First a comment. No one seems to offer classes or manuals on Ubuntu so I'll take it that you are seeking Linux or Ubuntu guides. Try http://ubuntuguide.org/wiki/Ubuntu:Jaunty

Since 8.04 is outdated I'd upgrade that.

So here's the drill. My old Ubuntu does that same thing. If I stick a BLANK CDR in there I have to run K3b to burn a data CDR and after that it recognizes that CDR fine.

Good luck,
Bob