Archive for October, 2008

The other LockCon games

Monday, October 27th, 2008

I am back from a hectic week of Dubai and still struggling to get back on track. And it is not easy as there still is a lot of work to do. So please forgive me for not writing a complete report about LockCon. I am hoping maybe Schuyler will write a detailed article for NDE magazine about the event. For now I would like to cover the games played in Sneek and link to two of Marc Tobias his articles.

For the ‘Dutch Open’ lockpick competition Han and I made a last minute decision to use Medeco bi-axial locks in the finals. We did give the contestants a 100% correct cut ‘set key’ for these locks (technically speaking: no ‘half steps’ on the angled cuts). I think before this weekend, none of the finalists had ever picked a Medeco lock by using the ‘set key method’ to neutralize the sidebar before. Tobias Bluzmanis even gave some advise during the finals, and with success. The fastest opening time was 23 seconds. Marc Tobias wrote a nice piece about the finals, and even included some video clips. So check out Marc’s ‘the sidebar’ blog and his Cnet article for details (really worth reading). Bottom line of the Dutch Open 2008 is: ‘Master of the Universe’ Dr. Manfred Bölker won, followed by Dr. Torsten Quast. André Matuschek had a good weekend scoring a third place in both the lockpicking and impressioning games. And it’s obvious German SSDeV members are still dominating this game … just look at this ‘top seven’ list to see what I mean…

winners of the Dutch Open 2008 Lockpick games at LockCon #1

One game that did not turn out well was the safe combination manipulation games. In total nine people tried to open the same Sargent and Greenleaf 6730 lock in two hours time, but none of them succeeded. So the nice awards we had made are now going into the dustbin. Or maybe we will re-use them for next year … if we decide to keep trying at this game at all. Time will tell …

No matter how much time we plan for the weekend, there never is enough time to do a serious ceremony to honor the winners of the games. This year was not exception, and I really do not like it. But it somehow seems to be part of the event. We did find some time however to celebrate the winners of the Toool competition 2007/2008. It is the first year I did not made it into the top three, but then again it was purely a matter of not spending enough time on it. But it is good to see Walter Belgers was given a pretty hard time to win this edition of the competition again. Jos Weyers was runner up (like last year) and Mike Bestebroer was entering the top three for the first time. Congratulations all!

winners toool lockpick competition 2007/2008

Hopefully I will have time to write up on some of the excellent presentations that were held in Sneek and other exciting things that happened there …

LockCon: tired but very satisfied!

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

You are used to me publishing something on this weblog every sunday (or when I am busy on Monday). Well … don’t worry, I will keep that up. But las weekend was a true demolition derby, and on sunday I was fully wrecked, I just could not write sooner. And I am still recovering (and very busy with my daytime job as I will fly to Dubai on Friday for a trade show).

First of all I would like to thank all that attended and helped out at LockCon! As always it was quite the experience and we did mange to make it the best Sneek event ever. And I am already wondering what we can offer next year….

Barry Wels

For me the ultimate LockCon experience was the impressioning championships on Saturday evening. You might remember six weeks ago I finally managed to become ‘Meister’ at the German games in Cologne. And now my German friends were out for revenge (in a very sporty manner). SSDeV president Steffen Wernéry prepared packages filled with fifty blanks and practice locks, and send them out to the members that could help stop the Dutch invasion. The message to the members was clear: bring back the title to Germany! On top of that he offered the SSDeV member that would beat me and my record time (5:13 minutes) a rare and beautiful watch made by Abus in the shape of a discus lock. All this caused the games in Sneek to be the one with most participants ever (around 35?). And all the big names were there trying to win the title and watch.

As I wrote before, I did not lose any sleep over all this. The sleep I lost was about the many other worries as the event needed my full attention to bring it to a happy end. So I did not get a chance to practice impressioning at all and just had to rely on my basic skills. The only thing I could do was arrange an hour orso in private just before the games to do some sort of warming up (opening a few locks).

To keep a long story short: I won again! And again it was the first time ever a ‘non-German’ won a locksport game in the Netherlands (yes, that is a shame ;). In 5:32 I managed to open the lock. Second was lockpick legend Arthur Meister in six minutes and a little bit. The third person was André Matuschek in little over 15 minutes something. Fourth was Dr. Manfred Bölker and fifth was Eric Schmiedl (toool.US). Please excuse me for not having the exact times and people opening the lock present, but things have been pretty hectic here and I can’t find the notes I made …

What was really special is Steffen Wernéry showed the ultimate proof of true sportsmanship: He was kind enough to offer me my own bounty and gave me the Abus watch at the closing ceremonies on Sunday evening. A very nice gesture that I appreciate a lot! And since I like a little challenge, I am offering the watch myself now to the person who manages to win a game and break the speed record in one of the two 2009 impressioning games. To be continued …

And I apologize for being selfish and just write about the impressioning games for now. I will soon try to write a follow up on the unforgettable LockCon event, and report about the many presentation and Dutch Open lockpick games (Medeco locks in the finals). And Steffen Wernéry shot some spectacular video of the impressioning games. It will take him some time to edit it, but I am looking very forward to seeing and sharing it ….

But for now I just need to catch up lots of sleep ….

Not losing any sleep ehrm ?!?

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Pffftttt …. just a few days till the Essen Security show and LockCon, and I am already wasted. Lots of things are going right. And we got more support in organizing this event then ever before, but unfortunately there are also some things that don’t go right:

The worst one that gives me a small headache: the privileges we used to have at the hostel are melting away. A new and more expensive building, and new management that does not know us make life a little difficult. But we will all do our best to make the best of it.

Something else: St.John just mailed me about the Lab and Fee not in time for LockCon. He mailed: “The tools are now being made but unfortunately they won’t be ready for Sneek. I really tried my best but finding the right guys with the right machines took a bit of time. The tool we have designed is a pin and cam with changeable tips so that it can be used for quite a few different locks. Fingers crossed I will have a sample for Sneek (they are making the sample now and I have to ok it before the CNC production run), it should arrive any day this week. Finished items will likely arrive within the next 2-3 weeks. If you want I will send them out to the people who do the class as soon as I get them. This is the best I can do but if you think it is acceptable I think the people will be very happy as the design is very nice.”

Not to mention that for the last 5 hours orso, I have been trying to edit the video of the impression championships in Cologne. But somehow I run into black-magic voodoo bugs and can’t get the audio to be in sync. Very frustrating and I just made the decision to quit video-editing for now and just type this posting and share my feelings with you …

And about Lockcon: We will make the best of it, and I am convinced people will have a hell of a time! (as always …)

But personally I will be happy when it’s Sunday this time next week 😉