StankDawg

What Hacker con activities/events do you enjoy?

   49 members have voted

  1. 1. where do ya fit in?

    • White hat
      2
    • Black Hat
      6
    • Gray Hat
      17
    • I don't wear any fukking hats.
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17 posts in this topic

With defcon coming up and talk of other cons it got me to wondering what it is specifically that people look most forward to at a con.

The questions is set up to allow multiple selections, but please don't select everything. Select only those things that you look forward to at a conference *OR* if you have not experienced some of these things which ones would you most enjoy at a conference.

After you VOTE, please post a reply here explaining why you chose what you did and what things really turn you off or bore you at a con. Maybe you hate the wargames. Maybe you go only for the presentations and the rest is irrelevant. Whatever the case may be, play post and explain it. If you choose OTHER EVENTS *OR* think that I left something out that you would enjoy seeing, post it in a reply and let me know. I will be watching this thread closely.

Also please resists hijacking the thread from the topic. That has been happening too much lately. Keep your jokes relies confined to a PM and don't post flames, arguments, or speculations here. I want to hear what people honestly do and don't look forward to at a con and you really have no right to flame or insult someone else's personal preferences. So let's stay on topic and make this a productive thread.

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I mainly go to conferences for the talks. Im not really that intersted in some of the parties and whatnot. Sure they can be fun, but it's not why I would go to a con. Making sure it is easy to get to without having to drive a car is essential. One of the great things about HOPE is that it's in the middle of NYC so if you need something it's within walking distance. Lockpicking exhibts are fun, but not something that would make or break a con. Also, it should go with out saying that internet access is essential.

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I've never been to one of these fully fledged conferences, but I've been to a few local security related presentations and get-togethers. Speakers and presentations really are what I go to these events for as they should be a great way to learn about relevent new techniques and concepts for the most part. Wargames are fun, especially if there're a variety of systems from old to new and common to obscure. Interacting with the people who attend these kinda togethers is often very interesting. Lockpicking is a very useful skill to have in case of certain emergencies. Well planned demos can be pretty enlightening. Everybody loves free stuff. Transport to and from an event is great for those who drink and/or aren't very good with direction and happen to be staying at a non-walkable distance away from the location. Clean rooms go without saying, most people don't want to sleep in filthy beds with potential invitations for pests around the room. And hands on instructional classes are very cool if the instructor is well versed regarding the subject and comfortable around crowds.

Edited by Inode
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Networking. You can meet people you can get along with, relate to, learn from and trust far more easily and that that with you when you leave -- probably because getting there requires at least some small form of extended effort (it's not like a 30 second signup on a website, for instance). Also, seeing people that I've known a long time. Learning things, too, of course. But most of the really interesting stuff that I've done at cons has happened outside of sessions or organized events -- in a room or just... away from the hotel. Yah. Which isn't to say I don't appreciate some of the other stuff, but I guess I like the way conferences USED to be, when the whole thing was a lot more self-selective (if not wholly so).

/ab

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I've never actually been to any con what so ever due to the fact that i dont know any hackers/phreakers in aus and have no idea where they are held. Also i live in the bush (country side for all you yanks lol) so it would be hard to get to such an event. Annnyway if i actually had the chance to attend a defcon meeting I'd like to watch some speakers, food is a must, hands on demos would rock and meeting new people is always good.

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The talks are pretty high up there on the list of priorities, but I'd really have to say it's the meeting of people I look most forward to. Esp. people you deal with regularly on forums, but that you've never seen face to face.

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I've been only to the 5th and 6th HOPE conferences. Here's a breakdown of what I've liked best, most significant things first.

(1) Speakers

I love to see speakers displaying raw talent. The globe-spanning phone romp of the 5th HOPE's Social Engineering panel, LadyAda's RF jammer at the 6th HOPE---presentations like these that show people using their extraordinary skills to create something with immense hack value always inspire me to break out of the rut of my work-a-day existence and try to use what skills I have to make something beautiful.

I also love presentations by people who dare to do things I'm too cowardly to try. I'm thinking of groups like the Yes Men, the Carbon Liberation Front, Graffitti Research Labs. John and Laura Leita's urban exploration presentations are also fun.

Speakers bringing hard-won knowledge are good, too. Bill Xia's talk on the workings of China's Great Firewall, Stankdawg's tour of AS/400 systems, and John Maushammer's talk about reverse engineering disposable camera firmware were all interesting.

(2) Rare toys

It's fun to play with rare toys. At the 6th HOPE, I got to play with an operating IMSAI 8080 running CP/M---I belive the same kind of machine that hosted the first BBS. I played with ELIZA on it and with the help of its owner I also go to walk it through its boot procedure. Cool!

(3) Just being with like-minded people.

Conforming to suburban norms is tiresome. It's refreshing to spend a few days in a crowd of like-minded people.

Other thoughts:

I like the idea of trying new things at conferences. For example, I enjoyed learning to pick locks a bit at HOPE. There were plenty of people to help, and plenty of easy locks to start on. But that was an activity you could try for an hour and then go back to the rest of the con. I'm not sure I'd like hacking/wargaming activities that would take more time than that. Those sound interesting, but why go to the con and then spend the entire time in front of your computer?

Just my $0.02US.

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The 2 main things I go for are to see the talks/presentations and to meet up with people. I only go on "vacation" once a year and DefCon has been it for the past 2 years. I also like watching some of the contests and lurking near the lockpicking rooms.

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I really only go for the wargames and personal interaction with people as the speakers/presentations are largely just rehashing information that has been around for sometime, sure you get some new stuff but that can be very far a few between.

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Ultimately it's about learning for me. I love the presentations and demonstrations. The other stuff is nice and all, but when it comes down to it, I could live without the B&W balls and such, just give me the knowledge.

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I'd say I go to about five talks at every con. Usually just check it out for a few minutes. I mainly like to hang out with people I've known for years, drink and have fun. Besides, the rooms always smell like sweaty nerd ass.

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Only 44 votes? How many members does this forum have?

Presenters and playing with stuff.. my personal favorites! How about some anime?! j/k

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The only real things you need are intelligent speakers, food and drink, and a place to hangout and talk to like-minded individuals.

The rest is just filler, (don't get me wrong, it's awesome filler) but as long as you have those three things, you're set.

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Only 44 votes? How many members does this forum have?

Yeah, 52 as of this post. It is kind of sad really. It sends a message that if someone were TRYING to pull off a con and saw this response, that they are probably wasting their time since there doesn't seem to be enough interest to justify it. I guess there are already enough cons.

C'est la vie!

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The only real things you need are intelligent speakers, food and drink, and a place to hangout and talk to like-minded individuals.

The rest is just filler, (don't get me wrong, it's awesome filler) but as long as you have those three things, you're set.

I would second that. But I do think there should be a forth. Hands on Training.

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I would second that. But I do think there should be a forth. Hands on Training.

Ah, that is true. But really only for things like Lock-picking. You can't really teach SE, and I don't know anyone who was really "trained" to hack things. Mentored, yes, but not trained. That is where the discussions and presentations come in handy.

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The talks are a major motivation for attending, but also the fact you get to be a part of a gathering of people who have learned to think OUTSIDE the box. Networking is also a great reason, although I didn't do to much myself since it was my first con (Hope 6). Interactive workshops are a great way to facilitate the aforementioned networking, and sharing of ideas.

I can't wait to try my hand at lockpicking at the next Hope

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