First and foremost, thank you for an excellent article. This is why I pay for LWN and it's payed off again.
I would think that with more and more systems using WinXP/Vista/7, many of these drives would start optimizing for NTFS instead of FAT, especially the higher-end SSDs. I don't know anything about NTFS, but presumably it doesn't have the same access pattens as FAT. I believe it has a log like ext3, right? Is this happening, or is that what the "data logging" drives are doing? Anyway to tell other than by testing which algorithms a drive uses?
Are there utils available for testing the layouts of drives and trying to optimize them for your usage pattern. Even something like whatever scripts were created to create the plots from this article would be useful I think. At a minimum, they can help you identify drives that are not optimized in a useful way.
Finally, other than optimizing partitioning and layout, are there benefit to using a filesystem such as logfs, jffs2, etc? (hmmm... can one even use them with a block device?)