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Games, Diversions & Perl Culture by Jon Orwant

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Chapter 32. The Second Perl/Internet Quiz Show

Jon Orwant

At O’Reilly’s 1999 Open Source conference, I emceed and judged the Second Perl/Internet Quiz show, which pitted teams of Perl hackers against one another to win enduring fame and a motley collection of prizes. Here are the questions, including a few I didn’t ask.

Four teams played, with all participants winning one of the following:

  • VA Linux: A cube fridge and $40 to fill it with junk food

  • perltoys.com: Magnetic Perl Poetry Kits

  • Geek Cruises: 50% off a state room for the Perl Whirl Alaska Tour

  • O’Reilly $50 and $25 gift certificates

  • TPJ: Free two-year subscriptions

If you want to tally your score, you can use the ratings at the beginning of Chapter 31.

Sample Questions

The Perl Quiz Show isn’t like Jeopardy or Win Ben Stein’s Money. It’s modeled after College Bowl, a family of collegiate tournaments that I participated in at MIT. Here’s the sample toss-up I used to warm up the teams, with interspersed commentary.

Toss-up 0: This company started in a abarn in Newton, Massachusetts,

This question illustrates how the ideal toss-up question is written: with the most obscure information at the beginning.

and originally specialized in technical writing and consulting.

At this point, a few people in the crowd already knew the answer.

Their consulting business slowed down in 1985, so they tried publishing some of their material as books, and thought they might give them away to promote their consulting business.

Most people had a good guess after ...

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