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stuff to bring - the "shit... wish i'd thought of that!" list

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  • stuff to bring - the "shit... wish i'd thought of that!" list

    the "stuff to bring to defcon" lists have been addressed by plenty of other people (the stotan DefCon FAQ is a good place for noobs to start, as well as archives of old forum posts) so that's not what this thread is about.

    i was wondering, however, if people wanted to share specific good ideas they've had, or others they've seen. little things that would have been almost non-issues to grab before leaving for the con but can become big headaches to scrounge for in las vegas. what sort of stuff have you ever said, "man, i can't believe i didn't bring that" about in the past? what sort of stuff have you brought that has made others say, "you are a genius! wish i'd thought of that!" or, more likely, "hey, can we borrow that for a second?"

    here's a little list i've generated while sitting here thinking. let's see what others have to say.

    - -- ----- tech gear ----- -- -
    plug splitter, power strip(s) - this sort of stuff is crazy simple to bring along, particularly little splitters like this. you can never have enough power and invariably outlets are jammed up. this year i might buy a bunch of those little adapters (since they're like a dollar) and mark them with the message "this electricity opportunity brought to you by Deviant" and just leave them plugged in wherever if i get up to leave and others are still taking juice.

    patch cables, phone cables with splitters/extensions - for the very leet who like to lend a hand to those in need, i also reccomend a small box of RJ45s, crimpers, and that 50+ feet of ragged-ended CAT5 you've had in the bottom of a box for ages

    clean phone - those who think they need one will know what one is. hehe.

    chargers - don't know if this belongs on the list or not, since it's a rather common sense item... but not having the charger for your specific gear can suck ass. so can finding a ride all the way out to Fry's or Radio Shack to buy another one that you won't even need once you get home. (a new one that you can leave behind for next year's DefCon maybe. with any luck you can retire with a whole collection of 9v 500ma AC adapters to pass on to your kids)

    card reader / connect cable - plenty of people i've seen who fill their digital cameras but forget to bring something to dump photos and can't take any more shots after the first day.

    rf modulator, other shit to hook up DVD players or xboxes, etc to AP tvs - remember that the TVs in the hotel rooms only have coax on the back, i believe. to hook up other stuff bring along the right cables. (once again, stuff that everyone has lying in a drawer so it's an even bigger kick in the ass if you have to ride out to a store and buy them) also, for RCA cables... have a couple Y adapters for audio. never assume the device to which you're connecting will have the right audio (stereo vs. mono) and plan on having to fuss with the streams or lose half the sound in something you're playing.

    driver and O/S discs for laptop, no precious content on laptop - should also be a given, but assume that your laptop might get owned, stolen, borked, or just be subjected to experimental installations of new O/Ses and stuff.

    memory stick - along with the USB drive, consider bringing a mini cd with drivers for all kinda O/S, never know who'll you meet and where you'll use it.

    blank CDs / DVDs - you don't have to bring a whole spindle but having a short stack around the room can be useful.

    universal remote - this, in conjunction with a little flyer i made which circulated in DefCons past, will allow for some fun and games with in-room TVs. i'm a mere novice at this stuff... if Major Malfunction is giving a talk this year go see it, it was one of my favorite talks at ShmooCon.

    speakers - if all you've got is a laptop (and no way to connect it to your TV set) then your in-room music and movies can get painful to hear with people around.

    headphones - once again, if relying on laptop content for in-flight entertainment, remember those headphones to avoid getting hassled by other passengers. also, it prevents you from having to pay attention to whatever piece of crap Hugh Grant movie the airline is showing.


    - -- ----- bathroom ----- -- -

    oust air spray or stuff - if you plan on bringing women back to your room, trust me, you want this. you might not know how much you stink but they will.

    packs of matches and a few candles - don't discount what a good idea candles in general are. if you lack romance-fu they can be a big plus in your favor.

    sun tan lotion - mark this one under "all idiots should know this already" column

    small bottle of laundry detergent to wash stuff in sink - altho soap will do in a pinch, it's nice to be able to clean up a shirt or shorts that you want to re-wear. i tend to bring plenty of boxers and socks but only a couple outer garments. washing or visiting the vendors keeps me more than happy with minimal clothes packing needed.


    - -- ----- misc ----- -- -

    pens, makers, pads - you think you broght enough but you didn't. they'll walk off and you'll lose them.

    tape - both duct and packing tape. gaffer's tape is best, actually, since you can do anything with it and it's allowed to go thru postage system. (when fedexing stuff home, as many of us do, some places get in your face about duct tape since it can gum up the works in sorting machines, i'm told)


    - -- ----- food store stuff ----- -- -

    cereal - little boxes are easy to grab and run with.

    fruit - avoid the homer simpson axiom of "this doughnut has purple stuff inside... purple is a fruit" and actually try to force some vitamins down your throat in the morning. your body will thank you.

    chaser tablets - we all laugh and think it's herbal remedy or pseudoscience when the commercial is on TV, but i'm willing to pop a couple of these before crashing out a few hours on the off chance that they'll work. anyone tried 'em before?

    red bull - get a case or two... people go thru a lot, it's cheap, and it's like currency

    disposable coolers and tons of ice - keep one cooler just as an ice chest. ice get a bag or two of ice to keep since ice machines have a tendency of being tapped out at the alexis at times.

