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Archive for September, 2008

29
Sep'08

Ever have that feeling that someone’s watching you?

   Posted by: thebruce

Recently there’s been a spout of activity in my little world…

I received a message at Facebook from someone claiming to know me, by name - well, her father knew me – but he was recently killed in Friar’s Point, Mississippi. This girl said her father told her to find me, that I was trustworthy and if she was ever in danger, to contact me for help.  Just me.

She was sent a photograph of a terminal that included me in a list of people being observed – myself on par with her. Others on the list are friends who I’ve discussed this with.  She’s now eerily stopped communicating.  And now I’m not sure how much to write here…

But, if you’d like to help, please do!  Jacob Aaron‘s death is still a mystery (as is his apparent connection to me) – discussion at Unfiction

—-

Secondly, I recently joined an Applicant Program (made a nice avatar, right :) for an organization called IngenBio - a program that filters individuals who are apt for employment at this pharmaceutical research firm.  It’s going well so far.  I received an introductory package last week containing a dogtag, a security badge, and a vial of an experimental cure-all “panacea” they’re developing.  Ingen partnered with Harcos Inc. recently - makers of “Mana Energy Potion“, an energy drink sold in the US (an interesting product; very.. fantasy/gaming market related; and a very, very strong drink! wow). They’re developing a distribution plan for Ingen’s nearly-complete panacea ‘potion’.

This package was the first step in the application process. Everyone in my control group (#15) got a package. Now, the fact that we received this experimental medicine itself is rather strange… especially if it’s not yet complete (or even legal?).  But I drank it anyway.  :P  With this package we (applicants) received access to a private intranet at Ingenbio.net.  Wrapped around the neck of the potion was a code that needed to be provided in the program to advance to clearance level 2.  So it looks like only the best of the best will actually make it to full employment there.  We each got a letter from Harlan Griffin – CEO of IngenBio – congratulating us, but apparently not everyone managed to enter that advancement code.  We don’t know if they decided not to continue, or if they couldn’t figure it out, but Harlan wasn’t too impressed with them. It’s like level 1 was a test – everyone’s been given the instructions to get to level 2 now.

Anyway, the spooky part – years ago, a man named Leonard Kendall (avatar, right) died in a big explosion at the facility. He left behind a number of video logs, where it seems he was the one developing this cure-all. At first for good, but he felt soon that Harlan wanted to weaponize it, so he took his research underground (well, an offsite-lab). His primary goal was now to save his daughter Ivy who was diagnosed with cancer. That was the lab that exploded.

Eerie: in the package was another code, inside the drink, in morse code, which when entered in the intranet updated a sound file in the list of documents we have access to (a sound file of Kendall saying, in Russian, “Fight – Survive – Infect”).  The ‘new’ file was actually an overlaid spectrogram discovered by fellow-applicant MrToasty, containing an image of some kind of Ivy plant.

Spooky: We have reason to believe we’re being watched. Some applicants in our control group have been marked as a “suspected agent” for whatever reason. We do know that a couple of FBI agents recently tried to infiltrate the facility, but they haven’t been heard from since.  I don’t think we want to be suspected as agents :P.  Rather, was Kendall on to something?  Can we trust Harlan?

Apparently Griffin will be re-opening IngenBio’s Applicant Registration again soon.  So if you want to get in and try for a prestigious position at Ingenbio, watch the registration page for updates, or follow the discussion at Unfiction.

Tags: , ,

Categories: ARGs General, Books

25
Sep'08

Keep it clean: more Bungie teasing

   Posted by: thebruce

Sept 25, 2008 – Another countdown hit zero. This one located on Bungie.net, with the target time at 7:07am Pacific. What happened at zero?

A mysterious Bungie.net user named IIIIlll or otherwise known as “The Superintendent” posted two news article recently, including segments of audio log transcripts from ONI (UNSC Office of Naval Intelligence).  Of course, the community analyzed the logs to no end.  But this latest update had everyone refreshing bungie.net’s homepage seconds before the counter hit zero.

The Superintendent has a history of cryptic, vague posts at Bungie.net’s forums. Recently, Bungie had planned to unveil an annoucement, but Microsoft, being their publisher, pulled the plug on their plans just before it was to happen at E3. That didn’t set too well.  So this countdown was eagerly anticipated, to say the least.

On hitting zero, a news article was posted including links to a teaser trailer for what is believed to be a new Bungie game.  Not a very ARGish result in itself, but the trailer does contain many, many, many scenes and frames with text and numbers for people to document and analyze.  Speculation and theories are already running rampant about the time period and the visual content of the trailer. Suffice to say, The Superintendent AI has the starring role in the trailer.

