Now, this can be a big pain if your internet connection is provided by a T1.
Once the ISO is downloaded you would now have to find a computer with a CD/DVD burner and fish around for some blank CD/DVD’s.
Lenovo/IBM provides firmware upgrades in a variety of packages: The Linux diskette is just the Diskette package that runs on Linux instead of Windows/DOS. This worked on the R31, X22, T21, T30 and T41p with various firmware updates.
Also, it is not possible to install some wireless cards, because only certain models are whitelisted by IBM/Lenovo. See the wikipage Middleton's BIOS for installation instructions, downloads, and more description. Besides, many people don't even have a floppy drive on their Think Pad.
Note: If your BIOS-Update tool says that no update is needed, then simply downgrade the Bios first: On Lenovo's drivers download page, the old Bios files are listed at the very bottom of the page. If you really want to do it with a floppy, some tips: BIOS, ECP, CD/DVD and Harddisk firmware disks can be booted over the network with PXELINX as part of the SYSLINUX package.
A list of links to firmware downloads can be found at BIOS Upgrade Downloads for most Thinkpad models. This requires that you have a DHCP and tftp server configured and setup properly on your network, and is probably not for the faint of heart.
You can also check the Lenovo Support website's driver matrix. Make sure the firmware bootdisk is in linux 'dd' format, as the self-extracting disks from the IBM website cannot be booted directly as such.
Most importantly, using the Smart Update manager for Firmware means that you will always be introduced to the latest updates no matter when you go to update your firmware. You can click on the update to get more information on the fixes.