Thanks Linuxreader, I'll try your update method next time. I used a mates windows box this time round and updated the firmware but it made no difference. Hopefully, Sony will get their act together and allow updates directly from the device in the future eh.
I did try vBox with an old XP VM but had trouble getting the USB device to see the reader.
I won't comment on JSWolfs (unhelpful) posts as I've already done so in another thread.
Basically, I got a lemon (shit happens) and it's at a Sony centre getting looked at as we speak. I'll let you know how it goes.