Well, we managed to get the backup drive working again by a complete power-down-cycle on it. Apparently, the last successful backup was in March. Good to know! >.<
Anyway, I manually activated a backup and it's back on the automated schedule now (I hope), so I'll be checking on that from time to time.
Not wanting to spend $600 on a pair of Cobalt Fusion DDR pads if I could avoid it, I went over to EBGames and spent $200 on a Playstation 2, a memory card, a Pirates of the Caribbean secondary controller (so laurie_robey and I can play co-op games like Champions of Norrath), and a copy of DDR Extreme 2. Into that we plugged our Red Octane soft pads and discovered that they work perfectly.
In other words, it's not the pad that's not working, it's the connection between the pad and the X-Box.
This presents a problem because, well, all the good music is on DDR Ultramix 2 and DDR Ultramix 3, which are only on the X-Box! GRRR. So tomorrow, I'm going to pick up a pair of "Playstation to X-Box" converters and try plugging the pads' Playstation jacks into those, and those into the X-Box. Oy! If that doesn't work, well ... we'll play the PS2 DDR and be thankful for what we've got. The game is a lot more fun when all the arrows work, in any case.
So anyway, the good news is that the backup is working, and we got in a fun 45-minute DDR workout getting mostly A's on songs we'd never played before. So we had a good evening. No drawing or cleaning up done, alas, but you can't have everything.