A Preview of the Quiz

A preview of what Free Day 2011 is going to look like.

Favorited Favorite 0

With just an hour to go, I'd like to give you a bit of a preview of what Free Day 2011 will look like. As things unfold, feel free to join us in the SparkFun IRC channel.

If you get a moment, please review the goals and rules of FreeDay from the previous post. Free Day is a little different this year. We're going to give the old timers a gimme, and the new comers are going to have to learn a bit.


Here's what SparkFun will look like during Free Day. Checkout the top banner. It will be running and updating throughout the day. Please ignore the $1,000 in the graphic. That is the artificial limit set on our test server. We will be giving away the full $150,000 tomorrow starting at 9AM MST on January 13th, 2011.

Next notice the large red block on the main page area. That's where you click to begin the Free Day 2011 giveaway.


Please click the above image to get a larger view. Now you need to decide. Do you take the instant gift or go into the quiz for potentially less and potentially more money ($0 to $100)? Remember, once you make your decision and click on a box, you cannot change your mind.

I won't even compute the odds of that promo code actually working.

Now let's assume you click on the 'Redeem Loyalty Funds' before Free Day expires. You will immediately be taken to a page where you will see your promo code. Awesome! Congrats!


Now let's see what happens if instead, you click on 'Enter the Quiz'. It's pretty simple. On the left you'll see one of our 20 new Bite Sized Primer tutorials. These are very quick tutorials to give you the basic understanding of a principal piece of knowledge. Basically something you should know when playing in the world of tangible electronic interfaces. On the right you'll be given a question and four potential answers. Please don't worry too much about the difficulty of these questions. They are just challenging enough for a newcomer to have to read the tutorial, but should be straight forward for a technical user.

You click on an answer and click 'Submit Answer' or 'Skip'.

  • If you get the question right, you get $10 and we donate $2.
  • If you get the question wrong, you lose $3 and a bit of your street cred.
  • If you skip a question, you advance to the next question. You will be allowed to return to any unanswered questions.

You can navigate away from the quiz page but we don't recommend it. Credit is given out as you advance through the quiz. The quiz may end on any question when the $150,000 pool is exhausted, but you will keep any credit you've accumulated regardless of whether you've answered all ten questions or just one.


Assuming there are still funds left, if you have unanswered questions at the end of the quiz, you will be given a chance to go back and answer them. Simply click on the arrow icon to take you back to that question.


Once you've answered all ten questions, or chosen to end the quiz with unanswered questions, or if Free Day ends, you will be taken to the final page where you will receive your promotional code which you will be able to use immediately. Enjoy!

Remember: Promo codes issued from Free Day 2011 have a 60-day time limit. We want you to get your stuff some time in the next two months.

See that? We've got more Dino inside.

Disclaimer: You can help to bring us to our knees again. One of the benefits from Free Day 2010 was the massive load test we threw at our servers. It was a very effective, self-inflicted denial of service attack that showed us where the problems were within our system. We’ve been spending the past 11 months upgrading our hardware by orders of magnitude and completely re-writing our website to squeeze out every efficiency available. Will Free Day 2011 bring our servers to their knees again? It most likely will, but it will continue to push us to improve our systems for non-Free Days. In other words, please come join the party on Thursday at 9AM MST, we need your help to punish our server bank.

Comments 182 comments

  • almost exactly one day from right now.
    ...Free... F-ing... Day.
    I like free stuff.

    • Might I also add that Free-Day is a super-progressive concept and it's very very groovy that SFE even DOES this. So let's keep that in mind amidst the frustrations inherent in trying to earn free stuff.
      As was said in the Free-Day Video last year: "How exactly is not getting free sh** a disaster?"
      Let's keep our heads about us, try not to harass customer service, and have fun.

      • +1
        I, member23267, do solemnly swear that if I fail to get free stuff on free day, for any reason at all, I will not bitch at SparkFun about it.

      • +1.
        No one is being forced to get free stuff :-)

      • +1
        Though have bookmarked the SparkFun site as "Network Error" from that day forth.

      • Who doesn't like free stuff?
        But your completely right. This is perhaps the best idea any company I know ever has had.
        Perhaps some other companies copy this idea?

