I observe funny effects using v2.4, worthwhile writing about.
I get inconsistent skinning results just by moving the view in the 3d window and then aligning the camera view to it. I have jpg images; if anyone would like to take a look email me. (No download page.)
In case of the hand I have (not unexpected) real difficulties skinning between thumb and hand. I followed a few very helpful tutorials and also applied weigth paint with only minor improvement. What is the real magic behind skinning a hand??