UPDATE: Having continued to research this, here's what I've found. According to what I've read in this thread and other places, even though the Expresscard itself has the TI chipset, if the controller for the Expresscard slot uses the Ricoh chipset (as my Dell Inspiron 1501 does), it causes problems. There are arguments about this, though... does anyone know whether this is the case?
My only hope at this point rests on two possibilities:
1) Disabling the Ricoh firewire controller. How would I do this in Ubuntu?
2) Replacing my Expresscard. I have an ASTPro IEEE 1394a I bought for $30. Can't find much information on it. People seem to have more success with the SIIG 800, but I'm reluctant to drop $80 on something that's not guaranteed to work.
As a next step, can someone help me by explaining how to go about disabling the Ricoh firewire chipset, which I'm assuming is one of the below:
08:01.0 SD Host controller: Ricoh Co Ltd R5C822 SD/SDIO/MMC/MS/MSPro Host Adapter (rev 19)
08:01.1 System peripheral: Ricoh Co Ltd R5C843 MMC Host Controller (rev 01)