        • maybe apple should try this :-)

          • Apple would require you to join the developer program along with the "made for apple" program, disable SPP bluetooth, and only allow your credits to be used on the app store for Justin Beiber records after submitting your schematic for authentication chip wiring.

    • On a complete unrelated note - I clicked on your profile and then your beer blog (which you need to update, my friend). I don't know if you are into homebrewing, but I have a great recipe for a Hoegaarden knock-off.

      • My good sir, thank you for visiting the blog. I know, I completely missed the Pumpkin Ale season (I was gonna do a comparative tasting between Jack's, Post Road, Harvest Moon, and Sam Adams) I've been busy with another project, and with trying to get a job out there with you guys, haha.
        I got ahold of a Hoegaarden knock-off the other day by an American Brewery (Ironically "Avery Brewery" in Boulder) "White Rascal," and it was a darn good beer indeed.
        I've tinkered with home-brewing but haven't put the time into it that I'd like, it's a definite project in the near-future though. And that recipe sounds like something I'd like to get ahold of!

        • A lot of the collective SparkFun paycheck seems to make its way to Avery. I'm not really a fan of most Belgian styles, but they do a nice job with White Rascal.

          • Haha,
            That's cool though, If you spin it the right way, spending wads of cash on local beer sounds a lot like "Investing in Ethanol" and "Supporting the Local Economy" ;)
            You know white rascal's the only Avery I've had. The only place I can buy it here is a specialty wine and beer shop, and it ain't cheap.
            Electronics, Free Stuff, Beer... this page is now a celebration of all things that are good.

  • Before it goes live, can you please fix the misspelled "lose" on the promotional code page (3rd graphic)?

  • I spended much more hours on the computer that where much shorter!!
    You heard about the world-wide eclipse outside at 8.55AM MST? You definitely should check it out!

  • ...

  • In about an hour, I will try for some SF Credit. Being new to electronics, I will be grateful for whatever happens. I appreciate that this activity "Spark-ed" some Fun! and motivated me to look at the tutorials. Thanks for the opportunity, and know that I will still order stuff I wouldn't have. Electronic Stimulus Package (ESP!)

  • Please folks once ur done with ur questions or taking the loyalty cash get off the website. Dont try to place orders now and clog up the works for everyone else.

  • I woke up at 3'o clock in the morning to not miss it, and was quite puzzled when i saw the counter. Glad that i have not missed it, angry that i could have sleep countinously. I should work on my math skills:)

  • Does Javascript have to be enabled for the quiz?

  • I was wondering if the credits could be used with the CustomPCB service, or only to order parts directly from SparkFun?

    • +1
      I think that sparkfun would probably be very okay with using the credits toward batchpcb. All about learning and experimentation, right?

      • It sure would be nice if we could swing that but BatchPCB is a distinct website with a distinct database of customers. It would be a bit like using your Target gift card at Walmart - feasible but only with lots of prep on the backend.
        That's not something we have prepared this year, but I'll keep it in mind for possible inclusion with whatever we do next year.

      • Unfortunately it's only for the main site

  • If I accidentally loose my promotional code, will I be able to see it somewhere later (assuming I was logged in when I got it)?

  • Any bets on how long it will take for the SF free-money watering hole to run dry?

    • I predict it will be gone before I can answer 3 questions.

    • IT has a big board where we're laying down our own predictions in four categories:
      1. How many quiz participants?
      2. How many "lumpers" (folks taking the lump sum)?
      3. When will the money be all gone?
      4. ... This one's a bit of a secret for now. Surely it will be addressed in a post-FreeDay post. =)

      • I'd probably take the lump sum, but then nothing goes to charity :(
        I'll probably watch the money counter and fly by the seat of my pants.

    • I made a prediction in my product post video, we'll see how close I got.

  • Well, I have tomorrow off, but the girlfriend wants to go snowshoeing. Looks like I'll have to wait until next year. (Happy girlfriend > $0-$100.) Good luck everyone!

  • Loyalty money ($30) or questions (and risk unresponsive server)?
    and then the really hard question... XBees or GPS?
    Sparkfun is awesome!

