the journal news and gawker media pull a commercial appeal

Not having a dog in this particular fight, I can only sit back and laugh at how quickly The Journal News and now Gawker Media are realizing that private American citizens enjoy their… well, privacy. Extra bonus points got to Gawker for labeling all firearm-owning New Yorkers as "Assholes" – way to make friends and influence people, especially in New York.

On the one hand, a fair argument could be made that these lists endanger firearm owners – after all, firearms are high-value items that are typically useful to criminals for a variety of reasons, and The Journal News and Gawker just provided those criminals with a shopping list of locations where firearms are stored.

On the other hand, a fair argument could be made that these lists endanger folks who do not own firearms – after all, criminals generally like breathing (shocking, I know), and may avoid homes where they are likely to be shot, instead hitting up homes they know are disarmed and defenseless.

On the gripping hand, absolutely no argument could be made that publishing these lists was necessary or good, or that any good could come of doing so. Just replace "firearm owner" with "blacks" or "gays" or "Jews" and tell me all the good that can come of those lists.

What is that you are saying? Neither Gawker nor The Journal News published addresses? So? Using nothing more than their first and last names, I was able to dig up home addresses, phone numbers, and home property tax information on the entire staff of the Commercial Appeal, a newspaper here in Tennessee that oh-so-very-kindly published a searchable database of handgun carry permit holders. Put I had to pay money to pull up all that information, right? Wrong. All of that information is publicly available on the internet, through free sources, and required nothing more than first and last names to begin searching.

So to John Cook, the editor of Gawker, who is whining about people posting his address, I can only say, "Suck it up, you privacy-invading wanker."

Speaking of the Commercial Appeal, though, I guess I should look into updating its database, since the information there is nearly four years out of date.

In the intervening years, of course, they have had a little turnover in their staff. Most notably, Joseph Pepe and Karl Wurzbach appear to have been fired (could not happen to nicer people), but, since the original handgun carry permit database was posted and maintained during their watch, their names will remain in this counter-database, as will all of the names of folks employed at CA during that period. In fact, Stephen Tomb is about the only "Vice President" to survive whatever culling the Commercial Appeal went through recently, and no one has stepped up (or been allowed to step up) to fill Joseph’s and Karl’s now-empty positions. One can only hope the bird cage liner newspaper is slowly augering its way into oblivion.

Likewise, people, like Otis Sanford, have moved; their addresses and information have been appropriately updated.

Joseph Pepe, Former President and Publisher
3195 Wetherby Cv S
Germantown, TN 38139

901-737-8784
Home Property Tax Information

Stephen M. Tomb, VP of Operations
1846 Wildcreek Cv
Collierville, TN 38017

Phone Unpublished
Home Property Tax Information

Chris C. Peck, Editor
21 Belleair Dr
Memphis, TN 38104

901-276-8314
Home Property Tax Information

Otis Sanford, Former Editor/Opinion & Editorials, Current "Free-Lance Columnist"
3094 Flint Drive
Memphis, TN 38115

901-368-5599
Home Property Tax Information

Eric Janssen, Former VP of Digital Media
8996 Stratfield Cv
Germantown, TN 38139

901-358-7007, Home
901-212-3597, Cell
Home Property Tax Information

Michael B. Erskine, Director of Digital Media
1898 Parkview Cv
Memphis, TN 38104-7634

901-274-2571, Home
Home Property Tax Information

Scott Sines, Former Managing Editor
2136 Wentworth Ln
Germantown, TN 38139

Phone Unpublished
Home Property Tax Information

Louis E. Graham, Managing Editor
228 Rhonda Cir E
Cordova, TN 38018-4326

Phone Unpublished
Home Property Tax Information

Gary L. Robinson, Managing Editor, Digital
Current information unknown.

Daniel R. Moehle, Former VP/Chief Financial Officer
3172 Devonshire Way
Germantown, TN 38139

901-757-5911
Home Property Tax Information

Karl D. Wurzbach, Former VP of Sales and Marketing
3098 Bentwood Run Dr
Collierville, TN 38017

901-853-4892
Home Property Tax Information

Robert Jiranek, Former VP of New Business Development
400 Forest Ridge Road
Earlysville, VA 22936-9218

434-202-1724

Robert L. Pinarski, Former Advertising Director
3961 Herons Landing Ln
Arlington, TN 38002

901-867-5294
Home Property Tax Information

Denise Holman, Former Manager of Classified Advertising
Current address/information unknown.

