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It looks like in 1.5 the plugins will need to have a scripted page to receive and compare a current version against a latest version... if that's true, there is a bit of a problem for using github, I think... is the intention that we should have our own page set up somewhere to do the calculations?

I guess I was hoping the calculations could be done on the receiving end, with the plugin maintainers only needing something like an xml or json file with the latest version; wouldn't that be simpler?
Q2A version: 1.5b
Can you not host the update check on your own website?

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This will all be documented properly in due course, but there's no need for a script. In the Update Check URI, link to wherever you'll store the latest version of qa-plugin.php (for plugins) or qa-styles.css for themes, or any other page containing the plugin/theme metadata in the same format. Q2A simply compares the Theme Version or Plugin Version values between the local and remote copies to determine whether an update is required.