Creepy Radio.

In the 70s and 80s I frequently used to browse radio channels. All the good stuff was there – Radio Luxemburg, BBC, AFN – just places where proper music was being played.

And quite often I came across the odd radio station where next to morse code someone just spelled out numbers. Nothing but numbers. “Coded messages!” I thought, “Spies!”

Listen to this example (taken from archive.org)


Turns out I was right. And even in our computerised age, those stations with their secret messages still exist. Apparently there are even new ones cropping up from time to time.

Thankfully, in our computerised age (see above) there are now websites dedicated to those Shortwave Numbers Stations, who try to shed some light onto this murky business:

The mysterious number stations – espionage-communications? is a rather good summary;

Then, of course, the Conet Project, where you can order an edition of 5 CDs filled with numbers;

How is it that Numbers Stations are allowed to interfere with essential radio services like air traffic control and shipping without having to answer to anybody? Why did the “Swedish Rhapsody” Numbers Station use a small girls voice?

The Conet Project at archive.org with lots of samples;

The Enigma 2000 website:

ENIGMA 2000 is a UK based online group, whose aims are to bring together listeners and enthusiasts who monitor and gather information on ‘Number Stations’ and other related radio transmissions. Through our Yahoo Group monitors can share their logs, discuss frequencies, thoughts and opinions on this most emotive subject.

A article in German at Kotzendes Einhorn;

and the Wikipedia entry on Numbers stations.

All together rather wonderful stuff. And here’s another sample, starting with a series of gongs followed up by rapidly spoken numbers:

 

A job bag/job number system with Evernote

Life as a graphic designer was always rather easy for me: I received a job from a client, finished it, sent the invoice and sooner or later another job would appear. As of lately though, I got lots of different jobs from one client, all from various department and various product managers and began slowly losing the plot. Have I invoiced this job? Has this job been approved? What’s with the job that started 3 weeks ago? Searching through long
e-mail threads with attached Word, PDF and PPT documents isn’t that much fun either. Clearly a job number system was needed.

There are, of course, dedicated database systems for ad agencies and graphic design studios available. However, they don’t come cheap and why buy yet some more software when I’ve got Evernote?

With a lot of trial and error I came up with a system that works perfectly well for my purposes. I’m sharing it here because it may as well suit your work flow; a basic knowledge of Evernote is required though – download the manual here.

I created two note templates in Evernote. The first one serves as a job bag.

The note template for the "Job Bag".

The note template for the “Job Bag”.

The note title consists of the job number and description of the job, followed by date, name of product manager, and, just for the sake of it, the job number again.

“Art:” shows, once the job is finished, the attachments – a low resolution PDF and the InDesign document. The space underneath is used for briefs from the client, e-mails and everything else that belongs to this particular job. This way I’ve got all the communication with the client within one easy searchable note and don’t have to browse through gazillions of e-mails.

This is what a “Job Bag” note looks like once a job is finished:

"Job Bag" linked to documents and filled with e-mails and further information etc.

“Job Bag” linked to documents and filled with e-mails and further information etc.

The second note template is used for the creation of a jobs list:

Note template for the creation of a list of jobs for a quick overview.

Note template for the creation of a list of jobs for a quick overview.

This gets copied and pasted into one note every time a new job is created. It’s for a list view of all ongoing jobs. Checkmarks show the status of each job and, most important of all, whether it’s been invoiced and paid. “Links:” points towards the job bag and possible additional documents, like branding guidelines. Depending on the number of jobs per month, I can create a new list either every month or every 3 months or could even keep a list on a yearly basis.

Here’s the list view:

The list gives a quick overview of the status of each job.

The list gives a quick overview of the status of each job.

At present this system works just perfect for my purposes. It can probably be extended or perhaps even simplified, but right now I don’t see any reason for this.

And now back to work.

Today.

“The naïve ‘but-I’ve-got-nothing-to-hide’ reaction betrays how little most Americans know of history, and how willing they are to watch our Constitution shredded, ‘as though from a box at the theater.’ That is how Raimund Pretzel, a young German lawyer described (in his autobiographical book, Defying Hitler) the reaction in Germany after the parliament was burned down in 1933. It was Germany’s 9/11, so to speak, after which (and you’ve heard the words a thousand times) ‘everything changed”

Raymond McGovern, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

[ Excerpt From: Boghosian, Heidi. “Spying on Democracy.”]

And this is from 1978

NSA/GCHQ/BND/etc. Move along, nothing to see here.

PVC were one my favourite bands in the late 70′s. Compared to the Düsseldorf scene, which was way more imbedded in art and new music, they were rough – pure rock’n roll. Anyway, this video, which isn’t really a video, is quite interesting.

Thanks to Michael for pointing this out to me.