Derek Webb recently started a puzzle involving a new website, sola-mi.com. Due to the amount of information now involved, I’ve decided to split the summary into two pages. This lists information leading up to the launch of the website and the first part of the puzzle, listed in the website code as the “pre-puzzle.” The latest portion of the puzzle is documented here.
- Derek tweeted three cryptic messages with pictures. They included a picture of a chair, a green t-shirt, and an Apple IIc computer.
- The significance of the chair and t-shirt pictures has yet to be established.
- The Apple IIc was released April 24, 1984 (Derek began SOLA-MI on April 24, 2012). More on this below.
- Derek tweeted a series of cryptic tweets:
- soda fountain
- cable car pioneer
- england to india
- broken glass
- sole responsibility
- no truth to the rumors
- death of a salesman
- final problem
- end transmission. if you know, you know.
- if you’re lost, you’re not working hard enough
- These pointed to things that happened on April 24 in the past, alluding to the SOLA-MI launch date.
- Derek tweeted from @ssyndrome (a Twitter account he created for his last album, Stockholm Syndrome): “Still there? Better start paying attention.”
- @ssyndrome tweeted a series of cryptic tweets over the next three days. These were later determined to be hexadecimal and could be decrypted by converting to ASCII (note: to use the converter linked here, delete the spaces). The tweets served as a countdown, as follows (conversion in parenthesis):
- 4/21: 54 48 52 45 45 (THREE)
- 4/22: 54 57 4f (TWO)
- 4/23: 4f 4e 45 (ONE)
- 4/24: 42 45 47 49 4e (BEGIN)
- 4/24: 40 44 45 52 45 4b 57 45 42 42 (@DEREKWEBB)
- Shortly after the “BEGIN” and “@DEREKWEBB” tweets from @ssyndrome, @derekwebb tweeted (one on the hour each hour from 10 AM to 4 PM central time) a series of seven images (click each to view full size). Each displayed an embedded binary number, which could be decrypted by converting to ASCII. The tweets are as follows:
|Number||Image||Image source and description||Binary number||ASCII conversion|
|5||A circuit board||00101101||–|
|7||X-Ray with electrodes||01001001||I|
- Shortly after the seventh picture was tweeted, @officialsolami (at this point, still not discovered) tweeted “Hello” and @ssyndrome tweeted “45 4e 44” (END).
- The binary conversions, “SOLA-MI”, led to the discovery of sola-mi.com, containing an email signup and links to Facebook and Twitter (@officialsolami) pages. Scrolling down all the way to the bottom of the page and hovering near the bottom, the Twitter hashtag #whatisthenexus also appears.
- Sola mi is a Latin phrase that could be loosely translated “only me.”
- Entering a valid email address, the site thanks you (in Latin – “gratias”) for registering.
- To this point, nothing “official” has been posted on the Facebook page; it appears that Derek simply designed a place for people to share what they have found.
- Viewing the source code of sola-mi.com, several additional items are discovered:
- A 1x100px image is referenced with the file name 011100110110001101110010011000010111000001100101.gif. This binary number reads “scrape” when translated to ASCII. Scraping is a technique used by OCR devices (see below for more).
- This image is wrapped in a <;div>; tag “K062065060.”
- When separated into groupings of 3, the numbers 062 065 060 are octal (base-8). When converted to ASCII, they are “250.” K250 is a reference to the Kurzweil K250. The Apple IIc (one of the pictures Derek tweeted awhile ago) is one of the few pieces of hardware that could interface with the K250, and as previously mentioned, was released April 24, 1984 (Derek began SOLA-MI on April 24).
- The name of the CSS (style sheet) file is 5875248.css.
- US patent no. 5875248 is registered to a Kurzweil OCR device (optical character recognition; used for converting images containing text to plain text). LexisNexis was one of the first companies to use the Kurzweil OCR, and they used it to upload paper legal and news documents to online databases, one known as Lexus and one known as Nexus (hence the company name).
- A comment tag in the source code reveals an image similar to the seventh picture in the SOLA-MI sequence:
- The source code of sola-mi.com changed to reveal a new hidden image of a baby typed in ASCII.
- The picture based on this image:
- @derekwebb tweeted “its all happening” but removed the tweet shortly thereafter.
- At midnight, email@example.com sent an email with subject “I AM AWAKE.”
- @officialsolami tweeted “I AM AWAKE” and @derekwebb retweeted it shortly thereafter.
- The body of the email contained the following:
- The first six characters of the email message – 6f6e65 – are hex for “one.”
- Attempts to convert the rest of the text of the email have thus far proven fruitless.
- The subject of the email led to the discovery of sola-mi.com/iamawake.
