Peace And Love Incorporated (Information Society) Easter Egg - Final Track

In an early and extremely primitive example of the Enhanced CD concept, this disc's final track contains computer-readable data. The catch is that this is before the Enhanced CD existed, and also before CDROM drives were widespread. So most people who own this CD really have no idea how to access the data on it, or what the track contains (it sounds like loud screeching on a CD player).

Most bizzare of all, even the liner notes don't explain exactly how you're supposed to enjoy the final track. Fortunately the way this track appears listed on the back cover gives a clue: "300bps, 8, N, 1" Let's break this down:

300bps = 300 baud. To put this in perspective, todays modems run at 53000 baud.
8 = 8 data bits.
N = No parity. [don't ask, believe me, you don't wanna know]
1 = One stop bit.

The fact that this is all pretty cryptic and not explained in the liner notes hints that InSoc doesn't want to make it easy to read the final track, or at least wants people to puzzle over it. But anyway the bottom line here as tha these are modem settings. Thus, only by playing this track into a modem would it make any sense. It isn't very hard to do if you have an ancient modem with a handset, as you can just hold the handset up to the speakers on your stereo. Otherwise, well, good luck. This is probably just about the hardest-to-access "hidden" thing in the history of music, at least since the days of the Beatles' butcher cover with the huge sticker over it.

So once you get it working, what IS hidden in track 12? Well it's... nah, that would spoil the surprise.

User Rating:
8.5
  8.5/10 with 22 votes
Contributed By: Andrew Lenahan on 11-05-1999
Reviewed By: Webmaster
Special Requirements: CD, PC, an ancient phone-style modem, lots of luck
Please correct this Egg if you see errors.

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Comments

andi writes:
The track wasn't meant to be especially hard to decode; it was meant to make you think about the relationship between data and music, or because he likes the sound of modems, or... well, Kurt's given a few different explanations. The official story is in the Texts section at www.insoc.org, as is the text that you get by decoding. The cool thing is that, unlike the modern "enhanced CD," this works just as well on vinyl, or cassette, as it did on CD. (A bit of trivia: The first "enhanced CD" that used the "CD-ROM data encoded on track 1" trick was Penal Colony's "5 Man Job," released by Cleopatra Records, who later signed InSoc.) According to Kurt, you should be able to get all but the last character of the text. I've never gotten past his signature. When Kurt came up with the idea in 1991, and any self-respecting geek in 1991 (which includes most real InSoc fans--hence the InSoc floppy) would have no problem understanding what "300baud 8-N-1" meant. If you had a modem back then, it probably wasn't to get on the Internet; it was to call BBS's or online services or hack, and you usually got the numbers in a form like this: "The Fallen Kingdom---818.501.5186---9600-8N1---24h." Additional information from Paul Robb (although when I asked Kurt for confirmation, he said something like, "Well, that might be true, but I don't remember, and I sincerely doubt that Paul does either"): Kurt originally wanted to leave the track untitled, figuring that real geeks would recognize the sound of a 300 baud modem (the 8N1 would be easy to get by trial and error--it would be the first thing most people would try, or maybe second after 7E1 for certain online service junkies). Then Kurt changed his mind and decided that he wanted non-geeks asking their geek friends what the title meant. So this wasn't supposed to be the tricky part. The tricky part was supposed to be figuring out how to get the audio data into your modem. For those of us who still had acoustic coupler modems or an Apple //e with an AppleCat (which had an audio input) it was pretty easy. Others just plugged a telephone into their modem (much easier than leaving both plugged into the wall and waiting for a dead line!). Someone even wrote a 300 baud modem decoder program for DOS. Nowadays the easiest way to get the text is to go to www.insoc.org, but that's no fun. (And unlike "White Roses 1.1," decoding this track in 2001 won't lead you on a scavenger hunt that's no longer possible to complete.) P.S., Kurt will not be impressed that you know what's on track 12, even if you're a cute girl with "SO WE'RE SUPPOSED TO PLAY IN CURITIBA IN 18 HOURS" written across your chest on a homemade t-shirt. (Not my story, but somebody wanted me to mention this.)
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Seamus writes:
Having sharing this egg with many friends, I have found that most of them eventually come back to me in frustration, unable to see how to get the data into their computer. It is, however, possible to translate the datastream without having to hunt down an old accoustic couple-type modem. HINT: If you leave the telephone off-hook for a while, an annoying alert tone eventually begins, letting you know that you haven't hung up properly. Given time (usually a minute or two), this tone goes away, allowing you to use the telephone as an intercom to any other phone _or _phone-like_device_ on the line. 'nuff said.
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MeowthRocket writes:
if you want to know the surprise, go to http://www.pathetic-caverns.com/hidden.html or http://www.macnet.org/~jesiek/insoc.html I'm not telling what it is!!!!! here's a hint: -i-d-n m-s-a-e try to fill in the blanks.
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