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Autodesk Trivia Quiz

Special thanks to Jamie Clay, Dan Drake, Patti Harris, Duff Kurland, Steve Mighetto, Kern Sibbald, John Sergneri, and Walt Spevak without whose encyclopedic knowledge and contributions this list would not have been possible.

  1. What was the name of the first product Autodesk ever sold?


  2. Why does the fiscal year end in January?

    Because in a small business it lets the owners receive bonuses, reimbursements, deferred salary, etc. that they don't have to pay tax on 'till April 15 in the following year, but which the company can deduct in the current year.

  3. What was the original street address on Autodesk's stationery?

    16 Saint Jude Road, Mill Valley, CA 94941. This was John Walker's house. Saint Jude is the patron of lost causes.

  4. What motto appeared on Autodesk's original letterhead?

    “Excellence in Computer Software.” See page [Ref].

  5. When and where was AutoSketch announced, and at what price?

    AutoCAD Expo—Chicago, 1986. $49.95. (AutoSketch was actually shipped at a retail price of $79.95).

  6. What does WIDGET stand for?

    Walker's In-Line Device Guaranteeing Elimination of Theft. The original name for the hardware lock.

  7. Who drew the Nozzle,[Footnote] and when?

    Don Strimbu, 1983.

  8. In what magazine did Autodesk's first full-colour ad run?

    Scientific American, September 1984.

  9. What was the first product launched by Autodesk after AutoCAD, and what obscure feature in AutoCAD was added to support it? (I'll bet 90% of even old-timers get this wrong.)

    The AutoCAD Symbol Libraries, derived from the symbols for the AlphaMerics plotter, for which we implemented “fractional arcs” in shape definitions.

  10. How much memory was required to run the IBM PC version of the first AutoCAD we shipped?


  11. Roughly how many lines of source code were in the original AutoCAD?


  12. Autodesk founder Mike Riddle sold his royalty rights in AutoCAD to Autodesk for $11,875,000 in January 1992, dropping his lawsuit against Autodesk. How many lines of source code did Mike Riddle contribute to AutoCAD in 1982, in return for this royalty?

    Less than 1200.

  13. Who bought the first copy of AutoCAD?

    Jamal Munshi, of MOMS Computing.

  14. What AutoCAD command accepts the “Q?+:$$ &9*^0E#1@2AF5+_R)!/&#<*:” input, and what does it do? Where did “Q?+:$$” come from?

    HANDLES/Destroy. “Q?+:$$” was the secret command one entered at Chi Corporation to initialise the FASTRAND, destroying all user files.

  15. What was the name of the first dog at Autodesk? Who owned the dog?

    Murphy. Patti Morrison.

  16. When and where was the first beer-bust held, and what event did it celebrate?

    In March, 1984, at our office at 2658 Bridgeway, Sausalito, to celebrate our moving (ourselves) into that building from 150 Shoreline.

  17. What is the “murder at the beer-bust” story about?

    The janitors dumped taco sauce in a leaky poubelle sack, which made a big red spot in the middle of the floor, drips leading to the staircase and down it, and two other big pools inside and outside the front door. It was quite a surprise when I saw it next Monday.

  18. Who was the “celebrity guest” at the party which celebrated Autodesk's first million-dollar year?

    Hunter S. Thompson.

  19. Who lived downstairs from Al Green in Sausalito during the Initial Public Offering?

    Hunter S. Thompson.

  20. Who was Autodesk's first Chief Operating Officer?

    Jim Pugash.

  21. What did Roy Rogers want to help Autodesk do?

    Go public. Roy Rogers was an investment banker at Hambrecht and Quist.

  22. What sample drawings were used to demo AutoCAD at COMDEX 1982?

    HOUSE,[Footnote] SHUTTLE,[Footnote] OFFICE,[Footnote] and SUBDIV.[Footnote]

  23. Where was John Walker when the doors to COMDEX 1982 opened the first day, and what was he doing there?

    Under the table, re-seating boards in the Marinchip mainframe, trying to get the machine to demo AutoCAD-80 working.

  24. What word was misspelled in the original SOLAR[Footnote] sample drawing?

    The plaque on the lunar lander on the Moon misspelled astronaut Edwin Aldrin's last name as “Alrdin.”