    A NOTE ABOUT ICE... one of the best things i ever brought to a defcon is the following... duct hose that one typically attaches to a clothes dryer vent. why, you ask? because it's flexible, mad collapsible, and weighs amost nothing... and because your typical cooler and trash can won't easily fit under the dispenser of an alexis park ice machine... but one can sit the cooler on the ground and use the tube to chute the ice to its destination. heh, i didn't complete half of an engineering curriculum for nothing!


    - -- ----- alcohol ----- -- -

    (doubt people really need any help in this category, but here's my $0.02)

    rum (goes with everything, liked by women as well as men)

    vodka (see above)

    whiskey (for people who enjoy drinking as more than a part-time hobby)

    mixers (cola soda x2, non-cola soda, cranberry x2, oj, pienapple, and maybe lemon or lime juice. for about $9 you can make like 500 different drinks)


    what suggestions do other people have?
    "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
    - Trent Reznor

  • #2
    Bring a small hub or a switch if you do not have wireless. You will see one dude plugged into the RJ45. If you can volunteer a hub them you can all share. They are cheap enough where they should be plenty, but don't count on it.

    Bring business cards, even if they are home made with your handle and e-mail only on them.

    Bring swag. Do you work for a place that has t-shirts, shot glasses, or coffee mugs? Bring some to trade. No matter how much you hate your job, someone else will think it is cooler than their job and trade stuff for it.

    Comment


    • #3
      One thing that amazes me every year that people never seem to have is a freaking bottle opener.

      Since DC9, I've carried a 'church key' bottle opener on a lanyard with my name badge. Most useful thing you can have and a great way to meet people

      Should get the damn thing engraved...
      Never drink anything larger than your head!

      Scaramental Wine Taster for the Church Of WiFi
      Buy our books!
      "I reject your reality, and substitute my own!" – Adam Savage
      CoWF WPA Hash Tables
      My Pants Are Haunted! My Pants Are Haunted!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Deviant Ollam
        the "stuff to bring to defcon" lists...
        [chop]
        what suggestions do other people have?
        A long list of items is a great idea.

        It really comes down to the attendee asking themself, "How could I spend my DefCon?"

        If you plan to use it, then bring it. If you "might" use it, think twice.

        My "wish I brought it" list is shorter each year. These were from the TBBQ
        * good Kitchen knife
        * zip-lock bag of pre-mixed spices in proper ratios
        tiny font: _. ___ _... ___ _.. _.__ .._ ... . ... __ ___ ._. ... . _._. ___ _.. . ._ _. _.__ __ ___ ._. .

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Deviant Ollam
          the "stuff to bring to defcon" lists have been addressed by plenty of other people (the stotan DefCon FAQ is a good place for noobs to start, as well as archives of old forum posts) so that's not what this thread is about.

          It's not the "stotan Defcon FAQ" it's the Unofficial Defcon FAQ, which found it's birth right here on these forums. It wasn't my doing alone... everyone on these forums contributed to it... Jeez, can't people even read?

          Comment


          • #6
            A couple of specific thoughts about needed items and one question/half-assed idea.

            In regards to power splitters/power strips: An AC 2-to-3 prong grounding adapter has saved my butt more than once. I keep one the bottom of my laptop bag. Frankly, I hate running equipment on AC lines that aren't grounded, but sometimes there is no other choice. While I doubt this is really an issue at any of the hotels, everytime I think I've seen tha last place in America which doesn't have grounded plugs, I find a new one.

            A universal charger solves the problem of not bringing the correct adapter. I use a Targus Universal Notebook AC/DC Adapter. It works from 120VAC, automotive 12VDC and aircraft DC. It has an extra port for cell phones and PDAs. $80 at Staples.

            Targus and others also make some accessories for laptops like a retractable Cat5 cable (Yeah, technically it's an ISDN cable, but my notebook still says 100mps when I hook into a network...), a retractable telephone cable, and a micro USB hub. I found whole kit of these at Costco for $25.

            Female-to-Female adapters for both RJ-11 (phone) and RJ-45 (Cat5) plugs are a must. They are small lightweight and allow you to combine cables when you just can't reach that last three feet with either of the cables you brought. Belkn makes some nice, soldi units.

            Finally, the half-assed idea: Would it be worth it for some of us to make up some sort of "tech cache" at a you-rent-it storage place? A collection of things bulkier things like switches, Cat5 cables, power cords, etc., that could be stowed away in Vegas and just opened up for DC? I have no idea what storage places cost in LV, but it might be cost effective for a group to rent a small space, and divide the costs. In convenience, would certainly beat shipping some of the less expensive but bulkier items to/from DC. Like I said, just a thought.
            Thorn
            "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

            Comment


            • #7
              A mini brita water filter.

              Al
              "Are my pants...threatening you?"

