August 28th, 2005

color cycle (slow)

Attn. Wash. U. students: How to make keycards work better

So at least in some dormitories- I don't know which ones were involved in this, only that mine was among them- mechanical keys have been abandoned in favor of electronic door locks. Y'know, you get one of those credit-card like things with the magnetic stripe? Yeah, that kind of key entry. It's not "insert key", it's "swipe card", and that makes all the difference here.

The biggest problem with it is that it doesn't go on a keychain, which means that I have to completely change my patterns for what to grab when taking a shower lest I lock myself out of my room in a most inconvenient fasion. For that matter, a card is just not convenient; I'd rather have something on my keychain.

Problem solved.


  • Target keycard to mutilate

  • One pair of scissors

  • Hole punch OR pocket knife

  • Optionally, a narrow, inexpensive pen


  1. Flip the keycard over so the stripe side is up.

  2. Being sure not to interfere with the magnetic stripe, cut off part of the margin of the card not affected by the stripe. Do NOT cut the card to minimum size; instead, cut the card in the shape of a "P" without a hole.

  3. The loop of the "p" will be our handle and connection point. At a reasonable point in that part of the P, punch a hole with the punch or, if you don't have one (like I didn't), violently stab it with the pocket knife and then whittle until you can get a hole through it; for the pocket knife, the pen is mandatory.

  4. If you want a larger hole- you need this if you used the pocket knife- widen the hole by pushing the pen through.

  5. Attach to keychain via this hole you've created. You're done.

Hopefully, you left enough of a handle. It is admittedly a little clumsy, but you'll get used to it; I've only used it four or five times since I mutilated the card and I'm not having any trouble now. While it's still not as convenient as a key, it's a lot better than the big plastic rectangle we had before- and now it's just with the rest of your keys.

I still wish they left us with, y'know, physical door locks with metal keys rather than this electromagnetic scanner crap...
color cycle (slow)


And the ABC show "My Kind Of Town" has induced the first time a television show has caused me to snort ginger ale out my nose. Ow, but it was amusing...
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