Is this feasible?
I have a Thinkpad T40. I'd like to get one of the tiny USB drives (like the Verbatim Store 'n' Stay series) of sufficient size to handle basic Linux OS booting (8GB?), then put 16Gb or greater memory card (SD or CF) in the PCMCIA slot with appropriate adapter for additional application programs and data storage.
I know I could get a used or refurb HD, but I've had reliability issues in the past. I don't believe that new IDE drives are available.