  25. Who succeeded Al Green as Chief Financial Officer?

    Don Lohin.

  26. What was Rube?

    The constraint manager based on AutoSketch that Eric Gullichsen developed.

  27. Who cracked the security of the FILETRAN machine, and how did he or she do it?

    Bob Elman, by discovering that COMMAND.COM on the FILETRAN machine was the same as the one on his DOS machine, then downloading COMMAND.COM from the FILETRAN machine and XORing with the copy on his boot disc, thus recovering the one-time pad.

  28. Who was the first national leader to see a demonstration of AutoCAD?

    Margaret Thatcher.

  29. What was E-RUN ACAD, and who developed it?

    A program to defeat the hardware lock. John Burningham.

  30. Who kept a carbide cannon in his office, and fired it inside the building when a major project was completed?

    John Walker.

  31. Who wrote the first major review of AutoCAD, and what magazine did it appear in?

    Davis Straub. PC World.

  32. What public domain software package was AutoLisp based upon, and who was its author?

    XLISP. David Betz.

  33. Who designed the original AutoCAD logo? Describe it?

    Chuck Victory.

    Original AutoCAD logo

  34. Who was the founder and first editor of CADalyst?

    Lionel Johnston.

  35. When was the first AutoCAD Expo, and where was it held?

    Chicago, 1986.

  36. Which Autodesk project bore the code name “White Album”?

    AutoCAD Release 9.

  37. In which AutoCAD source code module(s) does Lieutenant Columbo appear?

    lflood.c and shading.c.

  38. Who kicked a hole in the wall of the executive office area in 2320 Marinship, and who prompted him or her to do it?

    John Walker. John McLeod.

  39. Who produced the first video about AutoCAD?

    Jim Warren.

  40. Once upon a time AutoCAD contained a driver for a plotter that worked by having a little robot car drive around on the sheet of paper carrying three pens. What was it called?


  41. What was the first Unix machine to which an AutoCAD port was attempted?

    AT&T 3B2.

  42. To support which Autodesk product was the DXBIN command added to AutoCAD?


  43. Which Autodesk manager fired all of his direct reports days after starting at Autodesk? Why?

    Al Green. Embezzlement.

  44. What was the original message AutoCAD printed when an internal error caused it to crash?

    “AutoCAD gives up.” At the Anaheim A/E Systems show in 1985, VersaCAD's booth gave away buttons that said “Never gives up.” We changed the message in the next release.

  45. Which Autodesk product had a check box labeled “Show trials”?


  46. Whowas the first Autodesk Distinguished Fellow?

    William Bricken.

  47. Which AutoCAD release included an audio cassette tape?

    Version 2.5.

  48. What does AMIX stand for?

    American Information Exchange.

  49. Why did the police seize a workstation containing AutoCAD source code?

    The Apollo workstation in John Draper's apartment was seized when his roommate was arrested for allegedly counterfeiting BART[Footnote] tickets.

  50. What programming language was the first copy of AutoCAD to ship written in?


  51. What is ClassWar an acronym for?

    Class Language Application Support System Within AutoCAD, Really!

  52. Which Autodesk founder, while still being paid by Autodesk, developed a competitive product for VersaCAD?

    Mike Riddle.

  53. Why did Autodesk decide to write AutoCAD in C rather than Pascal?

    Because when Greg Lutz went to see a demo of IBM Pascal at the computer store, he discovered that it took 5 disc swaps or so to compile each file. Computer Innovations C let you run with the compiler in the A drive and your source in the B drive without playing disc jockey.

  54. What was FOST? What did the “F” stand for?

    The status line displayed on 40 character graphics screens such as the CGA. “FOST” indicated Fill, Ortho, Snap, and Tablet modes.

  55. What were the REPEAT and ENDREP entities? In which AutoCAD release were they removed?

    They bracketed entities to be repeated in a rectangular array. They were replaced by the MINSERT command in Version 2.5.

  56. Which was the first release of AutoCAD to require a math coprocessor to run?

    Release 9.

  57. Who received the Golden Hammer award? For doing what?

    Scott Heath, for implementing full 3D in Release 10.[Footnote]

  58. What significant event in Autodesk's history occurred on April Fool's Day?

    Information Letter 14, April 1st, 1991.

