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PS 1.0 cmdlets only have access to the local machine.  WMI allows PS to access network resources.  You could also use .NET Framework classes to do this as well.  New cmdlets are being developed (I know of some for Exchange) that do actually work outside of the local machine boundary. 
list names of WMI classes
get-wmiobject -list
listing BIOS information
get-wmiobject -Class Win32_BIOS -ComputerName .
installed hotfix information
get-wmiobject -Class Win32_QuickFixEngineering -ComputerName .
OS information
get-wmiobject -Class Win32_OperatingSystem -ComputerName . |Select-object -Property BuildNumber, BuildType
get-wmiobject -Class Win32_ComputerSystem -ComputerName . -Property UserName