is ndiswrapper too much to expect of anyone to use, even the easy as hell to use gui for wireless because it isn't installed by default?
ndiswrapper probably isn't necessary. The software was most likely VZ Access Manager, which is just a modem dialer. Ubuntu recognizes the modem, so you only need to tell it what number to dial: #777. I'm a total linux noob and managed to get WWAN setup on Ubuntu.