  • It feels like my birthday is tomorrow. But stronger

  • Imagine, I need to choose my classes in this way. All students waiting for 8am, and if classes are full you'll need to choose others..
    Stupid system..
    But for FreeDay it works!

  • 15 minutes to go and I've got an 8s load time just on the documents for Sparkfun.com

  • 15 minutes to go, the site took 5 seconds to load, and it usually loads in a fraction of a second, though all these comments aren't helping

  • reloading time is increasing, good luck everybody

  • 30minutes to go. the website is already slowing down.
    lets hope the site can handle it.

  • OMG the site's starting to lag.... well, i hope it isnt my connection :(

  • Been reading through those primers and I've picked up quite a bit. Even if I don't get anything, I've found a valuable enough tool with those primers! Cause as we all know, knowledge is power! lol

  • Wait a minute - Nathan started the company in 2003, but wasn't a "customer" until 2006?

  • thank god for snow days i can finally participate in free day

  • 30 minutes to go!

  • I discovered Sparkfun BECAUSE of Free Day, the site came up after I searched Google for something, which I cannot remember what it was... I was too late last year, hopefully I'll succeed this year. I am going to take the quiz, I hope it's easy! GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

  • I really should be somewhere else ....
    I hope this is worth it!

  • 30 minutes to go and the site is still up?

  • Hey! Thanks to all at sparkfun - just knowing that all this stuff is going to be given away free makes me feel great (and maybe jealous a bit - I don't know why, but I've always dreamed of holding this big free party where everyone would be invited)
    Good luck to all - and thanks again! LD

  • Sparkfunny!

  • how does loyalty $ is calculated?

  • 55min to go!
    Nice time, 5pm in Holland :)

  • Why on earth was an extra hour added to the clock?

  • Theres the 1 hour mark!!

  • one hour to go!

  • Check, check! 1- 2- ...
    (6:58:00 am PST)

  • cant wait until my screen looks like this for real!
    00:00:00:00 > NOW

  • how is your running total calculated? if you get the first 3 questions right, you get $30. but if you get the next 7 wrong, you go down to $9. But if you get the first 7 wrong, and the last 3 right, do you get $30, or the $9?
    You said you can't go negative so the first 7 you stay at 0...?

  • Cant wait

  • YAY FREE DAY! YAY FREE DAY! (cmon everyone! chant with me!)

  • 1.5 hours to go, its 1:30 AM in Australia, tired, and waiting.......

  • I won't even compute the odds of that promo code actually working.
    16 digits to the 12th power: 281474976710656,
    So 1/281474976710656 or 3.552713679e-13%

  • nice upgrades, this time last year it took 10 minutes to load before it had started, loaded pretty quick with 2 hours to go :) lets hope they can last

    • Right? 20 min to go and I'm bein' a big jerk clicking around the site randomly as fast as I can and I gotta say... it's not slow.
      Very promising, guys.

  • Practically every school in the south east is closed today. They can help with your load testing.

  • The holidays are over, guys.
    [Top left corner of the site]


    • where? NY or New England?

      • Probably not NY - we only have a handful of districts on 2 hour delay here upstate. My guesses are MA (Savoy 38"), CT (Woodbury 28"), or VT (Wilmington 36").

  • cmon, I'm a student in delaware and we only have a 2 hour delay. I think I'm going to send my dad to answer randomly...

  • The example says Nate's first order shipped 2006-01-01. So that's:
    2006-01-01 to 2006-12-31 = 1 year
    2007-01-01 to 2007-12-31 = 2 years
    2008-01-01 to 2008-12-31 = 3 years
    2009-01-01 to 2009-12-31 = 4 years
    2010-01-01 to 2010-12-31 = 5 years
    2011-01-01 to 2011-01-13 = not quite another year
    So why did nate only get $40 instead of $50 ?

  • Hmm.. What if my first order was before you had the current account system set up so it is not associated with a sparkfun account to get my loyalty bonus. Order#4949 on 2005-3-14.

    • Sorry, we're only counting orders in the current database (over 300,000 orders!) We love and appreciate you early adopters, but it would have been a nightmare to accommodate the paper records from the earlier bookkeeping systems.

