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Public Invited to Try Their Luck Against Old Cipher Tech

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the squeamish-ossifrage dept.

Security 95

Stony Stevenson writes to tell us that in celebration of the opening of the National Museum of Computing, members of the public are being challenged to take on a rebuilt version of Colossus, the world's first programmable digital computer. The Cipher Challenge will take two groups of amateur code breakers and pit them against one of the original Lorenz cipher machine used by the German High Command during World War II. "The encrypted teleprinter message will be transmitted by radio from colleagues in Paderborn, Germany, and intercepted at Bletchley Park by the two code-breaking groups, one using modern PCs and the other using the newly rebuilt Colossus Mark II."

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01000110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 00100 (5, Funny)

hypermike (680396) | more than 6 years ago | (#21339841)

46 69 72 73 74 20 50 6f 73 74 21

Re:01000110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 00 (0)

vp_development (789333) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340031)

To make it easier for the kids:

select concat(char(0x46),char(0x69),char(0x72),char(0x73),char(0x74),char(0x20),char(0x50),char(0x6f),char(0x73),char(0x74),char(0x21))

Re:01000110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 00 (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#21343221)

You'll have to make it a little easier than that. Copy/Paste into a bash shell just gave me an error: bash: syntax error near unexpected token `('

Re:01000110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 00 (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21344883)

Try copy/paste the string into a hex editor instead.

Re:01000110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 00 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21343705)

because the kids are reading slashdot with MS Access?

Re:01000110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 00 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21340057)

46 69 72 73 74 20 50 6f 73 74 21


But after you decrypt...

09 f9 11 02 9d 74 e3 5b d8 41 56 c5 63 56 88 c0

Re:01000110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 00 (1)

bodland (522967) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340061)

Rmlyc3QE

Re:01000110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 00 (5, Funny)

Neon Aardvark (967388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340081)

How dare you say that about my mother, she was a saint!

Re:01000110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 00 (2, Funny)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21341561)

Bernard?

Re:01000110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 00 (2, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340353)

I'm obviously reading too much Slashdot: I knew the complete message after interpreting just the first 8 bits in the subject ...

Re:01000110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 00 (2, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21341013)

"Drink your Ovaltine"?

Re:01000110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 00 (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#21341043)

No, oddly enough, it says, "So long, and thanks for all the fish."

Re:01000110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 00 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21341319)

perl -le 'print chr(hex) for qw(46 69 72 73 74 20 50 6f 73 74 21)'

Re:01000110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 00 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21342685)

49 6e 20 53 6f 76 69 65 74 20 52 75 73 73 69 61 20 66 69 72 73 74 20 70 6f 73 74 20 70 6f 73 74 73 20 79 6f 75 2e 20 4e 6f 77 20 77 68 65 72 65 27 73 20 6d 79 20 56 6f 64 6b 61 3f
Or in binary:

01001001 01101110 00100000 01010011 01101111 01110110 01101001 01100101 01110100 00100000 01010010 01110101 01110011 01110011 01101001 01100001 00100000 01100110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 00100000 01110000 01101111 01110011 01110100 00100000 01110000 01101111 01110011 01110100 01110011 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00101110 00100000 01001110 01101111 01110111 00100000 01110111 01101000 01100101 01110010 01100101 00100111 01110011 00100000 01101101 01111001 00100000 01010110 01101111 01100100 01101011 01100001 00111111
Yakov Smirnoff comedian KGB agent

What? No cryptonomicon reference yet? (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21343009)

Wouldn't it be funny if the decrypted message was a series of randomly generated numbers based on the Riemann Zeta function with 'Comstock' as the seed? Try and decrypt THAT!

Re:What? No cryptonomicon reference yet? (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21346203)

CMqQPBYBITAhITAhLb2NXg/cQq0hMTEhITQ1Ifyc6SE5IXYbWS1WDsGDxSCJZqau625lKBSJLbCk YnbO57RvKwPwZ21LITMzIY8tITQ1Iahegx9gcAYhMTMh82gQdJ05Sy2Ra16Hva4OuneJFdrg/iE5 IactaBfpzcSLOJaW/uQu4SI02C3msBhTyREPjvyoOQEiwYOJLfpwaJXA1W6JuGHmgNVIIFQtRDdg G+oFjiqxmfcSqJ8x9C19ejqjyj+X2Y0aSHc1rb+WLX6OnX9wLgE+v/5a55T1Lw== Well, it's not the Riemann Zeta function, or randomly generated numbers, but it'll do.

