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Of the many things I get to do during the week of Macworld Expo, one of the most entertaining is hosting the annual MacBrainiac Challenge—a battle of wits between two competing teams of Macintosh luminaries. Set in a game show format, these two teams do their best to establish their superior mastery of Mac and Apple trivia.

This year, the MacBrainiac Challenge featured a team of developers versus a team of Mac media personalities. Brute Camp, the developer team, was led by Bare Bones Software’s Founder & CEO, Rich Siegel and included Rogue Amoeba Software’s CEO/Lackey, Paul Kafasis; Google’s Scott Knaster; and NewsGator’s Product Architect, Brent Simmons. The Justice League, captained by the Chicago Sun-Times and Macworld ’s Andy Ihnatko, also included TidBits’ Adam Engst, Macworld ’s Mac Gems columnist Dan Frakes, and founder of MacFixIt and Mac troubleshooting guru, Ted Landau.

As usual, it was a tight contest. Following what has become a typical pattern, the two teams were tied until the final question. Ultimately, the developer team carried the day by cracking a particularly devilish three-point stunt, but it could easily have gone either way.

Think you know your Mac facts and figures? Do as the pros do and see how many of the following you can answer without the aid of the Internet. I’ll follow up with the correct answers early next week.

Q. The Stickies widget can use all of these fonts except:

A. Geneva
B. Marker Felt
C. Optima
D. Gill Sans

Q. The first Macintosh LC model to support an internal CD ROM drive was:

A. Macintosh LC III+
B. Macintosh LC 475/605
C. Macintosh LC 520
D. Macintosh LC 630

Q. In 1984, Steve Jobs headed which Apple division?

A. Macintosh
B. Lisa
C. Advanced Hardware
D. SuperMicro

Q. Three days after his 43rd birthday, Steve Jobs celebrated by doing what?

A. Discontinued the Newton/eMate line
B. Forced Gil Amelio and Ellen Hancock to resign
C. Launched Apple’s “Stores Within Stores” in all 149 CompUSA locations
D. Announced 150,000 pre-orders for the first iMac

Q. Steve Jobs refers to what when he says, “One of the two or three most important things” he has done in his life:

A. Traveled to India
B. Fathered children
C. Adopted a semi-vegetarian lifestyle
D. Taken LSD

Q. In its 1981 lawsuit with Apple Corps, Apple Computer settled its trademark infringement suit for:

A. $80,000
B. $265,000
C. $3.5 million
D. $1 in addition to agreeing to take every copy of Two Virgins off Apple Corps’ hands.

Q. Apple’s current board of directors does not include a person affiliated with which company:

A. J. Crew
B. Harwinton Capital
D. Disney

Q. Cambridge Silicon Radio manufactures what sort of components found in some new Macs?

A. WiFi
C. Bluetooth
D. Optical audio interface

Q. The file extension for a Burn Folder is:

A. .brn
B. .fbp
C. .flbn
D. .fpbf

Q. Whose signature did not appear on a limited-edition iPod?

A. Tony Hawk
B. Alicia Keyes
C. Beck
D. Madonna

Not difficult enough? Try a couple of these two-point questions where you have no choices to choose from.

Q. In Terminal, how many key presses does it take to list every Unix program the system knows about? And what are those key presses?

Q. Which Apple application enables speech input by default when launched?

Q. What is the significance of the words “A boy once lived in”?

Q. Images of the North American continent can be found in the icons of two standard Mac applications within the Utilities folder. Name those applications.

Need something trickier still? Macworld ’s Jason Snell created this challenge:

Mac OS X supports a language invented in the 19th century by a Polish ophthalmologist, a language invented in the 20th century for a sci-fi movie, and a language that formed in the 10th century on a Pacific island chain.

After U.S. English, make these your second, third, and fourth preferences respectively for your Mac’s application menus, dialogs, and sorting.

And finally, the puzzle that determined the winner. I asked each team to successfully perform the following stunt with their computer.

With your computer you will send me an electronic greeting.


  • You may not use e-mail.
  • You may not use a browser.
  • You may not deliver it to me physically.
  • Oh, and did I mention that I’ve switched off the network connection and Bluetooth on my computer?

Good luck.

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