The wireless bridge seems like the most likely solution since the laptop is old. Come to think of it I don't think it has USB 2.0 so that won't work.
The reason that I want something other than a pc card, is because I have a pc card and it stopped working. It's a linksys and it worked with ndiswrapper but i wiped the hard drive and on the reinstall with the ndiswrapper setup it doesn't work. The reason I got the card is because the onboard wireless doesn't work either. That stopped working awhile ago.
When the onboard broke, that would have merited me coming to ask on a forum like this, but I thought it was hardware troubles. What happened was that I turned on the computer one day, and when the wireless tried to connect to the network. It just froze the whole machine. The laptop was dual boot then and on the windows partition, when I tried it, it would invoke a blue screen of death. I just assumed that it was a hardware issue and I couldn't afford to get it repaired.
I got the pc card and that worked fine. Now however, when I try to connect with the card, it exhibits the same behaviour in linux. I've since gotten rid of the windows so i don't know if it would still behave that way in windows. For that reason i think it must be a similar hardware thing.
So, aside from the propsect that my laptop is falling apart, i figure i'll try another way of getting wifi on it. ethernet and usb and pretty much the rest of the machine works fine.