First rule of troubleshooting. "Never assume the customer is telling you the full truth."
But yes, sounds like a combination of Apps to SD trouble, and Spare Parts, perhaps. Spare Parts does have a Brightness Mode option, that would explain the OP's brightness weirdness. The default is set to automatic, and needs to be changed to manual for this fellow.
Come on man... no need to get all confrontational in a forum where people are trying to help each other out. It's just... *sigh*, go do that at an iPhone forum or something.