how to edit wpmu nelo functions for 3.1 admin bar hacks

This wpmu.org post about How to Add or Remove Links From the WordPress 3.1 Admin Bar seemed simple enough. All attempts to edit nelo's functions.php using either a parent or child file, however, result in the blank white page madness.

Any suggestions for getting this hack to work? Specifically, we're looking to remove the Updates menu with the big glaring number next to it. Perhaps the Update Notifications plugin could be massaged to do this sitewide, but for now any advice is appreciated.

Thanks again for everything.