Alfvaen picked 'm' on November 11th.
/dev/joe picked 't' on November 14th.
Alfvaen picked 'n' on November 16th.
Fortunato picked 's' on November 18th.
/dev/joe picked 'r' on November 20th.
*****nt **mm*s: *****nt **mm*s *r*** ****: **m*ns *n* ****r*s t***: *n**rt** s*** *s***m: *n* t** **rs* t*** r*** *n *n **t*r* t***: ******n* *r*n m****n: ****rs**** ********n: t** **st t** r*st t** r*r* **m* t***r*: ****t* n*t**n n*** s*r*: ******** m*r*****n: m*s****** ********* ****: **r***r ***n**s **n**s *: *r*t***n ***s t* n**r*s** **r ****nst: ****m**r r** t*m*** s**r*ts: **n**n* t* r*st*r* *n *****s** m**n **: ***n t** m*rr*r *r***s **n* *****: *n*m**s ***s*r*n*: sm*s* *r*s*r*: t** *nn***nts t** **** m***m*n: *********** **m**r **n ***t****n: *** **m* *** **r*n**** *****s: **r**n t** ***rm: *****r*t**n ** *n**n*s: **n***st***r ** t**: ***m*n*t*r **s: t** **s ****m **r**: tr***t**n *r****r **n**r st***: n***r ***** ****s
/dev/joe guessed on November 20th (81 points for the win):
violent femmes: violent femmes uriah heep: demons and wizards tool: undertow soul asylum: and the horse they rode in on jethro tull: aqualung iron maiden: powerslave helloween: the best the rest the rare game theory: lolita nation nada surf: high/low marillion: misplaced childhood love: forever changes king's x: gretchen goes to nebraska for against: december red temple spirits: dancing to restore an eclipsed moon q5: when the mirror cracks pink floyd: animals offspring: smash erasure: the innocents the dead milkmen: beelzebubba camper van beethoven: key lime pie barenaked ladies: gordon the alarm: declaration 13 engines: conquistador zz top: eliminator yes: the yes album x-ray: tradition breaker wonder stuff: never loved elvis
/dev/joe wrote (Nov 20, 1997):
> /dev/joe's list is worth 81 points and thus he has > found the treasure. We await the details... I assume > "tradition breaker" was the last one you figured out? Yes, tradition breaker was the last one I figured out, from the r's. I had already run the pattern of first word in that one through a word list and come up with tradition as one of the few matching words, the only likely looking one, but none of my searches showed an album with a name that matched the pattern, using tradition as the first word. Finally the r's reinforced my belief of "tradition" as the first word, and gave me a pattern I could search word lists for -- 77 matches, with breaker being the first that looked like a good match. A quick altavista search for "tradition breaker" turned it up, with the title and artist in the title of the #1 match, and a listing of the album for sale at another site down the list a bit... apparently x-ray is a Japanese group; the first few matches were pages in Japanese. The japanese CD web page had a large selection, all of which cost on the order of $30-40. "q5: when the mirror cracks" was the next-to-last album I got, after the s was filled in, though that wasn't what gave it to me. "When the" was a lucky guess; the album showed up in the all-music guide. "red temple spirits: dancing to restore an eclipsed moon" was the 3rd-to-last I got, before the s's were filled in. This was even a luckier guess than the other; I guessed "dancing to" and "moon" and searched altavista and found a match. This one is in the all-music guide but the name is truncated so I probably would have missed it there. Going back to the beginning, I started by downloading the catalogs of Columbia House, BMG, and CDHQ from the cd-clubs web page. I combined these databases, converting case and throwing out duplicates, and did searches on this list for the initial patterns with no letters filled in. This found several matches, and for several albums found multiple matches. Sometimes based on my knowledge of the bands and albums, I could mark some choices as more likely than others, and in many (but not all) cases I chose the correct album back at the beginning. About a dozen albums I found no match for. Now, having found Barenaked Ladies: Gordon as a sure match, I remembered Malenkai having once posted a list of some of his favorite groups. I searched through my personal e-mail archives for "barenaked ladies" and found this: - from Malenkai's message of jun 4 1997 (ack-97jun): >> 3)What are your tastes in reading and music? [...] >My favorite groups are (going down the CD collection): 13 Engines, the >Alarm, Barenaked Ladies, Blind Mellon, Blue Aeroplanes, the Call, >Camper van Beethoven, Caravan, Crack the Sky, Dead Milkmen, >Drivin