Paul A. Jewell, Marketing Director
1439 Vance Ave
Memphis, TN 38104

901-272-1458
Home Property Tax Information

(NOTE: Gary L. Robinson seems like the only one who keeps all his information private.)

Again, I stress that all of this information was put together from free, public sources using nothing but the above persons’ first and last names (and a healthy bit of guesswork) as a starting point. If I can assemble that much data on these folks in just a few minutes, how much do you think a dedicated stalker or identity thief can put together?

And as a final point regarding these various and sundry assholes publishing the information of who owns or carries firearms in their respective states, I give you this quote from Gawker commenter "K-leigh" (link intentionally omitted):

The journal posted my address and name for my gun ownership. My past stalker saw this. I haven’t heard from him in two years, because I disappeared. Now he is back and calling me……thanks to people like you bunch of assholes, looks like I will have to protect myself from becoming a murder victim. Gracias.

Whether or not her story is true is somewhat immaterial; the point stands. Numerous people own firearms precisely because of past negative experiences, and lists like these only serve to facilitate those who inflicted negative experiences on others – stalkers, abusers, etc. Once again, the list works both ways – it can help stalkers find old prey, but it can also help stalkers learn their current or past prey is unarmed.

And lest you think I am exaggerating:

Law enforcement officials from a New York region where a local paper published a map identifying gun owners say prisoners are using the information to intimidate guards.

Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco, who spoke at a news conference flanked by other county officials, said the Journal News’ decision to post an online map of names and addresses of handgun owners Dec. 23 has put law enforcement officers in danger.

"They have inmates coming up to them and telling them exactly where they live. That’s not acceptable to me," Falco said, according to Newsday.

When even the Only Ones, and New York’s Only Ones at that, think you did something stupid… well…

Flagrantly violating hundreds of thousands (millions?) of law-abiding citizens’ privacy and security serves no rational purpose to anyone this side of the law, and I cannot say as though I am terribly fond of those who aid and abet criminals. It could be argued, I suppose, that I am doing exactly the same thing right now, but if those folks listed above believe one’s personal information should be made public on account of lawfully exercising one’s Constitutionally-protected rights… well, I am merely assisting them in fulfilling their desires, am I not? If it is good for one right protected by one Amendment, it is good for another right protected by another Amendment.

Don’t start nothin’; won’t be nothin’.

baldr odinson outs himself

By now, regular readers of my weblog should be familiar with the name “Baldr Odinson” – that spineless, dishonest, cowardly troll who so very much hates it when his own methodologies and tricks are used against him (speaking of, I need to put his poll back up at some point).  Regular readers of the pro-rights community would also be aware that Baldr Odinson condoned, if not outright supported, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s vicious, vindictive, and generally bullyish “outing” of various pro-rights activists, myself included; for example: 

baldrodinsonjasonkilgoreoutingOne pro-gun blogger, Wer’d Beard, is sensitive about his real name being "outed" by CSGV. Poor guy, but I’ll abstain as a fellow blogger.

That tweet used to include a link to the CSGV’s weblog wherein they did the outing, until such time as Weer’d requested Baldr take it down.  One cannot mistake the sentiment in those short sentences, though. 

baldrodinsonjasonkilgore1baldrodinsonjasonkilgore2Well, it would appear as though Baldr Odinson has beaten all of the rest of us to the punch, and gone and “outed” himself on Facebook – say hello to Baldr, everyone… or should I say “Jason Kilgore”? 

Now, normally, I would not go posting the personal information of folks who choose to use a screen name while they make use of the Intertubes – being one of those folks myself, I fully understand the motivations involved.  However, in this particular case, I feel as though it is particularly warranted for a variety of reasons. 