Re:01000110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 00 (1)

Aczlan (636310) | more than 6 years ago | (#21344653)

that has to be about the best post of its kind ever...

where was the cream filling!? (4, Informative)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#21339855)

TFA didn't really explain the colossus that well:

Wiki link [wikipedia.org] for those who are interested.

Re:where was the cream filling!? (1)

Pulzar (81031) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340205)

From the article:

Colossus documentation and hardware were classified from the moment of their creation and remained so after the War, when Winston Churchill specifically ordered the destruction of most of the Colossus machines into 'pieces no bigger than a man's hand'; Tommy Flowers personally burned blueprints in a furnace at Dollis Hill.

Why would they do this after the war? Wouldn't they want to explore the technology for other uses, and profit further from the leadership in this field they developed? I mean, what's the reason for hiding (and, worse, destroying!) their code-breaking machine after the war has ended?

Re:where was the cream filling!? (2, Interesting)

yahooadam (1068736) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340709)

"Why would they do this after the war? Wouldn't they want to explore the technology for other uses, and profit further from the leadership in this field they developed? I mean, what's the reason for hiding (and, worse, destroying!) their code-breaking machine after the war has ended?"
Maybe they were just trying to hide it

I mean, if people could get holds of the plans on colossus, and find out how the cipher was done, they could probably work out much more difficult encryption methods
if you think about it, colossus was the absolute peak of what we could do, if anyone got hold of that it would be a dangerous weapon

Its easier to deny something's existence if it doesn't exist

Re:where was the cream filling!? (1)

Pulzar (81031) | more than 6 years ago | (#21341543)

colossus was the absolute peak of what we could do, if anyone got hold of that it would be a dangerous weapon

That would be like developing the atomic bomb, and then promptly destroying every trace of it because it's a dangerous weapon. Countries that develop new dangerous weapons tend to keep them around (and use them) to keep the advantage they got from having it.

Plus, if it were me in that situation, I wouldn't be able to resist the temptation to gloat and say "hehe, look, we had a computer all along that was deciphering all your messages" :). But, I guess that's just me.

Re:where was the cream filling!? (1)

ghstomahawks (847102) | more than 6 years ago | (#21343747)

That'd be a bit shortsighted. We didn't tell the Japanese that we had broken some of their codes during the war, and they proceeded to continue to use some of the compromised ones for years thereafter. Had we been as quick to stand around gloating as you we'd have lost the potential intel for years to come.

Re:where was the cream filling!? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21344443)

If only that had happened. We could have won WWII without them. No reason to use them again has cropped up. They are just a burden on humanity.

Re:where was the cream filling!? (4, Informative)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340761)

Why would they do this after the war? Wouldn't they want to explore the technology for other uses, and profit further from the leadership in this field they developed? I mean, what's the reason for hiding (and, worse, destroying!) their code-breaking machine after the war has ended?
The main reason for the destruction was that we no longer needed the same number of machines. We did keep two though I believe which were moved to GCHQ (General Communications Head Quarters - Our eavesdropping department). We certainly did not destroy them all but much of what they did after the war will still be classified.

Re:where was the cream filling!? (2, Interesting)

mlush (620447) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340941)

The main reason for the destruction (of Colossus) was that we no longer needed the same number of machines. We did keep two though I believe which were moved to GCHQ (General Communications Head Quarters - Our eavesdropping department). We certainly did not destroy them all but much of what they did after the war will still be classified. I've heard scurrilous rumors that the Enigma (Do I really need to wiki link it:-) machines were sold on to other nations...

Re:where was the cream filling!? (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355491)

You're right - that was one of the main reason why the tech was supressed. We could then read the 'secure' messages of our 'allies'.

Plus ca change...

