News quiz: This week in tech

The InfoWorld news quiz: Oct. 8, 2010

Been to the movies lately? Then you've probably seen the one about the sweaty geek in a hoodie who managed to lose all his real friends while gaining 500 million fake ones. Aside from "The Social Network," though, there's plenty of other news. HP and Twitter both have new CEOs, while Google continued its acquisition spree. BlackBerry stepped into the Web tablet arena, while Internet Explorer and Apple's iPhone both lost market share, according to some sources. Have you heard the news? Prove it by acing our quiz. Correct answers are worth 10 points, and no, you may not steal your colleagues' test results and pretend they're yours. Ready? Then let's begin.

1. RIM is taking on the Apple iPad -- kinda/sorta -- with an enterprise-ready tablet device. What's this BlackBerry on steroids called?

a. BlackBookb. PlayBookc. WorkPadd. BlackPad

2. The reviews are in, and "The Social Network" is a hit with critics. Which of the following was not one of the things reviewers had to say?

a. "Splendidly well made"

b. "Gets you drunk on movies again"

c. "Weirdly funny, exhilarating, [and] alarming"

d. "Stunningly realistic and true to life"

3. Late last week HP named a successor to its scandal-ridden ex-CEO, Mark Hurd. Who snagged the prize to run HP?

a. Leo Apotheker

b. Ray Lane

c. Michael Capellas

d. Carlo Fiorino

4. Google has picked itself up another mobile startup, this one designed to reduce typos when pecking away on touchscreen keyboards. What's it called?

a. EasyType

b. MobType

c. BlindType

d. EasyTouch

5. When not buying startups, Google is trying to redefine Internet standards. What is the name of the new image compression standard Google is hoping will take the place of the venerable JPEG?

a. VP8

b. WebP

c. On2

d. Web3

6. The 2010 Ig Nobel Awards for the most improbable scientific research were presented late last week. Which of the following did not just take home an "Iggie"?

a. Using roller-coasters rides to treat asthma

b. A method for collecting bodily fluids from whales' blowholes

c. Proof that swearing relieves pain

d. A brassiere that doubles as a respiratory mask

7. HP isn't the only tech firm with a new el jefe. Twitter just played musical chairs in the executive suite. Who's now the company's leading twit?

a. Dick Costolo

b. Dick Costello

c. Albert Costella

d. Abbot N. Costello

8. "We've got to move forward, not shoot for yesterday. We've got to shoot ahead in a way that's delightful to users, accessible to developers and prioritize everything else we do around those elements." Who's all about shooting forward while not looking behind, and what exactly is he shooting at?

a. Mark Zuckerberg re: "The Social Network"

b. Steve Ballmer re: Windows Phone 7

c. Evan Williams re: the new Twitter

d. Carol Bartz re: Yahoo Search

9. Though the standings in the browser battle remain the same -- Internet Explorer leads worldwide, followed by Firefox and Chrome -- the race has gotten much closer. What is the worldwide market share breakdown for the big three?

a. 49.9, 31.5, 11.5

b. 53.3, 27.8, 9.5

c. 61.2, 22.9, 5.6

d. 68.9, 17.8, 4.5

10. Take the amount cyber criminals siphoned out of banks via the ZeuS Trojan before being arrested by international authorities, and add the maximum amount Verizon is kicking back to wireless customers after charging them for Internet access they didn't actually want. Multiply by the current market share for Android phones, as measured by Nielsen Wire. Put that in your Droid and wait for it to finish recharging (again). What do you get?

a. 5,120,000

b. 51,200,000

c. 512,000,000

d. 5,120,000,000

ANSWER KEY

Question 1: RIM is taking on the Apple iPad -- kinda/sorta -- with an enterprise-ready tablet device. What's this BlackBerry on steroids called?

Correct Answer: PlayBook

Apparently there's very little "play" in it, though. Unlike the Apple iPad, the PlayBook will support Adobe Flash and Java, as well as connect seamlessly to other BlackBerry devices, but it's aimed squarely at enterprises. So don't expect any fart apps.

Question 2: The reviews are in, and "The Social Network" is a hit with critics. Which of the following was not one of the things reviewers had to say?

Correct Answer: "Stunningly realistic and true to life"

Movie reviewers Roger Ebert, Rolling Stone's Peter Travers, and the New York Times' Manohla Dargis, respectively, gave David Fincher's geek epic high marks for entertainment value, not so much for fidelity to the facts. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the hero/villain of the film, depending on your perspective, had no comment, but he did seem to be perspiring more than usual.

