Two technology workers have solved the puzzle presented by rotating lights high atop the Adobe Systems Inc. headquarters in San Jose.
At a press conference at San Jose's city hall Tuesday, Mayor Chuck Reed and an Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) marketing executive presented the code crackers, a computer science engineer named Bob Mayo and an engineer named Mark Snesrud, to the world.
What they discovered is that the rotating lights on the adobe building were spelling out an entire novel, "The Crying of Lot 49" by Thomas Pynchon.
The 10-foot-in-diameter, amber-colored disks rotated every eight seconds, using a visual coding system. An online audio broadcast provided a soundtrack of spoken and sung letters, numbers and musical tones to help with the decoding.
The project was a challenge created for the August 2006 ZeroOne festival of digital art in San Jose. The lights at Adobe were created by the artist Ben Rubin, who teaches at the Yale University School of Art.
Although both Mayo and Snesrud lived in the South Bay when they took on the challenge of solving the puzzle, Mayor now lives in Seattle; Snesrud lives in San Francisco.
Pynchon's difficult to decipher novel is set in a fictional California city filled with office parks and high-tech companies.