MacSurvivor Contest

Jan 4, 2001

The MacSurvivor contest was a grueling battle for survivor in a virtual island environment known as Avalon Island. To qualify for entry onto the island, each contestant was required to accumulate points based on Mac trivia contests sent out to the Mac Guild. The 10 highest scores were awarded spots on Avalon Island. The MacSurvivor contest lasted for 3 months, requiring energy, stamina, Mac knowledge and patience from all the would-be survivors. Not all of them would make it to the prize circle, and only one would make it to the end!

The Finalists:

Place Prize Contestant City Prizes Claimed
#1 1,000,000 Moe Bradley FLORIDA Apple Final Cut Pro
White EMR T-shirt
Muggy Bear
#2 500,000 Kent Schwarz COLORADO Apple Sweatshirt
Apple: The Inside Story
Apple White T-shirt
Muggy Bear
#3 350,000 Mark Waldmiller NEW YORK Wheel Mouse Optical
Muggy Bear
#4 250,000 Joann Cleer CALIFORNIA White EMR T-shirt
Rebirth of Cool Apple
Muggy Bear
#5 150,000 Julie Reynolds-Grabbe CALIFORNIA Apple Black Globe
#6 100,000 Judd Spitzer FLORIDA EMR CD

Congratulations to Moe for outwitting, outplaying and outlasting the 9 other survivors. For a complete list of the original 10 survivors, visit the Avalon Island web site. To see visuals on the awards handed out, check out the Avalon Claims page.


In the beginning: The 10 survivors were split into two tribes of 5 members each: The Macadamia Tribe and the Pomorum Tribe. The only thing the survivors were allowed to bring to the island were the points they had accumulated in the Mac trivia contests. There were a series of challenges imposed on the survivors, some which were Award Challenges (providing them a chance to increase their bank of points), and others were Immunity Challenges. The tribe which won an immunity challenge would walk away with the Immunity Mouse, and the tribe that lost would have to attend a tribal council in which one of their members were voted off the island.

The First Council: The Macadamia Tribe won the first Immunity Challenge, forcing the Pomorums to lose a member. The first survivor ousted from the island was David on a manic Monday, 10/9/00. The 2nd Award Challenge put a face on all of the survivors, requiring each islander to create a GIF self-portrait. The Pomorum Tribe won the challenge, with judging based on quality of the picture as well as how well the specifications were met. The banks continued to grow, with Mark of the Macadamia Tribe and Kent of the Pomorum Tribe holding the highest hands.

The next Immunity Challenge tested the survivors on creativity, workmanship and communications. As a team, each tribe had to develop their own web page. There were certain specific criteria used in judging, and it was too close to call. Helicopter Bob was brought in to help make the call, and the Immunity Mouse was awarded to the Macadamia Tribe once again. It was a frantic Friday as the Pomorum tribe ousted another member, Allan. If you curious about the web pages, you can see them as they were judged:
Macadamia Tribe and Pomorum Tribe.

The Great Train Race: Perhaps the most intense challenges of the 3 month contest was the next Immunity Challenge, the
Mac Express Train Race. The Award Challenge setup the race, by testing the resourcefulness of the tribes, and awarding them valuable resources for their trains. It became a hunt through the Avalon hotline server, where the goal was to find your resources before the other tribe did (stealing was allowed). As we entered into the Immunity Challenge, amazingly the trains were about equal. The goal was to race each train from San Francisco, California, across the US. The first one to reach Washington DC and present the President with a full Mac system wins the race. The tribes plotted their courses, and the race began. To travel from state to state required using up resources, as well as trading some resources for others. The trick was to have enough coal to make it across the country, and still have enough Mac software and hardware to build a system at the end. Several states required the tribe to answer Mac trivia tests in order to dock at their stations. To enter Utah, the tribe had to answer the question, ""When booting the Mac, what key combinations do you press to do the following: Start up without extensions? Rebuild the desktop? Zap the PRAM? Have all previously open windows be closed?" The Macadamia Light Rail answered correctly (Shift, Cmd-Opt, Cmd-Opt-P-R & Opt), and got a really good deal on Mac Hardware.

One of the challenges posed to the Pomorum Express by Missouri, the Show Me state, was "What is the 2-word terminology for the ratio between the physical movement of the mouse on your mouse pad and the movement of the pointer on your monitor? Which OS version did the Web Sharing control panel debut? With the advent of Open Transport, which control panels replaced MacTCP and Network?" After correctly answering (Mouse Tracking, OS 8.0, Appletalk & TCP/IP), the Pomorums get a secret clue to help on their journey.

Other adventures included an attack by bandits on the Pomorum Express when entering Arizona, and a derailment of the Macadamia Light Rail as they were heading over the Colorado Rockies. To see the courses traveled by both trains, check out the
Train Race Map (Pomorum in Blue and Macadamia in Red). To get a full rundown of the challenges posed to each train along the way, check out the Race Journal.

In the end, it was the Pomorum Tribe that got to the President first, presenting him with a G4 Cube system. For full details, check out the
Mac Express Press Release. The Pomorum Tribe walked away with the Immunity Mouse, and this time it was the Macadamia Tribe that would lose a member. It was a stormy Thursday evening on 11/9/00 when the news hit: Thomas was off the island.

