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"Dash" on Ubuntu does refer to the Ubuntu logo which is usually in the extreme upper left of the Desktop and when clicked, should open a transparent window with a Search box at the top. It should show different software options like recently used and at the bottom there are several icons which you can click to change what you see. I don't use Ubuntu much so can't tell you specifically what they do.
One of the buttons you are referring to should be in the shape of a gear and when you mouse over it, it should say 'System Settings'. Is that how you are making the changes you mention? Have you installed Ubuntu to your hard drive? If so and this is the result, you seem to have some serious problems. The behavior you refer to of not having settings changes saved would be expected if you are using a Live CD/DVD or you are just booting from a flash drive without a full install.
I am using the Unity desktop. Ubuntu was installed by my computer tech guy. I have gone to the section that shows what programs I have downloaded and there is no Adobe Flash or Google Chrome at all.
I contacted Google, they said to download Google Chrome, and it should work but I downloaded it twice and it's still not there.
I have tried numerous times to change the font size to no avail. Seriously, I have changed it at least 10 or more times. On a few websites I went Alt and scroll on the mouse to make these tiny letters larger. On one website they're "locked" and the type is so large, I have to keep moving the page to the left in order to view the entire web page.
I just tried to install it for the 4th time. I choose the bit size and the OS system correctly. It starts to download, then a notice pops up from Google to try again. I keep trying and it won't install. I have no firewall on this system.
I do not know what have you tried to download and install, but you need to use a package management tool to properly install a software (simply downloading a standalone app and running is not enough).
You need to set the font inside the browser (firefox, edit, preferences, content, default font)