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 Post subject: INCOMING TRANSMISSION - Discussion
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:08 pm 
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Acolyte
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So, Adam has let slip another tidbit of information about OoT, and we must as ever decode it. If you'd rather decode it all on your lonesome then best stop reading now, here be spoilers.


So, what do we know already?
It's already been discovered that it's a sound file, and personage has helpfully posted a link to an mp3 version.

It starts with a scratchy recording of the Polish national anthem (thanks Freakoftheuniverse), and then has a long series of numbers, apparently in Polish. The numbers seem to be spoken by an automated system.

I guess the next step is to listen to the recording and transcribe the numbers...


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 Post subject: Re: INCOMING TRANSMISSION - Discussion
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:50 pm 
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Acolyte
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It's a transmission from a numbers station.

Quote:
Finally, after all the messages have been sent, the station will sign off in some characteristic fashion. Usually it will simply be some form of the word "end" in whatever language the station uses (e.g. "end of message, end of transmission"; "Ende"; "fini"; "final"; "konets"). Some stations, especially those thought to originate from the former Soviet Union, end with a series of zeros, e.g. "000 000"; others end with music or other sundry sounds. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numbers_stations )


The transmission under discussion ends in this way.

So we know what it is. Now what does it say?

edit: here are a couple examples of real numbers stations:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCTT_S7ZlNg
http://youtube.com/watch?v=6lC4JRXsWkk

Very cool, and possibly on the air right now. All you need is a shortwave radio and a bit of luck.

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 Post subject: Re: INCOMING TRANSMISSION - Discussion
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 3:14 pm 
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I'd heard of numbers stations before, but I'd not read up on them so much, lots of interesting things to read :)
In fact I'm wondering if this is really something Adam has cooked up or an actual number station he's recorded from somewhere...
I've just had a go at transcribing the numbers (after warming up by listening to a bit of the Conet Project), but I can't keep up with how quickly the numbers are read out. I think we're going to need a Polish speaker to do it. To my untrained ears the numbers are just sounds (except 'zero') and I can't listen parse and write quick enough.

The other downside is the numbers don't seem to be repeated (real numbers stations generally repeat each group of numbers several times).

Also there's what sounds like a pulse dialed telephone number between the music and the numbers. I'll have a look at analysing that tonight as well.
(I'm supposed to be working right now so I can't do much...)


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 Post subject: Re: INCOMING TRANSMISSION - Discussion
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 4:17 pm 
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Well, there is a definite message at the core of all this, and it's a biggie. I won't give it away yet, it took me a friggin lot of work!


**Small hints ahead, don't read on if you don't want even that**

As others have pointed out, those are Polish numbers being read out. Figure them out and write them down, the next stage of course is to decode what those numbers mean. I'll give the first few:

195 201 227 232 064

Also, I analyzed the phone number being dialed just before the numbers are read off, and it's 050203040903. Er, well, not quite a phone number I guess. (I assume no matter where you are you can't have 0's in a number like that?) I haven't figured out any use for that yet, it's not needed for the main message.


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 Post subject: Re: INCOMING TRANSMISSION - Discussion
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:06 pm 
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Ace wrote:
Also, I analyzed the phone number being dialed just before the numbers are read off, and it's 050203040903. Er, well, not quite a phone number I guess. (I assume no matter where you are you can't have 0's in a number like that?) I haven't figured out any use for that yet, it's not needed for the main message.


It is definitely related to the main message.

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 Post subject: Re: INCOMING TRANSMISSION - Discussion
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:37 pm 
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Ah yes, now I see, thanks parm. Looking back on it after having the solution makes that bit easier to figure out. It does give a clue about the rest of the message, though it wouldn't have helped me, and I'd think most people would be better off not worrying about it when trying to decode the main message. I guess. Well, clearly I didn't use it at least.

This really is quite a spectacular puzzle, really. A lot of effort clearly went into it. Kudos to Mr. Foster, and whoever helped.


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 Post subject: Re: INCOMING TRANSMISSION - Discussion
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:39 pm 
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Anyone care to enlighten the rest of us? Or, at least, me. I'm at a complete loss.