The final immunity challenge between the Macadamia and Pomorum tribes would be the battle of the reviews. Both teams needed to download freeware and shareware software from the Avalon server, and perform as many reviews as they could. Individual participation was crucial! It was another Macadamia victory, and another loss for the Pomorum tribe. On 11/21/00, Jay's torch was extinguished.

The Tribes Merge: A great storm hit the island, and the camps of both tribes were wiped out. The survivors wandered the island until they met in the middle and formed a new tribe, The Macaroons. If the survivors made it this far, they knew they would be awarded something from the
Island Vault. Now it was the individual survivors who would battle for the Immunity Mouse, and a tribal council meeting after each challenge to extinguish another torch. There would be just 4 challenges before the final Tribal Council.

The first challenge was another web page contest, this time designing a page for the newly formed Macaroon tribe. Joan won the contest with a very creative design which would become the
official Macaroon page. With immunity, Joan went to tribal council without much concern. The others would wonder if they would be next. In the Macaroon tribe, the survivors were now allowed to use their bank to purchase immunity potions at each tribal council. The cost was high, and there was only one potion for sale, so it was the first one to request it. Kent purchased immunity at the first council for 650 points.

The survivors have now been here a long time, outlasting even the time the TV version survivors! This round was a very interesting round. The potion took a big role, as 2 votes actually came in for Kent, which had to be re-cast for someone else. It made the difference in the final tally, and changed the outcome.

As fate would have it, Judd was voted off the island. Judd walks up to the council fire with his torch, Don Merlin snuffs out the flame. It became more difficult to watch a contestant leave now, as each of them had been here so long. We are now down to 5 survivors.

The Barter: The next challenge was a Barter Relay, involving active use of the Avalon Hotline server, as well as deals made behind the scenes by each of the remaining survivors.
Points in the bank would play a role in this challenge. The relay starts with the one with the lowest points, and cycles towards the one with the highest points.

The first round is worth 50 points, the 2nd 100, the 3rd 150, and so on. Each round is a 5 letter word, Mac related (although the relation may be quite general, e.g., MOUSE). Each survivor must discover their pre-assigned letter, share it with the group, and come up with the secret word. Once the secret word is revealed, the points are won, and the next round begins. A clue will be given as to where to find a letter. Each survivor may use that clue to locate the later, or choose to purchase the letter at 50% of the award value of that round.

Bonus points, and bonus barters:
Each round will also include a secret object (not necessarily related to the secret word). Each survivor receives a partial description of the object (such as color, size, etc.). The first person to discover the object wins bonus points (equal to the value of the round). The survivors may barter amongst themselves to gain information.

There are a few dynamics involved in this challenge. The relay portion involves everyone participating, and participation (or lack thereof) may affect how people vote in the final tribal council. Survivors can focus on helping other, or focus on building up their own point base. Finally, negotiations with other survivors on the bonus quests may impact the final council voting as well as your point totals.

The challenge took the survivors on a safari through secret words and secret objects (such as Omaha Filet Mignon). With a total of 4 rounds, the survivors built up the points through active participation and wit. In the end, however, only one survivor would walk away with the Immunity Mouse, and that survivor was Mark. No one opted to purchase the immunity potion. Tribal Council this night dealt a hard blow to Julie, as the tribe snuffed out her torch.

Mac Experts: The 3rd challenge takes our 4 remaining survivors on a blitz through the Avalon Hotline server where real-time interaction and Mac knowledge will be the key to winning the Immunity Mouse. These would be live, on-line, using the Hotline protocol, and each question would be timed. Moe won both the first and second rounds, but it was Mark's overwhelming victory in the third round which gave him the highest score for all three rounds. Mark proved his worth as the Mac Expert and won immunity. The immunity potion went untouched once again, and this time it was Joann, on 12/26/00, who was voted off the island.

In Memory Of: Gearing up for the New Millennium, it was time for the final Macaroon Challenge. This time the final 3 survivors would be tested on their memory of what had transpired on the island over the past 3 months. This was another live, on-line challenge, again on the Avalon Hotline server. Each question asked tested their memory of island life, such as who was the first to be voted off prior to the merge. Each time the survivor answered correctly, they moved up a square. The final square was the Immunity square, and the first one to reach it would win immunity. It was a heated race, and the survivors were neck and neck, but it was Kent who won immunity. For a visual of the final challenge and how it played out, check out the
Final Challenge Animated GIF. It was now time for Tribal Council, and this time no immunity potion was offered.

There were rumors of deals and alignments, but what really happened behind the scenes, perhaps we'll never know. It would be Mark, however, that would be voted off the island, leaving Moe from the Macadamia tribe, and Kent from the Pomorum tribe. There would be just one more tribal council to determine the winner.

The Last Tribal Council: For the final Tribal Council, the last four survivors voted off the island would return to decide the winner of the contest.


After everyone spoke their piece, the votes were cast. Note, in the case of a tie, the winner is the one with the highest points. Kent ended the last challenge with 3371 points, and Moe ended with 3253 points. That would make Kent the winner in case of a tie.