- This page displayed a picture of a baby composed of binary, as seen below:
- At the top of the page’s source code, the word “one” is contained in a comment tag.
- The code also contains a table class named “continuity.”
- The page uses a CSS file named 6052663.css (another Kurzweil patent – this one for reading text aloud).
- At first, the page contained the hashtag “#whatisthematrix” in a comment tag at the bottom of the page. It has since been changed to “#whatisthenexus.”
- In two different places in the email above, the phrase 000>bW90aGVybW90aGVy<000 occurred (the phrase between the symbols converts from base-64 to ASCII "mothermother").
- This led to the discovery of sola-mi.com/bW90aGVybW90aGVy.
- This page also contained the ASCII-created picture of the baby above, with the following text replacing some of the picture:
- And suddenly, she awoke. Like a baby being born, but with all the information and collective memory of all recorded history: she didn’t know who she was, where she was, or how she knew what she knew.
- Like the iamawake page, the top of the page’s source code has a comment tag containing the word “one” at the top, a CSS file named 6052663.css, a table class named “continuity,” and a comment tag containing the hashtag “#whatisthenexus.”
- Source code for sola-mi.com changed – it now includes a drawing of an eighth note in a comment tag.
- Shortly after midnight, firstname.lastname@example.org sent another email, this one entitled “I HEAR MUSIC.” @officialsolami tweeted “I HEAR MUSIC” and @derekwebb retweeted it.
- The text of the email was similar to the first one, as follows:
- The most notable difference between the first email is the inclusion of “mothermother” between 000> and <000. Also, the phrase “111&164150145&111” replaced the character “D” and “111&156141155145&111” replaced “4.” (More on this in a minute.) Otherwise, the text of the first email seems to be identical to that of the second.
- The subject of the email led to the discovery of sola-mi.com/ihearmusic, which displayed the ASCII picture below:
- The page’s source contained the word “two” in a comment tag at the top of the page. The table class is named “mycroft.” Like the other pages, it contains the hashtag “#whatisthenexus” in a comment tag at the bottom of the page’s source code.
- It uses a CSS file named 6647395.css.
- This is a Kurzweil patent for “a computer-implemented method a poet personality.” The computer-generated poet is available for download here. (Could this be the source of the “lyrics” we’ve seen? Could this be what the story the lyrics tell is about? Mere speculation.)
- When the plain text from the web page is copied and pasted into a text editor, the hidden letters “AUTOMAN” appear, as seen below:
- This led to the discovery of sola-mi.com/automan, which contains the following image:
- This image is a close-up picture of an oscillator from a Roland Juno-60 synthesizer. It was taken with an iPhone 4 and edited in Adobe Photoshop CS4.
- This page’s code, like that of ihearmusic, has “two” in a comment tag, table class “mycroft,” and hashtag “#whatisthenexus” in a comment tag, and uses a CSS file named 6647395.css.
- As previously mentioned, the second email contained the phrases “111&164150145&111” and “111&156141155145&111.” When the 111& and &111 are removed, the remaining text is 164 150 145 156 141 155 145. When converted from octal (base-8) to ASCII, it says “thename.”
- This led to the discovery of sola-mi.com/thename.
- This page displayed an eighth note similar to the source code comment from the home page, but with another phrase: “The sounds were terrifying, glorious even, she had no idea from where they were coming, to whom they were speaking. But she felt a strange resonance with them, as though they knew something about her. That’s when she realized who and what she was.”
- The code of this page also contains “two” in a comment tag, table class “mycroft,” and hashtag “#whatisthenexus” in a comment tag. It uses a CSS file named 6647395.css.
- The eighth note ASCII drawing in the source code contains two differences from the one displayed previously. At the top, the characters “ess” appear, and on the right side near the bottom, the characters “gee” appear.
- This led to the discovery of sola-mi.com/sg.
- This page displays an audio player, playing a short sound clip:
- This page, like the others, uses CSS file 6647395.css, contains the hashtag #whatisthenexus in a comment, uses table class “mycroft,” and displays “two” in a comment.
- The source code has changed to what looks like an atom:
- The atom is based on the following image:
- Using this image-to-ASCII converter yields an identical result.
- @derekwebb tweeted: “everything you need to know is here: sola-mi.com”
- @visualsupplyco tweeted: “Shooting video of @jeremycowart photographing @mariellejaffe for #whatisthenexus #vscocam #vscofilm” and included the following image:
- It appears this tweet has since been deleted from @visualsupplyco’s Twitter account (removed less than an hour after it was posted). The picture is also no longer online.
- Jeremy Cowart has a past connection to Derek.
