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  • Ideas for next year?

    I really enjoyed the hardware village (even though I only got to visit a few times). There really was a great turn out. With so much interest, what can we do next year to make it better?

    And while I am suggesting making suggestions - I have an idea for a contest in the HHV that could be worked similar to the locks in the Lock pick village. There would be series of black boxes, with some test equipment. Each box would have points assigned for figuring out what it did, with larger points for more complicated boxes. It would probably take up some space, so we may have to break into two sky boxen to do it. May be it would be less intimidating than that "other" box contest people go on and on about.

    TieShort
    Last edited by TieShort; 08-10-2008, 09:30 PM. Reason: Add my own idea.
    -------------------------------------
    Vaka vanha Väinämöinen
    käski nuoren, käski vanhan

  • #2
    Re: Ideas for next year?

    Originally posted by TieShort View Post
    I really enjoyed the hardware village (even though I only got to visit a few times). There really was a great turn out. With so much interest, what can we do next year to make it better?
    Perfect time to ask for such feedback and plan for next year. :-)

    And while I am suggesting making suggestions - I have an idea for a contest in the HHV that could be worked similar to the locks in the Lock pick village. There would be series of black boxes, with some test equipment. Each box would have points assigned for figuring out what it did, with larger points for more complicated boxes. It would probably take up some space, so we may have to break into two sky boxen to do it. May be it would be less intimidating than that "other" box contest people go on and on about.
    If you are looking to run a contest, get endorsement from DT, be around to hear Russ's call for contest resource requests, and other requests from Neil and other for information to be added to the program, and web site. Once it is an okayed contest/event for next year, I can get confirmation that this is the case, and when we open the contest/event forums for DC17, we can create a forum for it.

    However: no endorsement, no forum.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by TheCotMan; 08-11-2008, 09:52 AM. Reason: typo on closing "[ / quote ]"
    tiny font: _. ___ _... ___ _.. _.__ .._ ... . ... __ ___ ._. ... . _._. ___ _.. . ._ _. _.__ __ ___ ._. .

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    • #3
      Re: Ideas for next year?

      I have ideas, will post more when recovered
      if it gets me nowhere, I'll go there proud; and I'm gonna go there free.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Ideas for next year?

        I remember Russ saying something briefly at the awards ceremony before he was cut off that the HHV will get two sky boxes next year. Is that right? I sure as hell hope so; it was effing _PACKED_ the whole damn weekend, which ruled by the way. :)

        Great job to everyone who made this happen. It seriously warmed my heart to see so many people huddled around soldering irons. :)

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        • #5
          Re: Ideas for next year?

          Yes, the HHV will get two skyboxen next year, that is correct.

          I feel badly that I didn't get to spend much time in there, seeing as how I am one of the founders :( I missed both of my presentations....

          LosT

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          • #6
            Re: Ideas for next year?

            Originally posted by SmittyHalibut View Post
            I remember Russ saying something briefly at the awards ceremony before he was cut off that the HHV will get two sky boxes next year. Is that right? I sure as hell hope so; it was effing _PACKED_ the whole damn weekend, which ruled by the way. :)

            Great job to everyone who made this happen. It seriously warmed my heart to see so many people huddled around soldering irons. :)
            Hey Smitty. Huge Kudos to you for both of the presentations you gave in the HHV. I think the lack of a whiteboard was mitigated by the ability to show folks first hand what you were talking about (basic soldering and basic electronics).

            BTW, did you ever get your scope and box 'o tools back? They were in the HHV all weekend and we didn't know how to reach you. Hope you did. I think you picked up a few extras due to other folks leaving stuff in the HHV at the end.

            SD

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            • #7
              Re: Ideas for next year?

              I finally had some time this week to collect a few thoughts about how things went in the HHV and what we could differently next year. I apologize for the length but I hope they help spur some conversation for next year.

              SD

              1. Better traffic management in the room - This should be helped greatly by the expansion to 2 sky boxes next year. With so many people filing through all day it was a real challenge at times to get get through, let alone find an open seat or soldering iron.

              2. Keep integrating HW related contests and talks with the HHV - I think 98% of the people we talked to over the weekend were there to hack their badges (or at least try their hand at soldering for the first time). Due to the low number of HHV kits vs. the shear number of folks in the village we didn't see many of them being worked on. If the DC Bots contest changes next year perhaps we could work out some sort of tie-in with the HHV.