Re:where was the cream filling!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21355001)

"we"? What, are you 90 years old? Please. You had nothing to do with any of it, so you should probably use the proper terminology, "they".

Re:where was the cream filling!? (1)

Agripa (139780) | more than 6 years ago | (#21345047)

Why would they do this after the war? Wouldn't they want to explore the technology for other uses, and profit further from the leadership in this field they developed? I mean, what's the reason for hiding (and, worse, destroying!) their code-breaking machine after the war has ended?

I remember watching a documentary a couple years ago about the development of the computer industry and the destruction and classification of the British systems after the war was specifically mentioned as being a significant setback for any post war British development. It was never clear to me why the US did not make the same mistake.

Re:where was the cream filling!? (1)

mattpalmer1086 (707360) | more than 6 years ago | (#21348055)

They did not want anyone to know how successful we were at decryption. Remember, the Colussus wasn't really a general purpose computer - it was good at cryptanlaysis.

A few of the staff went on to do further interesting things with computers (e.g. at Manchester) but many never got the recognition they deserved, and died before anyone even knew of the things they had done. Husbands and wives didn't tell each other.

Re:where was the cream filling!? (1)

ioshhdflwuegfh (1067182) | more than 6 years ago | (#21352529)

One bit from the article:

Colossus was the first of the electronic digital machines to feature limited programmability. It was not, however, a fully general Turing-complete computer, even though Alan Turing worked at Bletchley Park. It was not then realized that Turing completeness was significant; most of the other pioneering modern computing machines were also not Turing complete (e.g. the Atanasoff-Berry Computer, the Harvard Mark I electro-mechanical relay machine, the Bell Labs relay machines (by George Stibitz et al), or the first designs of Konrad Zuse). The notion of a computer as a general purpose machine, as more than a calculator devoted to solving difficult but specific problems, would not become prominent for several years.

Public Event... (2, Funny)

BinarySkies (920189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21339893)

We could make this into an excellent geeky sporting event... They'll be selling seats at the door for $7.50 apiece, a mascot of a giant padlock covered in binary will roll around the sidelines, and a bunch of cheerleaders will be dancing around cheering... safely behind plexiglass from the geekiest ones. Next, to sell this to ESPN...

+++ Spoiler +++ (5, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21339915)

Drink more Ovaltine.

Re:+++ Spoiler +++ (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21340215)

Be Sure To Drink Your Ovaltine

(sorry)

Re:+++ Spoiler +++ (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21340325)

SON OF A BITCH!

A real contest? (5, Insightful)

mistersooreams (811324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21339921)

The article doesn't explain how 1940s hardware competing with modern hardware is a remotely interesting contest. The reason is that the Collosus machines (Collosi?) were both highly specialised for the task, in that they could not do anything but simulate a Lorentz machine very fast, and of course massively parallel. In particular, Collosus was not Turing-complete, so it could not execute arbitrary programs (in the modern sense) - the honour of first Turing-complete machine usually goes to the ENIAC, although this is hotly disputed. So, this might be an interesting contest, although I would still expect a good modern implementation to win. More information, as always, at Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] .

Re:A real contest? (4, Interesting)

NeoSkink (737843) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340753)

Z3 beat ENIAC by a couple of years.

http://www.zib.de/zuse/Inhalt/Kommentare/Html/0684/universal2.html

Re:A real contest? (3, Insightful)

rts008 (812749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21342419)

"The article doesn't explain how 1940s hardware competing with modern hardware is a remotely interesting contest."

Without it being spelled out to me, I am thoroughly taken with this idea. (only true computer geeks need apply, basically)

I think it would be cool to participate in this, but I would especially like to be on the Collosus team just to get to play with this icon of computer geekdom. I suspect that the modern pc's could smoke Collosus (with the right setup), but this gives a chance to gauge our progress, compare apples and oranges like only a comp. geek can, and otherwise rejoice in our geekiness.

So admittedly, this isn't interesting for just anyone-even here on /. , but to some of us, this is just too much fun/interest to pass up.

We see quite a few stories about comparisons between PS3 'super computers' pitted against older supercomputers, we see ad hoc distributed systems compared to older super computers, so why not modern PC's compared to The Super Computer that started it all. (okay, that last bit may have been over the top, and not real accurate...but come on man!)

