[ubuntu] I lost my wireless

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http://ubuntuforums.org – Please bare with me, I am a ubuntu novice. I recently installed ubuntu server on a dell inspiron 830. I did this on a laptop only because it was available but everything went perfectly. As I was experimenting with some of the available packages, I suddenly realized that it was no longer recognizing my wireless card. Everything was working fine, when I was plugged in it used the wire, when not it switched to the wireless. Now, it appears to not even know there is a wireless card. One of the networking packages I installed must have corrupted something. I suppose I could reinstall from scratch, but that wouldn't really teach me anything. The problem is I don't know where to start in trying to track down and repair this issue. So, could I have some suggestion where to look and what to look for? Thanks very much! (Hardware)