i discovered that the USB hub in the base of my monitor was USB 1.1 while the ports on the board i was using are USB 2.0. Hardy Heron and the kernel version used have issues with USB devices used in this fashion. The fix was simply for me to buy a powered USB 2.0 hub. I now have a mouse keyboard and USB headset all functioning fine with the system, granted the keyboard i needed to plug directly to an onboard USB port, as having all 3 plugged into the hub would cause weird behaviour such as pressing a key once and an infinite repeat of the letter would result.
Currently i am testing Jaunty (Kubuntu 9.04) on my laptop for any issues that could pop up from a Hardy upgrade and assessing if upgrading to jaunty would be feasible on this board.