thanks for all the help.
After Pajoe thought the driver may not have been installed properly I decided to reinstall Ubuntu and reinstall the drivers all over from scratch.
I followed this setup and one differece is that I used the marvel driver instead of the netgear, don't know if this made a difference but...
this seems to have worked and the device is now loaded and it comes up under the network applet.
lo no wireless extensions.
eth0 no wireless extensions.
wlan0 IEEE 802.11b ESSIDff/any
Mode:Managed Channel:0 Access Point: Not-Associated
Bit Rate:1 Mb/s Sensitivity=-200 dBm
RTS thr=2346 B Fragment thr=2346 B
Link Quality:0 Signal level:0 Noise level:0
Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0
Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0
So thanks for all your help. i just have to connect it up to the network now as dhcp doesn't work.
I know that it is a wired network with a wireless router but can't remember if it is static or not.
Thanks for the help.