So.. a little background before I get into this whole ordeal. I have an AlBook 1.5Ghz, circa August 2004. Running OSX 10.3.9. About a month ago, I started noticing funny noises coming from my stock 80gig hard drive; these noises would only occur when picking up or shifting the computer, and sounded similar to the dull hum of a lightsaber (while this is a bit of a nerdy reference, a lightsaber hum is actually the most accurate sound I can think of that describes the noise my hard drive would make, and particularly since it occurred during movement, it seemed appropos of the analogy.) Now, this should have raised huge red flags, and if I was a more diligent user, I would have backed up my entire disk right there and then.. but I didn't. Instead, I ignored the issue, since it didn't seem to affect the performance of the laptop. I almost thought it was funny. I would pick my Powerbook up, and it would make noises at me - "methinks the laptop doth protest too much." Well, this morning, it all went to hell. I found the computer beachballing in the Finder, couldn't get it to respond, and forced a restart. I tried restarting it several times, but the screen would just hang on the grey apple. I tried rebooting from my OSX cd, using safe mode, etc. Nothing worked. Finally, I booted in verbose mode, and found the culprit. Lines and lines and lines of the following: IOATAController blocking bus. IOATAController blocking bus. IOATAController blocking bus. etc. My hard drive was in bad shape, and after an hour of futily trying to get the thing to boot, I got nowhere. So this is it, I thought. It's totally died on me. Finally, out of anger and frustration, I lifted the thing off of my desk and gave it an angry shake, when to my surprise, verbose mode burped out the following lines: Jettisoning kernel linker. Resetting IOCatalogue. It paused for a moment, then spit out a few more "IOATAController blocking bus." After fiddling around with it, I realized that I could get it to boot normally if I held the Powerbook at around a 30 degree angle. Alright - no harm, no foul. I successfully got into my desktop, but if I tried to lay the thing level, it would beachball. I knew I needed to back up as much as I could while the drive was still responsive, but I didn't have any other computers available, nor any external hard drives. Enter the savior: my 20 gig 3rd gen iPod. Here's where things get harrowing. I hooked up the iPod, set it to firewire disk mode, and started copying as many essential and irreplaceable files as fast as I could - virtually my entire documents folder, chat logs, etc. All of this worked, but with a caveat - the files would only transfer as long as I held the Powerbook aloft, and constantly shifted the tilt and angle at which I held it. So far, so good, until I got to my iPhoto library.. the data stream slowed down considerably. As soon as it seemed like I had found a comfortable position to hold the damn thing, it would beachball, as if God wanted me to be as uncomfortable as possible during the whole ordeal. And it kept getting slower, and slower.. Data was now literally trickling in. I lay on my back, on the floor, with my Powerbook swinging in the air, for almost TWO HOURS. This is not an exaggeration. It took from about 3pm to 5pm for my entire iPhoto library to transfer over to my iPod, and I was supine the entire time. When the transfer finished, I breathed a sigh of relief. I realized there were a few more essential items, and tried to squeeze them in when my Powerbook started squealing. It sounded like there were little dust mites inside the hard drive with chainsaws, tearing it apart. Data transfer stopped entirely. My laptop went silent. I shifted it around a few times, trying to jostle it back into working order (as had worked earlier), when all of a sudden, it made the most startling noise I've ever heard a computer make. It sounded, literally, like the final death throes of some terminally ill mallard. One loud HONK, then nothing for a moment. Then another HONK. HONK. HONK HONK HONK! It was really something else. After a few minutes of HONKing and pausing, it let out one last impressively loud HOOOOOOOOONK.. as if millions of bad sectors cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. My computer now longer makes any noise or does much of anything. I ordered a replacement hard drive from OWC and I'm hoping the problem was contained to the hard drive. So, the moral of the story is.. when your laptop starts honking at you, back up your data. Of course, anyone who isn't a moron would have realized that in the first place.