Archive for October, 2009

Lockpick Championships in Cologne (DE) this weekend

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Just returned from a week of Gitex in Dubai. Always interesting but also tiring and internet is not the same as we know it. And quite busy with a million different things … and not everything in my life is lockpick related you know …

German lockpick championships organized by SSDeV

This weekend lockpicking will play a role of importance again. If you can pick locks and want to earn the last available ‘free’ ticket to the 2010 European Lockpick Championships in Turkey … Cologne is the place to be this weekend. Our friends of the biggest and oldest locksport organisation “Sportsfreunde der Sperrtechnik – Deutschland e.V” organize their championships in the friendly environment of the NaturFreundehaus (youth hostel) in the ‘Kalk’ area of Cologne. Even if you don’t want to pick locks … just come and have a look. It is always a spectacular sight to see locks opened in seconds. During two days quite a lot of different games are played (as you can see on the schedule). The person winning the prestigious “Handöffnung” games (hand opening) will win a ticket to ELF/LockCon 2010!

Personally I put my money on this friendly gentleman ….

Looking forward to see you all in Cologne!

Pecha Kucha night in Amsterdam

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Never a dull moment (well … almost never …)

Barry Wels presenting at the 11th Pecha Kucha night in Amsterdam

Wednesday a Toool delegation went to the 11th Pecha Kucha night in Amsterdam. For those who do not know pecha kucha: it a series of small presentations. Each presentation contains of twenty slides and each slide will be shown for exactly twenty seconds. And I can tell you: twenty seconds is fast when you are on stage. I also did a presentation and it went ok, although I must admit it was not my best performance ever.

After the presentation we put up a lockpick table and did a hands on session. From the three hundred attendees quite a large number learned to pick locks that evening. Worth mentioning is that the evening was organized in a former bank building. Guess who we found drooling over the huge safe (containing Lips four wheel combination locks)?

The last slide of my presentation was about an idea we have for quite some time now. We are looking for a ‘mechanical hacker space’ (or a Toool playground, hardware shop etc). A room to have our toool meetings but also a permanent workshop and possibly even training room.Currently we are exploring all sorts of relatively low costs rooms (like a 40m2 and 90m2 room at the Volkskrant building). After the presentation someone came to us and gave some more leads to cheap places were creative people come together. Lets see if this place ever becomes more then just an idea. If you have a nice space for rent we are interested to hear about it …


Thursday, October 8th, 2009

lockpicker-paranoia1I was wondering how to call this post: Lockpicker-paranoia or paranoia lockpick-zophrenia. But in all seriousness, ever since we have been in the New York times (that was followed up on by various media) I have received lots of calls and e-mails from people who are ‘troubled by a lockpicker’. The story all these people tell is more or less the same and basically boils down to this: there is a lockpicker who picks the lock of their house, goes inside and does nothing but just move the furniture a little or leave subtle clues they have been inside. And all people who contact me have one burning question: What lock should I buy to keep this evil lockpicker out. *sigh*

I know that no matter what lock I will advise, they will always come back to ask more questions as the lockpicker will always be able to get in and ‘move stuff’. In one case I advised to install a 3KS+ lock and ensured them that I personally do not know people who can open them without damaging the lock. Yet, one day later I received a call from the same person questioning my advice. *more sighs*

Now the interesting part: I spoke with some people about this, and they too receive inquiries like this once in a while. What intrigued me most was one quote from someone who told me he personally knew of two cases where there actually was someone picking the lock (or duplicating a key) and moving stuff! In one case the ‘lockpicker’ even cleaned the house of his victim and used a vacuum cleaner to clean the carpet! Asked why these ‘lockpickers’ went to all this trouble to harass someone the motive was a little vague. Someone who does not like their neighbors or personal motives concerning intimate relationships.

I was baffled to hear about this an am very curious if other sources can confirm stories like this. Anyone got juicy stories to tell?