Categories · Computational Media

Analogue Coding exercise:

Coding and Codification:

Coding and codification can be a seemingly mysterious to some without proper explanation, however in reality codes and the encryption of languages, be they spoken or not, has been around for centuries, and are in fact all around you right now! Code is really just another word for a language that has been taken and modified in such a way that the receiver or reader of the message needs a ‘key’ or set of instructions on how to read the message properly. Without this ‘key’ the message is either incomprehensible or does not convey the correct message. In the real world you use this kind of ‘codification’, or encryption every day. Many business including banks, ecommerce platforms and even email use a form of encryption for their information on computers called SSL encryption. This image might help explain the concept better than I can.×268.jpg. Even the webpage you look at to see this blog post has been interpreted from a very similar kind of encryption! However in that instance the ‘codification’ was not implemented for the use of hiding or protecting the content of the message, but rather to make the message much more condensed and interpretable by your web browser, but more on that later. So how does this message get transformed into code precisely? Well it depends on the kind of encryption you want to use, some are more robust than others, but some are more condensed. There are hundreds of different ways to ‘codify’ a message, one of the most recognized is the Wheel Cipher, explained here, ( however this method is limited to the message being quite short. Other methods such as Cipher Wheels (no not the same as the Wheel Cipher) enabled encrypting much longer messages, however it could be easily broken given enough time to figure out the correct corresponding letters. Here is an interactive web based version to play around with ( In the example of Morse code, the English alphabet is translated into a different language composed of a combination of ‘dots’ and ‘dashes’ to represent each letter of the alphabet. Because of the simplistic nature of Morse code it is easily converted into sound, short or long to represent a dot or dash. To take it even further these signals could be converted into light, making it an extremely diverse language. While there is a kind of ‘default’ Morse code that can be interpreted by anyone listening it also has the potential to be encoded further through the use of many different coding systems, even the Wheel Cipher. It almost became a standard of communication during the second world war just due to the ease of changing the ‘key’ to reading the encoded messages.


Instructions and Methods:


In each method of coding there are instructions, instructions on how to use the tool used to decipher or cipher a message, instructions on how to read that encoded message with said tool, there are also instructions on how to encrypt a message. These instructions are imperative to the generation of a secure message. In modern day computing these instructions are what secure the connection between computers, these instructions are called SSL and stand for Secure Sockets Layer. Without this encryption it would be almost impossible to have a truly secure connection to another computer on the internet without using very advanced methods not many people know about. The instruction set with Morse code is quite simple, learn which sequence of lines and dots corresponds to the letters of the alphabet, and then learn how to use different tools to convey morse, like a flashlight/buzzer and bob’s your uncle you know morse code!


Translation and Transmission:


The translation and transmission plays an integral role in the weakness and strength of a method of encryption. There are often different attributes both positive and negative to the method of transmission that each form of encryption has. For example Morse code can be transmitted in a number of ways, in writing (physically), light (visually), and through a cable as signal and then listened to in order to translate (auditory). By having numerous ways of transmission it has eliminated some of the negatives of using one. For instance trying to send Morse code through light would be quite hard during the day, but you have the option of using sound or a physical copy of the message as an alternative. Overcoming these short falls in transmission was the goal of code makers for years, even dating back to the telegraph pole, at night the pole itself was illuminated and a different ‘alphabet’ is used because of the difficulty of translating the daytime alphabet.




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