    • Good point -- I have orders going back to at least #9512 on Nov 10, 2005, maybe further back than that but I'd have to dig thru some backups to find proof. Thank you, Bill Welch

  • So much for no catches :P
    Good Luck everyone!

  • Starts 9AM MST. What's cutoff time ?


  • I hope i will be up by then. I really need some EL wire:)

  • I remember frantically searching for my school's WiFi network on my iPod Touch on last year's Free-Day. This year, thanks to winter fronts and .25" of ice on the roads, I haven't had school one day this week. I will enjoy frantically trying to get the Quiz page to load...on my laptop, or Droid, at home. Awesome! I love you SFE!!!!


  • I'll be at work, in the washroom and on my Iphone! Can't wait!

  • You also spelled "Promotional" wrong in the 2nd to last picture.

  • Does anyone else recognize those exact same checks and "x's" in the quiz as the same ones from webassign?

  • The odds of that promo code working are somewhere in the range of 1 in 129 trillion (I thought someone should calculate it ;-) ). And that is optimistic.

  • I'm skeptical.. my first Free Day event was as bad if not worse than my first Black Friday all nighter.
    Never have I stared at the same Sparkfun loading page for most of the morning..and when I saw a glimmer of hope thinking I can click Checkout everything just went poof!

  • "I won't even compute the odds of that promo code actually working."
    It's 1 in 170,817,412,677,608 assuming that 9B5B87343FE8 is the highest promo code.
    If you've used the full range of a 48 bit Hex string for the promo code though, this figure climbs to 281,474,976,710,656

  • get all questions wrong
    owe sparkfun $30

  • I'm going to take the quiz on a Droid while playing Pirates of the Caribbean on a tuba. ;)

  • So If I an on Q#7 and have gotten all of them right so far ( not going to happen) and Free day ends do I get my $70 or do I get nothing?

    • Once you get a question right, you get the money. You don't need to go through all the questions.

  • Anyone in IT worried about being scientific and comparing apples to apples? I understand the 2 month window to place orders helps with shipping. After all it is cruel to loadtest humans instead of machines. :p But in the end if you want to see how you do compared to last time you wont be getting the same test of the shopping cart access. That alone might improve the results. Although I suppose you did totally overhaul the website as well as purchased more servers so it could never be apples to apples anyway. Coming out of a meeting on loadtesting our own sites I find the problem to be very interesting. Would love a geeky followup on the tools and methods you use to monitor the site. From http://www.sparkfun.com/news/322 it looks like you have some rrd? cacti? ganglia? stuff. What else? An even more detailed IT follow-up of this years Free Day would be sweet! Good luck guys.

    • Like Judd says, we're expecting to learn a lot.
      On the other hand, yeah, this event isn't going to look much like last year's. Even if we were running approximately the same code or the same hardware (leaving us something we could treat as, sort of, an isolated variable), I'm not expecting nearly the volume of (attempted) participants.

    • We're happy to share what we can, and I suspect a technical comparison of 2K11 vs 10 will yield some interesting morsels.. Stay tuned..

  • So is there a "side bet" again this year?

  • Ahhh!! Tried to get my son to sign up and he accidentally took over my profile. Need to fix.

  • Ooh I hope I can answer some. I am a newbie.

    • Go to Tutorials then look through the Bite-Sized Primers. All the Free Day quiz questions will be very similar to the example questions there. Good luck!

  • I think that 60 day to redeem your promo code is very nice! Thanks!

  • The post says it kicks off at 09:00 MST, but the countdown clock at the top is counting down to 23:00 MST tonight. Intentional?

  • Your developers must have been hard at work the past couple of months. The quiz looks amazing. I have everything setup. I'm not going to miss out on Freeday this year.

  • Great, another free day I will miss. 9 AM MST means 5 PM in europe. Time to commute home. No chance to join from work, no chance to join from home. Shift the whole thing to 12 AM, never heard of people commuting in the atlantic ocean.

  • here's praying to the great gods of electronics that il be able to do anything from europe. last year i didn't stand a chance because of the massive load on sparkfun. lets hope everybody can enjoy this day

    • I live approximately 1 mile from SFE, and I had no luck last year either! However I believe a number of overseas people did walk away with stuff last year. It mostly depends on whether the TCP/IP Gods are smiling on you. Good luck!

