Just for info I got the system to recognize the firewire ports again. This time I downloaded the X.2.1 updater from Apple rather than the Software Updater config. ran it..shut down the machine for several minutes, unplugged the cdrw, then restarted, plugged it back in and something did the trick, cause it works just fine. Thanks to those who looked at my post! Just thought I should follow up in case someone else has the same problem and is ready to toss in the towel.