Friday, July 30, 2010

Always Learning

The recent loss of my friend and business associate, Brent Poor, has brought some aspects of my life into a clearer focus. The central theme of this focus is on the harmony in life that can come from love as primary driver, both personally and in work.

When I was told that Brent had passed, the immediate thought I had was "Impossible". The idea that such a large and prominent part of my life could just suddenly cease to exist simply could not register in my mind. This 'shock' triggered a cascade of realizations regarding the connections that my life is composed of now.

It was from this trigger and successive thought cascade that I came to the following conclusions:

1. My work is not at all separate from my personal life. Nor should it be.

2. I view my coworkers and the franchisees that we support as a very large extended family.

3. My closeness to my 'work family' rivals the intensity of any relationship I've had in my life.

4. I feel personally responsible for not only the technical and tactical competence of the franchisees and their employees, I feel directly responsible for their health, well being, happiness and satisfaction levels and of that of their families.

5. I realized this condition would likely be viewed as unhealthy by many people at first glance but upon closer examination, they would find this situation to be the most fulfilling experience that I can imagine.

6. I have no plans to lessen this attitude or the behaviors that manifest from it, rather I hope to further nurture this situation.

7. Even with the possibility of tragic endings to the tendrils of these relationships, the joy in life that I experience from these relationships categorically overshadows the negative realities that these tragedies can bring.

8. It is not through any sense of 'duty' or 'obligation' that I seek out and sustain these relationships, it is from a direct desire to love others and to support their dreams and ease their struggles in any way that God provides me.

9. Rather than distracting from my relationship with my own family, my 'work family' relationships strengthens my resolve, enlightens my mind to new possibilities and brings harmony to my sense of self because it unites my life with a single common thread...Love.

10. Lastly, and most importantly, the quality of my life is directly proportionate to the quality of life of those that I support. It is directly from these relationships that I draw my focus, my strength, my stamina, my direction and my 'will to continue'.

There are great lessons to be learned from any tragedy. This recent tragedy has served as a stark reminder that much of the joy in my life emanates from the connections I have with those around me. If you find yourself in a similar situation, rest assured that you are not 'spreading yourself too thin', embrace it and let it enrich your life and everyone you connect with.

In Memory of Brent Patrick Poor

-Rob Reynolds

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pop-A-Lock of Atlana wins BBB Award!

I’m pleased to announce that Pop-A-Lock Atlanta won 1st Runner Up for the Better Business Torch Award for Community Service. The BBB was presented an essay on the Emergency Door Unlocking program and the work that we do with law enforcement and the military. This was the first time the franchise had participated in the Torch Awards and we are very grateful and honored that Pop-A-Lock of Atlanta won this award.

The luncheon and awards ceremony was 5/13/2010 at the Westin Perimeter. The awards presentation was at the end of the luncheon.

Please give yourselves a pat on the back and keep up the good work. Our EDU program is a very important part of our business and it’s a real blessing to rescue children locked in cars and provide free services to our police officers.

P.S. There were plenty of pictures of the winners taken and some will be displaced on the BBB website and in the Atlanta Journal. In the meantime, I took a picture of the award and attached it. I’ve also listed some of the benefits of being a Torch Award winner…

Please visit to learn more about the Torch Awards. for more information about Pop-A-Lock Locksmith services for the community.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Commutications: Hands Free Learning

Like many other people, I commute to and from work. What makes my commute a bit special is that my commute is a little over 67 miles door to door each way. The route is not too bad, mostly open interstate across the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge of I-10, along one of the most beautiful stretches of Louisiana Swamp around.

This journey provides me a solid 1.5 hours a day for phone calls to and from franchisees. To help me keep things on track I have a multi-point checklist that I use to make sure that when I 'catch up' I don't miss any vital areas, especially when supporting new franchisees. However, the topics are more often governed by some pressing need or idea by a franchisee. These vary from technical topics, hiring processes, advertising and marketing ideas, moral support and sometimes I get calls from 'old friends' who just want to know if there is anything new going on in the system.

I've adopted the term Commutications: Communications that occur during Commuting, to describe this phase of my day. Jim Fetherman, franchisee for Central Texas, helped coined the term with me about 3-4 years ago...before there were actually any entries on Google for the term.

Commuticating is a great way to help stay in touch with your team, your customers, your company or your family. What areas in your life could you be making productive use of?