N Cryin, Erasure, For Against, Helloween, Iron Maiden, Jethro Tull, >Love, Marillion, Meat Loaf, Metallica, October Project, Offspring, >Pink Floyd, Renaissance, Rush, Social Distortion, Styx, Tool, Uriah Heep. > >Sorry to TMBG and all the other great bands in the collection that did >not make the first cut :( > >There is (was?) also a band in the Philly area called Crossharp Sharp's >Blues Review [sic] who has the best slide guitar player in the world >(at least after a few beers, anyway). as well as this: - from Malenkai's message of oct 17 1996 (ack-off-96q4): >Robert Sevin is thus burnt as a heretic, and is now Enlightened, and >can join the Round Earth club. > >frinks are on snowgod!! > >I hereby order a double shot of Bacardi 151, a double of Stoly 100, one >of those Blazing Camel things, and, throw me in Gaol, a beer chaser. > >I then slink off to my castle and listen to Blind Melon's first album, >Barenaked Ladies first album, and 13 Engines "Conquistador", and some >Marillion, and write some proposals. The second message explicitly names one of the albums on the list, and the first message lists more than half of the bands in the list. I searched for some of these groups in some web databases I couldn't download all of (such as the all-music guide) and just in altavista, and filled in a few more; this also marked several other first choices among those albums where I had multiple matches. The first letter confirmed a lot of my answers, and further reduced the multiple answers on others. I did some other web searches and found some additional lists of albums, including the mother of all downloadable CD atabases. This is the xmcd database, a database intended to be accessed by computer cd-player programs, to display album/artist/track information while a CD is playing. I found this interesting, because I encountered the xmcd program years ago -- originally a cdplayer program for Linux. At that time it had the ability to read from a database file which you could build with the information for your CDs, and there was one you could download which had a couple hundred popular CDs. Eventually the database got so big that it was impractical for each user to download the entire database, so to make the information more accessible a server was set up which had all this information in it. Later the ability to read from such a server was added to other cdplayer programs on other platforms. Anyway, they have data on over 100,000 CDs today, and a number of mirror sites for the database around the world. The entire database is available for download as a gzipped tar file, 35 MB, but the file I downloaded was corrupt about a couple MB into the file so I didn't get much this way. The database is also web-accessible, but rather than provide their own search capability they let the robots index it, and provide a cute form which adds their site name to the search arguments so it's almost like searching their site. I found some things like this, before some playing with URLs revealed the "hidden" web pages intended to let the robots archive the site -- a web page with nothing but links to other pages, each link consisting of a single "?", and each of the other pages had links to several hundred of the actual database pages, each of these also consisting of a single "?". I wrote a simple python program to harvest all the artist/album data from the headers of these web pages; this was still much less than their full database, though -- apparently all that has been converted to HTML. With this database to search through, I found answers for all but a few albums, though there were still some multiple-choices, and found additional options for others. The second and third letters solved essentially all the multiple choices; the n cemented "nada surf: high/low" as the answer to one of the ones that had been most annoying in the numbers of possibilities, and also gave me "wonder stuff: never loved elvis" when I searched on just the album name, in my accumulated database -- the band's name was listed as "wonderstuff", though. This left me with just the last three listed above unsolved. URLs mentioned above: The All-music Guide: http://126.96.36.199/amg/ CD-clubs page: http://www.cd-clubs.com/ Altavista: http://www.altavista.digital.com/ Some databases I searched: (found through altavista) Industrial/Gothic music database: http://kzsu.stanford.edu/eklein/index.html Lakeshore Records database: http://www.alternativemusic.com/main.htmlGo Back