Sorry for not visiting more often.
The art of making a bootable CF card is tricky. Over time, I have learned the following:
Ranish is the best way to making a bootable CF if you are using an English (or non-asian at least) version of Win9X. Using Windows2000 (and XP?) the best way is following the instructions and/or using the eltorrito image as discussed. The key to using Ranish is that little "patch" function in there. I didn't notice it the first few times using it but when I did, magic occured and angels began to sing from on-high. The IA-1 also booted from the CF card...
Hopefully you will not need to crack the case open again. The way to get into the BIOS, once you have it reset and deprotected, is to press the "Compaq" key at the top after the memory count and when the cursor is in the upper-right corner of the screen. I guess that's the F-10 key. You can use a USB keyboard, but the wireless works too.
Once you get the slackware eltorrito loaded and booting on the CF card, then you need to tranfer the image from the eltorrito to the onboard CF. I don't remember the command but it's around here somewhere (also, check the MSN Companion area of this BBS) but it goes like "dd /dev/hdc /dev/hda count=####" if I remember right. Anyway, then you will be able to boot from the IA-1's internal flash.... go ahead and set it to boot from internal at this point and then just copy the image you want to try to load using conventional means (format as FAT16 and copy IMG files over). Then you can boot from internal flash, mount the CF with the new images, (mkdir /tmp/cf; mount /dev/hdc1 /tmp/cf) and then do a "dd /tmp/cf/imagefile.img /dev/hda ..." and you should be able to boot from whatever new image has been made.
These images usually work pretty well for most but if you are having strange crashes at boot time and such, perhaps there is some sort of problem with your machine. These aren't like regular PCs in the sense that hardware comes in unpredictable configurations: they are all pretty much the same except for stuff connected via USB.