The Adobe Semaphore Code

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The Adobe Semaphore Code


Post by RTH10260 »

Adobe semaphore code cracked by Tennessee high school teacher


San Jose Semaphore, an art installation by New York artist Ben Rubin on the 18th floor of Adobe's Almaden Tower in downtown San Jose, began transmitting a new code in October 2012. The first code, which was unveiled in August 2006, was solved by two San Jose-area scientists a month later.
(Bay Area News Group archives)

PUBLISHED: March 13, 2017 at 12:08 pm | UPDATED: March 15, 2017 at 1:35 pm

The illuminated disks atop Adobe Systems’ downtown San Jose headquarters have transmitted a secret message since 2012. On Monday, Adobe revealed that Jimmy Waters, a high school math teacher in Knoxville, Tenn., had cracked that code. The semaphore had been transmitting the audio broadcast of Neil Armstrong’s historic moon landing in 1969. That’s right, not the text but the actual audio.

Waters discovered the project, San Jose Semaphore, last summer while he was looking up something about Thomas Pynchon’s 1966 novel, “The Crying of Lot 49.” The text of that work was the code originally programmed by New York-based artist Ben Rubin in 2006. Seeing there was a new message, Waters began trying to decipher it while watching and writing down the sequences online from Tennessee.

He discovered a pattern that led him to believe it could represent a space — or a silence — in an audio file, and when he graphed the results it looked like an audio wave. He dismissed that as being too difficult but came back to it and eventually ran his results into a program that would convert his numbers to audio. The first results came back sounding like chipmunks squeaking.

So he tweaked things and found himself listening to the historic broadcast, which ends with Armstrong’s famous line, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” ... l-teacher/

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