On one of my recent European jaunts I drove a couple of Astons that had flappy paddle gearboxes (a V8 Vantage and a V12 Virage) the bloody things were awful in the extreme, no matter what I tried from driving flat out to the red line to gently feathering the throttle prior to changing gear there was absolutely no subtlety or anything resembling a mildly smooth gear change, the selection of each gear was literally bang with the whole car shuddering. The only hope I could ever have of replicating such an uncouth gear change would be to force the gear lever into gear without using the clutch and making absolutely no attempt to match engine revs with the gear being selected.
Re handbrakes at traffic lights etc if stopped for more than a moment I always taught my students to apply the handbrake to prevent roll back not to mention the benefits relating to a vehicle colliding with yours.
For the most ridiculous electric handbrake my award goes to the present Volvo V70, its electric but the switch is located on the underside of the dash on the offside requiring the driver to reach an absurd distance to apply or release it, I could understand the need for such a location when bowden cables were necessary but an electric switch?
There are many opinions on the popularity of electric handbrakes and from what I've discovered just as many variations on how they operate, some are down right obstructive whilst others are intuitive. Opinions apart one very useful feature of electric handbrakes is that they make an excellent emergency brake (especially if you are instructing) as from what I've discovered so far they apply maximum braking whilst employing ESP, try doing that with a traditional handbrake and you'll either lose control as the rear wheels lock up and/or take an age to stop.