Monday, August 8, 2011

Defcon 19

I don't think I paid for a drop of alcohol this time in Vegas.
So: I get to Defcon wanting a beer, and what'dya know, there's a Coors Light in our hotel fridge, the one that ISN'T connected to the room service and charging scales. Awesome.
It's Wednesday, there aren't many others besides the B-Side folk, which are hard to spot (I still don't know what their badges were like, I guess it's a free conference... but I didn't register... or there's some weird ritual I don't know in order to get in)

My internal monologue was going something like: "Well, here we go again... I wonder what this year holds, a new venue: The Rio, a new badge designer "Lost" (who I knew from phoenix 2600 meetings, but fell out of contact with, especially after his mystery box competitions -- one time pad with a chapter from the Great Gatsby?! Oi vey!)" ... Lost, having worked his way up the ranks all the way to badge designer seemed to have consumed the whole conference into his mystery box challenge, clues were everywhere I looked, every badge had a different number, shape and was inter-related... I knew I should've brought Aleister Crowley's 777 with the tables of correspondence and the reference book on ancient Egyptian gods. Lost or 1o57 as it went in the competition must be a direct descendant of Set or Thoth... or perhaps Thoth and Isis got together and cosmically jizzed him on this planet :P, so much incest around the center of space-time-multi-verse )

The eye of providence was a re-occuring theme, the dollar bill has 13 steps up to the disconnected eye, however the decal in the middle of the Rio had only 11 steps... maybe a hint? Maybe just another random "fact"? Every badge had a number, all the ones I saw were even (mine was a 34) ... there were ancient Egyptian and Japanese numerical systems, logic gates, and binary codes, a little much for me :)
The badges were also made of water cut Titanium, very cool.

The talks I saw this year weren't blowing my mind. There's usually some good talks, but I feel it takes some special talent to make a technical talk interesting and also contain information which can be absorbed easily in a one hour period.
I was able to catch the Art of Trolling by @openfly (twitter), here's his blog with the slides:
One of the more entertaining, and probably my favorite talk I saw.

Participated in the beard competition, and generally dressed in opposition to the status quo, swapping scarves every few hours the first couple days and wearing a tie during the beard competition. One of the judges said I was cute, but I think I ruined any cuteness with my speech on how my sunken chest contains no heart to feel for humanity... I gave her my # and the Bavarian Illuminati... first time for everything I suppose. Haven't heard back from her :)

Aaron Barr from HB Gary was supposed to show up and be on a panel, we got front row seats to that show, however "the lawyers from HB Gary (and HB Gary Federal? ... they are 2 seperate companies) refused to let him appear..." this isn't surprising. The panel got some LulzSec badges... was hoping Mr.Barr could get one too, maybe someone from the panel could bring a button home to him ;)
That panel was neat, I liked the chaotic <--> lawful and good <--> evil Dungeons and Dragons hacker alignment analogy. One of the panelists wanted anonymous/lulzsec/antisec movement to go after "child exploitation sites" -- "Any of you for child exploitation sites? No it's ok to raise your hand." ... He doesn't know "Anonymous" I suppose; 4chan /b/ has it's fair share of CP (child porn) popping up, anonymity breeds the ability to share deviance from the perceived majority, the ability to be something OTHER than the HERD. He was really into trying to get a Anti-sec constitution or 10 commandments. Some sort of law to lay over the "Chaos"/"Disorder" that he saw as Lulzsec/Anonymous... If anything I could say that this cab was rare but I thought nah forget it THAT'S THE OPPOSITE END OF THE SPECTRUM. Chaotic Good isn't Lawful Good, sorry bub. We could get into the problem of defining these terribly vaporous words Good, Evil, Chaotic, Neutral... but that's the making of a whole damned book. You can only ask an individual what he feels in the moment, that's the closest answer you're ever going to get.

The talk on skimming chip credit cards in Europe was impressive, I enjoyed their humorous video and technology and reverse engineering of the system. Second favorite talk.

Lost $7 on the slot machines.

Swam for the first time at the hotel hosting defcon (Although I made it to Defcon 13, we didn't stay in the Alexis Park and I never remembered the Riv letting people swim much.)
The closed circuit television was great, being able to see the talks from your room was awesome (although our room only got Track 1... our friends were able to see them all, and we hung out over there a bit)
Hung out in a hot tub with some folks, played beach ball bounce with the guy who did the Stego/Crypto talk and gave him one of my stego ideas I got recently. The girl that brought the ball to the tub was cute, but we didn't really say anything to each other, girls are like gems at defcon, few and when you see one they're usually pretty -- physically, if not just for being at a hacker convention, I'm so sexist.

It was a good trip overall, I was happy to see Akira being shown, got to walk in on my favorite part: the whole talk about the "Amoeba Energy"... a very good anime.

Didn't dance too much compared to other years, low energy(or not enough booze) I suppose, or not enough fidget house, acid tech, and french hard electro :) ... the DJ playing the freakshow was funny mixing in Nyan cat and the Bel Air theme song, bringing back memories of ol' school /b/ days.

Defcon is now a huge leviathan that has lost it's original sheen that it had when I first went as an 18 year old anarchist hacker fresh out of highschool... I need to either perform music or speak next year to make it worth it. I also want to start more of an underground con without as many... uh... how do I put it, lamers :P
Out of the thousands of people there how many weren't lame? The few I talked to were sorta lame hackers (according to my self-definition of hacker) ... we need to concentrate the win, and flush the alphabet soup and corporate suits imho (and no, you weren't lame, you were pretty cool... it was someone else... really, it was just one lame dude haha)

Went to the EFF summit for the first time as well. DJ Jackalope has great taste in EDM and can spin those records like a boss. Won a raffle for a lockpicky-kevlar-handcuff-shim kit which was neato, bid on a Pwnie Express, I was nervous bidding over 400 dollars seeing that I am basically broke... it would've been bought on my Visa if I won. The actual winner of the auction got a smoking deal on the lucky duck whoever you were :) *jealous* hardware script kiddy? hehe awesome. The "open bar" was out of drinks before I could get a second, but I finished off my friend's margarita in addition to my original red bull and vodka...

It was an experience worth having, I feel in debt to my friends who let me have the experience by piggy backing the ride and room, I hope I added some ~~spice~~ to their experience as they added to my own.

Shouts to: Penguin and SamueLjackSUN, PhlaK and Sarah-ACK, Matt Gee-zuZ and Pappy GleeSUN, -- and a special place in my heart for Sting.

Fuckings to: That one guy, the jester, and "LulzSec"(and in a good way to LulzSec... ya know, until you had a "mission" with chinga la migra you were cool, I like the dude with the wine and mustache, he has good fuckin' taste.)

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