A UPS Package
It's always fun when you get an ARG delivered to your doorstep. Not that I was so lucky this time around, but quite a few people were. Enaxor was the first one to report getting a package. She had a blacked out letter, an Emgergen-C package with a sticker and a origami swan. The origami swan was a bit strange considering it had no information on it and that many people had been folding cranes for Dave Szulborski. However, it wasn't really thought that varin could be so manipulative just for an ARG launch. That and she also received a package. With varin's pictures, it was pointed out that each letter had a different bit blacked out, so we figured with enough letters we would be able to get the entire contents of the letter.
Dumbing It Down for the Media
Little did we know that it really wasn't necessary for us to do any real work.

It turns out that a package was also sent to a blogger at c|net, except his was significantly different from the ones sent to Unfiction people. For starters, he doesn't list a crane as part of the package. He also got a (mostly) unblackened letter and a bigger sticker - giving him all the information to move onto the next bit of game while the ARG people were left twiddling their thumbs. Seriously, was there a point to giving us what appeared to be a cooperative puzzle when the answer key was also available at the same time? Methinks one could have saved themselves some significant UPS fees if they had thought out the packages a bit better.

So the actual letter § doesn't give us all that much to go on, other than someone named Eugene Gough shouldn't have his contract extended. But why on earth are people getting a memo that is over twenty years old? Maybe a new website could help.
So it turns out that the stickers on our emergen-c packets weren't complete. The c|net guy got a whole one that says "Scientific Anarchy Now" and "Holomove". With a little googling, you can quickly find out that holomove.com is a valid website.

Holomove is definitely what we're looking for, as it has the same logo that has showed up on all the stickers. It also has some rather annoying music that plays, so you might want to hit the dancing bars down at the bottom to stop it.

Holomove is apparently the brain child of one Eugene Gough and it specializes in "next-generation user interfaces" - namely holographics. At least now we know what he ended up doing after getting fired from Los Alamos. Tragically Eugene died in 2007 (an 'accident' off the coast of Belize) and the company is now run by Erik Andersen and Giorgio Poulopatis, both of whom worked for Freyja Capital. §

For being a relatively sparse website, there's a wealth of information for us to latch onto. First of all, there are several new websites mentioned, mostly through the RSS feed.
  • Freyja Capital - Erik Andersen's company
  • CodeWtrN8 - Blog of Nathan Bozeman, new lead developer of Holomove
  • Reach the Future - $10 million dollar brand campaign by Holomove (which sadly just redirects back to Holomove)
The second bit of information is that Holomove is hiring. § In order to apply to any of the jobs, you must email careers@holomove.com the answer to a puzzle they have provided. § So while we're waiting for their HR department to check our solution, we might as well check out some of the other websites.
Freyja Capital
Freyja Capital is a San Diego based venture capital/banking group run by Erik Andersen (who doesn't seem able to write a new bio for a new company). The two other big members of Freyja are Matthew Berg and Timothy Lutton. Sadly, beyond reading the brief company profile, the member bios and the headlines of their press releases, there isn't much to do here. You can try to get them to email or call you through their contact form if you're into that sort of thing. §
CodeWtrN8 is the blog of Nathan Bozeman, the new lead developer for Holomove. He's been blogging since March 2007 so there is a bit of a backlog for you to look through. His early blog is basically just random links to things he finds interesting: MyVisualDNA, Kohnia.org, Universcale, etc. He even links to Not Pron and xkcd. It even turns out he lived only a couple of hours away from me back in 2007 - in Troy, NY. I go up there a lot during the summer for Celtic Festivals and to visit my sister. Small world, huh?

Anyway, after leaving RPI and travelling around a bit, he eventually got a job with Holomove. It actually seems that he had a different puzzle than what we had. The first part of the answer is here and the answer to the punch card is here.

