Tonight, I bought a new back-up to my back-up external. (My main working external HD seems to have died. I say "seems to" because, the light still goes on, the drive still spins, it *sounds* healthy, but it does not show up despite several attempts to wake it up. I guess I am in denial over it's demise).
I purchased a Maxtor One Touch. I actually have another one of these. I bought the other one this year also, as the original back-up to my back-up, but now it serves as the main back-up... (are you confused yet??) and I have been happy with it thus far. Coincidentally, the HD that died was also a Maxtor but a different model. I had several Lacie's before I jumped that ship, and I guess Maxtor is my new Lacie. Oh well!
Some very good news: I purchased both of my Maxtor One Touch HD's at Staples, and along with the HD, I also purchased the protection plan. I know that, at many electronics stores,it's a known fact that the protection plan is often just another way for the store to squeeze a little more cash out of you. But, in this particular case, I think it is well worth the money. I paid only ten dollars extra for the protection plan. This is what you get: It extends the manufacturers' warranty up to three years (in my case only extends it by one - but that means I have protection plan for SIX years). Here is the great part: if your hard drive fails, you can bring it back to the store and receive the same model, the comparable model, or your money back. Just like that, no phone calls, no shipping it back to the manufacturer, none of that. Walk down the street and come back with a new, working hard drive (knock on wood). I think that's a very nice layer of insurance for me for ten bucks, since I've had two hard drives die on me this year alone - my worst computer fears realized, but it's a good thing I had my back up hard drives. Whew!