Lost Circuits examines IDE ribbons
Lost Circuits has put together an interesting "not so" FAQ on the electrical properties of IDE ribbons and how users can protect themselves from some potential problems. It's a pretty technical read, but there's some sound advice within that could improve a drive subsystem's stability, including the suggestion that ribbons shouldn't be routed parallel to conducting ground surfaces.
Of course, many of us are hoping to soon replace IDE ribbons with thin, sexy Serial ATA cables, but it looks like we'll be waiting a while before all of a PC's internal drives support Serial ATA. Can't wait for Serial ATA and loathe IDE ribbons? One of Lost Circuits' more interesting suggestions is to use a Firewire-IDE bridge for non-boot drives, which I have to admit is tempting for at least some of my optical drives and mass storage.