Ive only recently began using the timed dial feature. What Id suggest you do instead, is determine your dose using the rice and/or 5 cent test. You can use the search feature to find a lot of info about both of these. And then (prefereably) weigh the correct amount of beans into the hopper for each shot. Grind through until there is nothing left, and brew. What I was doing before I started using the timed feature, was to add a few cups worth of beans to the hopper, and over time I learnt to dose by eye. Also with the help of some dosing tools (see Scottie Callaghans).
I find the timed feature to be a little irritating sometimes. Sometimes it wont actually start grinding straight away once you press the switch. But then if you press it again, it will deliver two doses... Which can be a pain.
The small clear chute is spring loaded, I find that flicking this up and down a few times removes most of the retained grinds. Which is enough for me. :) When I want to do a proper clean, its a vaccuum and a toothbrush. :)
Hope this helps...