Completing the Challenge

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Last week I gave you a small taste of the MacBrainiac Challenge —the Apple trivia contest I host at each Macworld Expo. You’ve had the weekend to mull over the questions posed. It’s now time to see how close you came to the correct answers. I’ll reprint the questions below with the correct answer on multiple choice questions in bold .

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
C. Gap
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

Now here are the answers to the two-point questions, where there are no multiple choices to pick from. The answer follows the original question.

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

Answer: Neither team had a clue to the correct answer. Rob suggested that the correct answer was three key presses—Tab, Tab, Y. After the contest Dan Frakes suggested that the correct answer was actually four key presses—Tab, Tab, Y, and then Y again.

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

Answer: Chess

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

Answer: These are the first words in the TextEdit RTF icon.

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.

Answer: Directory Access and NetInfo Manager

And now for the answers to the three-point stunts. Macworld Editorial Director 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.

Answer: The three languages are Esperanto, Klingon, and Hawaiian and can be located by opening the International system preference, selecting the Language tab, and then clicking the Edit List button. Esperanto is easy enough to find but Klingon and Hawaiian aren’t as Klingon is spelled in the Klingon language (it’s the tlhlngan Hol entry) and Hawaiian is likewise presented in its native spelling. (You’ll find it just below Hrvatski .)

The final stunt, largely created by digital photo guru, Ben Long, was contentious as each team presented a solution that failed to live up to my expectations of an “electronic greeting.”

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?

Answer: Each team had a MacBook Pro with wired Ethernet access and Bluetooth. My PowerBook had the same set up, but I disabled the Ethernet port and Bluetooth. There was no network access into my computer. So a file sharing solution was out, as was anything to do with Bonjour—though the teams weren’t sure this was the case.

I’d hoped that the teams would quickly move to iChat, and they did. I left them a tiny clue that they were on the right track by creating a single buddy on each machine—me. So, they could see that I existed on their Macs but, because I was offline, they had no way to reach me.

Those who knew about iChat’s SMS capabilities would then seek a solution there. Some members of each team have my real cell phone number so to keep them from entering that number (and also keep the audience from seeing it on the screen projections), I obtained a temporary number through Cingular. That number wasn’t in my buddy contact information within iChat.

It was, however, listed in a vCard within Address Book (along with a lot of phony contact names). Once the developers located that entry in Address Book (via Spotlight), it wasn’t long before they figured the solution out.

Tough stuff? You bet. At least half-a-dozen questions were answered incorrectly or not at all. And, unlike with some previous Challenges, the audience, when asked for the correct answer, did little better than the experts on stage.

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