"SpinRite" is a nice product. You make a DOS boot disk and it can do all kinds of good low level hard drive maintenance & recovery stuff. I tried the free "Ultimate Boot CD" thing but I couldn't get it to work in any sort of decent way.
So, I need to buy a new external case to put my disk in. You can get them for $20 now (WOW), but I'd like to pay a bit more to make me feel more confident that the case won't crap out on me. It's hard to find one that's well rated and known to be solid. I think I'm going to go with the "Acomdata 509", which is generally high rated. I might go with the "Vantec Nexstar 3", though there's some indication that the Vantec doesn't take heat away from the drive very well. Of course spending a bit more for quality was the idea with the Lacie as well which didn't work. Lacie is the Mercedes of computer parts, it would seem. Vantec is the only one of the cheapo enclosures that is widely reviewed because they're the only ones who give out free hardware to reviewers, which of course totally skews the review portfolio.
All these cases use my old idea of making the case the heat sink. Dave Moore and I used to talk about how to make silent self-cooling computers. I had one idea to make a combine computer + meditation fountain thingy (for water cooling of course). The best idea was just to make the whole case of the computer out of copper or aluminum and have direct thermal contact between the hot things (CPU, etc.) and the case, so the whole case becomes a huge thermal disipator. In addition to being effective and silent, the case would look super cool. For extreme applications you can make the case like soft coral (corals "fans").
Conclusion : BOYCOTT LACIE , buy SpinRite.
Addendum : Lacie finally got back to me and they say the symptoms sound like power supply failure. I can buy a new power supply through them, but I think I'm just going to door-stop that thing.