windowsxp-crossover-cable-network-two-computers (although I suppose it's just as easy with linux...)
EIA/TIA 568A/568B and AT&T 258A
normally straight through network cables (cat5/6) have both ends: orange white / orange / green white / blue / blue white / green / brown white / brown
1 Tx+ -> 1 Rc+ 2 Tx- -> 2 Rc- 3 Rc+ -> 3 Tx+ 6 Rc- -> 6 Tx-
apparently the blue and bluewhite and the brown and brownwhite aren't necessary for cat5 (but are REQUIRED for the cable to work)
Cross Over is one end as above, the other is: greenwhite / green / orangewhite / blue / bluewhite / orange / brownwhite / brown
1 Rx+ -> 3 Tx+ 2 Rc- -> 6 Tx- 3 Tx+ -> 1 Rc+ 6 Tx- -> 2 Rc-
set both computers to have private ip addresses (even MS auto assigned!)
e.g. 192.168.1.1 and 192.168.1.2 (with netmask 255.255.255.0)
Once both computers are configured above (with network drivers!) you can connect them with the crossover cable and try pinging the other one.
BOTH computers must be in the same workgroup for any file transfer/network browsing stuff to work...
net use x: \10.0.0.13
net use * \fileservername\share
Windows Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) allows one computer to act as a router (linux has ip tables and forwarding) - even with a crossover cable (although of course the "host" has to have 2 network cards, one of which is connected to a WAN).