well, wonker, you could try the UJ-845 drive.
you'll have to order online though. don't bother looking for a new slimline laptop cd/dvd burner in most electronics stores near your area.
I did try the tips new yorker of cleaning the port connection with the uj-811 drive. got similar problems just like wonker did. now my bro's laptop can no longer recognize the drive when I connect it. looks like I'll have to replace the uj-811 drive with either another UJ-811 drive or a newer model. anyway, I was going to replace it since it can longer read cds and dvds properly. could be the internal read mechanism (and even the lens) is failing already.