Solution Found. (and it's a clean one, too!)
Okay, so here is what I did last night: Upon opening the docking station, realized that the D/Bay connector is hard soldered onto a printed circuit card (of course), so no way to "break in" to the data transfer path there. So, what I did was to cut the cable of the external DVD drive in half - that left me wires long enough to separate, strip back, 'ring-out' (to correlate wire color to pinout), shrink-sleeve, and solder to. Then, onto the cable end still attached to the DVD drive, I soldered the cable I just cut off back on, but only connecting the wires relating to pins 5/6/7/8/9 (the "power-side" of the D/Bay connector). Then I took a 6' USB cable, cut one end off, checked pinout/wire assignments, and soldered the appropriate wires to the remaining four wires on the DVD-drive cable which originally were for the "USB-side" of the D/Bay connector (pins 1/2/3/4). Here is the pinout diagram again, bottom of this page: http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/latd400/smen/pinouts.htm
After insulating all connections and taping it up, I now had a two-connector cable on the DVD-drive. I plugged the D/Bay connector into the docking station for power and the USB connector into the ASUS Netbook computer for data transfer. Clean Solution. Fortunately, I bought a Netbook that runs Windows XP, so finding drivers for the DVD-drive wasn't a problem (it's only 3 years old). Just so you know, I did this so that I can install software from CD's that I already have, like MS Office 2003PE and such... it's clunky because of the need for the docking station for power, but it gets the job done for the few times that I will need an optical drive on my new Netbook! Take care, all... and Sergio - if you really are my old Prof, shoot me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can 'catch-up' on the past 24 years!
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