The trailers can be downloaded here:

Quicktime Small
Quicktime Medium
Quicktime Large
Windows Media Player Small
Windows Media Player Medium
Windows Media Player Large

I also managed to export a full frame-by-frame compilation from the high definition trailer, and uploaded the significant frames with visual/transcribable content to flickr, available here

Of significant note are a few frames bearing resemblance to some teaser images posted to bungie.net over the past months of the Superintendent.  Mainly, one phrase has been kicking up a dust storm.  Reported at ComputerAndVideoGames.com, the phrase “Maddie, where are you?” appears to be possibly be connected to the (very real) search for a (very real) missing girl.  A post by Shishka, a Bungie.net “overlord”, indicates it’s “an unfortunate coincidence, but a coincidence nonetheless“, confirmed by Sketchfactor of Bungie.  The phrase was connected to a bebo.com profile with a title of the same phrase, raising awareness for Maddie.
Quite a coincidence it is!

Current speculation is that the trailer is taking place between Halo 2 and Halo 3, from the perspective of New Mombasa as the Covenant Prophet Regret opens his slipstream portal in its skies (recall in the game, the Covenant ship exited slipspace bringing with it tatters of New Mombasa buildings and general destruction – her we get to see how that immediately left the city).  It appears that the Superintendent is an Urban AI located at New Mombasa – perhaps much like a Halo Wall-E!

A date also appears in mangled text in later frames – 01/06/09 – which may refer to January 6, or June 1, 2009.  There’s also a set of numbers that resembles a 1-800 number that appears, but it resolves to a real bank and may likely also just be a coincidence.

Who, or what, is “Vergil”?
And what’s special about “Level 9″?

With so much content, much of it random and undoubtedly insignificant, there’s probably going to be a lot more coincidental connections reported while the trailer is ripped to shreads by the community.  That said, if you still haven’t watched the trailer, GO NOW

So this is in all likelihood not another ARG promotion, but for any Halo fan, there’s certainly more Haloverse campaign goodness on its way…  PREPARE TO DROP

Tags: , ,

Categories: ARGs General, Video games, Viral General

23
Sep'08

One one one what?

   Posted by: thebruce

Philebrity.com is reporting on a new mysterious viral discovery in Philadelphia – large puzzle piece have been showing up around town.  They were tipped by a reader (reportedly) who said they’ve been seeing them around town, and “went to the site at one-one-one.net and it redirected to a flickr pool which at the time of this writing has only one photo uploaded.
The flickr group’s description says: shoot. upload. solve

That’s all.

If you live in Philly, can you help put together the pieces of this puzzle?
Or is this just “Kitby”‘s idea for a ‘Project 365′?

**UPDATE

Kitby has posted a photo of the instructions that were found with that puzzle piece:

Tags:

Categories: Rabbit Hole, Viral General

16
Sep'08

Dharma Wants You – Test 5 cheat / hint!

   Posted by: thebruce

DharmaWantsYou.com updated tonight with the 5th task for its recruits, and a new video message.

Each task has had a relatively hidden ‘cheat’ that allows the player to tweak the rules in their favour, and achieve is much higher, if not perfect score.

Tonight’s 5th task once again had a ‘clue’ hidden in the video message viewable once logged in. (though not technically a cheat, it is a hint for a difficult question)

SPOILERS BELOW—————-

(skip to the end if you just want to see the answer and not the process)

In the lower right of the video message is a small white square that flash erratically.  A keen eye would notice that it’s actually morse code.

I managed to get the solve with a little bit of work, but mostly using a combination of short cuts and batch routines, as described below.

I opened the video in an editor, and exported the frames from the relevent range of the video with the morse code, but clipped to the lower right 20×20 pixels (the rest is unneeded).  I sorted the resulting image file list by size (since there would be only two unique ‘images’ thus effectively grouping the ‘dotted’ images apart from the plain).  This made it easy to select and batch rename all the ‘dot’ images for easy reading in sequence.  Once renamed, I re-ordered the file list back to the frame order, transcribed the ‘dot’ and ‘dash’ regions of frames (dashes composed about 4 or 5 frames, where dots were 1 frame each), then ran the result through a morse translator (quicker than doing it all manually), and finally made a few letter/word spacing adjustments, and here’s the result:

- .... . -.-. .... . .- - .. ... .. -. - .... .
T H    E C    H    E A  T I  S   I  N  T H    E
... . --.- ..- . -. -.-. . -... ..- -
S   E Q    U   E N  C    E B    U   T
- .... . ... . --.- ..- . -. -.-. . .. ...
T H    E S   E Q    U   E N  C    E I  S  
- .... . .- -. ... .-- . .-.
T H    E A  N  S   W   E R
  • THE CHEAT IS IN THE SEQUENCE BUT THE SEQUENCE IS THE ANSWER

Oh what fun!  :D Now how does this apply to the task…

Question #7/10 is always based on the same formula, the trick question for which this clue is intended.