              3. Mini contests in the HHV? I had proposed to Russ a mini-contest where small teams of people are given boxes of parts along with a uC and they have a build off. The coolest thing wins as judged by some group in the HHV. No real prizes involved (unless we come up with something) but it gives folks some incentive to get their hands dirty building stuff and messing with the hardware. Another option is similar to Tie Short's idea. If we had some embedded systems available that could be pwned then it would like a mini-ctf. It would tie in the hardware with the security aspects. Lastly, something to do with robotics? Not sure what but I bet we could come up with something if there was interest.

              4. WHITEBOARDS!!!!!! This was something that would have helped greatly during the presentations given. The projector was good if someone had slides (like Joe G.) but for the impromptu stuff whiteboards rule.

              5. UAT robotics/ES demos - Perhaps LosT could wrangle his students into providing some demos of their robotics or embedded systems skillz. This solves another potential problem in that we have an alternative if LosT gets completely over-run by the Mystery Challenge again next year.

              6. Robotics talks - Ideally from LosT but for reasons stated in #5 it might be good to have a few alternatives for speakers. Perhaps some of the folks that have been winning in the DC bots contest?

              7. Kits, kits, and more kits - Given how quickly the HHV kit went this year I assume there will be more of these planned for next year. We could also put the word out to other well known HW folks like Lady Ada and Mitch Altman (the only other two I know of) to come and give a presentation or sell kits.

              8. Mini-classes - The two talks Smitty gave went over really well I think. Lots of attention from the folks in the room, especially when he was able to show them by actually soldering components or building a simple circuit with the accessory kit. Anything hands on seems like it would be a good fit. The CVORG talk would have been cool to see even if only as a follow up in the HHV after the main presentation.

              9. Major Malfunction appearance? I've seen his talks over the past few years and they're always great. Since he does so much with HW maybe he'd be willing to host a talk or demo some of things he's done in the past.

              10. Integration with HW related talks/presentations - We heard a few times over the weekend that some speaker said they would be up in the HHV after their talk to demonstrate something or do Q and A. I don't think they ever showed but it seems like a good idea to coordinate something like this if they have something they'd like to demo up close.

              11. More soldering stations - There was hardly a time over the whole weekend where every iron in the place wasn't being used by at least 2 people. Ironically we ended up with a few extras by Sunday afternoon which was cool. I guess we'll need a place to keep them between cons if we collect a bunch.

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              • #8
                Re: Ideas for next year?

                First off I want to say thanks to SD, Bombnav, A and everyone else who stocked the HHV the whole weekend. It was truly a blast and an enjoyable experience! Of course thanks to LosT and Russ for heading this up! Also a big thanks to Russ for the shoutout to all the HHV guys on the back of the program! (Did you guys all see that?)

                A few comments to SD's comments:

                1. Being able to move around is a biggy. I think it would be better to have a clear path through the room(s) that people can walk through and see whats going on than having them scared off trying to get in. If the HHV is getting two skyboxes next year, maybe see if we can get two that are connected? I know the wall that CVORG and the FreeScale guy were on seemed to have a removable wall. If that were the case it would make life much easier. Like SD said, putting the soldering stations along the wall away from the door would be great. Biggest problem: complete lack of power outlets around the room. Need to run extension cables and tape them down next year maybe.

                3. Mini contests would be great! I really enjoy the idea of reverse engineering contests and other things like that. These contests would need to range in skill level, because from what I saw there is only a handful of hardware guys attending defcon. At the same time some something more like mini hardware challenges for the hardware guys would be cool. There seems so many different things for software security guys but it would really be sweet if there was a CTF style thing for hardware. Even something simpler but fast paced would be cool. Teknick, kil0hertz, and I really enjoyed the Mystery Challenge's walk on challenge: given a grab bag of LEDs and other look-a-likes, a breadboard, and a 9V battery connector, create the brightest light source you can make in 20 minutes. It was both exciting and a test of hardware knowledge on your feet. More things like this would be great.

                On a side note: Did everyone enjoy the CVORG contests? I know they were pretty lame but I hope the prizes were considered cool...
                The reason I ask is I was wondering if we should petition the vendors for these prizes again next year...

                4. WHITEBOARDS are a must! Paper was the one thing I didn't think to bring to DefCon and writing on the back of documents was kind of difficult. It would be so much easier to have a white board to just write schematics up on.

