Matthew Parker's Decoder #2011-3

Still a little confused by all the numbers that appeared at the bottom of the mystery in the March 2011 issue of Clubhouse magazine? If you don't remember what the numbers looked like, here's the entire message:

Now use the chart below to fidget with these digits and take a byte out of this code!

How It Works:
This code is made using binary code—the 0’s and 1’s computers use when computing. To break it, just match each series of eight numbers with its letter. So, 01000010 = B. But don’t forget: For computers, words are written without spaces, so first you must separate the series of numbers from one another:

01001111010001000101100101010011010100110100010101011001 = Odyssey

Here’s a helpful hint: The first three numbers—010—are the same for every letter, so you can cross out the first three numbers from each group and start decoding from the fourth letter on.

This code sure may look confusing, but to a computer, it’s completely logical! In each string of numbers, the 1’s stand for computer “bits” that are on, and the 0’s stand for the ones that are off. Together, they make up strings of commands the computer can carry out.

Look for another secret message next month!

Copyright © 2011 by Christopher Maselli. Used by permission. Illustration © Gary Locke.