I'm a little confused by the steps you've taken so far. Are you trying to install the AIR runtime environment itself, or an application which needs it?
This installs the environment (it's a like a Java VM):
Note it does say to disable your antivirus prior to installing "just in case" (although I never had any need).
If you haven't tried doing this first on the Netbook, give it a try with the latest version, not some old file.
Adobe created something called "captive runtime" which (briefly) is supposed to essentially install the AIR runtime transparently, but it's a fairly new feature so I wouldn't be shocked to hear it isn't perfect (and might be vulnerable to mistakes made on the app developer's part). That might be a source of your troubles.
Once it's working though, it's pretty cool (from a developer's point of view) and has a lot of potential. Not denying your issue, but I've never personally seen issues like this. In any case, posting on Adobe's AIR support forum is a better place for help.
Edit: You don't need Flash CS5 or anything else like that installed for AIR to work. You might also want to make sure the AIR Application Launcher is the default program for .air extensions and not something else (use "Open With" in context).