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Odd network behaviour: misconfiguration or bug?

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http://ubuntuforums.org – I took my EeePC running 12.04 to a friend's workplace in order to demonstrate something online (a Toastmasters website, in case that's relevant). On booting up, I got an IP address and was assigned DNS servers. I recognised these as belonging to a local ISP. But I couldn't connect to anything. I could ping 8.8.8.8 (Google DNS), but not these particular servers. A Windows 7 laptop connected to the DNS servers with no difficulty and we got the work done. This seems a bit odd to me. Why would I get assigned DNS servers and then not be able to access them? Is there any chance that this (Hardware)