  59. What significant event in Autodesk's history occurred on Pearl Harbour Day?

    First customer shipment of AutoCAD LT was announced on December 7, 1993.

  60. What was the Turbo-DigitAll project?

    Chord keyboard driver, by Kelvin R. “All-thumbs” Throop.

  61. What AutoCAD-supported device worked by generating sparks?

    The SAC Grafbar digitiser.[Footnote]

  62. When did Autodesk first establish a forum on CompuServe?

    May, 1986.

  63. Who introduced the horrible “Lisp bug” in AutoCAD 2.15 which required the free update to 2.17? What was the bug?

    John Walker. Failing to load the stack segment and pointer registers in the proper order.

  64. Who is “Grambo?”

    Greg Small.

  65. Who was the subject of a public tie-cutting ceremony?

    Jim Stocker, on the occasion of his joining the Board of Directors. Chris Record wielded the Official Scissors.

  66. Who attended the original “Marin Software Partners” exploratory meeting at John Walker's house and decided not to become founders of Autodesk?

    Ernie Freeman, Tom Mahood, and John Nagle.

  67. What C compilers have been used to produce versions of AutoCAD for the IBM PC?

    Computer Innovations, Lattice, MetaWare, Microsoft (OS/2, Windows R11 and R12), WATCOM (Windows R12).

  68. AutoShade was originally going to use a third-party renderer. Whose?

    Visual Engineering.

  69. On which early AutoCAD platform was the status line placed at the bottom of the graphics area? Why?

    The NEC APC. This machine used two NEC 7220 graphics display controllers, one for text and one for graphics, the outputs of which were mixed and fed to a single screen. Screen resolution was 640×494, with the top text line devoted to a time/date display. You could turn that line off and display graphics in that area, but you couldn't display your own text (status line) there. So we placed the AutoCAD status line at the bottom of the graphics area just to gain 14 precious pixels of graphics area real estate.

  70. Which AutoCAD-supported display device did not support XORing? How were the cursor and dragging implemented?

    The IBM Plasma Display. The cursor and dragging were implemented in odd vertical and horizontal pixels. REDRAW and REGEN drew to all pixels, but moving things around on the screen caused odd numbered pixels to be cleared.

  71. What's “Electric Malcolm” and who was it named after?

    The AutoCAD transcript facility (XSCR command), named after Malcolm McCullough. See page [Ref].

  72. What Autodesk product was prototyped by the Eagle Project? When was the prototype completed?

    The Advanced Modeling Extension (AME), created by transforming AutoSolid into an AutoCAD ADS application. July 20, 1989, the twentieth anniversary of the Moon landing.

  73. What device could be tested by Autodesk's QA department only after opening a window?

    The Geographics digitizer. It worked using a long bar and a set of shaft encoders. When you attached it to the back of a table you needed additional space to move the puck.

  74. Who was the Colonel?

    John Kern, retired Chief Engineer of the U.S. 6th Army, who joined Autodesk as Operations Manager in 1983. Since “John” usually meant John Walker and “Kern” meant Kern Sibbald, folks referred to him as “The Colonel.”

  75. Who stuffed pizzas in his backpack at Autodesk beer-busts?

    John Draper.

  76. Why did AutoCAD jump from Version 2.6 to Release 9?

    After AutoCAD Version 2.6, a major update which some analysts said we should have called version 3.0, everybody expected that AutoCAD 3.0 would be the release with full 3D. If we called the next release “Version 2.7” it would be perceived as a minor update and few people would notice the substantial features it offered (notably the pull-down menu and dialogue box user interface). If we called it “Version 3.0” everybody would be disappointed that it didn't contain any additional 3D functionality. So we got out of the “Version” decimal point game by just calling every update, however bright and beautiful or short and squat, a serially-numbered “Release.”

  77. Which release of AutoCAD first required an 80386 or better processor?

    Release 12.

  78. Which customer reported the first bug in AutoCAD?

    Jamal Munshi, of MOMS Computing.

  79. Who was the first MacArthur Fellow (future one, that is) to buy AutoCAD?

    Wheelchair designer Ralf Hotchkiss.

  80. What was Autodesk's first product for Microsoft Windows?

    The Autodesk Animator Player, AAWIN.

