Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Crosswalk Button Hacks: Cross Anytime!

Have you ever watched someone manically push the crosswalk buttons? Did you think they were fools? I did. But, as it turns out. . . they were on the right path!

A group of pedestrian hackers called Cross Anytime announced their discovery of several back doors or "cheats" using crosswalk buttons at many intersections. The 3658-item list has been released on their website

While some of the codes have been obtained through intelligence gathering and analysis of illegally obtained push-button systems, most were uncovered through the brute-force approach. "It's wasn't as easy as it sounds," Walker said. "Contrary to what the kiddies may think, going crazy with clicks doesn't help much. You need to understand the inner workings of the systems - not to mention differences in the push-intervals. For instance, the McKenzie mkI model is based on dual 1.2 second cycles (meaning that long clicks and pauses last 1.2 seconds) while the mkII model uses a 1.5 second cycle (pauses are 1.5 seconds long). And the models look almost identical to the casual pedestrian!"

The most popular hack, which works on most models, is the "Instant Walk." Three short clicks, followed by two long, one short, two long, and three short; turn any crosswalk signal from "don't walk" to "walk" with a matching change in the traffic signals.

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