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All right.

After the sheer amount of stout I’ve quaffed the last two weeks, I feel it only appropriate to lead off with something Guinness related.

Is everyone ready? I didn’t mean for this to be some sort of Irish Inquisition, but we’re doing trivia.

What was Alec Guinness’ salary for playing the part of Obi Wan Kenobi in the 1978 movie, Star Wars?

OK… Hang on. Wrong Guinness. Here we go…

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, what was the greatest selling single computer model of all time?

The venerable Commodore 64. And…Alec Guinness earned 150k plus 2% of profits. Which would arguably buy quite a bit of the other Guinness. It was also more than two and a third times more K than the C-64 had, of which, depending upon where you source your information, between 12.5 million and 22 million units were sold.

Dwight, the next question is yours: How many bytes is that worldwide? Please state the median, mode and standard deviation in terms of bits. Expressed in Octal notation. Backwards. Now go.

Ok… How about: When was production stopped on the Commodore 64?

Introduced in January of 1982, the production run of the C-64 and the C-64C lasted twelve years and three months. Making that… April of 1994.

If Alec had held onto his money for a few years, he could have bought 250 C64s and still had money left over for a couple copies of Tetris.

So, does anyone know what the retail price of the C64 was in 1982?


On a side note, Alec Guinness was not a fan of the Obi Wan character, going so far as to help convince George Lucas that the character should be killed off in order to limit the amount of work he would have to do in subsequent films. And so the first Jedi Knight was cut down, leaving an indelible mark on so many young lives. Alec Guinness passed in 2000, having never had the chance to talk Lucas out of keeping Jar Jar Binks around for subsequent episodes.

Sadly, we lost another noble Knight this week in the form of Jack Trameil, founder of Commodore International.

What was Jack Tramiel’s original nationality?

He was born in Poland in 1928 to a Jewish family. When the Germans invaded eight years later, he spent time working in a garment factory in one of the ghettos before being sent to Auschwitz concentration camp with his mother and father. After being inspected by Dr. Mengele, he was transported to a labor camp near Hanover, where he managed to survive until the camp was liberated by the 84th Infantry Division in 1945. Tramiel was a co-founder of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which was opened in 1993.

I’m not going to try to pronounce his birth name, but what does his last name, spelled Trzmeil, mean in Polish?

Bumblebee. Pretty cool, as Flight of the Bumblebee was probably one of the first data sets I ever spent a weekend typing into a Vic-20, only to lose it all at the next power cycle.

In November of 1947, Tramiel took flight and immigrated to the United States and soon volunteered for the US Army where he learned what skill?

He learned how to repair office equipment, namely typewriters.

Commodore was not Jack’s first choice for the name of his new company. What was one of the other contenders?

Having just come out of the army, he was looking for something strong. Both Admiral and General were already taken. When he saw an Opel Commodore from the back seat of a cab, he had his name.

Maybe our next trivia question should be What is an Opel Commodore?

It’s a trap! No, wait… It’s a car. Sorry. Had to get one more Star Wars reference in there.

That’s it for the end of an era and an Irish Inqusition and that’s that for BarretTime.

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