Nate also has a copy of an interview with Dr. Gough that was shown at his orientation. Sadly, Dr. Gough bit the big one before Nate got to meet him, but the interview does give some insights into who he was. Mainly that he likes science over everything else. Which considering this is an orientation film kinda makes me wonder if Holomove wants their employees to have a life outside of the company. Probablly a good thing that Nate is single. §

Nate also has decided to try his hand at video blogging, so he has a bunch of Youtube videos up. Nothing that exciting, except you see just what a little eager beaver Nate is in trying to make friends. I'm also betting that he's trying to see if he can get into Eliza's handcuffs since they seemed to be a little on the cozy side after the Vegas trip. Transcriptions §
Crossword Puzzle
So during one of Nate's patented 'walks around the office seeming way too over eager', he stumbles upon Dr. Gough's office. Not being one to have any actual boundaries, Nate starts going through the late Dr. Gough's stuff and finds a crossword puzzle, which he takes and scans in for us. How thoughtful. Of course, he doesn't give us the clues until a few days later. Remind me if Nate ever comes over to my house to have him empty his pockets before he leaves.

Nate seems perplexed about the puzzle since it seems too easy for someone like Dr. Gough. If you really look at it, it seems to be a little too hard for Dr. Gough since there are a lot of errors in it. Or maybe it's just that Dr. Gough was leaving a little hidden message to himself. §
Business Cards
It appears that Unfiction/Despoiler was given a heads-up about Holomove a few days before the packages were received. Too bad it was just sort of dismissed as recruitment spam. Luckily, after the packages came through, Space went and posted both the original mention and his package scans to Despoiler.

The business card is the most exciting thing since it contains all sorts of good information, like a new name, phone number, business and email address.
Jeff Davis, Senior Recruiter
4445 Eastgate, Suite 200
San Diego, CA 92121
What's even cooler is that dialing the number takes you to a Holomove receptionist and not just an answering service. So make sure you're ready to talk if you dial it.
Because there hasn't been a whole lot for us to do at this point, people have been hitting Google pretty hard looking for any information on Holomove and her employees. One of the search results was over at LinkedIn. Both Nathan and Eliza have profiles. Eliza even has a link to another Holomove employee, Anna Goldstein. I don't think we met her on Nate's little video tour of the company. Come to think of it, we didn't meet Jeff either. I wonder where they were hiding.
Apparently, both Nathan and Eliza both have Myspace pages. Unfortunately, work blocks Myspace, which makes writing about it a little difficult since I'm then forced to remember to do it at home. And remembering to visit Myspace at home is a bit like remembering you have to report to the back alley to have your feet cut off at the ankles. You just don't want to do it.
Random Knowledge
Nate decided that he didn't really like our solution to the crossword puzzle. Well, it's more like he thought that there was something more to it. So the peeps all got together in #holomove (and not #homolove like everyone seems to type) and started hashing out different ideas.

Eventually it was discovered that the replaced words were just as important as the words that were used in the puzzle.
hidden - images
something - community
important - knowledge
locate - random
So we know that Dr. Gough hid something important somewhere. Could the original/correct answers lead us to where that information is hidden? Some sort of image community maybe? Like flickr?

Once that idea was floated across, it didn't take long to find a flickr account named Random Knowledge. And what do you know - there's another puzzle there. §

Now the question is, what does the solution of "Holomove = Hollow Moves" mean? Is Holomove making false promises of changing the world are full of hot air? But if that's the case, why was this considered such important information that Gough would encrypt it into a crossword puzzle? Are we still missing something?

No Beer = Standard Business Practice
I'm really beginning to think that Nate must have some killer coder skills because his office etiquette is really abysmal. Wandering around video taping employees, dating your office supervisor (bonus idiot points for managing that in less than 30 days), taking items out of dead founder offices, and providing beer to subordinates while at the office = ways to get you fired pretty much anywhere unless you have something really special to offer.

