I have an old Dell D820 Latitude laptop without a working wireless card and on a whim (and admittedly with the recommendation of an on-commission Best Buy employee) I bought a Buffalo N-Technology's Wireless-N Ultra Compact USB 2.0 Adapter (product WLI-UC-GNM). http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833162037&Tpk=WLI-UC-GNM I'm using Ubuntu 11.04 and hoping I can get the wireless adapter to play nice with Ubuntu. I plugged it in and can't get any indication that the OS even recognizes the device.
Hey sorry for the late reply still getting use to the site mechanics. But regarding your problem I see why my solution didn't work for you as I don't think our network cards are the same.
Do you absolutely want to use ubuntu? I have nothing against it just asking.