[added 7 May 1997 ]

More on +ORC, the man behind the myth

revision 20 June

Since I put these pages up, a few days ago, I've had some interesting reactions to my analysis of +ORC - who he is, where he lives - as well as to the Riddle. I've already mentioned Haye's comments in the main +ORC page.

Perhaps the most comprehensive look at +ORC himself has come in an unsigned but erudite email, via the anonymous remailer huge.cajones.com. For want of a better name, I'll call the writer "Hugh".

Hugh himself is interesting. My guess is he's an academic, or perhaps with the government - perhaps even law enforcement or intelligence. And perhaps I'm talking nonsense. But anyway...

What I can say is that I think Hugh is American, well educated and a shrewd observer. He's irritated by +ORC's use of Latin. (For my part, I quite like it. It's pretty unusual on the Web! In fact I suspect that the Web page of the Riddle will be in Latin -- but that's just a guess at the moment.) The time stamp on Hugh's mail message is Mountain Standard, but that is probably just an artifact of the remailer system.

Hugh has looked at the socio-political side of +ORC. I'd been thinking myself how +ORC's political views reminded me of the rhetoric of the vigorous student movements on the late sixties and early seventies in Europe. I was in that age group myself, though not in Europe. +ORC's views are quite remeniscent of the period. And that's one key observation Hugh makes. He also notes +ORC's Germanisms -- but I take note of Haye's comments here -- and thinks +ORC's fluency in US colloquialisms indicates +ORC has lived in the US for a period.

Here's what Hugh has to say (in toto):

Hey, I like your approach.

Just a few comments, nothing systematic, and I haven't gotten into the riddle itself at all yet.


I think you're on the right track. Not only because of the obvious Germanisms but also because many of his "oddities" are typical mistakes made by native German speakers. (Don't know whether the same could be said for Dutch, maybe).

On the other hand, not only fluent in English, but also knows some colloquialisms. Has lived in the US for a year or so. (Not much longer).

age and background

I'd go for the older option. Remember how they got the "unabomber" in the US? Partly by referring his manifestos to the time period at which his theses were en vogue in academia. His "politics" sound like late 60ies early 70ies Western European to me. Including the anti-americanisms. No clue of postmodernism. Therefore non-francophone. Actually somewhat naive at times.

In no way has this person's politically formative period been in the 80ies or later. And even back then, he was certainly not a humanities / soc sci student.

Redness: anti-capitalist, yes, communist, no. Nor democrat. Actually sounds kind of aristocratic at times. Despises the masses and (petty) bourgeoisie, albeit in a cheapish way. Therefore probably is petty bourgeois himself. {Also NB his pathetic use of latin quotations. Someone who wants to impress, but upon whom can he make an impression with this except for Americans :-)}?

(I think treating the "gentleman" in the riddle as somehow preferred is wrong).

Usage of phrases like "if and only if" are common to the methods departments of most academic disciplines, so I wouldn't read more into that than a general familiarity with formal reasoning.


I feel that whatever I've said so far, which admittedly isn't that much, I've been qualified to say (trust me on this :-))

Here's an oddity that's more of an unqualified observation. Isn't it so that most people who are _really_ into computers for a living (except for microsoft employees and shareware writers) don't do DOS or Windows?

So what he's giving us is good yet illegitimate (you're getting me, right?) knowledge.


And don't forget to ADD the value of the string "orc" to whatever the outcome of the riddle is.


I think Hugh's observations are sufficiently interesting that I've included the whole message. (I've added his last point to the main page analysis.)

I also had some extra comment from "Hackmore Readrite". He makes the following observations about +ORC. I quote:

1) He seems "well off" financially, if we are to believe what he tells us in his lessons.
2) He seems to travel around Europe a lot.
3) He seems to have more "leisure time" than I've ever dreamed of.
4) He reds an awful lot of computer magazines.
5) He's probably forgotten more about the inner workings of computers than I will ever know.

All this draws a picture in my mind's eye of a middle aged man, semi-retired, who probably made/makes a living in the computer programming field. My "zen" pictures this man sitting on a patio, sipping his martini, watching a sunset, probably near a large body of water, (ocean/sea), laughing his butt off at all us idiots trying to find the answer to a riddle without one.

Just keep in mind that +ORC is a programmer, and loves doing it at its most basic level, so his math will probably be done in hex or binary numbers. And even though he quotes from a lot of classic literature, I believe the answer to his puzzle will come from an assembly language point of view. Very basic, very fundamental, and very simple.

Further grist to the mill. But it looks like there is an answer to the Riddle.
Whatever you say about him, +ORC is not ordinary!

added 20 June

I had another message from "Hugh" today. (BTW, Hugh, I chose the name from your anonymous remailer, "Huge Cajones" (lit. "Very Big Boxes"!). The choice was either Hugh or Hugo. Any preference? ;-)

Anyway, Hugh had been doing a bit of dabbling in file cracks available from the bounteous Web. One from Saltine. In the .nfo file accompanying the crack, Saltine includes the usual thanks para to various of his colleagues. The final credit was to: "+Orc for the Site".

What site?? As Hugh points out, maybe Saltine knows something we don't??

Then, probably lot of people do! For them to know and the rest of us to find out...

7 May 1997

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