setting up your wilreless card to operate in master mode, ie mode where it acts as an access point is not trivial.
PCC has an option for it but it didnt work for me last time i tried it. The program i know that can do that is called "hostapd". Its a command line tool and only works from root's account and last time i checked,pclinuxos version did not have support for "nl80211" driver required by all mac80211 drivers and its configuration text file is too detailed for casual tinkerer.
If you are pressed for time and dont care that much about how things works, then i think you should continue what what you already know.
what error did you get when you update the kernel and ad hoc mode stopped working? "It doesnt work" is not very descriptive.