On the Spock Scale, I rate this one as:
*raised eyebrow*'Fascinating, Captain.'

Re:A real contest? (3, Interesting)

McSnarf (676600) | more than 6 years ago | (#21343161)

*The article doesn't explain how 1940s hardware competing with modern hardware is a remotely interesting contest.*

I had the luck to visit the Bletchley Park facility earlier this year. (Are you a True Geek? Do the same. They need the money and I mean that.)

That piece of '40s hardware might look like a crossbreed of a Wells time machine and a phone exchange, but it was (the replica is) incredibly fast. At one very specific task only, solving one of a class of problems. Do not overestimate the speed of a modern PC - it is kept back by years and years of inefficient programming. The people working on Colossus were Real Programmers of the first order (no quiche!). I'd expect the race to be pretty close.

Re:A real contest? (1)

Sierra Charlie (37047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21344411)

You're thinking too hard.

This isn't about competition... it's just a fun way to engage the public with a little history, and promote the museum on the side.

From the article:

"Witnessing Colossus Mark II in action is a chance to relive and admire the historic breakthrough made by Bletchley Park code breakers during World War II."

Given that Slashdotters aren't usually discussing and researching the Colossus project, I'd say they did a good job. :)

Re:A real contest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21346963)

Why is it that Americans must have the first of everything? This is the first time I have heard a claim for ENIAC on the grounds that REAL computers have to be Turing machines?

It reminds me of the 'first' airplane. According to Americans, that had to have 3-axis controls, an engine, be heavier than air and fly for a 'reasonable' distance, but it didn't have to be able to take off unaided on its own wheels, because that would mean that Santos-Dumont flew the first plane!

As far as I can tell, the vast majority of American claims to be first are of this type.

subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21339939)

     -----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----
     Version: 2.6.2

     hIwDY32hYGCE8MkBA/wOu7d45aUxF4Q0RKJprD3v5Z9K1YcRJ2fve87lMlDlx4Oj
     eW4GDdBfLbJE7VUpp13N19GL8e/AqbyyjHH4aS0YoTk10QQ9nnRvjY8nZL3MPXSZ
     g9VGQxFeGqzykzmykU6A26MSMexR4ApeeON6xzZWfo+0yOqAq6lb46wsvldZ96YA
     AABH78hyX7YX4uT1tNCWEIIBoqqvCeIMpp7UQ2IzBrXg6GtukS8NxbukLeamqVW3
     1yt21DYOjuLzcMNe/JNsD9vDVCvOOG3OCi8=
     =zzaA
     -----END PGP MESSAGE-----

Original Cypher? (1, Interesting)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21339943)

A working replica of the code-breaking device will return to active service as part of the Cipher Challenge on 15 November to mark the launch of the National Museum of Computing.


So it looks like they are using the original wheel combinations, which are widely known. This means I could probably emulate Colossus on my calculator and still solve it faster.

Re:Original Cypher? (1)

woodcutteruk (1188573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340945)

Pitty they could not get the original girls back. When the machines were rebuilt, they came to B.P. and went back into their old routine. During the war after a while they would "guess" possible start position combinations. No time for that, shame. I was deeply impressed with their retained "bone knowledge" at the time. Also a shame not replicating "Y" stations, and sending the intercepts by motorbike.

Re:Original Cypher? (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21342723)

Pitty they could not get the original girls back. When the machines were rebuilt, they came to B.P. and went back into their old routine. During the war after a while they would "guess" possible start position combinations. No time for that, shame. I was deeply impressed with their retained "bone knowledge" at the time. Also a shame not replicating "Y" stations, and sending the intercepts by motorbike.
Alas, while my Grandfather fought in the Pacific and I have read a bit on the Enigma, I'm not sure what some of these are. What are "Y" stations, "bone knowledge" and by "guess" do you mean making a prediction and coming out very close to the actual starting combination?

Whats the Frequency, Kenneth? (2, Interesting)

Subgenius (95662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21339991)

No, seriously. Having a bunch of RTTY gear over here, this might be a fun Thursday diversion....

