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  • DEAF CON [ Copy of t=13487 ]

    So, here's a bit of a curveball topic, but one that might develop into something cool if there is sufficient interest out there from potential attendees.

    I have a number of deaf friends. Indeed, more nowadays, given that the brother of a girl whom i'm seeing is deaf, as is his fiancee. My ASL is just passable enough to be polite and make casual chit chat when we're all out to eat and such, but the deaf community is wonderful about really trying to help people who are making an effort, so we always manage to get along and understand each other very well.

    Both of these two deaf friends (g/f's brother and his fiancee) are tech-minded. He is profoundly so, she works more in finance (for the Navy) but still appreciates the hacker world. The fellow has expressed quite clearly and plainly that he wants to come to DEFCON.

    Naturally, his sister and i are thrilled. And we know that he's going to do fine there and have a great time... he's very adaptable and our community as a whole is very welcoming to new people who want to learn, even if they have different ways of interacting, communicating, etc (has anyone here read the open letter that someone on the Autism specturm wrote to the CCCongress staff after she was treated so well and felt so welcomed by the hackers in Germany this past December? It's touching.)

    However, i know for a fact that I'm not the only hacker with deaf friends, family, loved ones, etc. How many of you have deaf or hard-of-hearing people in your lives who might want to experience DEFCON?

    What i am proposing in this thread is not a segregated or special area of any kind, a la DEFCON Kids, but simply i'm sort of putting out the call that "if you know deaf people who have thought about coming to DEFCON before, let's all try to make 2013 the year that they DO come for sure!"

    Having people from the deaf community represented in greater numbers would have a natural effect of increasing the overall camaraderie and ability to feel welcomed, not to mention this would increase the overall number of people who are more fluent in ASL or other sign languages... not just from the non-hearing side of things, but also among the attendees who are hearing but are experiencing the con with their deaf friends and associates.

    If there's enough of a groundswell of interest, this could even lead to some people possibly pooling money and hiring an interpreter for some of the more popular talks. I'm sure that the DEFCON staff wouldn't think it's all that bad to rope off a couple dozen chairs near the front but off to the side if there will be an interpreter trying to help with the communication.

    Maybe i'm off the mark on a lot of this. Again, i can't claim to have the pulse of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, and i surely don't speak for them. I do know that they would not wish to be treated differently or given special privilege (aside from maybe the seating near an interpreter, as mentioned just above) but i'm sure that it could make for a pretty amazing experience overall if DEFCON 21 was the year that 50 or 100 or more ASL-speaking people were all in attendance and got to rub shoulders with one another and with the rest of us as they learned and experienced all the awesomeness that is DEFCON.



    I know this idea won't go anywhere if it's just a thread here on the forums... might i ask folk to tweet or ask others online about this to spread the word and get some feedback?
    "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
    Re: DEAF CON

    hm, text party gathering? We cook up something that displays text as you type it on a phone to a screen on your chest so that both ppl who can't hear and people who cant sign speak to each other by typing and reading? seems like we could probably come up with some stupid cheep hardware solution to do that, then have a party where a bunch of people walk around with them, talk about hax and get dis-functionally drunk.

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    • #3
      Re: DEAF CON

      As someone who suffers from hearing loss, I often have trouble understanding things that aren't spoken clearly, are at a lower tone, or if there's a lot of background noise. I'd love some sort of text party if so that I don't have to ask someone to repeat themselves ad nauseum. I can't really comment on interpreters, though, since my hearing loss hasn't been bad enough to necessitate my learning ASL, though it's always been an interest of mine.

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      • #4
        Re: DEAF CON

        Actually, I know someone in the community who isn't deaf, but mute. I need to drop this person a line and get their opinion. Thanks for getting the ball rolling on this, Deviant -- top shelf idea!
        I check my sanity with a wristwatch. What do you check yours with, a dipstick?

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        • #5
          Re: DEAF CON

          This idea, I like.

