i'm banging my head for number of days around this problem. using Halevt for automounting, everything mostly works, but the only thing is that Halevt mounts external USB storage devices as root. So, as user i cannot write to files on them. Halevt gets run as halevt user on boot through /etc/init.d script.
This is Ubuntu Lucid with Awesome WM. No GDM. Running halevt as user seem to not work (halevt runs but doesn't respond on Insert)
I know HAL is deprecated and removed and i should probably write my own UDEV rules, but until then it seems there must a be simple hack that enables mounting VFAT/NTFS devices with specific uid/gid.
this question/answer helps a lot, but not specifically to the above.