It feels strange posting this question here, because it barely involves Ubuntu, but I really don't understand Windows at all, and 45 minutes of searching the internet yielded a bunch of truly useless results. This is the only forum I know of where informed users are able to solve problems reliably!
My girlfriend has a rather new HP Pavilion, 64-bit Athlon, Windows Vista 6.0 SP 1. We have DSL and speakeasy.net right now shows 375 kb/s download speed. She connects wirelessly to our Linksys router with a Broadcom 802.11-based card. I have a MacBook (non-pro) which I dual-boot with Ubuntu 8.10 and OS X.
The problem is that her computer loads streaming video, e.g. from youtube, nbc.com, hulu, etc., very slowly. For short videos, maybe 2-5 minutes, typically she can let it buffer for 30 seconds or a minute and then watch without interruption. Longer videos become quite a headache. The speed difference between her computer and mine -- no matter which OS I'm using -- is very noticeable. No difference between Firefox and IE for her. Video loads quite quickly when we connect her computer to the router by ethernet cable, but that isn't convenient most of the time.
I've increased the local storage flashplayer can use to unlimited, but to no avail. I'm not very expert at computers, and as I said I REALLY don't get Windows. I'd very much like to fix this problem for her so she stops using my computer to watch tv shows!
Thank you, wise sages of Ubuntu! Please tell me that even under Vista, one can do things properly.