First, as you can see to the left, he “outed” himself, on a public page, on Facebook.  He put his screen name right next to his carbon name, in a place where anyone and everyone could see it.  And, lo and behold, someone did. 

baldrodinsonjasonkilgore3Second, as previously mentioned, he condoned / supported / encouraged / facilitated the CSGV when they were going on their mass “outing” spree a few months ago, and personally leveraged some of the outcomes of that despicable activities for his own gain.  The shoe is now on the other foot. 

Third, he has been using either his screen name or his carbon name to sock-puppet for the other, as seen in the two screen captures to the right (the first is available here, the second is available here).  Trying to make yourself look more popular, more appreciated, more widely-recognized, and more agreed-with by generating additional screen names / accounts / etc. is a time-honored tradition of the Intertubes, but not a particularly honorable one. 

Fourth, he actually gave an interview, to a television station, using his screen name as his identification: 

Really Jason?  Really?  Welcome to being a “public figure” (as your Facebook profile claims, by the by); once you assume that mantle, any semblance of “privacy” goes right out the window.  (Of course, the misspelling is all the more amusing, given the circumstances.) 

Fifth and finally, Jason Kilgore (aka “Baldr Odinson”) decided to get his panties in a wad over the lawful use of the above-left Facebook image.  As you all know, I am a firm believer in individual rights, including the right to intellectual property ownership; however, as I said in comments

He cannot even claim that. He did not take the picture!

That, right there, is the key element.

Baldr was in a public place, acting as a public figure. As such, he had no reasonable expectation of privacy when that photograph was taken. As such, he has no copyright claim, whatsoever, to that picture, despite being the subject of it.

The only person who originally owned the copyright was the person behind the camera that took it. Did Baldr have that person’s permission to put the picture on his Facebook page?

Seemingly petty though that question may be, it is invaluably important, given Facebook’s rather… demanding… copyright rules, in that they claim ownership of anything and everything that is posted on their domain, regardless of who owned it previously.

Unless Baldr has a notarized power of attorney (or equivalent documentation) from the person who took the picture, or from Facebook themselves, he simply has no standing.

IANAL and all that.

… And as Tango followed up with

That’s not the key. You didn’t reuse his picture. You captured the picture with the surrounding page because what you wrote is specifically about that exact picture and the article associated with it. You wrote an article ABOUT the picture, so reproducing it as such is very very clearly covered under fair use.

So welcome to the club of “outed” webloggers, Jason Kilgore (aka “Baldr Odinson”).  If you had not gone to the effort of Streisanding yourself, maybe this all would have blown over and no one would have been the wiser.  As it is, given your encouragement of the CSGV when the started violating people’s privacy, you are, as I believe the saying goes, not-so-respectfully invited to “suck it”. 

(Oh, and what the hell is with the Heaven’s Gate outfit?) 

flipside wallet, follow-up

As hard as it is to take pictures of firearms without highlighting the scratches in their finishes, you would think taking pictures of a plastic wallet to show the scratches would be easier… 

Anywise, back in May, the good folks at FlipSide Wallet provided me a test-and-evaluation unit after I sent my old, leather wallet on an unscheduled washing machine excursion.  Since then, it has served as my primary wallet, spending all of its waking days riding around in the pocket of my jeans, khakis, and cargo pants along with my County Comm Embassy Elite Pen and the occasional bits of change. 

flipsideworn1The end result?  Well, not a whole lot, honestly.  It functioned flawlessly as a wallet.  As you can see in the pictures, it held up against the stainless steel of the pen about as well as you would expect – there is scuffing, but I would hardly consider it to be unacceptable level (the pen was even wearing on my leather wallet).  The RFID shielding still keeps all of my sensitive, personally-identifiable information stored safely away* (if I actually had any ID cards with radio frequency identification tags in them).  The money clip still holds more money than was originally advertised, along with my copy of TN Attorney General Opinion Number 05-154, and my little sheet of backup Google Two-Factor Authentication numbers.  The gripper pads that hold my credit card and ID cards in place still grip tightly.  The springs that power the release latch and the primary hinge still keep the wallet closed and flip it open with authority, respectively. 

flipsideworn2In other words, this thing works about as well as it did when I took it out of the box the first time.  There are only three things that could potentially count as “downsides”. 