                5 Robotics would be an awesome thing to add. They have a very unique cross over appeal just like the badge. Teaching robotics or other such stuff with microcontrollers would be awesome as people seemed to get hooked on the badge hacking due to the simplicity of using C. Maybe making the badge more versatile would be cool too. I don't know how expensive it might be to put a few traces so you could solder some extra pins on would be. Yeah surface mount soldering can be done but with the quality of the tips on most soldering irons, teaching a new guy how to do it would be rather difficult. They would probably bridge a pin or two by accident and there could go their uC...no fun!

                6 Next year we should def set up a more regimented set of talks. The schedule was there but kind of up in the air. I think it was good for a first try but now that we have time to plan, let's see if we can't do better! Big thanks to Russ and all for lining up the talks this year!

                7. More kits would be awesome. As Russ and LosT said the turn out was overwhelming...if any help is needed here to design a few, CVORG is willing to donate some PCB design. Maybe designing a cheap FPGA board would be cool?

                8/9 More talks more demos sound really good. The key thing here seems to be the following: keeping things flashy and keeping things hands on. After our talk on Saturday we (CVORG) set up some of our hardware trojans over on our table and were demoing them off during the Q&A. People seemed to love being able to see the hardware working and ask questions. I know we ended up hooking a few interested people up with FGPA boards who were amazed at the power in integrated devices. Even simple microcontrollers seemed to amaze people. More demos on this level are a big need. The big crossover appeal: a simple knowledge of C and a tech doc is all you need to get started. This was shown clearly by the badges. Nothing seemed to hook people more then cracking at those badges. It was amazing to see the flocks of people looking for USB headers and poking away at the firmware. The spirit of the guys working in those pits were amazing and seemed to be contagious as they went out and told more people about the HHV.

                10. We did this after our talk and were amazed at the response we had. We figured a few people would show up for Q&A but the overwhelming crowd was amazing. The idea of being able to see the demos up close seemed to peak many peoples attention. It was really a great idea from our perspective and encourage this to be done by others.

                11. Maybe once the footage is done from the video we made of the HHV and all the activity we can get someone to donate a few soldering irons. At minimum, getting someone to donate $5 multimeters would be awesome. We will be contacting a bunch of people to see if we can make this happen for next year.


                A few of my own:

                Did people enjoy the CVORG setup? Should we(/would anyone have us back) to do it again next year? How would you have liked it done differently? Was having the high end equipment there any good? I know a few people played with the equipment but it didn't seem to get much use. Maybe next year we should see if we can get some more low end equipment loaned that can be used out on the tables? I just think that a few multichannel scopes would be better used than a mixed signal one as it seems no one was at the level of needing that complex of equipment. Our original idea was to show people the tools that were out there but i feel it came across as a sales pitch instead... This is why I'm asking for feedback in this respect. We wanted to attract attention to the HHV and hardware in general so this is why we asked for this equipment.

                --AfterBurn
                afterburn

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                • #9
                  Re: Ideas for next year?

                  Originally posted by sugardaddy View Post
                  Hey Smitty. Huge Kudos to you for both of the presentations you gave in the HHV. I think the lack of a whiteboard was mitigated by the ability to show folks first hand what you were talking about (basic soldering and basic electronics).
                  Thanks! The talks were a blast. Personally, I think the soldering talk went a lot better than the electronics talk; it was a single bite sized chunk of material into which I could dive in detail without having to glaze over too much. The electronics talk, however, I felt was very unorganized and glazed over _WAY_ too many concepts without going into enough detail on any one to make it really make sense.

                  Ah, well. Next year I might actually prepare ahead of time! ;-)

                  ...and bring a damn white board...

                  BTW, did you ever get your scope and box 'o tools back? They were in the HHV all weekend and we didn't know how to reach you. Hope you did. I think you picked up a few extras due to other folks leaving stuff in the HHV at the end.
                  I did, thank you very much. I ended up with a few extra rolls of solder, which I figured wouldn't be the end of the world if someone came back looking for them. I did leave the clamps and magnifying glasses, however. I didn't want someone thinking they were stolen, if they came back to get them. Though, after reading what you just said, I kinda wish I took 'em. :-)

                  Speaking of coming home with other peoples' stuff, did someone accidentally come home with an extra multi-meter? It was the one with the red soft rubber/plastic case, measured the normal Vac/Vdc/A/Ohm, but it also had a frequency counter (just audio range, nothing RF). I came back at one point and talked to someone at the bar (sorry, I can't remember who it was) who was hoping that it was "forgotten about" so they could claim it. :)

                  If someone has it, I'd like to arrange for either a reimbursement for replacement cost (if you really want to keep it; this is the easier option, really) or to have it shipped back (if you don't mind taking the hassle.) I'm not tied to this particular multi-meter, but I would like to have _A_ multi-meter. (Not to be confused with "A's" he can keep his. ;-)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Ideas for next year?

