Test your tech news IQ

Everyone has their limits, as this week’s quiz amply demonstrates.

The past week saw Comcast place caps on how much bandwidth its subscribers could use. Microsoft tried to halt the slide in Xbox 360 sales, Yahoo discovered its own limitations in the social networking arena, and Apple/AT&T got sued for the iPhone’s limited 3G network.

Even this quiz is limited — with 10 points for each correct answer, you can’t score more than 100. But can you attain perfection? There’s only one way to find out.

1. Google’s Chrome browser beta is out, and the reviewsare mostly positive — with one glaring exception. What Chrome feature have reviewers objected to most?

a. Its “incognito” Web privacy feature

b. Lack of support for Shockwave and Flash

c. Its geeky comic book-style FAQ

d. Overly presumptuous EULA

2. Comcast has announced plans to bust a cap in yo’ asynchronous modem. What’s the new monthly limit for Comcast subscribers?

a. 250MB

b. 25GB

c. 250GB

d. 25TB

3. “A college dropout who co-founded Apple Inc.,Jobs won ardent supporters by ushering ‘cool’ gadgets to market. He delivered the Macintosh, the first user friendly computer, and conquered the online music industry with the iPod, making white ear buds fashionable.” Who had such nice things to say about the Apple icon?

a. Apple’s official corporate biography

b. The Second Coming of Steve Jobs, by Alan Deutschman

c. iCon: Steve Jobs, by Jeffrey S. Young & William L. Simon

d. Bloomberg.com obituary

4. Another Apple “special event” is coming up next week, which can only mean one thing: rampant rumor-mongering. Which of the following is Apple most likely to announce?

a. A new line of video iPods

b. A new gaming console

c. Yet another iteration of AppleTV

d. Steve Jobs is dead

5. To promote Will Wright’s evolution-based Spore, Electronic Arts invited dozens of celebrities to create their own Spore creatures. Which of the following high-profile names did NOT participate?

a. Adam West

b. Emeril Lagasse

c. Carlos Santana

d. Robin Williams

6. Microsoft may be planning a mobile apps store to rival Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market — or maybe not. What is the alleged store’s apparent name?

a. Microsoft Live Application Store for Windows Mobile 6.0

b. SkyMarket

c. MobileSoft

d. Apps4Saps

7. Yahoo has jettisoned another failed attempt to compete with Facebook and MySpace. What is/was the name of this (anti) social network?

a. Mish

b. Mash

c. Mosh

d. Moishe

8. In response to lagging sales, Microsoft has slashed the price on its gaming system. What does a base model Xbox 360 cost now?

a. (US)$279

b. $249

c. $199

d. $149

9. A new online music store has launched with a unique spin: It shares a slice of the sales pie with customers. What’s this new store called?

a. Popcuts

b. Popcharts

c. Poptarts

d. Popweasel

10. It’s math time again. Take the amount of annual revenue Facebook’s $1 gifts are likely to generate in 2008 and multiply by the percentage of market share Google Chrome managed to snag in its first 24 hours. Divide by the number of lawsuits currently filed against Apple and AT&T for poor 3G network performance. Plug that into your iPhone Web browser and — oh, wait, it dropped the connection. What do you get?

a. 17.5

b. 17,500

c. 175,000

d. 1.75 million

Answer key

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 has taken some of the shine off Google’s Chrome?

10 points

d. Overly presumptuous EULA

Within a day of Chrome’s release a backlash formed against its EULA, which appears to grant Google rights to any content posted using the browser (like blog entries or e-mail). In response to the uproar, Google said it would amend the objectionable language in the browser’s license. Because they would never do evil. Right?

Question 2: How much can you download before you exceed Comcast’s limit?

10 points

c. 250GB

Starting Oct. 1, formerly “unlimited” Comcast accounts will top out at 250GB, which works out to about 125,000 viewings of the Wii Fit Girl video http://www.youtube.com/verify_age?next_url=/watch%3Fv%3Dv31qxrXsxv0 (in other words, not enough). Those who exceed the cap may receive a stern talking to and, if they do it again within six months, a year-long suspension. So Comcast plans to reward its best customers by cutting them off. Is that called a bandwidth cap or a dunce cap?

Question 3: Who (or what) was singing Steve Jobs’ praises?

10 points

d. Bloomberg.com obituary

Last week, the news site mistakenly ran a 17-page obit http://gawker.com/5042795/bloomberg-runs-steve-jobs-obituary for the decidedly undeceased Jobs, then retracted it almost immediately after realizing its mistake. Apple declined to comment, restating its policy to never pre-announce the demise of its CEO.

Question 4: What will Apple probably unveil on Sept. 9?

10 points

a. A new line of video iPods

Based on the invitation’s “Let’s Rock” text, the inevitable dancing silhouette, and the Internet rumors already swirling about new Nanos, that’s a safe bet. But you know Le Jobs always has some surprise hidden in the sleeves of his black turtleneck — despite what Bloomberg.com thinks.

Question 5: Who didn’t get to build his own Spore creature?

10 points

d. Robin Williams

The long-awaited game, which has been in development almost as long as the human race, is slated for release next week. EA is holding a contest on its SporeVote site http://www.sporevote.com/index.html for the best beastie; competitors also include Net notables like Michael Arrington, Craig Newmark, and Robert Scoble. How do you tell the geeks and celebs apart? The geeks are the ones whose creatures look better than they do.

Question 6: What is alleged name of Microsoft’s rumored mobile apps store?

10 points

b. SkyMarket

Reports are based on a job listing that lived for one day on ComputerJobs.com before being pulled. Microsoft won’t comment on the matter. So if you’re planning to submit your résumé, better do it fast.

Question 7: What fledging social net just got whacked by Yahoo?

10 points

b. Mash

Launched almost exactly a year ago, Mash will die a quiet death at the end of this month, accompanied by the sound of crickets. But hey, we’ll always have Yahoo 360.

Question 8: How much will you have to fork out for a basic Xbox 360?

10 points

c. $199

Which now makes it the cheapest of the big three game systems, ahead of Sony’s PS3 ($400) and Nintendo’s Wii ($250). No matter; the Wii is still whipping both their heinies, selling more units in July than the two others combined. According to The NPD Group, Microsoft lags in third place in the console race, a position that’s getting uncomfortably familiar to the Windows behemoth.

Question 9: What online MP3 store shares the wealth with music buyers?

10 points

a. Popcuts

Buy a 99-cent MP3 from Popcuts and you’ll get credit for more purchases whenever anyone else buys the same tune, giving you an incentive to promote the song to other listeners. Eventually Popcuts hopes to share actual money with its customers. At press time, the service only featured about 700 songs from 200 artists. Check it out now, before the RIAA figures out a way to shut it down.

Question 10: What’s Facebook gift revenue times Chrome market share divided by 3G law suits?

10 points

c. 175,000

Facebook will net $35 million this year from selling virtual cupcakes and other $1 icons, estimates venture capitalist Jeremy Liew, who adds that his ballpark estimate might be off by 25 percent. According to both Net Applications and StatCounter, Chrome captured 1 percent of the browser market in its first full day on the job — passing both Opera and the ghost of Netscape.

There are now two aggrieved parties suing Apple and AT&T for 3G performance that is slow or nonexistent. So (35M * .01)/2 = 175,000. So do you think you surpassed your limits?

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