Yes, Nate's latest little "what were you thinking" moment came when he decided that, instead of taking his team out of the office to celebrate a big breakthough, he would bring the party to them, complete with alcohol. It was pretty close to the weekend after all. Needless to say that management wasn't too happy with him. Well, maybe supervisor-girlfriend Eliza might have been okay with it, but not Chairman Eric. I wish I had Eric's email. I would love to send him the link to Nate's 'reenactment' of his busting up the party. I'm sure Eric would love it. §

But Nate isn't one to be kept down for long. In fact, he's devised new ways of 'having fun' in the office - Chair Races! He says he's gotten smarter by not holding them while George and Eric are in the office. However, I'm still not sure if he's learned the concept of Youtube being a non-private space. §
Random Barcodes
A new image appeared in the Random Knowledge flickr stream. That would mean that whomever left the crossword clue on Dr. Gough's desk is still around to give us new clues (or else they have an accomplice to do it for them). Makes you wonder who left the crossword on Gough's desk then - and if Dr. Gough could possibly still be alive.

Anyway, the puzzle. It's a QR Code - basically a two-dimensional bar code. They're really big over in Japan. You can scan the picture with your mobile phone and (if it has the decoding software in it) you get out the detailed information that was put encoded into it. If you don't have a cell phone capable of reading QR Codes, you can visit this thread on UF and download a on/off-line reader.

Decoding the QR Code gives us a message that reads: haveyoufoundfreyjacapitalyet? (The Intelcom bit is an artifact from the creation of the QR Code.) Obviously if you've been following this guide, you have found Freyja Capital. So what is so important about Chairman Eric's company that this mysterious person wants us to know about it?
Folding Times
Nate has moved up in Holomove. Instead of stealing puzzles from other people's desks, someone is now hand delivering them to his desk. The puzzle appears to be a square image with random letters all over it. This is when it helps to be an ARGer and not some c|net blogger because we've already been told how to solve this puzzle. It's a paper crane and when you fold it correctly you get "D I G G" on one side and "385 73 00 0" on the other, which leads us to the Digg profile of Random Knowledge: http://digg.com/users/38573000

RK seems to have just joined Digg in the past few days, and has submitted a few articles: Even his pictures are a little odd. We have what looks like a periodic table and a play button. How that fits in with RK's three random guys is beyond me. An odd sort of grouping to say the least. It's made even more odd by the fact that Random Knowledge added a new picture to his flickr account. It's a picture of the front a Nobel Medal. Normally the Roman Numerals on the side are MDCCCXXXIII and MDCCCXCVI indicating the birth and death year of Alfred Nobel (1833 - 1896). However, the Roman Numerals on our coin read CCVIII LXV CLIII CCLI or 208 65 153 251, which looks supiciously like an IP addresses. Say for maybe Youtube. So apparently we need to go look up some videos. I suppose it would have been too easy for there to actually be an account under Random Knowledge. Well, technically there is - it's just abbreviated to ranknow.
The video on RK's Youtube page is called Nobelium. It shows Dr. Gough and his assistant AJ manipulating a real life object with holograms. Or at least it did until everything went so terribly, terribly wrong. §

So maybe Dr. Gough didn't die in a snorkeling accident off the coast of Belize after all (although, granted, I'm not sure how many of us actually believed that to be the case in the first place). Is this what killed him? Or did he survive and go into hiding? And what happened to AJ? Could he be Random Knowledge? RK lists his age on Youtube as 38, which would make more sense for AJ than for Dr. Gough. But if this is what killed Dr. Gough, why the cover-up? To protect Holomove's profits or even the project in general? Could an accident like this really doom a project to the point where people are willing to cover it up with 'alternative scenarios'?

By the way, just as an aside, it appears that the Digg puzzle might have been an additional way for us to find the Youtube video (maybe in case we didn't/couldn't see the Flickr picture). The video, as I said, is titled Nobelium - which has an atomic number of 102. Mr. Booher is in the 102nd district in the Michigan State Senate. Albert Hoffman just recently died at the age of 102. And out of all of the Messier Objects, only M102 cannot be identified unambiguously. So the pictures were telling us to go look for a video (the play button) about the 102nd (common theme) element (periodic table).