The first vote goes to... Moe
The second vote goes to... Kent
The third vote goes to... Moe
And finally, the last vote. If it goes to Kent, he wins the whole shabang. If it goes to Moe, she walks away with the $1,000,000 loot.

The fourth vote goes to... Moe!
Thanks to those who sponsored the contest:

Apple's User Group Program

Microsoft's Mindshare User Group Program

Chronos PIM

Apple Mugstore (points from Mac Guild purchases)

Mac Guild Members (personal member contributions)

Final Words

Moe Bradley

Looking over the challenges presented on Avalon Island over the last few months, this one, for me, is the most difficult, and the least fun, because it marks the end of our Mac Survivor test. Every challenge had its own element of fun, but also had an element of sadness, because each resulted in one of our tribe members being removed from Avalon.

When the tribes merged, I was happy to see four members of my original tribe among the survivors - we had played very well together in the first part of the game, and our teamwork really showed. The new tribe banded together and braved the elements on Avalon - winds, high seas, rain, you name it, we were undeterred in our efforts to make it through, helping each other along, even though we knew that one of us would be eliminated by a Tribal Council at the end of each task. What a contrast...

Now we are down to the final two, one a former Pomorum, the other a Macadamia. I never expected to be one of the final survivors, though I have to admit I hoped it would be so! I kept reminding myself that "It's just a game!", but in reality, we all tested our ingenuity, technical talents, integrity, honesty and perseverance throughout these months, and (hopefully) had great fun doing it. I know I did.

Thank you, Don Merlin, aka Bill Catambay, for your initiative and creativity designing our challenge, and thank you, members of the Macaroon Tribe, for keeping up the game with such great spirit.

Moe Bradley
Avalon Island Survivor

Kent Schwarz

Hi former Avalon islanders! Overall this survivor thing has been great fun but it has also been challenging, time consuming and at times frustrating. The best part has been the new internet friends, without whom I could never have made it this far. Jay (believe it or not) kept me front bailing out on several occasions, Joann was a big help and a great teammate. I must say that based on the real survivor series I figured I was toast after the tribes joined together, but, as you can see that wasn't the case. Julie, Mark and Moe took it easy on me and here I am among the final two survivors. (buying immunity helped a little ; )) Toward the end Moe was a big help and a good friend!

Well it's time to vote. I feel that I worked hard, played the game fair and played it well. I made an effort to help my teammates as best I could (never was able to get Joann on Hotline). I-Movie is great but winning a copy of Final Cut Pro would work well with my G4 and digital camcorder. So please let your vote allow me to win.

Thanks all!

PS. Special thanks to Bill Catambay, aka Don Merlin, for his time, energy and especially patience. Helicopter Bob, thanks for your time too. And yes Bob their web page was slightly better than ours so don't feel too bad!

Hotline "Tranz4m"

The Rest of the Macaroons...

Judd was the first to go, and unfortunately, he couldn't be here with us this evening. Judd designed the Macadamia winning web site. He sent in his absentee ballot already, and wishes everyone his best.

Julie was the next to go. A true survivor at Ames Research, she would like to say:
Kent, you seem to be a funny and intelligent person. Unfortunately I didn't get to know you too well. Maybe next time??!? Moe, what a gal! I would say I most bonded with you during our stay on Avalon Island. You were there to help me out and were always friendly and fun! I hope we stay in contact after the contest!
Joann, who created the Macaroon winning web site, was the next to go. Her and Kent were the only Pomorums who made it to the Macaroon tribe. Joann would like to say:
Kent, if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have survived as long as I did. You're a great game player and you know a helluvalot about Macs! The Survivor contest was awe-inspiring. I'm sure none of us _survivors_ have any idea how much time, effort and creativity was involved in devising the challenges, getting the great prizes and making it all work. Congratulations to Bill for a great game!
Mark was the last was to leave the island. He was a tribal leader, and consistently had one of the highest scores of all the survivors. He would like to say:
Wow! I can't believe it's over. It's been a great game, and I enjoyed being able to play right up to the final challenge. So sad it's over. I'm going through Island withdrawal already! I'm glad to have met some awesome Mac users and Guild members through the game. Even back when there were two teams, it felt like we were all in this together on common ground, and it was painful see those voted off at Tribal Council go. To the final two members on Avalon, Kent and Moe, I bid you a big Congratulations!

Kent, I've considered you as my counterpart on the Pomorum tribe, being the _elected_ tribal leader, and frequently trading the lead with me in accumulated points. You've made a great friendly adversary throughout the game. Thanks for sticking with it and keeping the game a challenge to me and the others.

Moe, you've played hard from the beginning to the end and kept the Island lively for all of us. You were a great Macadamia teammate, and I had a lot of fun in friendly competition as Macaroons also. I'm glad you made it to being one of the final two. Thanks for keeping up the team spirit all the way through.

Bill (aka Don Merlin), what can I say...? Awesome game! Thanks for the incredible effort and creativity you've put into the Island and its challenges. I had a blast!

Copyright © 2001, Bill M Catambay