I have a rather remarkable update regarding this issue I had with the white list.
I decided to try communicating with HP about this white list issue. First, I had aired my grievances on an HP sponsored forum, where one of the volunteer representatives recommended I send an e-mail to the CEO/Executive-team. They have a channel for such communication. I didn't really think it would amount to much, but I went ahead and did it anyway. The next day I got a reply back (a kind of "form response" from Meg Whitman's office), which was basically a thank-you for my message and that it would be given consideration.
About 5 days later, I got a call from HP. It was some customer service representative who took a little more information from me and then said they would forward my concerns to the Notebook division of HP. I was given a case number for follow-up. Again, I didn't think anything would happen...
But a couple days later I got a call back from the HP Notebook division, a nice and articulate person who wanted to discuss the issue in more detail. She wasn't technical, so I tried to explain the issue in layman's terms as best as I could. Eventually she seemed to get an understanding of what the problem was and assured me she would convey this to their technical team. I was given her direct contact info and a new case number.
Later that day, she called me back with a resolution. It wasn't quite what I'd wanted, which would be a BIOS update to alleviate the white list restriction. Instead, they were going to send me a replacement WiFi card, direct from HP, that should address the original problem (that being the incompatible WiFi card I had purchased). NO CHARGE. They sent it FEDEX overnight, too.
And sure enough, I ended up receiving the WiFi card. I installed it and after a little bit of frustration with finding the right driver (I eventually located a compatible one from HP's website), I got the card working and my WiFi performance improved significantly.
Additionally, the representative I dealt with was so accommodating, she also upgraded my warranty (which had already expired, mind you) for a full year including accidental damage coverage. Of course, this is really "insurance" and won't cost them a thing unless something goes wrong. Nevertheless, it demonstrated an earnest intent to satisfy a customer.
So... HP customer service was exemplary in this case. They really sought to resolve my problem and ultimately they did. I also made sure to raise the point of the white list still being an issue for me when considering my next HP laptop, and that I'd like to see some consideration made to either provide a "back door" on this for advanced users or at least a more frequent BIOS update release that includes new WiFi cards.