New Lockpicking Club: Rochester TOOOL

Tonight (Thursday) a new club will be using the Rochester hackerspace as a meeting ground for its first event. The Rochester TOOOL (yes three O’s) chapter is starting up organized by Jason Ross. What’s a Jason Ross and what’s a TOOOL right? Jason is the newest Interlock member and comes from a background in security – computer security, network security, physical security.. secure all the things!

Why Lock Picking?

It’s happened to the best of us, your bloodshot eyes open to find that you’ve been strapped to a bed with handcuffs again. What do you do to get out? Call for help? Wait until the lady comes back to break your legs like in Misery? No, you know how the locking mechanism works on a pair of handcuffs and you shim your way out and escape through the window to freedom.

Lock picking is learning about how locks work which turns them into a puzzle. The number of pins in a tumbler tells you how difficult the lock is. What does it mean when a pair of handcuffs are double locked? What are security pins? What’s the difference between a wafer lock and a pin tumbler? If you have these questions, TOOOL is the group to talk with to have them answered.


TOOOL is The Open Organization Of Lockpickers. These guys love to learn and teach about locks, lock picking, and physical security. The difference between TOOOL and a normal locksmith, is first they don’t do it for money, second, they exchange information about locks and lock picking openly, and third, they have more of a sense of humor than your standard locksmith. To become a locksmith, normally you’d have to learn through an apprenticeship. TOOOL on the other hand will be giving presentations to the community, teaching people how to pick locks, and helping spread the knowledge about lock picking openly to the community.


Is having a pair of lock picks legal? Is it against the law to know how to lock pick? What if TSA finds a set of lock picks in your bag?? These are all boring, but serious questions that TOOOL will answer. Here’s a hint, do you think Interlock would promote illegal activity on their blog?

What to expect at the meeting:

The meeting is open to the public and is meant to be the first of future meetings. There will be a presentation of some kind related to lock picking and a lot of discussion about how future meetings will happen. The organization requires that you become a member in order to keep up to date on the groups activities but there will also be public non-member, public meetings in the future. If you can’t come to tonight’s meeting but you’re interested in learning about how the group works, you can email Jason Ross.

Rochester TOOOL Chapter meeting starts at 7pm on 4/19 at Interlock.

from on April 19th, 2012Comments0 Comments

YNN, meet Interlock.

This morning a few members stopped by to meet reporters from YNN. Seth Voorhees and Veronica Chiesi were given the nickle tour, and then chatted with Bill, Von, Brian and myself. Thankfully they weren’t scared away by the level of geek in the room.

Brian wowed them with his always crowd pleasing custom pen plot-matrix printer he’s famous for. The picture above is the pre-printed artist’s rendition of Seth holding his mic.

Von, Brian, and Bill put on their smart hats and answered questions about Interlock. Von, showed off the ham radio room and his skills for speaking with human beings. Bill spoke about his background, why he has been involved with Interlock, and included some razzle dazzle by printing on the 3D printer.

Brian, with his boyish good looks, sparkled on camera while showing off his knowledge of all things blinky. I have to admit that while it’s nice to have Interlock get some PR, my first goal in setting up the interview was to get Brian’s face on TV. If you’ve met Brian, you’ll know that he’s a very intelligent, multi-faceted, multi-facial-haired, reluctant leader. I think that he is a very good representation of what the modern hacker/maker looks and acts like. But, he’s also not the normal talking head you would see on TV which is why I want to get him out there even more. I’m giggling right now thinking about seeing him on YNN now.

Feeling bad for the quiet bear-hat wearing man on the couch, YNN even included me in a quick interview. I worked with Bill and Von on a lock picking demo that I hope makes to air. Veronica even challenged me to a lock picking contest where I had to go from nothing in my hands, pick up the tools, and pick the lock. I surprisingly aced it picking a 4 pin lock. (Thanks TOOOL) This will never be on the air of course.

UPDATE: Check out the story here:

Thanks to Von Brian and Bill for taking the time to come out and intelligently represent the group. We don’t know when/if the story will air. Surprisingly, some people have more important things to hear about than local hackerspaces but we’ll let you know when.


from on March 28th, 2012Comments0 Comments

Open House: New Space

Hello hackers. Look at your office. Now look at the hackerspace. Now back at your office. Now back to the space. Sadly, your office doesn’t look like the hacker space. Do you know what the new hackerspace looks like? No? Well now’s your opportunity. I’m on a horse.

Tomorrow, Friday 3/16, at 7pm we are throwing an open house at the space. Of course it’s free, we just want to show off our new digs. It’s probably a perfect time for you to visit if you’ve never been. Or if you’ve only seen the old tiny space, see what we have to offer now.

Just so we can figure out how many people are coming, click on this link to get a ticket:

Here’s what to expect:


Hacking makes you hungry. As a reward for stopping by on a Friday night, we’ll be feeding you. Members are bringing in food in a pot-luck style. Mostly things to nibble at so bring an appetite. Eating and hacking; does it get better? Well… yeah but it’s still pretty cool right?


The most common question that we get. “What are you working on?” To try and answer that, we’ve created mini presentations about what people do at the space. Here’s what we have so far:

  • Amateur radio workshop run by JustBill and Walter
  • Introduction to lockpicking run by Antitree
  • 3D printer presentation and possible demo by Berticus
  • Basics of electronics run by RoboAlex
  • Bicycle repair run by BinaryMan

Hackerspace Tour

┬áHere are some things to check out while you’re at the space:
  • Rooms: Meeting room, hang out room, table hackers room, workshop area, Ham shack
  • Network infrastructure
  • Pen plotters
  • 3D printers
  • Metal lathe and wood working tools
  • Ham radio shack
  • Electronics workbench

See you there

from on March 15th, 2012Comments0 Comments