              Comment


              • #8
                Extra Sandals

                I found out the hard way last year how important this is, after having one of my sandals break and having to wear hot tennis shoes the rest of the time at DC
                "It is difficult not to wonder whether that combination of elements which produces a machine for labor does not create also a soul of sorts, a dull resentful metallic will, which can rebel at times". Pearl S. Buck

                Comment


                • #9
                  No one has mentioned bringing a good hat. You're outside a bunch, wear a hat. That and some sunscreen and your post-defcon recovery will be much more pleasant. Also, sunglasses.

                  I'd also recommend bringing a water bottle or Camelback. Staying hydrated in that kind of heat is very important, especially if you are planning on consuming large ammounts of dehydrating alcohol. You'll find that you'll get a more pleasant buzz, you can drink longer, and have a far less likely chance of having us (goons) help you into an ambulance if you stay hydrated.

                  As far as technical gear goes, unplug for godsakes. Bring a camera, charger, and CF/SD/whatever adapter for your laptop so you can dump digital photos off your camera. Dont bring a ton of crap with you. You will find that you will hardly use any of it. I pack less and less every year. You will spend very little time in your room, the time you spend in your room will be mostly spent sleeping/passing out.

                  Also, if your laptop has a burner, dont forget to bring blank media. In the NOC we get hit up every year for blank CDs because everyone has a burner and no one thought of bringing blanks (and no, we wont give you blanks if you ask in the NOC, we usually dont have any either). Get one of those cheap CD wallets (or get your favorite vendor to give you one, they're a dime a dozen) and fill it with blanks. With any luck you'll come home with them full of cool music and tools.

                  I also found having a tube of chapstik was a godsend last year.

                  Ditch the vinyl pants, leather trenchcoat, and giant leather boots in favor of shorts and tshirts. You'll be a lot more comfortable and you wont be refered to by the goons as 'the idiot wearing the leather trenchcoat in 115 degree heat'.

                  As ASTCell pointed out, make up business cards with your contact info (as much as you want to give). Carry a pen with you as well.

                  Bring a sharpie with you. This is useful for writing on sleeping people. It is also useful for writing your room number on your hand if you feel you are going to get really, really, drunk. Dont forget to note which hotel. I used to see people do this at raves. They'd note what drugs they had taken so if they passed out or collapsed, they'd get the proper treatment. Who'd have thought someone ccould be that smart, and yet be so dumb at the same time.

                  Bring a good attitude with you. People who bring bad attitudes (other than the goons) tend to have a less than fun weekend. They either end up sitting alone or making enemies. You're going to a convention. This is a social event. Come prepared to be social. Meet new people, interact with them, get email addresses and screennames, stay in contact with them. Some of my closest friends I met at Defcon and have been friends with for years (12 or 13 years in some cases).

                  Dont forget chargers for your various personal electronics.

                  I return whatever i wish . Its called FREEDOWM OF RANDOMNESS IN A HECK . CLUSTERED DEFEATED CORn FORUM . Welcome to me

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by alklloyd
                    A mini brita water filter.

                    Al
                    You don't like sand in your water? :)

                    I'm making sure to bring some snacks in a backpack. Food at the AP is very expensive so it makes for a good way to save $20.
                    The dude abides.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by alklloyd
                      A mini brita water filter.
                      a little known tip... you can take some of the cheapest-ass hootch liquor and give it a few passes through a britta filter and it gets a LOT better without stripping out the alcohol. i've known people who take an empty bottle of stolichnaya, buy a large handle of banker's club or some other craptacular vodka, do the brita magic trick, and head out to a party looking like a high roller. i don't condone deceptive practices such as that... but if someone buys awful booze you can make choking it down a lot easier with a few cycles through a britta. :-)
                      Last edited by Deviant Ollam; 05-17-2005, 10:52 AM.
                      "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
                      - Trent Reznor

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Doing that type of stuff may get the Defcon Weights & Measures Dept. on you.

                        I return whatever i wish . Its called FREEDOWM OF RANDOMNESS IN A HECK . CLUSTERED DEFEATED CORn FORUM . Welcome to me

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Thorn
                          Finally, the half-assed idea....
                          not half-assed at all... as a matter of fact we have talked about this more than once.. and I do have a spare storage shed at the house now.. if anyone would like to make use of it (as some years ago, it is said that some group purchased a brand new kegerator and left it at the AP as they had no way of getting it home) you are more than welcome... nothing TOO shady but if you just need storgae for coolers too big to take home or a switch that you would rather leave please feel free to let me know... I can put this stuff up for the low low price of just a few beers a month...
                          If I had a nickle for every time someone offered me ten cents to keep my two cents to myself... I would be a rich man.

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                          • #14
                            Console cable. People always hit me up for console cable. I always bring two just in case.
                            "Never Underestimate the Power of Stupid People in Large Groups"

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                            • #15
                              heh

                              just bring coffee,a wirless computer,lockpicks, and beer... you'll be fine.
                              00110001001100110011001100110111001000000111001101 11010101100011011010110111001100101100001000000111 01010111001101100101001000000110001001101001011011 1001100001011100100111100100100001

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