DIY RFID-Blocking Duct Tape Wallet

10 Nov

I’m going to Walt Disney World in just 24 days, for WDW Today Reunion 2013! But I have some concerns about the use of active and passive RFIDs in the new MagicBands, and of passive RFIDs in the resort hotel room keys. So, I’m planning to skip the MagicBand and just stick with the room key, which I can store in this nifty RFID-blocking wallet I just made with a little help from Instructables, a few things I had around the house, and some cute Hello Kitty duct tape my sister-in-law gave me. The RFID-blocking component is aluminum foil, sandwiched between two sheets of duct tape to make the main body of the wallet.

Note the fancy-schmancy Monorail Pilot license in the ID holder!

Note the fancy-schmancy Monorail Pilot license in the ID holder!

Lining of the money pocket and the change pocket (not shown) is Hello Kitty.

Lining of the money pocket and the change pocket (not shown) is Hello Kitty.

It took about 90 minutes to make the wallet. I think it would go faster next time, since I had a little trouble at first working with the duct tape. The Hello Kitty duct tape was more forgiving than the standard silver duct tape when it came to accidentally sticking things together and having to pull them apart, perhaps because the cutesy patterned duct tapes seem to have been designed primarily for crafting, not taping ducts (which actually turns out to not be a good use of duct tape, nominative determinism notwithstanding.

I might just make a little pouch for Magic Bands, too, but I haven’t been about to find good sources on whether active RFIDs are blocked by aluminum foil; I’m trusting Consumer Reports that the foil blocks passive RFIDs.

And yes, a tinfoil hat will be necessary, strictly for fashion purposes. A project for another day.

Opting Out of RFIDs at Walt Disney World

14 Jun

I don’t even register on the scale of privacy nuts and conspiracy theorists. I use credit cards, carry a GPS-enabled cell phone, have an EasyPass transponder on my car . . . the list goes on.

But something about the RFID implementation that’s gradually being rolled out at Walt Disney World just rubs me the wrong way. It’s not like I think Disney’s up to something nefarious; they’re just trying to improve Guest experience by personalizing a variety of experiences, and probably build up their data warehouse to improve their marketing. I’m just increasingly uncomfortable with the amount of data that’s being collected by our various industries and government agencies, and the related increase in data mining capabilities.

I plan to opt out of RFIDs as much as practically possible on my next trip to Disney World, so I did a little research this week to see what that looks like. The tl;dr: I’m gonna make myself an RFID-blocking wallet. The long form: This week’s Jentasmic! column at StudiosCentral.

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26 Apr

I live and work in Boston. This time last week, I’d spent the day at home, complying with a “Shelter-in-Place” request from my city, as law enforcement was searching the suburb of Watertown for one of the men suspected in the Boston Marathon bombing. They eventually found him, a couple miles from my house.

Now, my Jentasmic! column for StudiosCentral usually comes out every other Friday, so usually I’d post a link to it here that same day, but somehow I just couldn’t think about Disney Parks in the midst of such turmoil. But now, two things come to me.

Since the Marathon bombings, discussions swirl around me about security and danger, and what price we do or should pay in privacy and/or convenience in order to protect our physical security. Somehow in light of these discussions, my StudiosCentral column last week analyzing Disney Parks’ OSHA accident investigation reports from 2002-2012 feels quite fitting. I want Disney Cast Members to have a safe workplace, and I’m willing to put up with an unattractive tarp now and then, or miss a chance to experience a favorite attraction, if it will keep Cast Members safer on the job. Life and health are precious, and often fragile. They’re well-worth protecting.

I’m also struck once again by how I long for the sort of simplicity and optimism expressed through Disney’s Parks and many of their films. I fell in love with Disney as a kid growing up in Northern California, in the midst of the 1970`s Marin County cultural revolution. Disneyland was a place where the rules were clear, magic was afoot, and the good guys always won. Unlike, well, real life.