1.  The exterior finish did wear, but you knew that would happen.  It happens with leather wallets too, the only difference here is that you cannot write it off to “character” – after riding around in your pocket for months and moving every time you move your leg, the plastic on the wallet will polish and wear, and just look different.  Entropy wins.  Get over it. 

2.  It collects dust inside the little corners and crevices.  Again, “normal” wallets do this too, but you can unload them, shake them out, and everything is happy.  Well, in this case, unload it, shake it out, and wash it.  No, seriously – it is plastic and metal, and a good rinse under the faucet will clear out most of the junk and lint it might grow over time. 

3.  It does not hold quite enough cards for me.  Thanks to Keyring, I need to carry a lot fewer cards than I would otherwise, but some companies (*cough*Victoria’sSecret*cough*RegalCinemas*cough*) only use the magnetic stripes on their cards, not bar codes, and there is no way to consolidate/replicate those.  Thanks to our health/dental insurance requiring me to carry four separate cards (which doctors’ offices invariably need to take copies of), my credit and debit cards, my driver’s license, and my two carry permits, I have to periodically use my old Jimi Wallet for random “membership” cards. 

However, there is a fix for even that.  As you can see in the picture to the right, my FlipSide has a business card clip on its back, capable of holding four business cards, but it does not have enough of a grip for plasticky / credit-card-like cards.  Enter the FlipSideKick.  Ten bucks nets you a backpack for your FlipSide 2x wallet that can hold another three regular cards, up to six business cards, or some combination of the same.  It is not RFID shielded, but that can be useful too – put your proximity cards in there, and just hold your wallet up to the reader, rather than having to take it out to be read. 

So what is the conclusion?  After six months of use, I would consider the FlipSide wallet to be well worth its price.  It is made here in the good old USofA (so buying it constitutes a real “stimulus”), it holds what I really need it to (and I can expand it if I have to), is not any larger than is absolutely necessary, and it holds up to even my somewhat excessive levels of wear and tear.  Nothing has broken, nothing has failed, no cracks have developed, and everything works about the same as it did when I took it out of the box.  Maybe it is not as classy as your grandfather’s leather wallet, but it has a few bells and whistles even his did not, and I am willing to bet it will last about as long. 

(* – My father actually purchased, and still uses, one of these for all of his prox- and RFID-equipped cards at work, and reports that it keeps them safe.) 

(Obligatory “kiss my arse” to the FTC: Note the category.  Read my disclosure policy.  Go away.) 

one cannot escape the government

One of the many joys of living in a relative backwater like Knoxville is that I have been able to observe the spread of the Thousands of Sexual Assaulters’ cancer-inducing, ionizing-radiation-spewing backscatter "security" systems from afar, without having to actually partake of the privacy-invading glow.

Fortunately, that lack of additional radiation in my life will continue for the foreseeable future, but unfortunately, Knoxville will be getting millimeter wave scanners:

McGhee Tyson Airport will soon have full-body imaging equipment to screen passengers, a Transportation Security Administration spokesman said Tuesday.

Sometime in the next few weeks, a millimeter wave advanced imaging technology machine will be installed at the Knoxville airport, TSA spokesman Jonathan Allen said.

A specific deployment schedule has not been determined, but TSA will provide advance public notice.

Being a rather small airport, Knoxville only has the one security checkpoint, so your odds of being shuffled through this machine are relatively high. To be fair, this system will implement the new "enhanced privacy" display systems that do not involve private viewing rooms and instead employ a "generic human outline", but you can bet your happy arse I will opt out just for the principle of the thing.

Surrendering our privacy in the name of "security" was a failed proposition to begin with, and I will be damned if I make the lives of those who knowingly infringe on the Fourth Amendment any easier just because they want me to.