Locksmith Safety:

I use a wired earpiece (as the only bluetooth devices that I've found that can keep up with a decent battery life are giant, over the head, boom mike types used by the truckers) so I can use both hands to drive. Additionally, my Voice Dial is set up for all of the main numbers I use frequently. By pressing and holding one button, then stating the name I'm looking for it, will dial the number.

As locksmiths, we have to use the phone a lot. It is in our own best interest to invest in technology that will make our day safer! So while you are Commuticating please remember to be safe as possible and use a handsfree device and voice dial to avoid distractions!

Have a safe and prosperous week!

Tip: Did you know when you Google Locksmith, Pop-A-Lock is almost always on the front page.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Will all cars become keyless?

Q: Will all cars become keyless?

A: From Pop-A-Lock Locksmith

The list below identifies most of the current vehicles that have keyless/proximity systems either as standard or optional features:

Acura - RL
Audi - A6, A8, Q7, S6, S8
Bentley - Continental GT, GTC, Flying Spur
BMW - 3, 5, 6, 7, B7, M5, M6, X5
Cadillac - STS, STS-V, XLR, XLR-V
Cheverolet - Corvette Infiniti - FX35, FX45, G35, M35, M45
Jaguar - XK
Lexus - ES 350, GS 350, GS 430, IS 250, IS 350, LS 460
Maybach - 57, 62
Mazda - CX-7, CX-9, Mazdaspeed 6, RX-8
Mercedes-Benz - CL, CLK, CLS, E, GL, M, R, S, SL
Mini - Cooper, S
Mitsubishi - Outlander
Nissan - Altima, Altima Hybrid, Maxima, Murano, Sentra, Versa
Suzuki - Grand Vitara, SX4
Toyota - Avalon, Camry, Camry Hybrid, Prius
Volkswagen - Touareg
Volvo - S40, S80, V50

Though the list is dominated by higher end vehicles, we see a number of 'bread and butter' vehicles such as the Nissan Maxima, Altima and Toyota Camry; and even 'economy' vehicles such as the Nissan Sentra and Versa on the list.

The answer to the question 'will all cars become keyless' is likely "No".

Many industrial vehicles such as street sweepers etc will likely use the simple mechanical key systems for some time to come. However, for the majority of passenger cars, trucks and SUV the answer is not 'if' but 'how soon'.

As these vehicles enter the used car market, used car dealers will often only be providing 1 key with the sale. If you have one of these vehicles and find yourself with only 1 is time to call Pop-A-Lock to get a second or third 'credential' for your vehicle. The cost difference between 1 extra key and replacing your last 'lost' key can be staggering.

You can visit or call 1-800-Pop-A-Lock (1-800-767-2562) to find the nearest Pop-A-Lock. We can program your duplicate keys onsite for you at your convenience!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pop-A-Lock Locksmiths attend cutting edge transponder training

3/5/2010 San Antonio, Tx:

In conjunction with, Pop-A-Lock Locksmiths, instructors and franchisees attended a cutting edge transponder production and service class put on by Istanbul Electronics, producers of the Zed-Bull transponder service system.

The Zed-Bull is a state of the art Multi-Vehicle/Multi-Function service tool which allows the user to perform a myriad tasks ranging from basic transponder cloning functions to very advanced immobilizer service.

Zed-Bull or literally, 'Zero-Bull' provides another weapon in Pop-A-Lock's arsenal of tools to help customers receive the highest quality service for their high-tech vehicle security systems without having to depend on the 'dealer only' channel.

Beyond it's current capabilities the Zed-Bull platform allows the engineers at Istanbul Electronics to continually expand the uses of the tool. The flexible and intuitive interface offers locksmiths and vehicle security technicians the ability to resolve problems on a wide variety of North American, European and Asian vehicles previously only serviceable by hyper-expensive dealer scan tools or highly complex and unreliable 'command line' type software.

The device is able to be configured with a number of options ranging from a very intuitive cloning system, all the way up to transponder decryption and eeprom read/write ability.

As the automotive security industry continues to grow in complexity and sophistication, Pop-A-Lock Locksmiths are continuously adapting to these new systems and technologies to best meet the needs of our customers!

Please visit us at to learn more.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Smart Keys and anti-theft common sense

Are Keys Getting Too Smart? New Car Keys Bring Advanced Tech to Driver's Seat

The link above is to a Popular Mechanics article about advanced keys systems.

The author, Paul Eisenstein, explores some of the interesting features on two of the new generation transponder keys. The new Ford MyKey systems have a number of features that vehicle owners control certain aspects of the driving experience based on which key credential is presented. Though the RFID transponder is not very different than previous editions, it is the software in the vehicle that makes more use of the transponder in the key.

