. There is actually an abundance of space/holes to run wires/cables within the stand (this was something I was concerned about as pictures were hard to tell). Also, there are wheels in the "centerish" of the unit (they're not in the posts but next to them), which makes it relatively easy to "pull out" from time to time if I need to adjust some cables. The wheels share the load of the stand, but you can't visibly see them unless you get on the floor. Again, it's a very nice touch.
All in all, I'm very happy with the stand. I certainly hope/expect it to last a lifetime as well, or I'll be very disappointed. With proper care, I don't see why it wouldn't (hell, a lot of cheap furniture can last a long time if well cared for). The reason I opted for the stand was because it had everything I wanted (I couldn't find anything else with this nice low profile (tv sits at perfect eye level), yet had a big space for a center channel, was wide enough, had enough space for components/etc.). There's no doubt it's a little pricey (which is what had me hesitate at first), but I plan on keeping it forever. Best of luck with your decision.