Media in DVD drive not recognized

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http://askubuntu.com – I have a Dell Inspiron 1501, now running Ubuntu 11.10. I have run earlier distros on this same machine before and never had a problem. The laptop has a combo CD/DVD reader/writer optical drive (TSSTcorp TSL462D), and Ubuntu will recognize the drive, but none of the media I place in it. All I get are notifications of "no media present." I've searched for a couple hours now, and have found bits and pieces of info on what I need to do, but being fairly new at this whole Ubuntu thing, I'm lost. Please, what do I need to download/install/type into command lines in order to fix this? Thanks. (HowTos)