Answer key: You don't know tech

The facts behind this week’s top 10 tech questions

Now that you know how you scored, you probably want to know why. Check out the answers below for the gory details. And be sure to return next week for another news quiz, ripped straight from the tech headlines.

Question 1: What didn't Steve Jobs do this week?

10 points

d. Sing "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"

Though he did segue neatly from Bob Dylan to Dean Martin by shaking his Nano. Jobs noted that reports of his death are greatly exaggerated, but we'd feel a lot better if he put on a few pounds.

Question 2: What is Microsoft Zune's market share?

10 points

c. 2.6 percent

According to The NPD Group, Apple is No. 1 (duh), with just more than 73 percent. "Other" fills the second slot with 15.4 percent, and San Disk's 8.6 percent makes it a solid No. 3. The new Zunes add more storage and the ability to purchase songs played on its FM radio via Wi-Fi, if anyone's interested. Anyone?

Question 3: What new Crack--err--BlackBerry called?

10 points

a. Flip

That's a bit of a trick question, as RIM introduced one new handset, while Sprint Nextel unveiled a new version of an older one. The 8220 Pearl Flip is the first BlackBerry to feature a flip-up cover, a la the Motorola Razr. No wireless carriers have been announced yet. Sprint's Curve 8350i is a more rugged version of the model introduced last year that also adds a push-to-talk feature. No sign yet of the BlackBerry Bold, introduced overseas but apparently still too timid for the U.S. market.

Question 4: What's the Large Hadron Collider supposed to do?

10 points

a. Find the "God particle"

Physicists are hoping the atom-smashing gizmo will allow them to spot the Higgs Boson -- aka the theoretical "God particle" that gives all objects mass -- and prove the string theory that bridges Einstein's relativity with quantum mechanics (hold the cheese). But thousands of science-fearing Earthlings believe the LHC will create a black hole that will eventually swallow the planet. Because, as we all know, it's flat and tastes like pizza.

Question 5: How big a dip did United Airlines stock take due to an Internet glitch?

10 points

c. 75 percent

UAL's stock dropped from $12 a share to $3 after the December 2002 article was mysteriously listed as one of the most popular stories on the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Web site, following a visit from one of Google's spiders. From there, the story made it onto Google News, was distributed by financial news wire Income Securities advisors, and delivered to trading desks via Bloomberg. The stock rebounded to around $11 after the mistake was corrected. No word yet which if any of the guilty parties UAL intends to sue.

Question 6: Which Google veep says search is both a 90/10 problem and a 10/90 problem?

10 points

a. Marissa Mayer

In a blog post clarifying statements she made to the Los Angeles Times, Mayer dissected the various things Google can and can't do -- so far, anyway. The Google bot that dug up that 6-year-old United Airlines story must fall into the remaining 10 percent.

Question 7: What is Real Networks calling its new DVD ripping software?

10 points

a. RealDVD

The software uses the same licensed code that's inside your DVD player's firmware to decrypt the movie content, then copies the film to your hard drive and re-encrypts it. Real says even if you share the movie files on a P2P network, there's no way anyone else can decrypt them in order to watch them. DVD Jon to a white courtesy telephone, please.

Question 8: How long is Google holding onto your data now?

10 points

c. 9 months

Google reluctantly halved the time it holds onto IP data before anonymizing it, grumbling in its blog about "the potential loss of security, quality, and innovation that may result from having less data." Memo to legal authorities and repressive regimes: Better get those subpoenas while the data is still hot.

Question 9: What's wrong with Spore?

10 points

d. All of the above

Some reviewers panned the game as "tedious," while some fans were ticked off by EA's digital rights scheme, which limits game owners to three activations over its lifetime. Meanwhile, religious zealots launched a boycott of the game because of its pro-evolution bent, while others fretted about its apparent endorsement of "intelligent design." The good news? Spore didn't create any black holes or end life as we know it. Yet.

Question 10: What's a particle accelerator plus recalled laptops divided by new iPods?

10 points

c. 4,500,220,000

The LHC took 20 years and cost $9 billion to build. Sony is recalling 440,000 Vaios after some of them proved too hot to handle. Saint Steve unveiled just two new music players during last Tuesday's sacraments. So 9B + 440K / 2 = 4,500,220,000. Or slightly more than one for every year we've been waiting for Spore. Be sure to join us next week for another smashing quiz.

Ready for more? Take another stab at this week's quiz, or quizzes past:
2008 InfoWorld geek IQ test
Test your programming IQ
Test your tech celebrity IQ
Test your network security IQ
The original geek IQ test
InfoWorld news quiz: September 12
InfoWorld news quiz: September 5
InfoWorld news quiz: August 29
InfoWorld news quiz: August 22
InfoWorld news quiz: August 15


Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.