Hidden message in a T-shirt, it’s been done before


While everybody is trying to figure out the hidden message in Joe Belfiore's T-shirt,¹ I figure I'd give you an easier puzzle.

Here is the pattern of 0's and 1's printed on the T-shirt handed given out at the Windows 8 kick-off meeting. Because you don't have a project until you have a T-shirt.

              001 01101110 0110
         01110011 00100000 01010111
      10 01100100 01101111 01110111 011
    0000 01001100 01101001 01110110 01100
   00000 01001001 01101110 01110100 011001
  110010 01101110           1110100 0100010
 1111000 0111000             101111 0111001
 1100101 011100               01001 0110111
  100100 0110111             110011 0010000
  010111 01101001           1100100 011011
   10111 01110011 00     0 01001100 01101
     110 01100101 00100000 01001001 011
       0 01100101 01110010 01101110 0
           000101 01111000 011100
       1 01110010 01100101 0111001001
    1001 01101110 01100100 01101111 0111
  110011 00100000 01    11 01101001 011011
 1100100 0110111            1110011 0010000
01001100 01101                00101 00100000
01001001 0110                  0101 01110010
01101110 0110                  0101 01111000
01110000 01101                10010 01100101
0111001001010111             101110 01100100
 1101111 01110111 01110011 00100000 0101011
  101001 01101110 01100100 01101111 011101
    0011 00100000 01001100 01101001 0111
       1 00100000 01001001 01101110 0
            10010 01101110 0110

The actual shirt clipped many of the digits to make the shape come out smoother. I've filled in the partial digits.

There are at least two typos in the shirt.

It didn't take a room full of developers long to decode the message.

Click here to reveal the answer.

The digits are merely the binary encoding of ASCII characters.

              001 01101110 0110              // Windo
         01110011 00100000 01010111          // ws Wi
      10 01100100 01101111 01110111 011      // ndows
    0000 01001100 01101001 01110110 01100    //  Live
   00000 01001001 01101110 01110100 011001   //  Inte
  110010 01101110           1110100 0100010  // rnetE
 1111000 0111000             101111 0111001  // xplor
 1100101 011100               01001 0110111  // er In
  100100 0110111             110011 0010000  // dows 
  010111 01101001           1100100 011011   // Windo
   10111 01110011 00     0 01001100 01101    // ws Li
     110 01100101 00100000 01001001 011      // ve In
       0 01100101 01110010 01101110 0        // terne
           000101 01111000 011100            // tExpl
       1 01110010 01100101 0111001001        // orer  typo
    1001 01101110 01100100 01101111 0111     // indow
  110011 00100000 01    11 01101001 011011   // s Win
 1100100 0110111            1110011 0010000  // dows 
01001100 01101                00101 00100000 // Live 
01001001 0110                  0101 01110010 // Inter
01101110 0110                  0101 01111000 // netEx
01110000 01101                10010 01100101 // plore
0111001001010111             101110 01100100 // r[?nd typo
 1101111 01110111 01110011 00100000 0101011  // ows L
  101001 01101110 01100100 01101111 011101   // indow
    0011 00100000 01001100 01101001 0111     // s Liv
       1 00100000 01001001 01101110 0        // e Int
            10010 01101110 0110              // ernet

¹ Looks like they figured it out.

Comments (14)
  1. 12BitSlab says:

    Microsoft should have considered going with "Windows 9".  Then they could have licensed "Revolution #9" from Apple Corp (the Beatles company, not the competitor) and used that as the promo song like they did with "Start Me Up".

  2. Adam Rosenfield says:

    More typos:

    Rows 19 and 24 contain 01000000 (@) instead of 00100000 (space)

    Row 20 contains 01100010 (b) instead of 01110010 (r).  What's an Intebnet?

    [Oops, those were transcription errors on my part. Fixed. -Raymond]
  3. sense says:

    The two "Joe Belfiore" t-shirts you linked to are different. So it's not the solution.

    The first one simply repeats "1 0 10" over and over, so I cannot see a code in it. The second one actually seems like code and is solved.

  4. JAHA says:

    It should have said Developers!!! Developers!!! Developers!!! Developers!!! Developers!!! Developers!!! Developers!!! Developers!!! Developers!!!

  5. Wear says:

    I never realized that 0b1010 = 10 before. That's a strange coincidence.

  6. Tom says:

    @Wear – spookier yet, 101010 == 42

  7. Gabe says:

    I'm always disappointed when I spend all that time to decode somebody's binary shirtt graphic into ASCII, only to discover that it's just the name of whatever product it's for. I want it to be something special!

  8. 12BitSlab says:

    @ Gabe:  "I buried Paul" over and over would be kinda neat.

  9. Timothy Byrd (ETAP) says:

    @sense

    For the first shirt, I like the interpretation "1 0 10" = "- . -." = "T E N".

  10. cheong00 says:

    Regarding "you don't have a project until you have a T-shirt", I wonder if there are people working in Microsoft long enough and switched many project so that the T-shirts he/she owns are enough to make "flag sea"?

    Btw, I think with more than 20 different project T-shirts hanging around in an office could be quite a scene. Much like Larry Osterman's dead mouse collection wall.

    [I used to do that back in Windows 95, but stopped because (1) taking down all the shirts every time I moved offices was a lot of work, and (2) I ran out of wall space. And that was after only three years at the company. -Raymond]
  11. sense says:

    @Timothy

    OMG! That's a brilliant code! Unbelievably amazing…

    My first theory for it was the morse code (since binary was ruled out), but I never tried that because I thought it is too short to be meaningful, what a shame.

  12. WSTF says:

    @12BitSlab

    The most common alternate explanation I've seen for "why did MS skip Windows 9" is "because they expect that far too many applications will read up to 'Windows 9' and assume the system is running Windows 95 or 98". And while I know that there are far better ways to identify the current Windows version than trying to parse the official name rather than just checking the version number, I think the very existence of this blog is proof enough that somebody will have implemented the version check in a manner so terribly coded that would make Grace Hopper contemplate erasing herself from history.

  13. 12BitSlab says:

    @ WSTF,

    I have certainly heard all of the rumors and that fact that .Net ran on Win98 and people did look for something starting with a "9" makes it understandable.

    My comment was more for the REALLY OLD FOLKS who actually remember "Revolution #9" and the controversy that followed it.

  14. 640k says:

    // ows L

    // indow

    // s

    Lindows? I thought your employer beat that company into the ground with a legal stick?

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