Are you an old-school geek?

I saw a segment on Jay Leno the other night where they quizzed youngsters on words from their parents generation and wondered how would young geeks of today fare against us older geeksters? Here’s a little quiz, answers in the comments, write down your answers so you can score yourself. It helps if you were a photo/audio/computer geek like me as some may be obscure. And no cheating by using Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia, etc. Wow, this list got long. There is some obfuscation but not much.

1. What’s the big deal about CrO2 and FeCr and what are they used for?
2. What kind of acid did photographers use in the darkroom?

  • a. Sulfuric Acid
  • b. Acetic Acid
  • c. Lysergic Acid
  • d. All of the above
  • e. a & b
  • f. None of the above
    3. What’s an Elcaset?
    4. Why did photographers expose themselves to radioactive Polonium-210?
    5. What’s FP4?
    5. What’s ‘green light inspection’?
    6. Why were you a rookie if you used a Paterson?
    7. What’s Lynx and what was it used for (hint, it ain’t a cat)?
    8. What’s a changing bag?
    9. Why did The Beatles albums have ridges in the vinyl around the Apple logo?
    10. What is a Black Apple?
    11. Why does Positive and Reversal mean the same thing?
    12. What’s a wetting agent?
    13. What is a Bernoulli Box?
    14. Why couldn’t you shoot Cibachrome in a 35mm camera?
    15. What’s a pnote and what does that have to do with writings on Plato?
    16. What’s a darkslide?
    17. What does Edwal’s and nose grease have in common?
    18. How could a hole puncher increase computer disk capacity?
    19. What’s a B&H Cube and could it run rings around a carousel?
    20. Which of these doesn’t belong with the others? Apple Krate, Sting Ray, Orange Krate, Strawberry Krate.

  • 4 Replies to “Are you an old-school geek?”

    1. 1. What's the big deal about CrO2 and FeCr and what are they used for?

      These are magnetic audio tape formulas, each supposedly superior to the plain-jane standard audio tapes. The little notches near the record/protect knock-out tabs on a cassette tape keys the formulas to a tape player/recorder.

      2. What kind of acid did photographers use in the darkroom?

      a. Sulfuric Acid

      b. Acetic Acid

      c. Lysergic Acid

      d. All of the above

      e. a & b

      f. None of the above

      Answers d and e are correct. Sulfuric Acid was the hardener in Rapid-Fix, Acetic Acid was stop bath, Lysergic Acid is….well…Lysergic Acid Diethylamide a psychedelic drug.

      3. What's an Elcaset?

      A failed successor to the cassette tape by Sony that had the superior performance of a larger sized magnetic audio tape with the convinience of a cassette format.

      4. Why did photographers expose themselves to radioactive Polonium-210?

      Static-Master brushes had a tiny amount of the radioactive compound to get rid of static so you could brush dust off your negatives and camera gear.

      5. What's FP4?

      A medium speed black and white film by Ilford.

      5. What's 'green light inspection'?

      A method of viewing your film during the development stage using a weak, dark green light to gauge the development process.

      6. Why were you a rookie if you used a Paterson?

      Paterson made/makes walk-in plastic film reels and matching plastic development tanks. Pros usually graduated to metal reels and coveted the Nikon reels for it's counter-intuitive lack of a film clip which actually worked better.

      7. What's Lynx and what was it used for (hint, it ain't a cat)?

      A web browser that was text-only for hypertext pages.

      8. What's a changing bag?

      A lightproof bag that allowed you to handle undeveloped film when you didn't have a darkroom.

      9. Why did The Beatles albums have ridges in the vinyl around the Apple logo?

      If you had a record player that could load up multiple albums the records needed the little ridges to grip each other so the top album wouldn't slide around on the stack on the turntable platter. You had to be there to really understand this.

      10. What is a Black Apple?

      Bell & Howell sold a version of the Apple ][ computer that was colored black and had a bunch of extra features for multimedia (like slide projectors)

      11. Why does Positive and Reversal mean the same thing?

      They're both slide film. It's called positive since they aren't negatives (that makes sense huh?) and called reversal because the images on film would start out as negative then were either reversed by a light (really old process) or chemically (the current way) to create a positive image.

      12. What's a wetting agent?

      Kodak's Photo-Flo is an example of a wetting agent, it was used after washing developed film so water spots would not appear on your film. Similar to the wetting agents like Jet-Dry for your dishwasher to prevent spotting on your wine glasses.

      13. What's a Bernoulli Box?

      A high capacity (back in the day) data cartridge system. Also look up SyQuest and Zip disk in Wikipedia and cringe at the memories.

      14. Why couldn't you shoot Cibachrome in a 35mm camera?

      Cibachrome was a darkroom printing paper for printing slides. Famous for its super-saturated colors and being impervious to fading.

      15. What's a pnote and what does that have to do with writings on Plato?

      PLATO was a huge networked educational computer system and pnotes were Personal Notes which were email.

      16. What's a darkslide?

      A metal plate that protects film from being exposed to light, especially in view cameras but also seen in medium format cameras such as Hasselblad. That's cardboard piece that pops out of a Polaroid camera after loading film is a cardboard darkslide.

      17. What does Edwal's and nose grease have in common?

      Edwal's No-Scratch and nose grease were used in the darkroom to fill-in scratches on negatives so they wouldn't show up on a print (thank-goodness for Photoshop's stamp tool and healing brush!)

      18. How could a hole puncher increase computer disk capacity?

      Single-sided 5.25" floppy disks had a write-enable notch on one edge and if you put a notch on the opposite edge (usually with a single-hole puncher) you could flip the disk over and use the other side to write data since both sides of the disk had magnetic surfaces. 3.5" disks also had a square hole feature to denote capacity and yeah, people punched a hole or melted holes with soldering irons to increase disk capacity with those too.

      19. What's a B&H Cube and could it run rings around a carousel?

      A Bell & Howell Cube held slides for their brand of slide projector though it never caught on as much as Kodak's Carousel projectors. And if you did a slide show you only used the 80 slide carousel trays, the 140 trays always jammed when more than 20 people were viewing the presentation.

      20. Which of these doesn't belong with the others? Apple Krate, Sting Ray, Orange Krate, Strawberry Krate.

      Strawberry Krate doesn't belong. The others are bikes made by Schwinn.

      Your score:

      0-3 correct: Your diapers need changing kiddo.

      4-6 correct: You're probably in your teens or 20s, not a photographer or did too many drugs in the 60s and 70s (see 2c above).

      7-10 correct: Pretty good, could carry maybe a 10 minute conversation if transported back in time to a university computer center.

      11-15 correct: You're probably a seasoned photographer/geek and probably knows who Pablo Cruise is and doesn't ask 'Which guy is Jethro Tull?'

      16-20 correct: Old-School Geek with functioning brain cells (they say long-term memory is the last to go). You probably have listened to at least one album in quadraphonic and owned a Discwasher system.

    2. Hi Baron!

      I love quizzes like this but I bombed on this one. The only question I could answer with certainty was #18 because as a school tech, we used the tool that punched square holes on the side of a 5.25" disk to increase capacity. The good old days! By the way, Plato, Inc. is a viable company. We use the Plato curriculum where I work! It's come a long, long way.

      Speaking of good old days, did you sign up for our high school reunion? If not, what're you waiting for?

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