A one-wire network can be a salvation when you’re in need of a quick file transfer between laptops with incompatible parts.
You’re on a plane and desperately need to pass a file to (or play Quake against) your coworker. You both have Ethernet jacks, but there’s no network available to you. You both have wireless cards, but transmitter/receivers are a no-no aboard airliners. She has a floppy drive, but your iBook has never heard of these floppy things. You have a USB drive, but the file’s massive. And you’re fresh out of CDs, or you’d simply burn one and pass it across.
Oh, and she’s running Windows.
If you have an Ethernet cable handy, you can plug one end into the Ethernet jack of each of your machines, open your System Preferences → Network pane, and select Built-in Ethernet from the Show pull-down menu.
If at least one of the computers is a Macintosh of recent vintage (PowerBook G4, iMac 17”, or iBook, at the time of this writing), you don’t even need one of those special crossover Ethernet cables. Refer to the consummate list at http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=42717.
Wait. . . . Within a short while, you’ll notice your system self-assigning an IP address in the 169.254 range, as shown in Figure 6-6. The same will be happening on your coworker’s Windows laptop. What’s happening is that both machines sense there’s some network activity on the wire, yet there’s no DHCP server to assign them an IP address. They’ll self-assign addresses ...