The 320GB external NTFS drive is faring poorly, but it's the Linux driver's fault. There's a bug. As an attempted fix, I enabled the backport repository and updated the driver (from 6 months old to four months old). Minor improvement only. Since the next update of Ubuntu is due in three weeks, I'll wait to see it it's fixed then.
Update: I never did try it again. Eventually, in 2011, I took the drive out of the casing and used it in my gateway/router/server.