Right, we have no indication at all that interaction with conscious beings (e.g. us) does something different than interaction with any other large object in which some record is left of the results. Of course, the only events we are aware of are those of which we are aware, but we can leave that worry for the philosophers. At any rate, the structure of quantum mechanics, in particular its violation of the Bell Inequalities, would run into big trouble if the random outcomes of quantum events were influenced by any local variable, including human will.
So you're right on all your key points. Nevertheless, there is a relation between the "observer effect" and the uncertainty principle. Mathematics requires that any wave, including purely classical ones, have a "spread" relation: ΔkΔx >= 1/2. That says that the spread (Δ) in the wavevector (k, sort of the inverse of the wavelength) times the spread in position (x) is greater than or equal to 1/2. The classical wave simply must have spreads in both these attributes, just as you can easily picture for water waves. We don't call this "uncertainty" or make a philosophical fuss about it because, as you can see by eye, the spreads in position and wavevector are real, persistent things.
What's weird about quantum waves, though, is that when they're "observed" or "measured" we don't see the full spread that was there in the wave. If you set up apparatus to measure x, you see an output that has a very narrow range of x, even if the input is a big spread of x. Likewise if you measure k, the output has a narrow range of k. It's as if the wavefunction "collapsed" in a way guided by the type of measurement made. As to which particular little range of, say, x it collapses to, there's just a probability rule. The detailed result is purely random, not guided by any prior content of the universe. That's what converts the quantum spread into quantum uncertainty.
So people have good reason to link these effects and to be very puzzled by the whole business. As is common in cases of confusion, some people use the occasion to claim to be the center of the universe and to have magical powers. Other people buy it.
Mike W., Shalin, Samson
(published on 12/13/2012)