          Couple things. Can Defcon reach out to get an idea of how many people would benifit from this? If the number is significant number (no idea what formula to use) can we maybe crowd source funding (if Defcon cant'/wont' do so) and hire professionals for some of the high profile (or by attendees vote ahead of time, maybe) talks. There's lots of ASL interpreters in Vegas: http://www.alsglobal.net/las-vegas-interpreters.php

          I'd be willing to pitch a few bucks into kickstarter or something to help fund this, and I'm sure others would too. Reward would be a thanks in the program and a feeling of helping the community. If we get more, maybe fund close captioning of some talk videos? Just thinking out loud here.

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          • #6
            Re: DEAF CON

            I think this is a great idea. My step daughter is DHH, with hearing aids, and learned SEE (Signing Exact English) as a child, as well as some ASL. I think that having some interpreters available would be a good thing.

            Good Thinking Deviant!
            --- The fuck? Have you ever BEEN to Defcon?

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            • #7
              Re: DEAF CON

              Can we have sign language interpreters at the talks? Are there any other disability issues that ought to be addressed as well?

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              • #8
                Re: DEAF CON

                A key point to bear in mind with regard to interpreter services... there are different classifications (and associated fee structures) for people who interpret in ASL. Casual conversation, Legal Conversation, Medical Conversation, and "Other specialized / highly techincal" Conversation... just to name a few.

                Most con talks would fall into that last category. And it's one where the cost is exceedingly higher than other kinds of ASL work and often might even require preparation and brief study on the part of the 'terp. A talk about DNS or SCADA or even WiFi would almost certainly breakdown into a disjointed frenzy of lagged out finger-spelling for someone who isn't already versed in some of the terms and themes of those fields.

                Not saying it's impossible, but it's surely a consideration that people need to have in mind before they make a post about "oh, i called Vegas-Such-and-Such Interpreter Agency and they said we can have someone for just $75 an hour!"

                Any proper interpreters at an event like DEFCON would be commanding $200+ per hour, at a minimum... that's just my best estimation.
                "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


                • #9
                  Re: DEAF CON

                  Originally posted by Deviant Ollam View Post
                  A key point to bear in mind with regard to interpreter services... there are different classifications (and associated fee structures) for people who interpret in ASL. Casual conversation, Legal Conversation, Medical Conversation, and "Other specialized / highly techincal" Conversation... just to name a few.

                  Most con talks would fall into that last category. And it's one where the cost is exceedingly higher than other kinds of ASL work and often might even require preparation and brief study on the part of the 'terp. A talk about DNS or SCADA or even WiFi would almost certainly breakdown into a disjointed frenzy of lagged out finger-spelling for someone who isn't already versed in some of the terms and themes of those fields.

                  Not saying it's impossible, but it's surely a consideration that people need to have in mind before they make a post about "oh, i called Vegas-Such-and-Such Interpreter Agency and they said we can have someone for just $75 an hour!"

                  Any proper interpreters at an event like DEFCON would be commanding $200+ per hour, at a minimum... that's just my best estimation.
                  Speaker goons, network goons, Security goons, pretty much all goons are volunteers. People and groups choosing to run a contest or event or village donate their time and services to see Defcon made better.

                  [We have seen this in the way that "Be The Match" has worked with many people volunteering to help, and the BloodKode, event too. We have significant number of people at Defcon that are willing and able to donate their time to their peers and new-comers.]

                  If we were to have people be interpreters on stage, I'd like to see that happen just like almost all other human resources at Defcon -- pool of volunteer and people who have a passionate desire to provide this as a service. If there are not enough volunteers, then this becomes an opportunity for a small number of volunteers to encourage other people to volunteer, and if necessary educate them, or direct them to self-education and testing.

                  (I'm not "picking" on the locksport people, just using them as an example:)
                  The lockpicking village did not appear overnight -- it was an evolutionary thing. First there were talks about lock-picking, several years in a row, and then on or more speakers brought locks for people to pick, and a mini-contest was created by one speaker, "pick this lock and I will buy you a beer!" Later, people brought locks pre-mounted in wood, and set these up on tables for people to visit and pick, but there was little in the way of dedicated volunteers staffing these tables all of the time, educating people one-on one. Eventually, these ideas were found to be "good" and what was a presentation became an unstaffed table, which became a staffed table, which encouraged contests, and eventually blossomed into a full-fledged "Lockpicking Village" with many volunteers and many tables with peer-based training/education and organizers leading scheduled mini-talks at scheduled hours.

