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Leading questions

Leading questions

Talk about a straight line! When we asked readers to provide a creative question for our September 8, 1997 "Answer of the month," we knew we were in for it. After all, the "answer" was UNIX, which opens up a whole host of possibilities for creativity.

And creativity was what we were looking for. As you know, we created the "Answer of the month" several months ago to give readers the chance to show off their wit by submitting a question to go with the answer. We're giving a prize for the most creative question.

How creative can you get with "UNIX?" Very, it turns out. And, it's amazing the depth of knowledge readers have about classical history. Most of the suggested questions related to certain historical references from the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Arabic centering around the subject of harems. Alas, while they were all funny, none of them was a standout.

Then there was the group of questions that anthropomorphized computers. Typical was the one about the operating system that had lost its drive to produce. Close, but still not quite there.

Some readers couldn't resist applying math to the solution. The simplest and best of that lot was from Richard Jermyn, of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, whose question for UNIX was: "What's 3X minus 2X?"

Frank Ricciardi, of Canadian Marconi Comp., treated us to an explanation of the origin of the name UNIX, then posed this question: "What does Multics divided by multics equal?"

And, Bob Snider, of Namco Controls Corp., posed this question: "What comes after UNVIII?"

Every contest has to have a winner, and the winner this time, for combining wit with political correctness, is Frank Prieto, of Siemens. His question for UNIX: "What did the barber say to the engineer?" Think about it.

Kudos to Frank, who receives a gift certificate for his efforts. And thanks to everyone else.

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