  • Do I have to beat the clock to get the lump sum as well or do I get the option to take that credit no matter what?

    • The lump sum option falls under the total amount. So yes, you need to beat the clock on that.

  • Hey I have got two questions :)
    1) How do you calcultae years of loyalty? Number of months / 12 or just difference in year? It could make $10 difference :) :) :)
    2) Assuming I get $10 of free stuff, can I buy $15 and pay for the difference or the transacion must be paid either with the "Free credit" or with the "Credi card" :)....yhea...I know...I should wait to win prior asking that...

  • Will cheating be handled by restricting orders per IP address? I'll be at school, between classes and I'm sure I won't be the only one there using our school's IP for this.

    • The rule is one entry per household, so I'm pretty sure they check your address.
      I could see some people getting their neighbors in on it and making an entry at their house, but its only $100. It wouldn't be worth it. I'm more in for the excitement of freeday, not the money.

    • I don't believe so; I think it's per account.

  • From Portugal right now:
    --- www.sparkfun.com ping statistics ---
    10 packets transmitted, 10 received, 0% packet loss, time 9011ms
    rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 175.241/213.098/308.607/41.787 ms

  • I am going to be out. I thought it was going to be at night. Dang

  • You guys probably won't be happy till you get you dinofactor up to at least 99.9 (whatever THAT means).

  • i'm gonna do a night out for this @ office where Speedtest showed 64ms ping and 20Mbps dl speed!! ;)
    More than the freebies its the 'being a part of something this awesome' that's elevating my excitement..

  • I don't see the banner when using Google chrome, just a blank spot. I can see it when I switch over to Firefox.

  • There's yer problem! Not enough wires hangin' out of the server rack..... Need to add 80 or a hundred cross connects and 20 or so induction loops. Then it'll work like it's supposed to.
    No charge btw ;)

  • What happens if i get the 10 answers wrong? I have to pay 30$ to Sparkfun?

  • sorry, i'll be at work. you'll just have to keep your smelly old parts.

  • How do you see your years of service?

  • backorder allowed. yes.

  • Will I be able to take the quiz from my iPhone? I get out of school at 9:15 Thursday and will hopefully be able to do the quiz from my car and not have to wait 15more minutes to get home to a computer.

    • I did try the quiz questions (on the internal beta site) on my iPhone and it worked fine. As Dustin mentions above, though, the rendering power of a computer is much greater, so it can deal more gracefully with slow server responses.

    • I will be in the same boat as you. I actually got farther on my Ipod Touch last year than i did using a normal web browser on my computer.

    • Server will likely be unresponsive. You want a real browser.

  • My Thursday classes don't start until half-way through the semester, and I have tomorrow off from work...
    ...lucky me ;)

  • can 2 promo codes be used at checkout ?

  • I've got an hour put aside for trying to make it through the laggy server triathlon. I need some pretty EL wire for my digital tachometer project.

  • /me puts on his Oracle's Robes
    BEWARE! Beware the Ides of March! On the Ides of March your SparkFun Free Day credit will DISAPPEAR! You will now be tasked with running around the 7 Hills of Rome THREE TIMES before you can answer any questions before I have had a chance... BEWARE!!!!

  • So, would it be easier for me to get my cart filled with goodies today, then hit submit order asap tomorrow after i get the funds?
    or would you suggest waiting a month or so? (just worried about product availability).

    • It's up to you. You have two months. We should be able to get most everything back in stock in time. Also, you can purchase a backorder on something.
      But there's no need to load up the cart the night before or anything like last year. Once you get the money you can spend it at your leisure (assuming it's within 2 months)

  • Is it just me or is the count down 5 minutes slow?

  • I assume that somewhere in the above process you are asked to log in. If I select the loyalty funds I would HAVE to log in so your server can tell me what I have.

    • Yes. When you go to the site not logged in, you will see the banner, and clicking on it will prompt a login.

  • Ok, looks good.

Related Posts

Recent Posts

14-Segment Salute

Contacting Support


All Tags