Recap of 2023

Hi all, I want to take the opportunity to look back at the year 2023, and discuss our achievements of the last year. The first post on Blackbag of the year was on a modified electric heater. While the post was off brand (as in: not a lock), it helped several pickers to save hundreds of euros on the heating bill. I’ve used mine ever since.

Our first event of the year was in February, a luxurious hacking experience at Hackerhotel. It was a good conference where we talked with our friends from other Dutch Hackerspaces. The talks were everything from community discussions to creativity and security topics. Toool hosted three impressioning workshops a day, and Jan-Willem gave a talk on experimental lockpicking techniques. Which includes, analysis of the Bowley Rotasera, and lessons learned on the Kromer protector.

Wendt hosted a well received lockpicking competition end of March. Walter and Henri competed, and several others joined for the exposition and side events. In case you have missed it, Wendt invites you to join their open house 2nd and 3rd of March 2024.

In May Toool was at the last HITBSecConf2023 in Amsterdam. Toool has hosted the lockpicking village for HITB Amsterdam from the beginning of the conference, and we made great friends along the way. It is truly an end of a decade. The lockpicking village has always been one of the more consistent and popular side events at the conference, and we hosted it again with great pleasure.

During the summer, several Toool members from the Netherlands went to Defcon and visited the lockpicking village hosted by Toool US and to promote Locksport. I, myself, went to the Chaos Communication Camp in Germany. This is the largest German hacker camp hosted by the Choas Computer Club. Jascha from Sportsfreunden der Sperrtechnik, SSDeV set up the lockpicking event, which was a great success. I’ve run a few sessions in English, it was good fun.

LockCon was in October hosted at the Westcord Hotel in Garderen. We hosted close to a hundred guests from all over the world. Where in the three days we ran four competitions, a dozen talks, and many locks picked. It was great to meet our friends again. The recap of the event is worth a read.

ACF organized their annual festival in December. Walter traveled to Paris for the event and competition and won the third price. Walter shares his thoughts in this post.

Next to all these big events, we went twice at Tkkrlab, Hack42, and several other small events. On average we have run a side event a month. Furthermore, we hosted a lockpicking meetup almost every week, as well as published several blogs on locks, tools, and more, here on Blackbag. In case you have missed them, here are the highlights.

Walter looks for interesting locks and published a series of small unusual locks. For example, Walter found a 28mm double euro cylinder from Keso which is unique as it is operated with a standard length key. This short 6-pin euro cylinder from Dom is also quite clever. The Evva Elus is also a curiosity. Given the lock has electromechanical master keying.

I’ve written quite a bit for blackbag, for example on the cutaway collection from Qikom. Furthermore, in a collaborative work, I’ve 3D printed keys for the Abloy Protec2, as well as analyzed the yet unpicked Dulimex PRO-LINE padlock.

Henri wrote about a clever implementation of multi tenant lever locks. These and other lever locks are quite rare here, sadly. It’s a wonderful, but forgotten technology, which still has a place in high security systems in the UK and Italy. Hopefully, Henri will write more about those in a future Blackbag post.

To end this list, we like to suggest reading a post with in depth technical knowledge. The report in the LockCon 2022 impressioning competition. The document can be quite useful for pickers interested in impressioning.

If you see something you like, please leave a reaction below the post. It’ll help grow the brand as well as motivate the writers to continue putting in the effort. If you want to share your project on Blackbag, do reach out as well.

Best holiday wishes from me and the rest of Toool,
May many locks open for you in 2024 🙂

Jan-Willem Markus
Secretary of The Open Organisation of Lockpickers

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