News Quiz: The Week in Tech

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Question 1: To the surprise of absolutely no one, Microsoft unveiled its line of Windows Phone 7 handsets this week. Which of the following is not one of them?

Correct Answer: Samsung Omnia II

That particular handset runs that (cough) other Microsoft phone operating system, WinMo 6.5, though Samsung has done its best to obscure that fact. However, the Samsung Focus will be among the 10 phones sporting Windows Phone 7 next November, when they become available from AT&T (Quantum, Focus), Sprint (HTC 7 Pro), and T-Mobile (Dell Venue Pro). The countdown for hype about Windows Phone 8 starts in three, two, one ...

Question 2: Yes, Windows Phone 7 is about as whizzy as Microsoft can muster. Still there are a few features missing. Which of the following is one of them?

Correct Answer: Copy and paste between apps

The phone OS also doesn't support Adobe Flash or multitasking, though copy and paste has already been promised by early 2011, assuming the phones stay on the market that long. In typical Microsoft fashion, they're simply trying to copy Apple -- in this case, the 2007 iPhone.

Question 3: The rumor mill was working overtime this week, and for once the topic wasn't Apple. Which two aging dot-com giants are allegedly feeling the urge to merge?

Correct Answer: Aol. & Yahoo!

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Aol. is seeking a way to acquire Yahoo! or possibly vice versa, once Yahoo! sheds some pricey assets (like its $10 billion stake in Chinese search engine Alibaba). The biggest question: If they do merge, will the newly formed company's name end with a "." or a "!"?

Question 4: It appears Apple's marriage to AT&T is an open one. Which other wireless major carrier will soon be selling the miraculous, life-changing Apple iPad?

Correct Answer: Verizon

After years of rumors about a Verizon-branded iPhone, it turns out that the first Apple-VZW product to hit the streets will be the iPad. Later this month you'll be able to purchase one from Verizon for $500 to $830, depending on the model. The problem: Apple products do not yet support Verizon's CDMA wireless technology. So if you want more than a Wi-Fi connection, you'll need to couple it with a Verizon MiFi portable hotspot. Or you could hold out for the as-yet-mythical Verizon 4G iPhone. Your call, so to speak.

Question 5: Remember when Google was just a search engine? Which of the following non-search-related projects is the G force not investing in?

Correct Answer: A cure for cancer

At least, as far as we know. According to a report in the Financial Times, the Google Price Index will use Web shopping data to measure the rise in the cost of consumer goods. A Google-engineered car has already logged more than 140,000 miles in test drives, sans driver. And Google is putting up more than a third of the money needed to build a wind farm on the Jersey shore. Now, if they could just build a self-driving car that uses wind power and cures cancer, they'd be on to something.

Question 6: Facebook has introduced new features to make the social network a touch more secure. Which of the following is not among them?

Correct Answer: Lets you opt completely out of sharing info with nonfriends

Facebook will allow you to request a temporary password be sent to your cell phone; good for 20 minutes, it will let you access your account from public libraries, Internet cafes, and other computers you don't own. You'll also be able to view what machines are currently logged into your account and log them off as needed, and Facebook will nag you on a semi-regular basis to update your security settings. But making your Facebook profile entirely friends-only? Not while the sweaty guy in the hoodie is in charge.

Question 7: Apple has received yet another patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. What does this one pertain to?

Correct Answer: Blocking dirty text messages

Apple's patent on a method for filtering text messages got wide play as an "anti-sexting device," which may eventually offer parents a way to reign in their iPhone Teens Gone Wild. Look for the patents on holding iPhones, tapping keyboards, and manipulating press coverage soon.

Question 8: "They really are the underdog here. Because of that they're incentivized go all out and innovate. ... I just couldn't think of anybody better to be working with to build the next generation of search." Who's speaking about working with which underdog?

Correct Answer: Mark Zuckerberg re: Microsoft Bing

Zuckerberg made his comments when introducing a partnership between Facebook and Microsoft Bing, which will begin inserting your Facebook friends' "likes" into search results. According to Fast Company, Bing really was once code-named "Underdog." Polly Purebred was not available for comment at press time.

Question 9: Sony has unveiled the first HDTV powered (in part) by Google. What's it called?

Correct Answer: Sony Internet TV

Available in sizes from 24 to 46 inches, Sony's "smart" TVs will sport Google Android software on a chip that lets users search their programming options and navigate the InterWebs while enjoying a fine selection of brain-dead video entertainment. Think of it as the boob tube minus the boobs (unless, of course, you're watching "Keeping Up With the Kardashians").

Question 10: Take the amount the Lower Merion School District in Southeastern Pennsylvania is paying to settle a suit over its use of Webcams to spy on students at home, and multiply that by the stock price milestone just reached by Apple. Add the number of U.S. home PCs that got sucked into a botnet in Q2, per Microsoft, rounded up to the nearest 100K. Put that in your malware quarantine and hope it doesn't escape. What do you get?

Correct Answer: 185,200,000

LMSD has agreed to pay $610,000 to two families who sued the district after learning that Webcams on school laptops were used to secretly snap pix of their kids at home. The cost of a single share of Apple stock just surpassed $300 for the first time in the company's history. A shade under 2.2 million U.S. computers were infected by botnet malware in the second quarter of this year, according to Microsoft's Security Intelligence Report. So 610K * 300 + 2.2M = 185,200,000. We wonder how many of those 2.2 million were Windows machines (or rather, if any of them weren't). Come back next week for another utterly infectious quiz.

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