  81. What product resulted in Autodesk's receiving its first software patent?

    CAD/camera. (The inventor was John Nagle.)

  82. How many ways is the word “Marin” connected with Autodesk? Cite them.

    Dan Drake and John Walker owned Marinchip Systems, Ltd., made their investment through that company, and contributed its software as potential products. John Walker named Marinchip Systems after the last great industrial enterprise in Marin County, Steve Bechtel's World War II Liberty shipyard, “Marinship,” about which he learned, in 1977, from Mike Ford. The original name for the company in the Working Paper[Footnote] was “Marin Software Partners.” Incorporated in Marin County in 1982, Autodesk subsequently moved to a waterfront building at 2320 Marinship Way, built on the site and named after the shipyard after which Marinchip was named. In 1990, Sandra Marin became Autodesk's General Counsel. In 1991, Autodesk's European Software Center opened in Switzerland, in the commune of Marin-Epagnier, canton of Neuchâtel, in an office/industrial complex named “Marin Sors.” And several Autodesk founders enjoy Chinese food marinated in garlic sauce.

  83. When was the first AutoCAD tutorial published? How was it distributed?

    AutoCAD V1.4 was one (count 'em, 1) disk in a “Preview Pak” of ten “blank” disks in 1984. The idea was “buy the Preview Pak, run the demos, then re-use the disks.” We had to cram the program and a few support and sample files onto one 360K diskette, and a tutorial into 16 of the 5 1/4 inch manual pages. At the back of the manual was a coupon for $20 off on AutoCAD.

  84. How many document-processing and desktop-publishing programs have been used to produce the AutoCAD manuals? Name them.

    Seven: WordStar, Perfect Writer, Micro-Script, LaserScript, GML/PC, Ventura Publisher,[Footnote] FrameMaker.

  85. What Autodesk product was the first to sport dialog boxes and pulldown menus?


  86. How many of Autodesk's founders had worked at Information Systems Design?

    Ten: John Walker, Dan Drake, Duff Kurland, Greg Lutz, Mauri Laitinen, Keith Marcelius, David Kalish, Hal Royaltey, Jodi Lehman, Mike Ford.

  87. Who was the Vice President of R&D who decided, the day he was scheduled to start at Autodesk, not to after all?

    Allen Berglund, in November 1987.

  88. What was the largest peripheral device ever tested by Autodesk QA?

    The Calcomp 960 plotter. It was particularly amusing to see it being tested with the first-ever laptop, the Data General One.

  89. Why can't AutoCAD explode differentially-scaled Blocks?

    Differential scaling turns circles into ellipses, and AutoCAD, to this day, does not support true ellipse and elliptical arc entities.

  90. When was the directional sense of AutoCAD's PAN command flipped?

    Trick question! First on October 11th, 1982, then changed back to the original way in Version 2.0 (October 1984). See page [Ref].

  91. For what device was AutoCAD's AUX1 menu support developed?

    The SunFlex TouchPad.

  92. Who had California vanity license plates “AUTOCAD,” “AUTOBAD,” and “ACAD OTC.”

    AUTOCAD—Greg Lutz, AUTOBAD—David Kalish (big mean black Corvette), ACAD OTC—Al Green.

  93. After what entertainment figure is the AutoCAD source module responsible for the ELLIPSE command named? How many arc segments are used to approximate an ellipse?

    Phineas T. Barnum. Eight.

  94. What was Autodesk's first animation product? What did it provide that the current products do not?

    AutoFlix. Worked on an EGA, worked with AutoShade, and had motion paths integrated with AutoCAD, allowed a musical sound track generated from the PC speaker, and permitted HyperCard-style button definitions for interactive control of animations.

  95. Has Autodesk had any shareware products? If so, what were they?


  96. What was the “Anty Matters” project?

    A 1987–1988 project to develop an artificial life laboratory and related game for the Science Series.

  97. What programming language does AutoCAD's DXFIX utility support?


  98. When and where was the first NAAUG conference held?

    Summer of 1991, San Jose.

  99. Who first proposed an AutoCAD Lite product? When?

    John Walker, July 1984.[Footnote]

  100. Who wrote the memo in 1986 that led to the removal of the hardware lock?

    Walt Spevak.

  101. What version of AutoCAD was the first to include a tablet template?

    Version 1.0 included a blank template as a page in the manual. The plastic, ready-to-use template was introduced in Version 2.5.

