Solving Puzzle Caches: Codes


Introduction

To read the previous post on Solving Puzzle Caches, go to http://bcaching.wordpress.com/2008/08/05/puzzles-part-1/.

Common Codes and other Languages

Numbers can be expressed in many ways. Here are a few common ones:

If you want to see how many ways numbers are represented in a “few” different languages, check out the numbers from 1 to 10 in over 5000 languages here: http://www.zompist.com/numbers.shtml

Computer Codes

There are a variety of computer and Internet codes that are popular among puzzle cache hiders. If you’ve never seen a code before, it can be difficult to know where to start. The secret is to become familiar with different codes and know where to go to convert them to readable or “printable” text.

Printable text on computers is represented by numbers that are known as ASCII code. For a complete chart, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascii#ASCII_printable_characters.

“0” = 48    , “1” = 49, “2” = 50, …, “9” = 57, “A” = 65, “B” = 66, “C” = 67, …, “Z” = 90

Other codes like Binary (Base 2), Octal (Base 8 ) and Hex (Base 16) are just alternate representations of those ASCII codes (which are listed in decimal / base 10 above)‏

Here is the same set of coordinates represented using several codes.

Printable Text

N 40 00.532 W 075 02.502

ASCII Codes in Decimal / Base 10

78;52;48;32;48;48;46;53;51;50;32;87;48;55;53;32;48;50;46;53;48;50

Binary / Base 2

The numbers 0 and 1 only – the native language of modern computers.

01001110 00100000 00110100 00110000 00100000 00110000
00110000 00101110 00110101 00110011 00110010 00100000
01010111 00100000 00110000 00110111 00110101 00100000
00110000 00110010 00101110 00110101 00110000 00110010

Octal / Base 8

The numbers 0 through 7

116040064060040060060056065063062040127040060067
065040060062056065060062

Hexadecimal / Base 16

Hex for short. The numbers 0 – 9 and also the letters A, B, C, D, E, and F

4E2034302030302E3533322057203037352030322E35303200

MIME / Base 64

Normally used to encode non-text data like pictures or file attachments to a text form that can be included in email. This includes the upper case letters A – Z, lower case letters a – z, the numbers 0 – 9, and the symbols “+” and “/”. The symbol “=” also sometimes appears at the end.

TiA0MCAwMC41MzIgVyAwNzUgMDIuNTAy

Encoder / Decoder Tools

There are many online and offline resources for converting between different formats. Here are a few that I use most:

What’s Next

The next post will discuss ciphers. Check it out here: http://bcaching.wordpress.com/2008/08/08/puzzles-part-3/

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7 comments so far

  1. [...] Solving Puzzle Caches: Codes Good overview, examples, and links for resources and help (including code breakers). Examples include Morse Code, Roman Numerals, Binary, Octal… [...]

  2. Antonio Campos on

    Is there any other issue we should consider, when dealing with binary codes on puzzles of caches? For example, what if we have a line like this:
    011001000010001001010010101000000000101000101010
    Separating it in 8 bit numbers, we end up with signs and non-printable characters.

  3. mark on

    Binary can represent a lot of things. It could just be the decimal values: 100 34 82 160 10 42… are you near detroit? I did one puzzle where there was a ton of binary, but if you organized the digits into the right length rows, there were numbers graphically drawn in the 1s. Another possibility is when the decoded binary results in text that is yet another code to be solved.

  4. Antonio Campos on

    Tks for your comment mark.
    I live in Portugal.
    Yeah, I know this numbers can be arranged to show many things. Some time ago I saw a sequence of binary codes that in MSWord, with a particularly font size, it shows a beautiful design of a lady. One must be crazy to come up with that.
    Here is part of the code I’m trying to decipher:
    01000100 11101110 01110011 10111000 00001010 00101110
    01100100 00100010 01010010 10100000 00001010 00101010
    01010100 11100010 01110010 10111000 00001110 00101010
    01001100 00100010 00000010 10001001 11000010 00101010
    01000100 11100010 00000011 10111001 11000010 00101110

    It appears in lines of 48 digits, without any space (I just added them for better understanding).
    There are a lot of codes that start with a 1, which means they belong to the Extended part of the ASCII. But even the Basic ones doesn’t make sense, because there’s no sequence to form words (in Portuguese) or coordinates. For example, none of the 8bit code refers to a single number.

  5. mark on

    The digits are hidden in plain sight. Try replacing the 0s with spaces and that should help.

  6. Antonio Campos on

    Great mark, many thanks. That’s it. I guess I would never thought on that. It’s a trick because the first part of the code (already decoded in the listing) have the normal conversion from binary to ASCII, so I thought the rest would be the same.


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