(Courtesy of Michael Silence.)

chiappa / mks supply fail

I sent the following email to Charles Brown, President of MKS Supply “cbrown (at) mkssupply.com”, Kelly Walton, Vice President “kwalton (at) mkssupply.com”, Kenneth Vanhoose, Director of Operations “kvanhoose (at) mkssupply.com”, and the generic “info (at) mkssupply.com” address this morning, and I additionally copy-pasted it into the Contact Form at Chiappa Firearms proper:

Charles, Kelly, Kenneth, et al.,

My name is [Linoge], and I confess to being borderline-infatuated with your Chiappa Rhino revolver ever since it was announced all those years ago. Thanks to various science fiction shows and movies, as well as poking around on the internet, I became fascinated with the Mateba semi-automatic revolver some time ago, and when I heard that another of Emilio Ghisoni’s designs would be reaching the American market at a price-point I could actually afford, well, you can imagine how happy I was. Once I had a chance to look at the design, grasp how the lower bore axis could significantly improve perceived recoil (I hated Statics and Dynamics, but it is occasionally useful), and take in the… unique… styling of he firearm, I started making plans to purchase one of the full-size revolvers once they became available.

Unfortunately, I am very sad to say those plans have just been canceled.

My day job has a significant amount to do with operating, maintaining, and monitoring an RFID-tag-tracking system, and my previous education was focused heavily on logistics, inventory management, optimization, and so forth, so I can completely comprehend the utility of RFID tags on a factory floor, and, honestly, I do not really begrudge you all trying to leverage that functionality to improve your own system. I do mind you publishing misinformation, and publicly attacking and insulting those who would dare question your actions.

In a recent press release, viewable at http://www.ammoland.com/2011/07/28/rfid-chip-in-chiappa-firearms/, MKS Supply wrote "The Chiappa PASSIVE RFID can be read ONLY when passed within (2-3 inches) of an active (and powered) reader that is dialed in for the particular long antenna radio frequency of the RFID-this is not random." Your RFID tags may be *designed* to only be read when within 2-3 inches of a reader, but the unfortunate reality is that range can be significantly increased with the right equipment and know-how – please take a look at http://blogs.pcworld.com/staffblog/archives/000798.html and http://venturebeat.com/2010/07/30/hacker-tries-to-read-a-radio-identification-tag-from-29-floors-up/ for examples. Granted, both those experiments were conducted with different technology tags than the ones you are employing, but the concept remains sound – with enough power being transmitted from the reader, and with a good enough signal-too-noise discriminator on the receiving side, the *maximum* read distance for RFID tags is typically significantly farther than their *designed* read distance.

Of course, if your read distance really is engineered for 2-3 inches, what good does that do you for inventory management when the firearm is in a box, in the middle of a carton, in the middle of a pallet? Or does your inventory management, assume that once an item is placed in a carton for shipping, it is "safe"?

This is unquestionably a privacy concern, especially should this technology become more prevalent in the firearm industry, as you allude it might. Your firearms, and specifically the 2" version, are specifically marketed for law-abiding American citizens to carry on their person, and the vast majority of those people do so in a concealed fashion. If the firearm, and its associated RFID tag, are detectable from even a few feet away, that completely defeats the purpose of "concealed" carry. Worse, if they are detectable from more than a few feet away, technologically-savvy robbers can simply "scan" homes and see if there is anything worth their time.

If you want the benefit of RFID tracking for your manufacturing process, invest in some disposable sticker tags or reusable zip-tie tags, and include removing that tag in your last inventory check as the firearms leave the factory – that way, everyone is happy.

Unfortunately, from your last comment in that press release, I am forced to conclude that "customer satisfaction" is nowhere on your priority list. That release closed with, "Others may prefer to wrap the revolver and their head in aluminum foil, curl in a ball and watch reruns of Mel Gibson’s 1997 film, Conspiracy Theory. Well, that’s a plan too!" Frankly, even if you were right about RFID technologies (which, as I said, you were not), that does not excuse you blatantly insulting, demeaning, and denigrating individuals who have expressed understandable and valid concerns regarding Chiappa’s business decisions. If that is how you treat people who have not even bought your product yet – people who *should* be your target audience – I shudder to think of how you handle your actual customers.

I think I will avoid the experience all together.

My understanding is that MKS Supply is currently the exclusive importer/distributor of the Chiappa Rhino revolver. Until that changes, I will not purchase a new Rhino, on account of having no desire to do business with a company that maliciously maligns anyone who raises questions about their products.