  102. Which magazine described Autodesk's 1985 Initial Public Offering as a “high-flyer that may not fly.”

    Business Week.

  103. Which magazine named Autodesk the “Number One Hot Growth Company in America” in both 1986 and 1987?

    Business Week.

  104. Which magazine named Autodesk as the #1 company in the world in the 1980's based on added value?

    The Economist, in the September 7, 1991 issue. Added value which “measures how much more a firm's output is worth than all its inputs of materials, labour and capital” was 33.9% of sales for Autodesk, and “typically 5%” for the other 2,000 publicly traded companies evaluated by the London Business School.[Footnote]

  105. Where was the hot tub?

    Outside the “Moment's Pause” spa, adjacent to the conference room above the production office at 150 Shoreline, where weekly management meetings were held in 1984.

  106. Which Autodesk department had an office with a fireplace?

    The Training Department, in the 150 Shoreline building.

  107. What was the original U.S. list price of AutoCAD 1.0?


  108. What did the original extra-cost AutoCAD option consist of? How much did it cost? How long did John Walker spend developing it?

    Dimensioning (extremely primitive and non-associative). $500. Three days.[Footnote]

  109. How many members of Mike Ford's family worked for Autodesk?

    Not counting in-laws, five were Autodesk employees: Mike, Joan (wife), Jerry (son), Jackie (daughter), and Stephanie (daughter). At one point there was sign in the lunch room at 2320 Marinship that said, “Your mother doesn't work here! Clean up after yourself.” Some wag scrawled “Except Fords” after the first sentence.

  110. Who drew the Golden Gate Bridge sample drawing?[Footnote] What was the drawing name, and what version of AutoCAD was used to draw it?

    Malcolm McCullough, SPAN.DWG, AutoCAD 1.3 and 1.4 (in-development).

  111. Who drew the COLUMBIA sample drawing?[Footnote]

    Sean O'Donnell.

  112. What was the “carve your favorite founder” contest?

    For several years, at Hallowe'en, departments competed to make, by carving a pumpkin, the best effigy of an Autodesk founder or member of management. This rapidly became a safe way to engage in humiliation, mocking prostheses, voices, etc., and was laid to rest, to everybody's relief, after 1990's contest led to the departure of an Autodesk founder.

  113. Which two Autodesk old-timers were named the same as pop singers? Who actually played in a band?

    Al Green, Michael Jackson (was in a band).

  114. Which Autodesk product contained a rock song? Who was the artist? Name that tune.

    The Autodesk Image Library '91 CD-ROM contained, as audio tracks, two original rock songs recorded by Amy Wigton, Open Eyes and My Own Two Feet.

  115. As what was the Voyager spacecraft[Footnote] mis-labeled in a magic moment in Autodesk advertising?

    A turbine blade.

  116. When John Walker left California for Switzerland in 1991, he sold his car and motorcycle. Who bought the car? The bike?

    Car: Greg Small. Motorcycle: Mike Jackson.

  117. Which Autodesk officer was once an AutoCAD dealer?

    John Lynch.

  118. Which Autodesk manager was previously a cabinetmaker?

    Creighton Hoke.

  119. Which Autodesk old-timer was once a ship's cook?

    John Sergneri.

  120. What Autodesk product was code named THUD. Why?

    3D Studio, after its principal developer, Tom Hudson.

  121. Who first designed an all-new racing car engine on a PC with AutoCAD?

    Joe Shubeck of Eagle Engines.

  122. How were the the project code names “Certain Trumpet,” “Placid Impact,” “Caustic Moment” etc. generated?

    By running a Unix shell script, written by John Walker for that express purpose, until something topical, evocative, or cool popped out.[Footnote]

    # Create operation codenames from /usr/dict/words
    dl=`wc -l </usr/dict/words`
    RND=`date '+%H%S%d%M'`
    RND1=`date '+%y%S'`
    RND=`expr $RND + $RND1`
    bilge=`expr $RND + $RND + $RND + $RND + $RND + $RND`
    dw1=`expr $RND % $dl`
    dw2=`expr $bilge % $dl`
    echo `sed -e ${dw1}p -e ${dw2}p -e d /usr/dict/words`
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