i'm not sure, but i think you guys are overthinking it.
here's what i would do (i being a computer programmer specialized in multiplatform game development and messing around):
assumed: you can get to the labatomized bios (tore it up and flipped the jumper)
prefered: you have access to a laptop with win98SE or OLDER, with an open PC card slot
given: you have access to the internet
hopefull: you got the $ for a few (cheap) parts
Ok, this is how to boot off a CF card in the CF slot on the compaq ia1:
step 1: crack it open, find the jumper, change it (should be set to normal at first), power up, wait a few seconds (better safe than sorry, give it a good 15sec or so, you'll need a break after getting it open anyways). switch the jumper back to normal, reassemble.
step2: on startup, press the COMPAQ button (which is really F10) to get to the bios screen, when it pops up, select your language and press enter
step3: i'm going to assume you know how to navigate a bios screen
step4: go to Storage->IDE Devices and enable all the options (Enhanced IDE..., Ultra 33/66, etc), i really don't know if it's really needed or not, but it doesn't hurt so why not...
step5: remember that ESC is the "Cancel" button by the space bar and F10 is "COMPAQ" button at the top
step6: go to Storage->Boot Order, now this part confuses me a bit, but with patience anybody can muddle through it. If you have a CF card in the slot, you should have drives A:, C:, D: displayed... i'm not sure, but i believe that A: just plain out doesn't exist, so use left and right arrows to set it as "Third". Now, if A: is the only one that shows up, it's the internal CF, just insert a CF card in the slot and reboot till you get all 3. Okay...
step7: you've got A:, C: and D: in the Boot Order menu and A: is set to third. now, C: is IDE0 or /dev/hda in linux, or in other words, the primary ATA IDE disk. Set it to boot "Second"
step8: that leaves D: as "First", D: is IDE1, slave, /dev/hdb, and so on, this is the CF slot.
step9: i appologize that this stepbystep is so sloppy, but i gotta lot of work to do so i gotta just whip it out as quick as i can.
step10: you need to make a bootable cf card, this doesn't work on the SDDR-31 sandisk reader, and i've heard reports to the same with PNY readers. i would name some of the one's i've heard are reliable, but i don't know for myself so i wont. what i used was a pc card adapter made by sandisk, you plop the CF in the PC card and put it in your laptop and it shows up as a fixed disk (not to be confused with a removable harddrive, it's a fixed disk, go into fdisk and use option 5, it's HD#2)
step11: you've got your CF card in your computer and it shows up as a fixed disk, go ahead and format it (either in dos using 'format d: /s' where d: is the CF; or in windows, make sure to select the 'Full' option at the top and check the 'Copy system files' box at the bottom
step12: you now have a bootable CF card with a bare bones MS-DOS for win98, you can go ahead and put whatever utilities you need on it! i put a disk clone program (dolly.exe) on mine along with a linux distribution which i cloned onto the internal CF card.
Now i have it running JAILBAIT (linux) from the INTERNAL CF card!
Note: a few basic files you should copy from C:\Windows\Command\ to your card would be fdisk.exe, format.com, doskey.com and edit.com
Also: i don't remember if i even checked or not, but boot up like i said and run fdisk, if 2 hard drives show up that means that you can access the internal CF in dos (but it might be in a wierd file system, the ia1 comes with a labatomized version of winCE that has one program [msn companion], which is a labotomized websurfing suite... what a mess!)
Enjoy! and let me know if this gives you any help or how it goes!