Question 3: Late last week HP named a successor to its scandal-ridden ex-CEO, Mark Hurd. Who snagged the prize to run HP?

Correct Answer: Leo Apotheker

A surprise pick, the SAP veteran got kudos for kick-starting sales at the German enterprise software company, and speculation is that he'll refocus HP more along software lines. Not much is known about Apotheker, but if he has any skeletons in his closet -- or overpaid marketing consultants in his boudoir -- he'll fit right in at HP.

Question 4: Google has picked itself up another mobile startup, this one designed to reduce typos when pecking away on touchscreen keyboards. What's it called?

Correct Answer: BlindType

The company uses software to correct "sloppy typing" on the touchscreen keyboards found on handhelds and other portable devices. The acquisition is Google's 20th so far this year. If the company reaches 24, it can get a free one or opt to trade them all in for Twitter.

Question 5: When not buying startups, Google is trying to redefine Internet standards. What is the name of the new image compression standard Google is hoping will take the place of the venerable JPEG?

Correct Answer: WebP

Google is hoping that WebP -- which reduced image file sizes by an average of 39 percent in Google's internal tests -- will make Web surfing just a smidge faster. Google based WebP on the open source VP8 codec, which it obtained from On2 last year. We're glad somebody's thinking of all those poor porn aficionados, waiting endlessly for their favorite sites to load.

Question 6: The 2010 Ig Nobel Awards for the most improbable scientific research were presented late last week. Which of the following did not just take home an "Iggie"?

Correct Answer: A brassiere that doubles as a respiratory mask

This was a bit of a trick question -- the Emergency Brassiere (or eBra) won an Ig Nobel in 2009. (It's now available for only $29.95 from ebbra.com.) But roller coasters, blowholes, and swearing won this year's awards for improbable research in medicine, engineering, and the Ig Nobel Peace Prize, respectively. Expect products based on those projects to appear some time next year. We can't wait for the blowhole one.

Question 7: HP isn't the only tech firm with a new el jefe. Twitter just played musical chairs in the executive suite. Who's now the company's leading twit?

Correct Answer: Dick Costolo

Twitter's former COO upgraded the middle vowel of his title to "E" this week, as former Twitter chief Evan Williams voluntarily stepped aside. Costolo's challenge? How to generate revenue, 140 characters (or fewer) at a time.

Question 8: "We've got to move forward, not shoot for yesterday. We've got to shoot ahead in a way that's delightful to users, accessible to developers and prioritize everything else we do around those elements." Who's all about shooting forward while not looking behind, and what exactly is he shooting at?

Correct Answer: Steve Ballmer re: Windows Phone 7

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the Microsoft CEO discussed the upcoming launch of Windows 7 phones next week, as well as how badly Microsoft blew it with the Kin phone, killed in its infancy some six weeks after launch. With luck, the Windows 7 handsets might make it all the way through year end before Microsoft pulls the plug.

Question 9: Though the standings in the browser battle remain the same -- Internet Explorer leads worldwide, followed by Firefox and Chrome -- the race has gotten much closer. What is the worldwide market share breakdown for the big three?

Correct Answer: 49.9, 31.5, 11.5

The news here: According to StatCounter Global Stats, IE's world market share dipped below 50 percent for the first time since Netscape was a pup -- though at 49.87 percent, it would only take a handful of Frenchmen switching back to bump it over 50 again. Still, that's a loss of nearly 10 percentage points over the course of a year. Somewhere, Steve Ballmer is throwing another chair.

Question 10: Take the amount cyber criminals siphoned out of banks via the ZeuS Trojan before being arrested by international authorities, and add the maximum amount Verizon is kicking back to wireless customers after charging them for Internet access they didn't actually want. Multiply by the current market share for Android phones, as measured by Nielsen Wire. Put that in your Droid and wait for it to finish recharging (again). What do you get?

Correct Answer: 51,200,000

A gang of Ukrainian cyber thieves managed to snag $70 million via the password-stealing Zeus malware before being nabbed by authorities. Verizon will pay up to $90 million to 15 million customers who were charged a fee when they inadvertently pressed the wrong button on their phones, initiating Internet access. According to Nielsen Wire, 32 percent of all smartphones sold in the United States over the last six months ran the Google operating system, besting both RIM's BlackBerry and the Apple iPhone. So 70M + 90M * 0.32 = 51,200,000. Add up all the revenue Google's getting from sales of the Android OS, and that comes to exactly zero dollars. Come back next week for another profitless quiz.

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