I saw this lament in my referrer logs, of all places. Perhaps someone read it, then wondered if I had an answer?
The exact solution the author sought, a USB-IDE converter so he could attach a thumb drive as an IDE device, doesn’t exist as far as I know. But I can think of two things that are almost as good.
I occasionally get a question about an SSD, usually when one goes on sale somewhere. Inevitably, I’ll get an e-mail message with a URL and the words “any good?” with it. Often I’ll know off the top of my head, but depending on whose name is on the drive, I may not.
But here’s a cheatsheet with all the major drives on the market, and who makes the controller in them. http://www.pcper.com/ssd