I find it a bit odd that you can't change the pitch continuously in the UI but you can (though not logarithmically :-) ) in the automation. I'm not quite sure if this is a bug or a feature...
I use Aalto on an Imac i7 (Mac OS X 10.6.4) with Ableton Live 8.2.1
It's a feature, or the lack of one... My plan is to add a coarse / fine knob adjustment to the pitch knob, and the ratio knob as well. I guess you found a workaround by using automation in the meantime.
That's definitely possible - it might go away though!
coarse / fine knobs implemented for the next release BTW.