Both ends plugged in ok.
Cable is fine, has a "crossover"(i.e. matching the pattern that your guide said), and has been tested to be working.
On the Netgear card there is one led constantly on and one that , goes on but not very often and only really during start-up.
The Intel PRO on my laptop, has two LEDís, a green one which is constantly on and a yellow on which also goes on and off occasionally.
Something I spotted, when pinging the local host.
On each of the computers. The laptop has "TTL 128" on the end of each attempt.
While, my desktop has "TTL 64" on the end.
I hope that this can shed some light on the problem