The abacus is greater then the sword (4, Insightful)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340021)

WWII might have been a great deal more expensive in terms of humans lives, duration, and overall destruction is it wasn't for the people at Bletchley park and their counterparts in the US Army Signals Intelligence Service. It's unfortunate that their contribution remained a secret for so long. Imagine how much damage Yamamoto could have done if his strategies and feints weren't all known to the Americans or if all the German troop movements weren't deduced from their communications.

Re:The abacus is greater then the sword (1)

ShawnCplus (1083617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340303)

Hooray for Arthur Scherbius, too bad that witch gave him that apple...

Re:The abacus is greater then the sword (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21341513)

In two words: "karma whore".

Re:The abacus is greater then the sword (2, Insightful)

initialE (758110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21343263)

Isn't it a shame that the treatment of Alan Turing after the war drove him to suicide though, as though all of his contributions meant nothing to the people. All that mattered to them was that he was a homosexual.

Re:The abacus is greater then the sword (3, Funny)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21343625)

Isn't it a shame that the treatment of Alan Turing after the war drove him to suicide though, as though all of his contributions meant nothing to the people. All that mattered to them was that he was a homosexual.
He is truly the father of modern computing and he achieved a lot in his short life. He was monumental to the Allied war effort and a once in a generation math genius. It's really too bad the people of his time couldn't look past his sexuality.

On a side note: I'm straight but I'd do Turing for the geek cred :D

Re:The abacus is greater then the sword (2, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#21344961)

It's unfortunate that their contribution remained a secret for so long.
At least you didn't take one of your best cryptanalysts and drive them to suicide by forcing them to take hormone injections or go to prison for the crime of being a homosexual, like we did in England. That's one way to treat a war hero.

Re:The abacus is greater then the sword (1)

BlindJesse (26572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21346673)

Don't forget the US Naval work in Dayton, which is yet to be fully appreciated.
http://www.daytoncodebreakers.org/ [daytoncodebreakers.org]

Incidentally, the building in which the work is done is scheduled to be torn down by the University of Dayton any day now.

Re:The abacus is greater then the sword (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21346983)

I think to recall that the Japanese code was cracked by a totally different, american team. And unless I am having my reality mixed up with Stephenson's Cryptonomicon (dont'read it, go buy a history book about WWII true Bletchley Park, far more fascinationg) they first had to get a code book for this.

Re:The abacus is greater then the sword (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21363661)

Admiral Yamamoto in fact was killed when his plane was shot down based on an intercepted decoded Japanese message describing his route. Japanese navel strategy deteriated badly after his death. The decrypting of Japanese codes is an interesting story as well. In contrast to the British the American effort was much more brute force and used a lot of IBM punch card equipment.

A couple of notes:

1. Bletchley park is a short walk from the Milton Keys train station so it is easy to visit from London.
2. There is a 2001 movie "Enigma" with Kate Winslett that although highly fictionalized is worth seeing.

Cipher Challenge Site (5, Informative)

markg11cdn (1087925) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340063)

More details on the challenge (and Colussus) can be found here : http://www.tnmoc.co.uk/cipher1.htm [tnmoc.co.uk]

At the same time as the international team receives the enciphered messages, radio amateurs around the world will be able to receive the same radio broadcasts and try their hand at decrypting it. It will be fascinating to see who completes the job first!

oblig. (1, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340135)

This is the voice of world control.

Mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21342161)

For the uninitiated, he's referring to Colossus: The Forbin Project [wikipedia.org] , which is a sci-fi film all /.ers need to see.

Re:Mod parent up! (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#21343423)

Heh, it's enough to know someone got the ref. God, I'm old..

Re:Mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21381381)

Whoever modded your previous post OT obviously did not get the ref.

Never Too Late for WW III (1)

Hanging By A Thread (906564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340137)

http://imdb.com/title/tt0064177/ [imdb.com] Forbin Project: We built a super computer with a mind of its own and now we must fight it for the world!

Re:Never Too Late for WW III (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21380729)

Sorry, but we are fighting WW III already. Can you spell 'Terrorists'?.

