I finally took the plunge and upgraded Ubuntu on my computer to the latest version. However, I'd put it off so long that I had to upgrade through two versions: first to Intrepid Ibex, and then to Jaunty Jackalope. When I upgraded to Ibex, my video card, my sound card, and my wireless card no longer worked. The video card was a quick fix, but without my wireless card I was stuck.
Luckily, my friend Andrea let me borrow her laptop, which has both a wired and a wireless card. The first thing I did was install Squid on Andrea's computer. Squid is a piece of software that acts as an internet proxy (simply, it accepts connections from computers on the local network and downloads the webpages they request). Now follow this: I had Andrea's computer access the internet using her wireless card, and I connected both of our computers together using our wired ethernet cards.
Nothing but internet
Now with internet access, I downloaded and installed the Ubuntu package "linux-restricted-modules" which gave me the drivers I needed to use my wireless card. Sweet.