OK, I have a new widget area sort of
working, in a sandbox part of an old site: http://www.skilovers.com/wp/
I wanted to have a banner ad above the content, and an ad group in the right sidebar, and I wanted to make sure the Featured Content Gallery in the center wouldn't conflict with the Sponsors Slideshow widget, which is running both ad areas.
So far, so good. However, I was not able to get the top ad area to work correctly. I used the simplest of the new widget area codes given in the new widget instructions, and it of course created 3 instances. I populated only the 2nd one, which leaves the 2 side ones empty.
On my "real" site, I will want this all to work more smoothly.