Welcome one and all to the first of many Wacky Linux Adventures starring me, The Trivia Geek. Before we begin, let’s set the stage a bit, shall we?

I’m a complete technical fraud. Sure, I’ve coded some HTML in my time,

done a very tiny bit of VB programming, and occasionally done a little

regular maintenance on my Windows XP PC at home, but I have almost no

track record in manipulating operating systems, upgrading hardware, or

using Linux. My last experience with the command line was in running my

old 486 50Mhz IBM PC with MS-DOS, back in 1995! (Aside: That PC

actually originally came packaged with OS/2, but that was removed when

my mom’s employer–whence all free tech support came–shifted to

DOS/Windows 3.1.) I’m a decade out of practice with anything besides

consumer-level Gatesware, and even then only at a cursory level. I’m

flying blind here, people.

Moreover, my goal is to build a laptop I can take down to the local

coffee shop and wirelessly Web surf/creatively write upon whilst

sipping the perfunctory overpriced cafe mocha and looking sufficiently

techno-hipster and smugly smarmy. (My wife digs the motif, you see).

Unfortunately, I’ve inherited a Compaq Armada M300 laptop that has been

agressively upgraded by CNET-Louisville’s support maestro Ted

Laun–meaning it no longer conforms to factory specs, and I don’t know

the first thing about working with a laptop that has no accessible

operating system. Officially, the M300 is still running XP Pro, but Ted

has disavowed the license and not provided a password, so I can’t so

much as log on. I need a remedial class in hardware diagnostics before

I can even think about starting my Linux odyssey.

Thus, we have our first homework assigment, class: How do I track down

the hardware specs on my M300 laptop if I can’t log onto Windows XP?

I’ve posted this question in Technical Q&A, and he or she who provides the

right answer will get not only a bounty of meaningless TechPoints, but

a glorious shout out in next week’s WLA blog. What more could you ask for (besides free swag, for which I am not yet budgeted)?

Help me TechRepublic; you’re my only hope!

Keep up with the Trivia Geek’s ongoing Wacky Linux Adventures with the wackylinux tag. If it doesn’t say wackylinux, it’s not really a wacky Linux adventure.