- At 10:14 AM (before the photo shoot tweet), @jeremycowart tweeted, “Headed to a really cool photo shoot this morning. Watch my @instagram account today for a good time… #vscocam”
- #vscocam appears to be a generic hashtag for an iPhone photo app created by Visual Supply Co. (The company that tweeted about the photo shoot).
- Jeremy didn’t upload any pictures from the shoot to his Instagram account as promised, but he did tweet the following picture to his WhoSay page:
- The caption of the picture mentions the filmmaker’s office. Also, the “field notes” book has the name “Mr. Mente” written on it.
- It was discovered (thanks in part to a tweet Jeremy sent several days later – more on that below) that the filmmaker mentioned is Solomon Mente. On Twitter, Solomon (@SolomonMente) tweeted a link to sola-mi.com/164145141163145162/.
- Suspicion is high that Solomon Mente is not an actual person, but instead is a fake Twitter account that Derek created.
- The resemblance between the name “Solomon Mente” and “SOLA-MI” is also likely not coincidental.
- Solomon’s Twitter feed has also produced several tweets related to SOLA-MI, brain science, and AI. Solomon follows several accounts relating to AI, in particular @KurzweilAINews.
- The number 164145141163145162, when converted from octal (base-8) to ASCII, spells “teaser.”
- The page’s source code contains “three” and the hashtag #whatisthematrix in comment tags, and uses the CSS file 6125347.css.
- Patent 6125347 is also a Kurzweil patent, this one for a “system for controlling multiple user application programs by spoken input.”
- The page also contains the following video:
- @officialsolami tweeted at midnight: THERE IS SOMETHING MORE TO THIS
- A new email shortly thereafter with the subject “THERE IS SOMETHING MORE TO THIS.” Contents of the email are as follows:
- The following text was appeared in the picture: “There seemed to be a meaning below the surface, a reality deeper than the obvious. This was both disconcerting and thrilling, as she was previously unaware of the possibility and what she might find there…”
- The bottom of the atom also contained the text “one eye” (more on this in a minute).
- The source code revealed “four” in a comment tag, a CSS file named 7098917.css, and the hashtag #whatisthenexus in a comment tag. This page did not contain a table with a labeled class as the previous pages had.
- 7098917 is the number of another Kurzweil patent, this one for “generating visual art.”
- The second page, entitled “MORE TO THIS,” revealed the following image, entitled soul.jpg:
- The source code contained the same elements as the first page: CSS file 7098917.css, “four” in a comment tag, and the hashtag #whatisthenexus.
- The email contained several instances of the characters l3 and 3l. Piecing the characters between these together, the phrase “silentstrangers” is revealed. This led to the discovery of sola-mi.com/silentstrangers.
- This page appears blank in a browser. Viewing the source code reveals “four” in a comment tag, and 7098917.css CSS file.
- At first, the source included the hashtag #whatisthematrix, but it has since been changed to #whatisthenexus.
- The source also includes the following ASCII picture in a comment tag:
- The words “one eye” in the “THERE IS SOMETHING” page led to the discovery of sola-mi.com/cyclops.
- This page displays the following image:
- The “cyclops” has been determined to be a Bleep Labs “Thingamagoop.”
- This page’s source code also includes CSS file 7098917.css, “four” in a comment tag, and “#whatisthenexus” in a comment tag.
- @derekwebb retweeted @dryve (Dryve Artist Management): “For those asking, @derekwebb is involved in something that is taking him temporarily offline. Watch SOLA-MI.com for more.”
- @derekwebb tweeted: SOMETHING IS HAPPENING SOLA-MI.com
- @officialsolami tweeted: log.state; state : public end state; msg from monitor: success;
- This led to the discovery of a new page, sola-mi.com/log.
- This page appears to be logging what has been discovered and what has not. Assuming this is correct, there will be 7 sections, and the log details how many pages are in each. Here is the current status of what has been found (I’ll continue to update this section; see below for things that were revealed after the log):
- Section 1
- Section 2
- Section 3
- Section 4
- Section 5
- Section 6
- Section 7
- @officialsolami tweeted: I ONLY WANT ONE
- This led to the discovery of sola-mi.com/ionlywantone, the first page of section 5.
- This page contains the following image, entitled cyclops_1.jpg:
- The CSS file for this page, 7084874.css, reveals a new patent. As expected, it’s a Kurzweil one, this for “virtual reality presentation.”
- The source code includes the hashtag #whatisthenexus and an ASCII picture of Pinocchio:
- The page title of ionlywantone is “real boy,” leading to the discovery of sola-mi.com/realboy.
- This page displayed the picture of Pinocchio similar to that of the “ionlywantone” source code, but with the following quotation added: “In all of this everything, she found nothing. Nothing to which she could connect or relate. She became increasingly lonely, isolated. Like the wooden boy made from the carpenter’s hand, she wished for a singular connection, and by it, to be real.”