Tweet Tweet
Nathan already talked in his blog about how he rarely uses his Twitter account. However, it has been discovered that Eliza uses her Twitter a little bit more. Nothing big so far, but she does mention going to see 'her man' - which may or may not be Nate depending on if you think Eliza is just an idiot or a two-timing scheming bitch.
Advertising for Fun and Profit
One of the new UF members noticed a Holomove web ad while researching new computers. There is a square ad that seems static and a sidebar flash ad that has at least eleven different sayings that randomly pop up. The ads take you to Holomove.com so hopefully we'll get new blood looking into the mystery.
Reach the Future
About the same time we were all refreshing to get different ads loaded, a new Flickr image went up. If you download the large image and start playing around in MS paint, you'll see that there are hidden letters in the bottom of each of the spheres: m0qq0br0ajx, gqtlxuty, htr. It looks like a bunch of gibberish until you fall back on a time-honored/extremely annoying method of 'encryption' aka ROT(21): h0ll0wm0ves blogspot com
Heading off to h0ll0wm0ves.blogspot.com, we have a new message to us. Or an old message if you see that it's been sitting there since April 4, 2004 (posted at 4:44 PM). § If you look at the source (like the text hints at), you'll noticed some commented out URLs: Each of the files plays a seven digit telephone number, followed by a woman reading a nonsensical sentence. Although you can't download the files directly, if you have a program like Audacity you can re-record them and then upload the files to DialABC's Detect Applet where it will give you the corresponding numbers.

It took us a bit of time to work out this puzzle. The actual challenging bit we managed quite quickly. It was figuring out the implementation of the data that took the longest since we weren't entirely sure how much information we needed to figure out (ie if we were just looking for a word or a word and an email address). Plus the fact that there are two steps in the puzzle didn't help our time either. §

If you put 'LAND' in the subject of an email to randomknowledge@yahoo.com (the email address that would be associated with the flickr account), you should soon get a reply back from RK. So now it seems we just sit back and wait. §

Speak No Evil
We really don't have to wait too long as Nate updated his blog (twice actually) while we were puzzling over RK's little puzzle. The first update was Nate once again video blogging at work. Except this time, George comes along and spoils his fun again! Turns of Nate's music and his webcam. The horror! It's almost like George wanted his employees to work at the office instead of just screwing around. §

In the second update, Nate put up a picture of a monkey with his mouth covered - referencing one of the three wise monkeys. Seems like an odd blog post until you look at the source code. § So it seems like even Nate is getting into the puzzle spirit. This puzzle is actually broken up into three bits. First, finding the 'very obvious place'. Second, the top two sets of numbers. And finally the bottom set of numbers.

The first bit we had actually sort of stumbled across even before we saw Nate's post. One of the #holomove peeps has been playing around with urls and went to nathanbozeman.blogspot.com and nathanbozeman.com. There's nothing at the blogspot address - but you do get a message saying that at one point there was a blog there and that it had been removed. There is a website at nathaanbozeman.com - however it's password protected. Maybe what we're looking for in Nate's puzzle is a username/password combo.

Now onto solving the actual puzzley bits. § So where do the solutions get us? We have a passworded website and two puzzle solutions: COEUS and Loch Lomond. Put it all together, and you can login to the new site.
username: Coeus
password: LochLomond
What do you know - Nate has developed a secret blog at nathanbozeman.com. He's copied all the entries from the old site so you can ignore the archives if you've already read them once.

The big thing you need to check out on the site is the private vimeo video. It's password protected, but Nate had decided to go easy on us and has kept it the same as his website: LochLomond. It basically just shows Nate walking around Dr. Gough's office at night. He doesn't say (or show us) that he found anything interesting. I guess the video is just to show us that he's not a complete wuss. §
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