                    Originally posted by sugardaddy View Post
                    1. Better traffic management in the room - This should be helped greatly by the expansion to 2 sky boxes next year. With so many people filing through all day it was a real challenge at times to get get through, let alone find an open seat or soldering iron.
                    Yeah, I noticed that the room was always _PACKED._ I mean, let's be honest; this is a good problem to have, but a problem none the less.

                    3. Mini contests in the HHV?
                    This is a topic that I think is important and involved enough to warrant a new thread. I'll do that in a bit here.

                    4. WHITEBOARDS!!!!!! This was something that would have helped greatly during the presentations given. The projector was good if someone had slides (like Joe G.) but for the impromptu stuff whiteboards rule.
                    Here here. Don't get me wrong, writing on David Hasselhoff's crotch was buckets of fun, but...

                    Worse case, <$50 at Home Depot will get you a 4'x8' chunk of shower stall material that doubles as a (poorly waxed) white board that we could afix to the walls somehow (dry-wall screws work well, but damage the walls under it.)

                    7. Kits, kits, and more kits - Given how quickly the HHV kit went this year I assume there will be more of these planned for next year. We could also put the word out to other well known HW folks like Lady Ada and Mitch Altman (the only other two I know of) to come and give a presentation or sell kits.
                    This year's kit was wonderful in that it's a blank slate from which people can develop anything idea they can come up with. But for people who don't necessarily have any ideas, or haven't been playing with this stuff enough to really know what's possible, I'd love to see some expansions that will form a complete project. I could see a set of kits like the following:

                    1: uC and support hardware (like the primary kit this year)
                    2: bread board and bundle of components for general tinkering (like the supplemental kit this year)
                    3: audio amp and speaker
                    4: sensor probe kit (eg: temp, humidity, accelerometer, etc)
                    5: opto-isolators and relays
                    and so on. You get the idea.

                    If we could keep the supplemental kits to $5 to $20 each, it would allow someone to come up with an idea and be able to buy the parts on the spot to make it happen.

                    &lt;reality&gt; Yes yes, I realize that this is a hell of a lot of work to put these together, and a lot of up-front cost to buy the parts, and a lot of risk since we don't know how many of each kit will actually sell. Unfortunately, I don't have an answer to this. The best I can come up with is to maybe sell these same kits on the intarwebz before and after the con. This would give a bit of an idea how well each kit sells, might provide some capital to buy stock (or just put the proprietor further into debt), and provide an outlet for unsold stock after the con.&lt;/reality&gt;

                    It's just an idea.

                    8. Mini-classes - The two talks Smitty gave went over really well I think. Lots of attention from the folks in the room, especially when he was able to show them by actually soldering components or building a simple circuit with the accessory kit. Anything hands on seems like it would be a good fit. The CVORG talk would have been cool to see even if only as a follow up in the HHV after the main presentation.
                    I would love to give more talks next year. The two I gave seemed to be very well attended (I never would have believed that a soldering demonstration could draw, <u>and keep</u>, such a large crowd.) I also think it would be cool if we can get the talks put into the schedule. I don't know that it quite warrants a "HHV Track," but at least some mention of it would be good at drawing in the crowd.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Ideas for next year?

                      Originally posted by SmittyHalibut View Post
                      Speaking of coming home with other peoples' stuff, did someone accidentally come home with an extra multi-meter? It was the one with the red soft rubber/plastic case, measured the normal Vac/Vdc/A/Ohm, but it also had a frequency counter (just audio range, nothing RF). I came back at one point and talked to someone at the bar (sorry, I can't remember who it was) who was hoping that it was "forgotten about" so they could claim it. :)

                      If someone has it, I'd like to arrange for either a reimbursement for replacement cost (if you really want to keep it; this is the easier option, really) or to have it shipped back (if you don't mind taking the hassle.) I'm not tied to this particular multi-meter, but I would like to have _A_ multi-meter. (Not to be confused with "A's" he can keep his. ;-)
                      LOL. I think the meter you're describing IS the one A was coveting all weekend long. He might have ended up with a different one. We couldn't figure out if it was yours or not. I recommend next year doing what I did and writing your name on it somewhere with a sharpy. If I had known it had a freq counter too I might have had an eye on it myself. ;-)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Ideas for next year?

