I'm not exactly sure what the proper names for all the bits of the task bar are, but when everything is working properly down at the bottom right hand end of the screen I have (from right to left) the off button, the digital clock, the volume indicator, the wireless interface indicator and the master mixer control.
However, the last three (emboldened above) do not always come up on boot-up and sometimes disappear during operation. Most frequently I lose the volume control and sound to the speakers. Rebooting usually brings them back, but sometimes I have to reboot a couple of times. It's only these three icons that cause trouble and it's not to serious, but why are they unstable? I cannot identify any particular action that causes the disappearances - I just notice that they are missing.