I'm posting this from my wireless connection, so I hope this will help you. If it crashes before I finish posting the solution or later today I'll let you know!
I went to this page and downloaded the correct drivers package, this one worked for my laptop:
RTL8188C_8192C_USB_linux_v3.4.3_4369.20120622 (any one with Linux 3 support should work, I believe).
I think the step I was missing before was "build essential" that is talked about here.
Open terminal and do
sudo apt-get install build-essential
The rest of the instructions follow from that page or the readme; I navigated to the driver subdirectory and ran
Hope it works for you too.
Please keep in mind that, in case you update the kernel (check the list in the update manager before hitting "install updates"), you will need to repeat the procedure described above, so it may be better if you don't delete the driver.