As you might know, I do a lot of puzzle solving. While some of those puzzles are traditional book puzzles — sudoku, crosswords, word search, and so on — most are The Game-style puzzles of deducing, filtering, and sorting data. This is then followed by translating that result to an English word or phrase. Because of this coding layer, I tend to keep a bunch of “code sheets” handy. I am sure you already know of the well-known encoding methods like Morse code, semaphore, and Braille. There are also rotational and Caesar ciphers and translating letters to various number-bases (decimal, binary, ternary, octal, hex, ASCII).
Of course, I wrote an iPhone app (ARG Tools) that keeps these references handy, but I’m frequently a paper person. When I want to jot down a quick note, what do I do? Power up my phone, slide-to-unlock, type in my password, hit the Home key a couple of times to get to the right home screen, launch an app, hit “+” to start a new note, bring up the keyboard, and start typing? No! I pull out my Field Notes and Space Pen and write it down Hipster PDA-style. Later that note might end up in the computer, but for speed, it initially goes on paper. I do something similar with my Moleskine notebook. Frequently, I use that notebook for solving or designing puzzles. For the “standard” codes, I find it easier to flip to the last page and reference something than to whip out the iPhone and go through the above process of powering, unlocking, and launching.
When I get a new Moleskine, I print out a new copy of the code sheets and paste them in the back. They’re not as extensive as the ARG Tools app, but they work well at quickly covering the basics. I decided to share the PDF here in case others find them useful. They’re meant for the 5″ x 8.25″ notebooks. One goes on the pocket flap and the other goes on the facing thick coverpage. I typically use a glue stick, then tape down the edges to prevent peeling.
At the top, you have letters to their index numbers (A=1, B=2, …, Z=26). It also doubles as a ROT-13 decoder. Below that, the letters translated to various number bases (10, 2, 3, 8, 16) as well as Morse, Braille, and semaphore.
On the facing page is a Morse code tree that is sometimes a little more helpful for going from symbols to letters. Below that is an alternate representation of Semaphore that, like the Morse tree, is sometimes more helpful for going from symbols to letters. Below that is an ASCII table. That’s not often useful for puzzling, but being a programmer I like to have it handy.
One thought on “Moleskine code sheet”
FYI for Android users, “Puzzle Pal” by Chiu-Ki Chan is a similarly useful app for that platform. (Basic code sheet decoders, dictionary grep, some anagramming etc.)
Shinteki used to sell notepads of graph paper with code sheets built in to every sheet, inspired by a design Corey A. & Doug Z. had. Recently Doug and I have been experimenting with a new spin on that. (I even got some “padding compound” and a “padding press” so I could make my own test pads without round trips to Kinko’s.)
But of course, a Moleskine lover isn’t going to be very interested in a basic cardboard-backed tear-off pad!