Archive for July, 2008

The Medecoder … tomorrow in NDE #4

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

I am writing, but not for blackbag. Currently finishing an article for the NDE magazine (number 4 already!).

The Medecoder

One other thing that will be covered in NDE #4 is the Medecoder tool by Jon King. I had the pleasure to experiment with it over the weekend, and so far picked a 5 pin Medeco lock with it twice. It is a nice feeling to set the pins and open the lock, but picking the pins to the normal height takes me some effort. No doubt this will improve over time …

Tomorrow NDE #4 will be released, so I will continue typing …

Hope was a blast!

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Han and I had an extremely good time in New York, and it was nice to see the people behind the nicknames and e-mail addresses. We made some new friends….

I am currently on a campsite with the family, being connected to the net over a very thin GPRS line. So I will keep this posting short for now, and continue to play with the medecoder tool Jon was kind enough to trade me.

Open, but not in 30 seconds ....

In the meantime I will share with you a picture shot by Matt Fidler. It shows Marc Tobias in high security handcuffs. What makes the handcuffs high security? They have Medeco locks on them. And no, Marc did not get out of them in 30 seconds (evil grin).

We will see Marc and Toby again in less then two weeks as ‘the last Hope’ was not the last visit of the good old US of A this year. Next stop for Han and me is Defcon in Las Vegas …

Back to picking locks at the campfire for now. I will try real hard to write something worthwhile on Sunday, so fingers crossed …

Jon King on the Medecoder, and demonstration!

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Wow … that was one impressive talk!

Jon King and Doug Farre just finished their presentation on maintaining a locksport organisation and … the medecoder tool!

Over the last months there has been a lot of speculation on how this medecoder tool worked, and today Jon King released it. Besides explaining how it works in full detail, he also had the guts to pick a six pin medeco lock on stage. It does take a lot of guts to pick a lock on stage, even if you know it inside out. A couple of hundred people watching can make you quite nervous. But he kept his cool and opened the lock.

And I shot some video of it with my photo camera, so not the best of quality, but here it is. Click above the see the youtube video, or click here for the original AVI 83 MB. I am sure you will enjoy ….

The story is Medeco will come out with special ‘ARX’ pins that will prevent this tool to work…..

Now I am heading back to the conference, but not without sharing some of the images I shot from their presentation (10 MB zip).

*Update 26/07: Video of entire presentation is online here (50 minutes!)

Being a person of questionable character …

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

In the comments from ‘about me’ , Martin Newton (a UK grandmaster of safe opening tools) is angry with me. Even calling me a ‘person of questionable character’. Something that really hurts coming from a person who’s tool making abilities I admire for a long time. The problem is I can not even blame him for calling me that….

Mr. Newton claims the design of the ‘last hope’ credit card pick is a cheap rip off on a business card designed by another legend in lock opening tools: John Falle. And I do not even want to tell you how I admire Mr. Falle’s tool making skills …

Now, to our defense, we never saw a business card with ‘John Falle’ or ‘Martin Newton’ on it. Babak received a ‘pick business-card’ from a US company called MBA at the Aloa 2007 convention in the US. And I received a similar (yet not really usable) business card from Kevin Mitnick beginning of 2007 too. The minute I heard the Toool.US crowd wanted to make a special ‘last hope’ memorabilia pickset inspired on an ‘MBA design’, I mailed MBA to ask their permission/opinion about it. There were at least three mails on this topic, and reading back my mails I can only say I really tried to do the right thing.

My big mistake on the previous ‘Last Hope pickset’ posting is I did not mention MBA (and/or John Falle & Martin Newton) for the design. And that was wrong.

People who visit this blog more often know I try to give credit where credit is due. And giving credit to Babak and the people who put the drawings in CAD, but forgetting to credit MBA (and/or John Falle) was plain stupid. And I sincerely want to apologize to MBA, Mr. Falle and Mr. Newton for this.

Gonna crawl under a big and heavy rock now …

Update July 16 09:30: Crawled from under the rock and found a reply to my privately mailed apology to Mr. Newton. It seems the matter is resolved now that he knows the full story. His final word were: “Thanks for understanding my point of view, no hard feelings.”. I must say I am very relieved by that!

Your ‘Last Hope’ pickset …

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

Credit card size snap off pickset

This year Toool will be presenting two picksets at the Last Hope conference in New York next week. The first pickset is the one you see above. It is a credit card sized set, and the tools can be snapped off. And already guaranteed to become a collectors item.

It is called ‘the last hope’ emergency pickset, and the main idea is to carry it in your wallet. You will most likely use it when you lost your keys, or when you are assisting others who lost their keys.

If you look at the back of the set, you see the edges of the set can be snapped off too, and are actually four separate tensioners. If you snap off all tools, you will end up with and eleven (!) piece pickset. As you can see, there are three basic picks, designed with the novice pickers in mind. For the real pro’s there is three thin and slim hook picks. Very useful for those pesky euro profile cylinders with their zig-zag keyways….

The other Toool pickset is the new and improved ‘double sided picks series’. There will be eight double sided picks in this set. For the moment I will only show you one of the picks, but you can imagine what the other seven are going to look like. Both the credit card pickset as well as the ‘double sided picks’ are made of is the finest steel on the market. Extremely strong and gives the right feedback for the job …

one out of eight ...

My role in getting these picksets to Hope was modest. Of course there was a lot of input from me on the shape of the picks (and some other stuff). But the main work has been done by Babak Javadi, one of the driving forces behind at the moment. Do not underestimate the amount of work and financial investments that go into a project like this. I would also like to thank Babak’s girlfriend Kari for having to put up with Babak investing so much time in this project.

A project that would not have happened without the help of two engineers from MIT who helped with the CAD. Thanks to Sam Duffley and Chris Pentacoff these picks came out the way we wanted them. A lot of work, but the end result is great. I am sure the Hope audience will love them….

* update July 16 on the source of the design.

Centipede Ford Tibbe Pick

Monday, July 7th, 2008

During a little lockpick party a couple of weeks ago, I met my good friend Dr. Manfred Bölker in Hamburg.

Manfred is one of the people who also invests a lot of time and money in tools, so when ever we meet we always spend quite some time showing each other our latest treasures and tricks.

This time he showed me a tool I only knew from pictures on the internet: a chinese tool to open Ford Tibbe car locks. Now, I already did cover a Ford Tibbe pick made by John Falle (filmed at the 2006 Dutch Open), but this tool is different as it can rotate the discs in the lock individually. What is also different is the price: if you mange to order it straight from China you pay around 20 euro. Buying it from european sites will cost you around 70 euro.

All in all it is a very nice tool, and I am happy Manfred allowed me to shoot some video (Youtube or Quicktime 44 mb) of it for the kind blackbag audience.