The problem is to do with the power-saving systems on Seagate's latest range of drives and the fact that it is shipped already formatted to NTFS.
The NTFS is only a slight hurdle to Linux users who have a kernel with NTFS writing enabled or can work mkfs. But the "power saving" timer is a real bugger.
It will shut shut the drive off after several minutes of inactivity and helpfully drop the USB connection. When the connection does come back it returns as USB1 which is apparently as useful as a chocolate teapot.
Nice to see that Seagate stands behind its products. As the article indicates, there are some workarounds, but Seagate tech support says "there is no way that she, or her band will support that sort of thing."