Only requirement for modern PC: (1)

Eberlin (570874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340265)

This thing won't even be a race at all if the modern pc is equipped with a method of contacting Bruce Schneier. Remember, folks, he's the only guy that can encrypt things in ROT13 TWICE and still have the cipher unbreakable.

Re: Bruce Schneier (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 6 years ago | (#21345665)

So put him on the Lorenz team and watch him code some weird version of German Mountain slang.

Or worse.

If you're interested (1)

bob.appleyard (1030756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340277)

Here's the museum's website: http://www.tnmoc.co.uk/ [tnmoc.co.uk]

Re:If you're interested (1)

bob.appleyard (1030756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340309)

Also note:

At the same time as the international team receives the enciphered messages, radio amateurs around the world will be able to receive the same radio broadcasts and try their hand at decrypting it. It will be fascinating to see who completes the job first!

http://www.tnmoc.co.uk/cipher1.htm

I can only hope that (-1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340289)

by some twist of cosmic fate, mag tapes get mixed up in Germany, and the **AAs European email backups are accidentally transmitted, decoded in Bletchly, and passed to the entirety of the tech/geek world in less than 4 hours, thanks to WWII technology. The quantum mind-fsck this would cause is entirely acceptable if all the **AAs plans are laid bare before the world :)

In years to come, we can look forward to underground voting for the **AA awards for cracking the business plans of evil corporate entities. The awards ceremonies celebrated simultaneously with the Cannes film festival.. since no geeks get invited to Cannes and they have nothing else to do at that time. Yes, will entertainment world is celebrating its most visible, its most invisible will be quietly revealed to the world.

Okay, perhaps that is just dreaming, but it's a good dream.

Re:I can only hope that (2, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340463)

How is that even remotely on topic? Seriously, can we have at least ONE slashdot story where someone doesn't mention "**AA"(which is a misuse of splats and/or regexes anyway)? This is what happens when a site turns from 'news for nerds" to "message board of the pirate bay" I suppose.....

This machine was a hoax back then (0, Troll)

whitespiral (941984) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340315)

That's a myth. Allied forces discovered the german secrets thanks to traitors at the high ranks of the nazi regime.

Re:This machine was a hoax back then (1)

bob.appleyard (1030756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340361)

Woah, link me up. Like to read about that.

Re:This machine was a hoax back then (2, Funny)

arevos (659374) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340719)

Exacty. The Colossus Mark II is no more real than the so-called "Moon Landing", or the ridiculous fringe theory that the Earth is round.

Old school (3, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340469)

thisi sstil ltheb estan dmost unbre akabl ecode

Re:Old school (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21341717)

Srne ebg13!

Re:Old school (1)

u8i9o0 (1057154) | more than 6 years ago | (#21342303)

thisi sstil ltheb estan dmost unbre akabl ecode
That reminds me of a little fun I had a long while ago.

Some friends of mine were emailing each other, developing similar 'encrypting' schemes. The one they ultimately shared with me was the nospacesorpunctuationsintheentiremessage type of thing, and how awesome it was.

In response, I decided to show them a few tricks: a pseudo-substitution cipher (L33T speak, actually) fed into a columnar transposition cipher. But the really fun part was actually within the plaintext, as it was grammatically difficult to follow. Of course, I had to provide an explanation for each step in another email so that they could actually decode it.

While I admit that I was playing the 'one-up' game, my response was also meant to expose them to the basic techniques. If I wanted to go crazy I would have used RSA or similar, but the one I chose could easily be accomplished by hand.

Re:Old school - Fixed (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 6 years ago | (#21352927)

thisi sstil ltheb estan dmost unrem arkabl ecode

If it ain't broke... (1)

Sta7ic (819090) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340655)

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Wait, which cipher are they using? Ooops.

Oblig. From the movie "The Core" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21340677)

This is my Kung-Fu and it is strong!

I'm placing my bet on.... (1)

backbyter (896397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340685)

Team A.T.T. & N.S.A.

(Providing that the data is routed through S.F., of course.)

Watch Out (2, Funny)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340787)

"Colossus marked the beginning of the modern age of computing, a heritage that we are planning to preserve by raising £6m to establish a world-class facility at Bletchley Park," said Tony Sale, co-founder of the National Museum of Computing.