I hope the insults were worth the decrease in business you will undoubtedly be experiencing soon.

Thank you for your time,
[Linoge]

(Please note: This email has been copied to Chiappa’s Customer Service Contact Form. Additionally, this email, as well as any response, will be reposted at http://www.wallsofthecity.net.)

I omitted it from the email, mostly because it does go without saying, but an apology and retraction of their uncalled-for insults would also convince me to reconsider my position. 

In case I did not make myself abundantly clear in the email, I have made that decision on the basis of MKS Supply’s handling of potential customers’ concerns, not on the basis of their inclusion of the RFID tag in their firearms. I completely comprehend the time and money those devices would save them on the factory floor and warehouse shipping docks, and do not begrudge them either, especially since the tags in question are at least removable should you actually want to. The permanent inclusion of the tags in their products (i.e. shipping them to their customers) does indicate a marked lack of understanding of Americans on the part of Chiappa, but being an Italian firearm fabricator, I can probably excuse them.

MKS Supply’s handling of the news and resulting hue and cry, however, is pretty much unconscionable in my book, and not only illustrates a lack of understanding of their intended market, but also a lack of caring about their intended market. So, no, I am not at all sorry about generally avoiding giving money to companies that openly mock valid, substantive concerns about a piece of technology that is damned near riddled with all kinds of security and privacy shortcomings.

As I said, I hope the emotional outburst was worth it.

For more thoughts on the RFID tag situation and the idiocy of insulting your intended consumers, check here (with bonus RFID experience), here, here, here, here, here, and here. Suffice to say, if the gunblogosphere is any indication, MKS Supply’s "joke" did not go over well…

flipside wallet, in review

Just under two weeks ago, I put up a post documenting one facet of my recent wallet-shopping – an endeavor precipitated by my previous one taking an unscheduled and undesired trip through our washing machine.  At the time, I mentioned two distinct possibilities – the Flipside 2x Wallet and the Saddleback Leather Company Medium Bifold Wallet – and threw in the usual half-serious, half-joking line that if either company wanted to send me one of their offerings for me to test out, I would be more than happy to type them up a comprehensive review.

FlipsideWallet03Well, here I am, typing.  It turns out that Mike at Flipside has realized that his product is attracting “a lot of military customers and lovers of all things ‘tactical’”, and was very interested in getting some airtime on a site like mine, so last Friday, a black (“Stealth”) Flipside 2X showed up on my doorstep. Shiny!

Be advised, though, that this is a purely preliminary review – I have literally only had it for the weekend and today…  You can count on a potentially-more-comprehensive follow-up once I have had the chance to fool around with the wallet some. 

What it is:

A wallet.  Duh.

FlipsideWallet04But, seriously, it is a bit more than that.  To begin with, as you can tell from the pictures, it is comprised almost entirely of polymers, which gives it a strength and rigidity you are not likely to find on your normal leather wallets out there.  Likewise, once you flip it open, you find that it allows you to organize your pocket life, while simultaneously keeping that life as private as we might all like through built-in RFID shielding.  And, finally, it is a wallet that would survive an unplanned trip through a washing machine (though it is not waterproof – it simply would not be destroyed in the process like a leather wallet would/was).

Specifications:

FlipsideWallet054.25 inches long, 2.75 inches wide, 0.69 inches thick.  Think of it as a shorter, chubbier smart phone.  Or just think of it as a relatively normal-sized wallet, once you stuff everything you are going to into it.

Flipside advertises that it weighs all of 3 ounces, but our kitchen scale had it weigh in at around 2.625 ounces – empty, of course.  This is not-quite twice as much as a “normal” leather wallet (1.5 ounces), but that RFID shielding is, by necessity, metal, which will add to the mass.

FlipsideWallet06Likewise, they say you can get seven total credit/ID cards in three separate holding locations, along with 12 cash bills in its dedicated holding area.  My Flipside currently has one driver’s license, one handgun carry permit, one credit card, one debit/ATM card, one Wal-Mart gift card (that I really need to use up), one allergy identification card, one health insurance card, one prescription card, one dental insurance card (nine total cards), eight cash bills, and one copy of TN Attorney General Opinion Number 05-154 printed on half a sheet of paper and then folded into eighths.  To be fair, those insurance cards are scant more than pieces of paper themselves, so it takes two or three of them to add up to a credit card’s thickness, and how you arrange the cards matters too – thanks to the now-irrelevant embossing on most credit cards, they are actually thicker than they would otherwise seem, which may affect your wallet’s capacity.

