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!
Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can also follow him on his personal blog.