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 Post subject: Re: INCOMING TRANSMISSION - Discussion
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:00 pm 
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Well, I think there's enough here to get you going Kast, but if you want, send me a PM and I can give you some big fat hints. The main message will come out eventually though, for anyone who doesn't get it.


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 Post subject: Re: INCOMING TRANSMISSION - Discussion
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:45 pm 
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I've transcribed the numbers (possibly with some errors of course, but they seem plenty redundand anyway). No luck decyphering the message so far, though.


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 Post subject: Re: INCOMING TRANSMISSION - Discussion
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:17 pm 
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I wondered how long it would take before people appeared here. I was starting to think Adam'd broken you all.

Have fun.

*wanders off looking for cheese*


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 Post subject: Re: INCOMING TRANSMISSION - Discussion
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 1:57 pm 
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It's probably nothing, but there is a faint frequency in the background that begins to rise when the series of numbers is read out (rising to inaudible frequencies after about the 2:00 mark). It then drops slowly over the last half (after about 2:26) of the message. I'm afraid my ear for Polish is absolutely awful. Any chance of a list of the transcribed numbers on here?
Also, the "phone number" by itself doesn't appear to spell anything in particular if we're going off the standard DTMF touchpad. I'd run the file through my signal analysis program I've got in IDL to see if the frequency can tell us where abouts the signal was apparantly recorded, but that's currently dedicated to running a simulation of MUSIC


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 Post subject: Re: INCOMING TRANSMISSION - Discussion
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:38 pm 
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Okaay, I got somewhere. I have all the numbers both in decimal form and in hexidemical form and saved as a binary file. The numbers are usually numbers ranging from ~190 to ~250, yet with some mysterious repeating pattern of 064 (@) and 096 (`). It would at first appear as some kind of padding scheme that has been added or subtracted to it, or something like ROT13.

Yet, I've tried much but with no success. Can anyone contact me either in this thread, via PM, or over Steam with a hint towards which crypographic function we're dealing with?

(I also drew a graph over the series of numbers, nothing special, but I think I got an idea.)

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 Post subject: Re: INCOMING TRANSMISSION - Discussion
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:11 pm 
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The farthest I got was a site giving me the spellings of Polish numbers, via Google. Unfortunately, the relatively low quality of the recording, and the fact that I've never spoken a single word that wasn't English, makes it nearly impossible for me to get the numbers. Even if I could though, I have no idea where I would go from there - besides the fact that Minerva seems to have some connection to Poland, of course.

I'm getting nowhere on my own; could someone PM me a full spoiler for this, or at least some hints?


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 Post subject: Re: INCOMING TRANSMISSION - Discussion
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:28 pm 
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There's no padding scheme or any other sort of obfuscation added to the data, you just need to figure out how to read it. I think one thing I said earlier might have been a bit misleading. That number dialed on a phone (050203040903) is information about how to decode the rest of the message. Unfortunately it is itself encoded, and it didn't help me any since even the decoded message would've looked like gibberish to me at the time. So, I didn't use it, and it is still possible to decode the rest of the message without it. But, it could be helpful.

Sortie; so, how did you encode the numbers as hexadecimal? Does the fact that that was a natural thing to do seem at all suggestive?

Terrapin: For the Polish numbers I found this helpful: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=abR7iFQ8kCw
(the pronunciation of 4 is a bit different in this recording, but see my sample numbers earlier if you get confused.)


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 Post subject: Re: INCOMING TRANSMISSION - Discussion
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:44 pm 
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I found a similar video shortly after my previous post. I was able to learn basic Polish numbers, so I was able to get the sequence down. However, half an hour later (for a 4 minute mp3!) I'm guessing any real Polish speaker would laugh at my attempts. But even if I did get them down right, I'm no cryptographer. Decoding a coded message by decoding another code, which itself is encoded, but is overall unnecessary to decode the original code... is enough to make my head spin.

Anyway, as much as I appreciate the idea of a mystery, I'd really prefer to just know what it says.


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