FlipsideWallet07Finally, I was able to tuck two credit/ID cards under the outside clip, but they were very difficult to get in there, and that holder is far from secure – Flipside recommends it for business cards and the like, and I tend to agree.

Fit and Finish:

FlipsideWallet08Unlike far too many plastic items these days, there is no “flashing” or any other imperfections visible on its exterior surface – in fact, what “pour” points I can find are in out of the way and not-obvious places, which means someone thought ahead about their placement (Think back to the days when you constructed models as a kid; remember that webbing of plastic that had to be trimmed off of edges with an x-acto knife?  That is flashing.  And remember the annoying little spot where you had to cut the pieces off from the tree, and it always looked kind of funky?  Basically no sign of that on this wallet.)  The exterior finish is a bit of a satin (not pure matte, but definitely not shiny either), and the exterior detail work (the company name, logo, and release button) are all very crisp and clean… and more than a little minimal, which I definitely prefer.  There is a bit of play between the clamshell halves when it is closed, but when you open it up, they lock together almost perfectly, and there is never any danger of the halves opening without your actually pressing the button.

FlipsideWallet09And speaking of opening the wallet, even when the upper clamshell is fully loaded, the spring in the main hinge easily pops the lid open with authority, and the spring under the release catch ensures your wallet never does that randomly in your pocket.  Both springs are actual coiled-metal springs (one a compression, one a twist), and both hinges involve actual shafts/pins, rather than just creased plastic which will eventually break.

The interior card holders are snug enough to keep your cards in place while opening and actually open, and when the entire assembly is closed, it is small enough that none of the cards are going anywhere anywise.  Additionally, the “clips” actually seem to rely on vertical rubber fenders inside of them to keep the cards in place, rather than downwards compression, which means your cards will be staying put no matter if you have one or three in those two slots (the one-card slot does rely on the more-traditional clip design, though).  Finally, the money clip holds your bills in place without really obstructing them (as long as you follow the instructions and loop them over the clip), though I will have to get used to this new format, rather than a “traditional” wallet.

FlipsideWallet10And while Flipside stresses it in their FAQs, I want to address another “traditional” point – this is definitely a front-pocket wallet only.  Sitting on it will not be comfortable, and may endanger it or whatever you are sitting on… and, anywise, carrying your wallet in one of your front pockets is safer regardless

About the only two things I would change are is making the money area large enough for a credit/ID card (unfortunately, due to the hinge design for the wallet and the release button, there is just barely not enough space, to answer Michael Silence’s question), and swapping out the plastic (or what appear to be plastic) hinge pins for metal ones (but that is just the over-engineer in me speaking).  Well, that, and I would love for the exterior to be finished in the same rubbery material that is becoming common on the outsides of smartphones these days, just to provide a little extra grip inside your pocket… dunno if that would be feasible with the design, though. 

FlipsideWallet11Does It Work:

As a wallet, absolutely.  It holds exactly what I need it to, while leaving me no space to accumulate all of the other membership cards and point cards and whatnot else our society has decided we “need” – to me, this is a Very Good Thing™.  Access to the top cards of each stack is quick and easy, opening the case is about as simple as you can get given the tactile feedback of the texturing on the release button, and the size is no more noticeable in my pocket than any other “normal” wallet.  And given that there are no random pockets or anything hiding in its design, there is nowhere to “lose” cards, so even though you have to deal with the two stacks of cards, odds are you will find what you are looking for faster. 

FlipsideWallet13Minimal, functional, and well-designed, all rolled up into one convenient package – I like it. 

As an RFID shield, it also appears to work, from my limited experimentation.  I was able to test the wallet with both 125kHz and 13.56MHz RFID systems, and the guaranteed-shielded section of the wallet failed flawlessly with both technologies, while the single outside-the-shield slot protected the 13.56MHz card, but not the 125kHz card (which is better performance than is advertised by Flipside, though not indicative of anything – that outside slot is still “unshielded” and should be treated as such). 

