I'M trying to backup my user home folders from my Ubuntu laptop to my Fedora desktop. I've connected the two computers with a CAT-5e (what I believe to be a crossover cable) but I am unable to get anything working as of yet. When I go to Network under Places, I see a Windows network that doesn't seem to respond and then quickly goes away. Is this the wrong cable or is there something else I need to do? thanks.
You need to set up routing so that your computer can communicate with the other system. The easiest way to do that is to get a small router appliance like d-link, netgear, linksys, etc. You can get them for about $50USD. The other option is to use the route command to set up a route from your computer to the other system (I assume they have static IP addresses). Read the route man page for more information how to do this.