Not to be hypercritical, but a real tech would have cracked that case open, pulled the USB to PATA (or SATA) interface board out, and hooked the raw drive to another interface board. Chances are that if the USB port was bad, replacing it with any of a number of cheap imported ones would have saved the day.
Having said that, I use 2 USB drives so that I have a one backup at home and a second one in the safety deposit box in the bank. I sync and rotate them monthly (well, most of the time).
I'd love to have a pair of Drobos, with one offsite.
That's the type of stuff meant for specially cleaned rooms and also why Hard Drive data recovery is so expensive. Admittedly, I'm too scared to crack it open myself for fear of dust getting in.
I still have the hard drive; and if you are indeed this confident and in NYC I'd be forever grateful if you did it for me and were able to recover what I call the, "Lost Years" of my work.
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