FlipsideWallet14Now, I have no idea what kind of technologies are in your average credit card or driver’s license RFID chips (thankfully, Tennessee is not compliant with REAL ID and it hopefully never will be), but I do know that the two plates of metal inside the Flipside will, when closed, create what amounts to be a Faraday cage around your credit cards and IDs, effectively blocking all communications with the outside world, giving you at least one solid layer of protection between you and people who want your information.  Whether or not this is important to you is for you to decide, but if you have anything with RFID chips in it, I would recommend shielding them*. 

FlipsideWallet12Conclusion:

Is this a wallet I could end up using for a while?  I will let you know in a few months.  But for the time being, I admit to being very impressed with the craftsmanship and design, and see absolutely no reason to not recommend it at the moment… assuming you can deal with its non-traditional design, of course.  If you want a second opinion, Flipside wallets have been reviewed by all kinds of folks.

FlipsideWallet16Is it useful for military folks?  The new-model military CAC/PIV ID cards, in accordance with Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12, have 13.56MHz RFID chips in them, and the information available wirelessly from those cards could be sufficient, in the right hands, for identity theft, spoofing, or other not-insignificant security threats to service members and the Department of Defense as a whole.  If you have a new-model card (and pretty much everyone should by now – you can tell by the gold chip visible on its front), I would strongly recommend that you carry it in a shielded holder at all times, and I would observe that the Flipside wallet is possibly a good choice – it will shield your ID card, displaying your ID card at the gate/quarterdeck is as easy as pushing a button, the polymer body should be able to withstand the rigors of military life, and there is no velcro or other attention-grabbing features that seem so popular on other wallets geared towards the military. 

FlipsideWallet15Is it “tactical”?  Well you get me a good, solid, widely-accepted definition of what that concept is, and I will give you a straight answer!  But, seriously, it does come in black (along with white, blue, green, and orange), and while it does not have any rails, Mike talked disclosed to me that they are working on additional accessories that could be added to it (I assume using the same snap-on method as the external clip).  It is fully washable (so getting down-and-dirty in the mud will not be a problem), when it is full it feels about as solid as a brick, and it just screams high-speed-low-drag (no, really, if you hold it up to your ear…). 

FlipsideWallet02If you are looking for a wallet that breaks the traditional mold, provides security to your money and identity, is made entirely in the USA, and forces you to lead a lighter life, look up Flipside – they really have evolved the wallet. 

CORRECTION:  Please note that tapping on something and listening to the sound it makes is not a scientific method!  Also, please note that the main hinge pin is comprised of black oxide steel, not plastic, and is thus very strong, and as overengineered as I would like.  Sorry for any confusion, and the above post has been strike-through-ed appropriately. 

(Note:  At the moment, Flipside is only shipping to the US, Canada, and United Kingdom, though that list may expand in the future.)

(* – And lest you think RFID theft is not something to worry about, it is, it is stupidly cheap to do, and it is such a serious problem that the Mythbusters were barred from examining it. Sounds like someone does not want the world to know…)

(Obligatory FTC notice:  see how this post is in the “for hire” category?  Go away.) 

starting to not recognize my country

Apparently the American people have absolutely no problems with complete strangers being able to electronically photograph them naked, and no problems with being dosed with an unhealthy amount of ionizing radiation.

Shiny.

I do have a problem with both of those concepts, and, as such, will be minimizing my airline use for the foreseeable future… as will my parents, and my parents-in-law, and…

Now, however, the question seems to be whether the American people have a problem with the Department of Homeland Security taking down their DNA information, as well… (Note: that “webpage” (and I use the term loosely) is engineered for iPad viewing, so on normal computers, you will probably have to zoom in to read the text.)

We already know how the DHS feels about the Fourth Amendment – do you really believe that they will abide by their own rules when it comes to these DNA scanners, or that your information will not be misused in the future?

If so, good – your soma dosage is properly set. Now we just need to work on those filthy ingrates…

(Courtesy of The Minuteman.)