Geek quiz - Jay Maynard

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Friday, 6 February 2004


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1057 - Geek quiz

Via vakkotaur:

Computer Geek Quiz

1. Firsts

What was the first computer you or your family owned? (game consoles don't count)
An S-100 system I built in 1977 to run CP/M on. I still own it.

How many colors could it display?
None. Teletypes don't have colors.

How much RAM?
28K. I paid $300 for it, and at the time, it was a smoking deal.

Storage options?
Initially, paper tape on the Teletype. Eventually, two 8-inch single-sided, single-density floppy disk drives, 243K each.

Speed of your first modem?
110/300 baud.

What was the speed of the first IBM-compatible PC that you personally owned?
4.77 MHz 8088.

Generic, or brand-name?
Compaq Plus portable.

How big a hard drive, if any?
10 MB - which was unheard of in a portable computer.

Your first sound card?
An early SoundBlaster.

Speed of your first CD-ROM?
1x. A BSR from DAK (remember them?), with a dedicated interface card.


2. Programming


What programming languages have you learned?
Assembly (8080, Z-80 (yes, they're different), 6800, 80x86, 370/390), BASIC, Pascal, FORTRAN, PL/I, SAS, Perl, C, and Forth.

What's the best game you've written, without the use of any game-specific toolkits or libraries?
Never written a game.

What's the most useful program you've written?
Several components of the Hercules emulator.

What languages do you know that are dead, or at least different enough from what you know to be a separate language?
I'm not sure any are truly dead; Forth, and 8080 assembler, are probably the closest.

What languages have you tried to learn, but not gotten far beyond "Hello, world!"?
None.

What languages would you like to learn?
Python.

What's the stupidest thing about your favorite language that you wish they'd change to make it easier to write in?
C's case sensitivity. It's the single biggest user interface botch ever perpetrated. People just don't *think* that way. A close second would be to make strings a native data type, as the standard C method of dealing with them (pointers) is one of the biggest sources of bugs in programming.


3. Game Consoles

What was your first game console?
The Magnavox Odyssey (the original one).

What excited you more, the games, the console itself, the expansion capabilities, or the accessories?
The games. None of the rest applied.

Were there any games in which you liked to play around in, rather than complete the listed objectives?
Games that have objectives are the ones I avoid; I find the adventure-style games to be too frustrating.

Did you ever play a console through a video capture card in your computer?
Yup. There's a PS-One hooked to my capture card right now. I used it to check out Animaniacs Ten Pin Alley.

Were there any cross-platform games that you preferred the console version to rather than the PC?
Never played any of these.


4. Hardware

x86 CPUs today - Which would you rather have for your main workstation, Intel or AMD?
No preference.

Which would you recommend to a gamer friend?
I don't know enough to have an opinion about gaming.

Which would you build for a parent, or friend in the same age group as a parent?
Whichever is cheaper.

Favorite non- Intel or AMD x86 CPU manufacturer (or which you hate the least):
No real preference. For what I use x86 CPUs for, the differences don't matter much.

nVidia, ATi, or other?
Whichever is cheaper.

What was the easiest to install peripheral you'd ever installed for the first time?
The Canopus ADVC-100 video grabber on my iMac. It was literally plug and play.

Favorite non-mouse pointing device?
Eraserhead mouse. I used one for a long time on my desktop (there was a manufacturer that made one in a desktop form factor, called the Interlink DeskStick. I still have three of them, but don't use them any more because my main workstation requires USB mice.

PC case - flashy and pretty, big and roomy, small and efficient, or quiet as can be?
Big enough to hold the stuff I want to stuff in it. Quiet is nice, but not all that necessary. Looks don't enter into it.

If you own a branded PC, do you like it? (trick question, if yes, kick yourself)
I own several. The ones I own, I like.


5. Operating systems

What was the first version of Microsoft Windows you used for any length of time?
Windows NT 4.0

What was the most recent version you used?
2000 Professional

What was your favorite version, if any?
2000 Professional. It sucked the least.

What was the first distribution of GNU/Linux you used?
None. Though I have used Linux. I refuse to kowtow to RMS's demands to take over the name.
The first Linux I used was 0.11, before there was such a thing as a distribution. The first real distribution I used was Slackware 1.0.

What did you like most about it?
It was a real Unix on a PC platform, with none of the limitations of commercial Unixes up to that time.

What did you like least?
There were a lot of missing features I'd come to expect.

What is your current favorite distribution?
I've been a Red Hat user since 6.0, but I'm going to use Gentoo on the new server I'm building up because they're the only ones that really support the Alpha processor any more.

What versions of MacOS have you used?
7.5.5, 8.1, 9.1, 10.[123]

What versions of UNIX have you used?
AIX, HP-UX, NetBSD, OSF/1/DEC Unix/Tru64, IRIX, Solaris, SCO UnixWare. I own systems that run all of these except for SCO.

Have you used any other operating systems for more than a month?
MVS, VM, OS/400, OS/2, VMS, MPE. Again, I own systems that run all of these, except for OS/2 (though it was my primary desktop for a few years).


6. Software

What's your favorite image editing application?
Photoshop 7.0.

Favorite text input / word processing app?
Text editing - Linux: joe Windows: EditPad
Word processor: WordStar 3.3 (damn, wish you could still get it, and that it would support modern printers). I currently use M$ Word X, and grumble.

Favorite layout or pre-printing app?
Don't have a use for one.

Favorite web browser?
Safari.

Favorite email client?
mutt

Favorite chat/messaging client/service?
ircle


7. Documentation

What's the first paper manual you read cover to cover?
System/370 Principles of Operation, the book that describes the hardware and software architecture of the IBM System/370.

How many paper manuals have you read more than 20 pages out of?
Hundreds.

What was the stupidest and least useful paper manual you've ever read?
None really sticks in my mind.

How many README files have you printed out and bound for reference?
None.

Your best guess on the percentage of README files you completely ignore?
Every one gets at least a quick look.

Number of times you've publicly posted asking about something, only to be told RTFM (and the answer in the manual solved your problem)?
About twice, I think. I always search for the information online before posting a question, and the couple of times I've gotten told to RTFM, I've suggested a manual revision.

8. Communications

What was the first commercial online service you connected to?
Compu$erve.

What was the first non-commercial online service you spent any length of time with?
Freelancin', a pioneering chat service in Houston.

What was your favorite door game?
None.

Did you ever go to a BBS meet?
Yes, several.

Have you tried to run your own BBS?
Yes. I ran Fidonet node 64 (not 1:106/64.0, not 106/64, just 64 - it was that early).

Did you ever have a second phone line installed before the WWW became popular?
Only by 12 years or so.

What's the slowest modem you've ever surfed the web with?
9600

What was the fastest modem you used to make a non-PPP connection with?
56K.

current mood: [mood icon] geeky

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