There is another interesting point, however – the numbers in question 7 appear clickable, where none of the other questions’ numbers are. But clicking doesn’t appear to do anything.
(will update as more info comes in.)

* UPDATE:

An analysis of the flash source code has revealed the purpose of the clickable numbers in question #7, posted over at spoilerTV.  The question shows 3 numbers in a sequence – consider them button 0, 1, and 2 respectively. In short, the example below explains their function:

What is the next number in the sequence?
11, 21, 1211, ______

The answer is 111221. So if you get this question you click button0, button0, button0, button1, button1, button0 (1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 1). BAM! There’s your 100% regardless how you did on the previous 6 questions.

So, there is indeed a cheat for Task #7, and the clue’s full meaning has been revealed – “The cheat is in the sequence, but the sequence is the answer.”

  • Join in the Lost/Dharma discussion at Unfiction (one of many online communities!)

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General, TV Series

16
Sep'08

What is the last thing you want to see?

   Posted by: thebruce

A rainbow?  Aurora Borealis?  The Titanic?
I Am Blind.

Someone is.
Recently, ARGN received a mysterious message on its tipline (download and listen here) with an computer-emulated whispering voice saying:

Alone in the darkness. Send your mailing address to 1003@iamblind.org

The email address we’re not sure of yet, because all attempts to email it have resulted in bounced responses.  Perhaps someone else might be figure out an alternate transcription of the email address?

The website, however, contains the single phrase, barely visible: “I am blind”.  Placing your mouse pointer over the phrase causes another sound bite to be played.  This one sounds like a recording in a crowded area such as a mall, where a number of voices are overlaid of people answering this simple question:

The last thing I want to see is…

What does it mean?  One theory is that it’s a viral campaign for the upcoming movie Blindness, releasing Sept 26th.

The final response, however, feels eerily significant:

I would try to remember each day, and maybe if I was successful enough, maybe it would be like I could see again.

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General, Movies, Rabbit Hole

11
Sep'08

On the fringe

   Posted by: thebruce

With the airing of Fringe on the 9th, and the opening of MassiveDynamic.com, I’ve decided to open a wiki for Fringe Extended Reality specific information tracking. There already exists quite a number of general Fringe-related fan sites, wikis, and blogs, but each generally approach Fringe from the TV show perspective.

Not many have detailed online component resources, approaching the franchise from the extended reality campaign direction.  Taking that into account, I’ve created fringe.wikibruce.com to help organize and track online components, how they’re connected to the TV episodes, and linking to general-Fringe-lore websites for detailed canon information.

Also, other major ARGs have completed or are winding down. Gotta keep active :)

If you haven’t seen Fringe, the pilot (and subseqent future episodes) is downloadable via Fox.com/fringe (US only) and via CTV.ca (Canada), and available on Hulu.com.

Visit the extended online components, currently known at www.MassiveDynamic.com, www.GlowingMonkeys.com, and www.ImagineTheImpossibilities.com

Other significant Fringe-related sites:

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General, TV Series

9
Sep'08

Massive Dynamic opens its doors (updated)

   Posted by: thebruce

With the Fringe TV Series premiering tonight on Fox, the website everyone’s been itching to explore has finally removed its ‘under construction’ facade.

Massive Dynamic is a technology coropration that has developed a number of items in the show in various areas, including weapons testing, robotics, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. It’s also located in Toronto, Ontario disguised as the Royal Ontario Museum.
… er… well, that’s the outer appearance they used for its office architecture in the pilot episode.

  • Fringe premieres tonight on Fox and CTV at 8:00pm Eastern.
  • Go and explore what may very well become an immersive extended experience at MassiveDynamic.com
  • Take a look at the Fringepedia wiki to get caught up on all things Fringe

*UPDATE:

With the official airing of the Fringe pilot came a number of changes to the show’s content, including a new Massive Dynamic office facade, and some updated mysterious content, such as text on the kayak in Dunham’s dream sequence, writing on a gravestone in the same sequence, the well-known Fringe objects appearing very quickly before commercials, and much more, all hidden in the show.  A new website was also discovered – www.glowingmonkeys.com – written on a poster attached to a street light outside the new MD building.

Tags:

Categories: ARGs General, TV Series