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Problem Resolving names into ip addresses

I am a relative newbie when it comes to debian so please excuse any
assumption or lack of etiquette when posting. Anyway, here goes.

I have a box connected to an ADSL modem / DHCP server / NAT.

I upgraded to unstable version from a knoppix 4.0 base. This was to get
Xorg and to resolve some graphics card issues. One problem still
I am able resolve names (eg www.google.com) into their ip addresses using ping and nslookup but cannot with firefox and apt-get. Once I give the ip adress (like to firefox and apt-get they work fine. I understand that bind is used and is somehow separate. Is there some config file (like in /etc/defaults) which I need to use?
I have used an apple computer on the same connection and it has no problems so I know the connection is good.
Any help would be appreciated.

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