Apps

Pop Quiz: Computer History

From the origins of the Internet to the birth of RAM, IT Dojo celebrates its first week with a pop quiz on key events in computer evolution.

What would a classroom be without the occasional pop quiz? To celebrate IT Dojo's first week, I'm republishing one of TechRepublic's most popular Pop Quizzes. Way back in 2002, I challenged members to test their knowledge of computer history, and over 3,400 people answered the challenge. After tallying the results, I noticed several questions had really stumped our quiz takers. I would like to see if the results are different six years later.

Note: A quick reminder before your test your knowledge. I published all the answers to this quiz in my September, 2002 article, "Many members stumped by computer history pop quiz". I encourage you to take the test BEFORE looking at the answers--that just ruins all the fun. And besides, it's not like your next raise depends on you getting a perfect score.

So here it is - TechRepublic's classic Computer History pop quiz.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

31 comments
erricat
erricat

Wow, I'm impressed I knew them all. Okay, I guessed on a couple.

spike
spike

- Bummer Unable To Update Poll Total Votes And Poll Total Voters. Poll ID #4 Unable To Update Poll Total Votes And Poll Total Voters. Poll ID #6 Link to original September 2002 article failed the first time - server loading?? Worked on second try.... ;-(

doshapir
doshapir

I scored 5 of 5. I'm an old fart!

tsheldon
tsheldon

I was playing "Stump the audience" at a Comdex party a few years ago and asked this question. Stumped everyone.

michael
michael

Fun. When do we get the answers? Could be more questions than 5 though. Makes for a disappointingly short, yet well-executed quiz.

p.burness
p.burness

if I got all 5 does that mean I'm old or lucky or perhaps, both?

seanferd
seanferd

The Altair and the Apple got me.

ccavelle
ccavelle

5 out of 5.....My powers are impressive most impressive.

rotto77
rotto77

Sweet, 5 out of 5, though I did guess on the Apple price. yes I'm a geek and proud of it

dferrell15
dferrell15

Lots of fun and good way for new techs to learn

addinall
addinall

The division of the root directory (usually C:) into a tree structured system (C:\). What two things made the DEC "Rainbow" an unusual PC-'clone'? Why could you make music with the Sirius computer? Why do System 34 programmers, to this day, have bad posture? Enjoy ;-)

bkamhi
bkamhi

5 out of 5...same for the hexadecimal quiz too.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Thanks for the positive feedback. What subjects would you like to see us offer quizzes on?

joenovell
joenovell

Way to go Bill .... Nice touch ...

brian2l
brian2l

5 out of 5 and ready for more!!

ozchorlton
ozchorlton

As a native Mancunian, who once worked in IT, at the University of Manchester, it's good to see 'The Baby' in a quiz :-)

Mr. Fixit
Mr. Fixit

Sheesh, I'm geekier than even -I- imagined!

JamesRL
JamesRL

And the one I got wrong was the price of the Apple II - which in my mind is trivia... The fun thing would be, what would the Apple II cost in todays dollars....I know the minimum wage has almost tripled. House prices in my city have risen about 5x since then. James

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

Is this going to be an ongoing thing?? sounds fun! I can test myself to know how truly useless I really am! Maybe take me down a peg or 2 -- lol However a guest here that left IT about when I did knew 3 off the top of his head.

kzm1
kzm1

2 CPUS - 8088 & Z80. Could run MS-DOS or CP/M (I had one).

addinall
addinall

One of the bizarre things about the the machine was the dual CPU architecture. I had mine running MS-DOS, CP/M, MP/M, UCSD P-System and DR-DOS for a time. All in all a very strange machine in the era of very strange machines. The Kanji set in ROM was an expensive waste of real estate, and the upside down A drive was rather a PIA! The Rainbow had two floppy drives, but to save something (I dunno what) the two drives shared a common read write head! So one of the drives had to be upside down to the other! And the drivers were less than perfect! I remember having working floppies that would show a completely different file structure when placed in drive A: to when placed in drive B:!!!! WHAT THE FUCK! In the days of having MASM and maybe BASCOM on a disk to do the actual compile/Link, swapping the source floppy downstairs was a worry. It also had the un-endearing habit of re-booting itself (Type B motherboard and chipset) when given a spurious instruction by the Microsoft Assemblers, usually 3/4 of the way through a 20 minute re-compile! The ANSI driver just refused to work as requested, ESC [2m and ESC [0m just did bizarre things, seemingly at random. I remember this machine with less than fond memories. One of the very few that has ever driven me to distraction. My boss (way back in the early 80s) noticed me sleeping under the desk one Thursday morning and asked how long I had been at work; "Since Monday, I can't get this thing to fucking work..." Go home and sleep Mark. Truly a pig of a machine, and if you owned one, then I gather you have white hair like me ;-) How lucky are we today: $ ./configure $ make $ make install So easy everyone is doing it! So that is the DEC question. A couple more outstanding for the oldies on the net ;-) Cheers, Mark Addinall.

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

I don't think you can pluralise it that way. :)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

From this point forward I will only capitalize the first character in a name. This nonsense of capitalizing individual syllables has to stop somewhere, and I'm the roadblock.

paulmah
paulmah

Both the 'Bs' are capital. Got ridiculed for it once in one of the posts in my personal blog. :(