Truth be told, I don’t want the world to be as simple and optimistic as Disneyland. and I’m not willing to contort my worldview to make myself believe it is. But at a time when much of my city is still emotionally reeling from the bombing and subsequent manhunt, when everywhere I turn it seems something or someone is reminding me to be “Boston Strong” (a phrase I loathe for reasons I cannot express), I’m glad that I’ve got a shelf full of gorgeous, entertaining Disney movies (and countless campy vintage footage) to amuse me tonight if I so choose, many happy memories of trips to Disney Parks in which to luxuriate, and another Disney trip on my calendar for later this year. Tink, take me away.

Unauthorized Movie Shot at Disney Parks; What Should Disney Do?

25 Jan

This week at StudiosCentral, my Jentasmic! column addresses a movie that’s getting a lot of internet buzz and prompting discussions of intellectual property rights:

There’s been a lot of buzz on the internet about Escape from Tomorrow, a film which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this week. The film was shot primarily at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, without permission from Disney; cast and crew filmed surreptitiously, mostly with handheld cameras. It tells the story of a man slowly losing his mind during the course of a day at Walt Disney World, after receiving bad news by phone in the early part of the day. It’s certainly not anything that a reasonable person would confuse for an actual Disney product. (Of course, like most people who aren’t at Sundance, I haven’t seen the film.)

Head over to StudiosCentral to read the rest. (tl;dr: I don’t think Disney should do a thing.

RFIDs and MyMagic+ and Privacy, Oh My!

11 Jan

Over at StudiosCentral, my recent Jentasmic! columns have focused on the NextGen, newly-announced MyMagic+ initiative at Walt Disney World.

It’s interesting to watch the response to MyMagic+, both from the Disney fandom and from the press. Business writers generally zoom right into the moneymaker: Disney building an unprecedented database of Guest information, with implications for both privacy concerns and outstanding marketing opportunities. The fandom is mostly giddy for the new technologies, the new customization of Guest experience, and the convenience of wearing a MagicBand instead of carrying a card or two.

As a dues-paying member of the ACLU, which chimed in on tracking people with RFIDs years ago, I’m concerned about the privacy implications, primarily related to the inferences which can be drawn through data-mining (remember when a couple MIT students figured out how to mine Facebook data to determine whether a man was gay?).

And at the same time, I’m deep enough into Disney fanaticism that I’m likely to give the system a spin next time I travel to Walt Disney World. I’ll be interested to see how things go as MyMagic+ is gradually rolled out, and how much it changes from this point in response to Guest feedback and operational experience.

Sad Tea Party, WDW Today Reunion 2012

8 Dec

From WDW Today Reunion 2012:

Earlier this year, my friend and I were waiting in line to ride the Mad Tea Party at Magic Kingdom. We watched a group of guests riding it. There was one young girl who was with there with her mother and maybe her aunt? But her family had sat in one teacup and she had chosen to sit in another. Her mother and aunt were having a blast, spinning the cup, smiling and waving to the girl… who was just sitting still, looking so indifferent, not even spinning her tea cup at all.

This inspired me to create this Reuinion 2012 event. Here’s what we do. We fill up all the tea cups on the Mad Tea Party and just sit there, looking sooooo over it. Do not spin the tea cups at all. Don’t look like you’re having any fun.

It will be the Saddest Tea Party ever.

Submitted by: Mark Diba

Disney x Barney’s: Minnie Dreams of Heroin Chic?

16 Nov

My friend @TheJoezer completely nailed it this morning: The Disney x Barneys video released this week is “Minnie dreams of heroin chic.”

 

Skinny Minnie creeps me out a bit, but I don’t think she’s the real issue. From this week’s Jentasmic! at StudiosCentral:

I’m not convinced that Minnie’s temporary transformation into an emaciated 5’11″ dress size zero fashion model is in and of itself particularly threatening to the well-being of young girls. What troubles me more is a related point raised by the “Leave Minnie Alone” petition: The problem is “with a dress that only looks good on a woman who is 5’11 and a size zero.” And we’re really not talking about just one dress here, people; we’re talking about an industry.

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