Plug for IBM: they listened to me wibble for a few minutes and a replacement drive with a return box is already on its way. Can't beat ThinkPad fro service.
Fortunately, I dual-boot Microsoft WinXP Pro and Red Hat Linux 7.2 on Númerrámar, so it was just a matter of mounting the FAT32 drive where I keep all of my critical files (and my MP3 and AVI collection). Whee, I'm saved... my data, nazwaz.
James Plummer (one of my student sysadmins, who helped me relocate the data partition): It is my opinion that every hard drive has its predetermined time until failure.
me: That sounds faintly Calvinist.
James Plummer: It is, at that.
Coda: Should I feel embarrassed that my first thought was for my TEUNC struff, or proud that it was because I had safely backed up my work files already?