Watch out! Don't connect that thing to the internet -- your 40 year old version of Norton won't be any good. Wouldn't want to turn six million pounds into just another botnet zombie :)

-Grey [silverclipboard.com]

Re:Watch Out (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 6 years ago | (#21342785)

Don't worry, Windows was still 40+ years in the future. No one had invented plug-n-play autopwn until MS came along.

The Life That I Have - Leo Marks (1)

giafly (926567) | more than 6 years ago | (#21341223)

The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours

The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.
Bletchley Park also used poems [wikipedia.org] as cypher keys. This [wikipedia.org] is probably the best as literature, but looks a bit repetitive to be secure.

Re:The Life That I Have - Leo Marks (1)

mikeb (6025) | more than 6 years ago | (#21347127)

That (famous) poem was written by Leo Marks who was the codemaster for the British Special Operations Executive. He spent most of the war wishing he was working at Bletchley Park but didn't (although they knew about his coding schemes). His autobiography "Between Silk and Cyanide" is a humorous and very moving account of his time during the war and some of the agents he met who lost their lives. That poem was written for his girlfriend who was killed in an aircraft crash - later he passed it on to Violette Szabo who was executed in a concentration camp after being landed in occupied France (if I remember correctly).

Mandatory reading for anyone with a soul, I would say.

Error (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21341605)

ERROR: "There is as yet insufficient data for a meaningful answer."

or is this the code? (1)

keithius (804090) | more than 6 years ago | (#21341747)

erau qssi dlro weht

Re:or is this the code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21347491)

Perhaps you meant "tomo yo, yasuraka ni."

Re:or is this the code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21356759)

Heh. At first I thought this was a "forward backward" code (I don't remember the real name) and I decoded it as something like: "Are u ssqid or lhewt?" Am I a squid, or a lout? Neither!

not the first (1)

kaplong! (688851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21343077)

The summary is not quite correct: Colossus was not the first programmable computer. Cf. the table halfway down in the wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus_computer [wikipedia.org] that shows the Z3 preceeding it by a few years.

Not the first digital computer (1)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 6 years ago | (#21344181)

The person who wrote the summary did not do their research. The Colossus was not the first digital computer:
Atanasoff Berry Computer [wikipedia.org]

The ABC predates colossus by a couple years and the page has some very nice charts detailing what old computers did and when.

Re:Not the first digital computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21346519)

You should be thankful enough that it's not a dupe!

Museum of calulating machines (2, Informative)

ockegheim (808089) | more than 6 years ago | (#21345167)

If mechanical calulators and computers interest you I highly recommend the Arathmeum [uni-bonn.de] in Bonn, Germany. There are machines from the 17th-20th centuries and you're allowed to try some of them yourself. Even my wife enjoyed it.

sek (1)

maktan1 (1190315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21389533)

highly recommend this too !!

PC vs Colossus (2)

HW_Hack (1031622) | more than 6 years ago | (#21346897)

If the PCs are running M$ ..... my money is on Colossus

Germans borrowing German technology (2, Interesting)

clacke (214199) | more than 6 years ago | (#21347501)

A slightly ironic detail: It seems the Germans don't have any Lorenz SZ42 machines left [chaos-paderborn.de] , and they have to borrow one from the British GCHQ [gchq.gov.uk] , while promising not to repossess it as war loot.

Re:Germans borrowing German technology (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355595)

Oh, marvellous. This is some nerdy test, posting links in German?

Thanks to the efforts of the crypto boys, (started off by the Poles, let's not forget), and also of the many of my ancestors sadly buried around Europe during WWI and II, I was not forced to learn the language ;-)

Re:Germans borrowing German technology (1)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 6 years ago | (#21381313)

Reading that German text, the Bletchley Park people wanted guarantees that the Germany would not declare the Lorenz SZ42 to be 'spoils of war' ('war loot' does not have the same ring about it) and just keep it. Presumably that is the reason the Allies have them and the Germans do not in the first place.

The German Ministry of Defence (DoD over there) and the office of the Bundeskanzlerin were also involved in the assurances that the SZ42 would not be kept.
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