Some of the new Ford MyKey features include:

-Limiting Maximum Speed of the vehicle
-Limiting Volume control of the Radio
-Chime notifications at certain speed levels.
-Various comfort settings of the seat and steering wheel.

What is most striking is not the technology, as many of these features have been implemented on high end luxury vehicles for several years. What will strike most people is that the first Ford vehicle to use the MyKey system is the humble Ford Focus!

BMW keys go another step on European models by allowing near smart phone like capabilities by their new keys. Bmw has teamed up with NXP semiconductors for their new multiple application key. The new keys can be used to pay for things much like a proximity type credit card device.

Despite the increased cost of keys and the difficulty in finding people to service these high end vehicle electronic systems, transponder keys have worked in drastically reducing the theft of vehicles in the US.

One thing most will notice after reviewing a list like the one below (2007, Source NICB) is that cars are still being stolen, however they are much older because the majority of them don't have factory equipped immobilizer/transponder systems:

Honda Civic 1995
Honda Accord 1991
Toyota Camry 1989
Ford F-150 1997
Chevy C/K 1500 1994
Acura Integra 1994
Dodge Ram Pickup 2004
Nissan Sentra 1994
Toyota Pickup 1988
Toyota Corolla 2007

2008, NICB "Hot Wheels Report"

1994 Honda Accord
1995 Honda Civic
1989 Toyota Camry
1997 Ford F-150 Pick up
2004 Dodge Ram Pick Up
2000 Dodge Caravan
1996 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
1994 Acura Integra
1999 Ford Taurus
2002 Ford Explorer

A few thing you can do to make your vehicle 'less attractive' to car thieves or thieves who want stuff FROM your car:

1. Never leave items of value such as a GPS or other electronics in 'plain sight' where they are visible from the outside of the vehicle. Pack them up and take them with you or put them in the trunk.

2. Never leave extra keys in your car. Thieves will take about 4 seconds to scan all the common locations and start the car and leave. This will be particularly difficult to explain to your insurance carrier when it is determined that your car was taken with a key.

3. If you do invest in an aftermarket alarm, DO NOT put the stickers that identify the alarm on the vehicle. If a thief knows what type of system they have to bypass, they may have the specific information to bypass that system and are more likely to target that vehicle.

4. Never leave your vehicle running while you run into a store. This is particularly true for leaving your vehicle running at the gas pump.

5. Lock your car with the remote rather than with the key. Many vehicles alarm systems are only fully activated when the vehicle is locked with the remote. Some remotes require you to 'double click' the remote or 'long hold' the lock button to activate the alarm. Check your owners manual and learn how your remote works.

Beyond these simple things you can do everyday, GET A DUPLICATE TRANSPONDER KEY MADE BEFORE YOU NEED IT.

A Pop-A-Lock Locksmith or an NASTF participating locksmith can create a duplicate for your electronic key (the buzz word for electronic keys is 'credential') or even make a replacement for your key if all copies are lost...but an ounce of prevention is worth about 285.00 pounds of cure.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Myth of 'Dealer Only' keys: There are simple alternatives!

The Myth of Dealer Only Keys:

A number of people are under the false assumption that their 'fancy new key' can only be duplicated or replaced by a dealership. This is a potentially costly and time consuming assumption.

Pop-A-Lock Locksmith has invested in the equipment and training to service virtually any of the new automotive key system being produced.

These include simple chip keys, proximity devices, integrated key remotes, remote starts including the latest 'High Security' keys.

Thanks to OEM, aftermarket and governmental efforts these highly restrictive key systems can be serviced as a result of a unprecedented joint effort called NASTF. NASTF established a Secure Data Release Model that has greatly improved the security and accountability of secure key information by establishing pre-qualifications and tracking of information related to automotive security.

So before towing your car to a dealership to have your key replaced or spending your day in a waiting room for a duplicate of your key, contact an NASTF participating locksmith to have the work done!

Pop-A-Lock and the Associated Locksmiths of America both support NASTF participation and compliance. You can find an NASTF participating locksmith either by:

1. Calling your local Pop-A-Lock or calling 1-800-Pop-A-Lock


2. Visit and select your location and checking the NASTF LSID box at the bottom of the screen.

Either of these methods will provide you with a selection of highly qualified and legitimate locksmiths who have access to the latest information to provide you excellent service on your late model vehicle.