Sony took a step backwards with the slim and its hard drive upgrade process. With the "fat" PS3, replacing a hard drive was as easy as installing the drive, booting the system and letting it do its thing. Now we have to download an update file from the playstation website, place it on a USB drive formatted to FAT 32 in just the right file structure (drive -> PS3 -> UPDATE -> UPDATE FILE). If these steps are not followed exactly, the file won't be recognized. Or in my case, the file won't be recognized anyway.
I've tried creating the USB drive in linux which did not work, so now I'll try booting into Windows and going that route. I miss the old days of PS3 upgrades.
UPDATE: Apparently Ubuntu cannot make a FAT32 file structure worthy of the PS3 slim. Creating the drive in Windows worked.