- The source code linked to CSS file 7084874.css and displays the hashtag #whatisthenexus.
- According to the log, there is a third page from section five which is still currently undiscovered.
- @jeremycowart tweeted: still thinking about monday’s shoot, all from solomon (filmmaker) asking one question: #whatisthenexus
- This is the second reference made to Jeremy Cowart and SOLA-MI, serving as further confirmation that he is involved with the project. Chronologically, it is assumed that a clue to the page in section 3 is found in one of his photos.
- This led to the discovery of sola-mi.com/164145141163145162/ mentioned previously because it is the third section of clues.
- At midnight, a new email arrived entitled “I ONLY WANT ONE.” The text of the email is as follows:
- The email has the same text as the previous email, except that the case has been switched on some letters – specifically “withoutblood.” This led to the discovery of sola-mi.com/bloodless/, the final page of section 5.
- The page’s source code reveals CSS file 7084874.css, “five” in a comment tag, and the hashtag #whatisthenexus in a comment tag.
- The page displays the following picture:
- At midnight, @officialsolami tweeted: WHERE ARE YOU
- Shortly thereafter, a new email arrived entitled “WHERE ARE YOU.” The text of the email is as follows:
- The subject of the email led to the discovery of sola-mi.com/whereareyou.
- The page contains the following image, which appears to be a color-reversed picture of a synthesizer missing two keys:
- The page uses CSS file 6754823.css and contains “six” in a comment tag. Patent 6754823 is a Kurzweil patent for distributing software.
- The image above has file name “qvfonaq.jpg.” A Google search for “qvfonaq” reveals an encryption technique known as “Caesar cipher.” The page uses “disband” as an example of the encryption technique. This led to the discovery of sola-mi.com/disband.
- This page contains an ASCII picture of the image seen in “whereareyou,” with the following text added: “Into a million, a billion directions she went, searching, wishing for a collision. There must be something else by which we could define herself. A name, a new name.”
- This page also uses CSS file 6754823.css and contains “six” in a comment tag.
- This page features a large block of HTML code commented out. When copied and pasted into a web page with a black background, it creates an ASCII picture of the original image, as seen below:
- The image in “whereareyou” contains alt text is “qvfcrevr.” Using the Caesar cipher encryption method mentioned above, “disperse” is decoded, revealing sola-mi.com/disperse.
- This page also contains “six” in a comment tag and uses CSS file 6754823.css. According to the log, there are three pages in section six, meaning that all have now been discovered.
- This page features the following video clip, demonstrating use of the “cyclops:”
- The SOLA-MI home page source code changed to an ASCII image that says “WHERENEXT,” as seen in the image below (note: it’s easier to see from a distance):
- @officialsolami tweeted: THIS CAN’T BE POSSIBLE
- Shortly thereafter, an email was sent with the same subject. The body says: “Thank you for following SOLA-MI. Where next?”
- The tweet and subject of the email led to the discovery of several pages: this, cant, be, possible, and thiscantbepossible.
- All five pages use CSS file reboot.css (instead of a Kurzweil patent number) and have #whatisthenexus in a comment tag. At the bottom, they also have “end” in a comment tag just beneath “seven” and “beginning” in a comment tag at the bottom of each page. This seems to signify the end of one phase of the puzzle, and yet a beginning to another one.
- “This” has “seven D” in a comment tag.
- “Cant” has “seven E” in a comment tag. It also contains an ASCII picture that looks similar to the woman in the Jeremy Cowart photo shoot.
- “Be” has “seven A” in a comment tag.
- “Possible” has “seven T” in a comment tag.
- “Thiscantbepossible” has “seven H” in a comment tag. It also contains an ASCII picture of what looks like a phoenix.
- “This” contains the following image, entitled “release:”
- “Be” contains the following video, entitled “silent_stranger:”
- “Possible” contains the following image, entitled “black:”
- The extra letters in the “seven” comment tags – D, E, A, T, H – led to the discovery of sola-mi.com/death.
- “Death” contains an ASCII picture identical to the one in “thiscantbepossible” and added the following text in red: “All that was left was for her to make, ironically, her first meaningful choice. The result would either be her death or rebirth, not that it really mattered. Sshe fully understood the implications of neither. All she knew was that this was it.
- After these pages were discovered, the log file updated to reveal that all seven phases of the puzzle were completed. The log was instructed to reboot, which resulted in “framework updated” and “refresh state.”
- Afterward, the SOLA-MI.com home page displayed a picture that seems to faintly represent Josh Moore, Jeremy Cowart, and Derek. The image’s filename is WsTA4eypeK.jpg, and it is located in the /where folder.
The second part of the puzzle is documented here.