Continuing to get the old laptop ready for travel, I plugged in a WiFi card I had lying around, and discovered that the drivers had gotten rather out of sync with the rest of the networking system.
Some years ago - somewhere in the 2000/2001 timeframe - I'd bought a couple of Orinoco-based cards, on the basis that they were known to work with the Linux of the day. Well, the driver still talks to the card, but all the nice shiny tools that I've gotten used to on the new laptop don't really work with it... for example, kwifimanager can't scan for networks, so if I want to switch networks, I need to know the ESSID independently - not good for roaming and looking for random hotspots.
So, off in search of a reasonably cheap WiFi card, of the PCMCIA (or CVSDKGB) persuasion, available locally, and Linux-friendly.
I end up bringing home a D-Link WNA-1330, $30 at Fry's and reputed to work out-of-the box with Ubuntu. Install madwifi-tools, plug in the card, see the Atheros driver load, and hey presto! the GUI tools see the card, can scan for networks, and generally act like the driver is supporting all the current protocols.
(Fry's also had some $30 Airlink "N" cards on sale for $15, but I hadn't done my homework on those and wasn't feeling adventurous. Besides, my home access point is only 802.11b, and I'm not expecting many hotspots to be beyond 802.11g just yet.)