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Hub connected to 2 computers on Internet

Hub connected to 2 computers on Internet

Hub connected to 2 computers on Internet

Here's a question:  

I've got a friend who claims that he was able to plug his cable modem into the "uplink" port of his 10/100 hub and his two computers into slots 1 and 2 of the hub AND they both now share the internet as well as an internal network.
What gives here?   I thought that the uplink port was only to connect to another hub or switch?  If he is correct (I haven't checked his systems)  then why would anyone buy a more expensive router/hub combo?  
I also thought that special routing software was required.  
The "normal" way of connecting PC's to the internet using 1 IP address that I know of is to connect the modem to 1 NIC card in one machine, connect the hub to another NIC in the same machine, and other PCS to the the hub (leaving the uplink port free) and then use some Proxy software on the machine with two NIC's to handle the routing.  

*btw - these days, I have 4 machines hooked into a router/switch which is then connected to a cable modem - sweet.

Any comments here?

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