As I mentioned a couple days ago, I made an account on a quiz site, okcupid. I’ve been piddling around and have since taken two geek tests and have not been satisfied with them. In fact I’ve mailed the authors of both of them because I thought there were errors.

The first one had:

Alright, which command would you use to copy a file:

  1. cp syn@cheese:/cheese /cheese
  2. scp /cheese:syn@cheese /cheese
  3. ssh -lsyn cheese
  4. ???????????????????????????????

As root on a Linux box I can run:

mkdir syn@cheese:
touch syn@cheese:/cheese
cp syn@cheese:/cheese /cheese
touch /cheese:syn@cheese
scp /cheese:syn@cheese /cheese

Which means either #1 or #2 is a legal way to copy a file. I’m not even really sure which one the author wanted to be the right answer. I would guess #1, maybe? Assuming that he didn’t know that the scp command does a local copy if there is not a valid host part at the beginning. I dunno. He never responded to my message.

The second test had:

public void Compute(int x) {
  try {
    int foo = 1024/x;
    foo = 1;
  } catch(Exception e) {
  } catch(DivideByZeroException e) {
    System.out.println("Error 1");

What’s the output of Compute(0)?

  1. 0
  2. 1
  3. 22
  4. Error 1

This one might be fine. I don’t know for sure what language it is written in. The System.outs suggest strongly java, but DivideByZeroException doesn’t exist in java and it does in .NET. Even if it did, you can’t have a try block which catches a superclass (Exception) before a subclass (DivideByZeroException), so this isn’t valid java in any case. I don’t know .NET and don’t have a compiler to test.

So, on this one I’m not sure. I’m still waiting to hear back on what language it is supposed to be.

I heard back from the guy and he told me he knew it was not valid. He just hasn’t had time to fix it yet. He said he was shooting for people to pick 22.

Regardless, I’ve not really been entertained by either of them. I’m wanting to write my own real geek test. I was wondering of the geeky among you, what would you put on it? I’m wanting to try and get some broader conceptual stuff so that someone can’t just google an answer.

What are the destination MAC/IP in a DHCPSOLICIT serviced by a DHCPv6 relay agent?

  1. the DHCP server’s MAC /
  2. FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF / FF05::1:5
  3. FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF / No IP (ethernet broadcast)
  4. the relay agent’s MAC / FF02::1:2

That question is one that just looks complicated. If you know what DHCP does, then you can answer it. It is used for a machine to get initial configuration information. Looking at the name of the packet, SOLICIT, you might correctly guess that this is the first packet sent out to find which DHCP servers are on the network. That eliminates #1 and #4 since both of those use a known MAC address. The machine doesn’t know any addresses though because it isn’t configured to be a part of the network yet. #3 can then be eliminated since DHCP is a UDP protocol (i.e. layer 3, so it has to have a layer 3 address). That address is the broadcast ( in IPv4 or the multicast FF05::1:5 for IPv6 which, as you might guess, DHCPv6 covers.

So someone has probably a 75% of guessing this if they’re just slightly geeky. A more difficuly class would be something so arcane you aren’t going to find it on the web.

What command will locate a file somewhere below the current location on a VMS system?

  1. find $(pwd)/./ -name filename
  2. ls –recurse | grep filename
  3. search [-]filename
  4. write sys$output f$search(“[…]filename”)

Don’t know? This one is trickier. The first one is a valid, if convoluted, way to do the operation in a bash shell. The second is a trickster because it would work in a bash shell except the argument is recursive and not recurse. It is there to trick people into thinking they found the trick and going with the first one. The third one is just made up. It includes the DCL representation of the current directory just for kicks. The last one is the right answer. How you going to get that? That’s what separates the men from the boys. ☺

I want more stuff like the first one though. Stuff that a geek ought to bed able to figure out if they’ve got the background. Putting really arcane stuff on there really just tests what people have run across. My first mainframe was gemini. That it was running VMS was just happenstance.

I need to cover the classes of geekiness. I think there’s a difference between a geek (someone fascinated by a subject) and a dork (someone socially maladjusted) and a nerd (someone who is intelligent). I’ve got a friend here who is a music geek. He knows a shitton about indie groups and he is really snide about it at times. He is a geek about music in the way I’ve got friends who are about computers or chemistry or whatever. So I want information questions more so than, “was canceling Enterprise a travesty?”

Does anyone have any good math or science sort of questions? Maybe internet culture stuff? (googlewhacking, whitehats, war chalking, etc.) I need some gradated questions too. A common one is what OS are you running or what is your MUA.

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