                        Originally posted by sugardaddy View Post
                        LOL. I think the meter you're describing IS the one A was coveting all weekend long. He might have ended up with a different one. We couldn't figure out if it was yours or not. I recommend next year doing what I did and writing your name on it somewhere with a sharpy. If I had known it had a freq counter too I might have had an eye on it myself. ;-)
                        Hehehe. Yeah, I really should have labeled everything. Ah well. It's not the end of the world.

                        A, if you've got it, let me know what you want to do. If you don't mind mailing it back to me, that would probably end up being the cheapest but the most hassle. Otherwise, I take PayPal. ;-)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Ideas for next year?

                          Just want to point out a new thread: https://forum.defcon.org/showthread.php?t=9769 for discussing Mini-contests.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Ideas for next year?

                            Originally posted by afterburn188 View Post
                            First off I want to say thanks to SD, Bombnav, A and everyone else who stocked the HHV the whole weekend. It was truly a blast and an enjoyable experience! Of course thanks to LosT and Russ for heading this up! Also a big thanks to Russ for the shoutout to all the HHV guys on the back of the program! (Did you guys all see that?)
                            I did not see the shout out but I'm going to look now.


                            On a side note: Did everyone enjoy the CVORG contests? I know they were pretty lame but I hope the prizes were considered cool...
                            The reason I ask is I was wondering if we should petition the vendors for these prizes again next year...
                            I thought they were cool. Geek/HW trivia was a nice touch. A HUGE thanks to you guys (the CVORG group) for totally sweet O-scope. I'm looking forward to getting home so I can start re-learning how to use one.

                            7. More kits would be awesome. As Russ and LosT said the turn out was overwhelming...if any help is needed here to design a few, CVORG is willing to donate some PCB design. Maybe designing a cheap FPGA board would be cool?
                            I didn't get much of a chance to see your stuff due to the crowds we had but I thought the FPGA stuff sounded cool. I've seen talks about them at Shmoo as well. If there was a kit out there that let folks experiment with them on the same level as the BS/PIC/etc kits I think that would go a long way toward getting folks more involved with them.

                            A few of my own:

                            Did people enjoy the CVORG setup? Should we(/would anyone have us back) to do it again next year? How would you have liked it done differently? Was having the high end equipment there any good? I know a few people played with the equipment but it didn't seem to get much use. Maybe next year we should see if we can get some more low end equipment loaned that can be used out on the tables? I just think that a few multichannel scopes would be better used than a mixed signal one as it seems no one was at the level of needing that complex of equipment. Our original idea was to show people the tools that were out there but i feel it came across as a sales pitch instead... This is why I'm asking for feedback in this respect. We wanted to attract attention to the HHV and hardware in general so this is why we asked for this equipment.

                            --AfterBurn
                            I think you're right about the high end vs. low end equipment. I don't know how many folks could appreciate the high end equipment unless there was an easy way for them to push buttons and make things happen. I think having CVORG there was a great contribution. While it's great to get folks more hands on with hardware there is an underlying security aspect that can't be forgotten either. Your talk about hardware trojans is a great match to Defcon given it's security implications.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Ideas for next year?

                              Hi all (SD, Afterburner, Smitty, Russ, A.......) I think the main points have been hit. Bottom line... people loved the HHV and for me it made the best DEFCON exp so far. I think if Joe is doing next years badge a simple heads up from him on what is mod-able on it (USB port) etc to us would let us bring a few extra items next year to help people out even more. I know next year I will bring 3 times more stuff to use in the village since we will have the space. Also I will start working on a side project to see if I can get any donations of free stuff (leds etc) or see how many samples I can "social engineer" for the HHV.

                              I tried to talk my wife into doing a SMT demo for next year but she has not warmed up to that yet but I think we need some kind of SMT rework ability for the "Badge Repair" station that was being run by (Can't remember his name SD help me out) as he fixed several badges.

                              A final shout out ot all those that came into the HHV. You listened, worked, shared with everyone the thrill of HHV. There were no incidents that I was aware of, everyone was great and no fires!!!! Thanks to all for a blast!!

                              BombNav

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