My new laptop had a way-too-sensitive touchpad. So much so that I installed Touchpad Indicator so I could turn it off. Interestingly, I couldn't use its "turn off touchpad when mouse plugged in" feature, because it seemed to always think the mouse was plugged in.
That led me to realize that I also didn't have the touchpad tab in the mouse control panel. Googling, I found that this was a common problem with ALPS touchpads, like the one I had.
The fix is here: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/550625/comments/492. An updated driver that allows you to get at the touchpad control in the mouse control panel. Download the .deb file, then double-click it and wait a bit for the Software Centre to run. Click install, enter your password, wait, then restart, and you'll have the touchpad tab in the mouse control panel. On the touchpad tab, you can turn off mouse clicks when typing, and suddenly typing isn't a pain.
I have to resist the urge to rant a bit. I bought an Ubuntu-certified laptop. This is the sort of pissing around fixing that I was hoping to avoid. Sigh!