For some reason I cannot type a pipe(|) symbol with US keyboard in Ubuntu while I can do it in Windows 7 which also uses US keyboard. Normally I use left-shift with the button next to it to type a pipe symbol, but in Ubuntu it creates < and > with shift (like "shift+," and "shift+." are already doing).
I fixed this for my Dell keyboard by running
sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration
and selecting the most similar keyboard (SK-7100, I think - my actual keyboard is a SK-8165) and guessing sensible options for the other questions (in my case, UK layout, extended-winkeys, no compose).
This was for Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS 64-bit on VMWare 4.04, host: Windows 7 64-bit.