syneco-combination-lockAn abandoned combination lock

Outside a local cinema last year I noticed a nice combination lock on the bike rack. It has been vexing me for while, for it has been failing to do its job for such a long time. A combination lock is supposed to attach two different things together. For one to be left abandoned hanging outside on the bike rack for over a year – that cannot be allowed to continue.

Last year inspired by that lock, I tried ordering one of the same design from eBay, but it ended up not arriving – so I feel that a certain level of karma will be involved if I can get this one instead. After all, recently I was inducted into Mensa, and I see that it’s partly my job to enable people to achieve their desires, which translates well over to this situation too.

Approach the Manager

Tonight I went in to the cinema and approached the manager, asking about the blue combination lock out there and for his permission to try and get it off. His opinion was one of a devil-may-care attitude, where I can do what I like with it, and so it began.

Check for the obvious

My first checks were to see if any obvious changes occur to each of the discs. Some locks can be easily opened if you find that any of the reliably catch. Sadly though in this case it’s a well designed lock, and no clear-cut shortcuts became apparent.

Settling in

It was time for the long haul, where each of the possible combinations are checked one at a time. Instead of putting on outward pressure and spinning the dial, I figure that it’s a safer bet to instead turn to each number and pull on it to check if it can be released.

Handling bystanders

Passers-by occasionally took interest in what I was doing there too, for which it was helpful to be able to tell them that I was there on authority of the manager, and to show that the cable was attached to nothing more than just the rack itself. After those initial concerns were dealt with, I struck up some good conversations with them.

It’s all about technique

I found that I was able to check one number every second, and after doing 100 numbers a break was somewhat necessary to return circulation to my hands. After checking 500 numbers I’d go and take a wander around the local mall for a bit of a break, before returning back to the lock.

Motivation to carry on

I was going to finish up for the night after checking the first 4000 numbers, but when I realized that this would amount to just two fifths of the possible numbers, that seemed to be too low to accept, so carried on to check a full 5000 numbers instead, just so I could finish off after having checked half of all the numbers.

And so that’s where I’m at tonight. No doubt I’ll return tomorrow to carry on checking. In a reverse-Fibonacci manner (5, 3, 2) I’ll no doubt check another 3000 then, followed by a last 2000 if needed too.