Ok, just to sum up where we are in this whole thing:
Obviously, we have found out what 162 refers to and found this forum and this is where the actual puzzle starts.
Our messages come from some GTI person calling himself Aadarsh. The text "2-∞ - User does not compute" for this user seems to be a bug in the forum software and appears, because this user has only posted in a hidden forum, so he has "zero official messages" but there are messages created by him. It really seems to be a bug, I can't imagine that the text relates to the puzzle (MikeRoz, thanks for pointing out the same effect for my user after I had finally registered a my very own user to be able to post here).
So what are the next steps? Obvious things that we are lacking are:
- The first message ("Can anyone hear me?", October 10, 1926, 05:07:28 PM) seems like it is just an introduction to see whether people get here and to set the mood
- Next message was: "Not as it appears", October 26, 1926, 06:54:58 PM. Here, we have a mission briefing for a science vessel sent to Ross 128, shortly before the Shivan incursion. The briefing consists of an image and some text. "Not as it appears" probably refers to the image, because after the image data, a zip file has been appended. When the file is renamed to .ZIP, many programs can extract it. The password for the zip file is "hUj-Ge!ru_AraS-e?ewrE=e3e+uru9r5w*[email protected]$EwResT", as stated in the post itself. The hidden zip file contains the actual, classified mission briefing of the science vessel and a probe image showing Shivan ships. It seems that the official mission briefing was just a cover-up, but in terms of the puzzle there seem to be no obious hints in either the secret mission briefing or the secret probe image.
The image in this post is loaded from the address http://holonet.hard-light.net/restricted/aadarsh/POINTS%20OF%20INTEREST.PNG which makes us aware of the existence of a web site at http://holonet.hard-light.net. So this must be the "holonet" but we can currently only read some public reference information and don't know how to log in. At some later point we will probably need to use the information that is given about the Vasudan language but at present, we don't seem to need that yet.
- The next message ("Interesting times...", October 30, 1926, 06:18:24 PM) talks about the fact that people from outside have found the first messages. These people are us. They (i.e. we) only use four byte-addresses (for the current Internet Protocol, each address uses four bytes) and come from outsite the holonet. However, the title "Interesting times" is probably a hint that the DATES of the posts are quite "interesting", as has been noted by others. So far, nobody seems to have found out what these times refer to. Some speculations about a bible verse reference connected to the number 1926 have been officially stated to be wrong.
- Then comes the fourth message ("Some more highlights", November 05, 1926, 02:34:55 AM). There we have some image that shows a probably classified ship. On the image itself, there is some hidden text that can be made visible by subtracting the regular dot-pattern that is overlayed over the complete image and by a few colour manipulations to make things more readable. The name "Points of interest" for the previous image might be a hint that now, one needs to remove the dot-pattern that covers the image so that the text becomes readable (or I could just be over-thinking). The text in that image is a key that can be used to decrypt information together with the words "God of Ohio State". The prase "God of Ohio State" is taken from a horrible translation of the Freespace Reference Bible and these words are the password which is needed to use the key for actually decrypting something. As a result, we have a usable key for decrypting things, but we have not yet found any encrypted message for which we could use the key.
In addition to key data itself, any PGP key also contains some more data about the key's possessor (this is how PGP keys work - they contain additional information about a key's possessor and this information is used by encryption/decryption programs). The key that our friend sent us contains the information that it belongs to "Isaac Stone <[email protected]>". This is of course a fake email address, because there is no such thing as a .gta domain on OUR internet. But it alerts us of the fact that this is the private key with which a person called "Isaac Stone" decrypts (and also digitally signs) his messages. This means that if we now find encrypted messages for mister stone, we can read them because we have his key and the password for his key.
It's also said that the image in this post is "only a thumbnail" and the image has the address http://holonet.hard-light.net/restricted/aadarsh/blueprints-thumb.png but playing with the image URL does not easily give access to a bigger version of that image (for example, there is no image called blueprints.png, blueprints-full.png, blueprints-normal.png, blueprints-big.png, etc. lying at the same place).
- we have a key that can decrypt messages for a certain "Isaac Stone" but we don't have any such message yet.
- we don't have a login for the restricted functions of the "Holonet" website at http://holonet.hard-light.net.
- We don't know what the post dates mean (The year is "1926" and even the days are weird).
And on a further note: MikeRoz tries his best to keep people from focusing at the puzzle by spreading attachments with self-created messages that have nothing to do with the puzzle. So again for everybody: MikeRoz's Attachments have NOTHING to do with the puzzle. Mike has created these attachments by himself.
Mike, you are not
Also, it would be great for everybody to not make posts that don't help for getting further or ask questions without having read everything that has been posted here so far. Posts that just contain things like "Thank you", "I don't get it", etc. are cluttering everyting and will make things harder to follow and understand for everybody. And on the other hand it would be nice if those who have found out something could explain it clearly enough so that everybody can understand it and not just computer-hotshots.
(sorry for typos and for the many edits after posting this originally)