Today I took the afternoon off and went north of my home about a half hour to a little mountain town which has some interesting scenes. There I tried out your settings on a " cardfull" of NEF's. I downloaded them into Nikon View 5.1 and edited them in PS Elements. I am still working on most of the pictures, but the first thing I noticed is the " sharpness problem" is not really there. So, I believe the softness we see in the jpegs( more on the normal setting than the fine)is a function of the very aggressive ant-aliasing filter we discussed. I did have the low contrast setting on but that is easily handled in Elements and does give one some latitude although I suppose higher contrast could also easily be toned down in the editor. I may be wrong on that, though. It is easier to increase than to decrease I think.
The more I shoot and get comfortable with the D100 the more I like it. It is very seductive to be able to see the results right away, isn't it? And, although I am familiar with that from using my Coolpix, I think it is implemented better on the D100.
One more comment: if I keep shooting mainly in RAW mode, I am going to have to get more storage, probably the IBM microdrive, before I take my annual trip to the Southwest (New Mexico this year) later this month. I will probably want to max out the camera's capabilities when shooting out there.