                  (Consider the historical impact of some speakers selling mini-course for-pay while other people freely donated their time for education. Paying some people for their services while other members donate their time causes people to receive a message as commentary about their donation as a matter of action, well beyond any lip-service that claims otherwise; actions say much more than words ever do.) [Edit: To be clear, I would like to compare volunteers that just work the week of Defcon to volunteers that just work the week of Defcon such as interpreters might be, not to staff that work all year long, or head goons that spend much more time than just the week at Defcon working.]

                  There is an opportunity for something similar here, if people in this community are interested in learning how to sign, interpret, and be on stage. Who would organize this? How would they encourage people to participate, and join to help with this? How would you get this authorized [so you can interface with speaker goons] and be supported with information in the program? (Something I find annoying is when people provide suggestions and advice on how other people can spend their resources and time without actually contributing time, effort or resources of their own: "I have an idea! An open bar with free drinks would be something we all could enjoy!" (Sure, but who pays for that?)) What works well is when people have an idea, propose it because they like it enough to contribute to it, and join with other people that share this idea.

                  [As a concession, I also recognize that Defcon has hired people in the past to work for pay. I *think* One example of this was, "the little old ladies," who worked badge sales one year at the AP. If they were paid for this, it is good to point out that I don't think they were competing with volunteers in the community doing the same thing for free, at the time, unless you count the Defcon organizer responsible for them at the time.]

                  [Also, I don't control anything at Defcon. My words are not commentary from some sort of dark, underworld conspiracy of volunteers. I don't control money or spending, I only, barely control what my fingers type here on the forums. ;-]

                  As a comment on history of Defcon... A long time ago, I saw several presentations at Defcon which included a signing person on stage, too. It may have just been my luck, but a significant percent of the presentations included this service. The following year, almost none of the speakers had people interpreting with sign language. I think I saw one person that did have someone translating to sign language, but I think they supplied this person independent of Defcon.

                  So, there is a history of this happening at Defcon, but beyond witnessing it on stage, I don't know who provided this, how it came to be, or why it stopped happening.

                  HTH,
                  -Cot
                  Last edited by TheCotMan; 01-09-2013, 09:49 AM.
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                  • #10
                    Re: DEAF CON

                    I'm totally with you here, a lot of my family is deaf but I am not, and I'm pretty in-tune with the community at least in my area. It would be great to have an interpreter for those who are interested.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: DEAF CON

                      Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
                      If we were to have people be interpreters on stage, I'd like to see that happen just like almost all other human resources at Defcon -- pool of volunteer and people who have a passionate desire to provide this as a service. If there are not enough volunteers, then this becomes an opportunity for a small number of volunteers to encourage other people to volunteer, and if necessary educate them, or direct them to self-education and testing.
                      oh, i would surely love for this to be the solution... for a few people to say, "i'm fluent in ASL and would act as an interpreter during 3 or 4 talks per day"

                      the thing is, they would have to already be fully-versed in that skill. translating (and doing it well) is NOT something that can be just picked up on the fly or as a hobby. not for a live talk, at least. standing around in the Lockpick Village or Hardware Hacking tables, etc... that's a place where "someone with a deaf niece" who knows a fair bit of ASL could be useful.

                      During a talk that is happening live, forget it. Unless someone was already super fluent and even had a good deal of live interpreting experience (either ASL or SEE or sim-comm) then i wouldn't even want to have my name associated with the total fucking abortion that would likely be any casual ASL signer's attempt to live-translate during a talk.

                      i like the idea of crowd-sourcing for funds if it comes to that. an IndieGoGo funding project for high-end ASL interpreters who have some technical experience and would be willing to speak briefly with presenters to get an idea of their talk topic and certain key terms they'll be using before the talk starts. that would result in the best experience.


                      Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
                      As a comment on history of Defcon... A long time ago, I saw several presentations at Defcon which included a signing person on stage, too. It may have just been my luck, but a significant percent of the presentations included this service. The following year, almost none of the speakers had people interpreting with sign language. I think I saw one person that did have someone translating to sign language, but I think they supplied this person independent of Defcon.

                      So, there is a history of this happening at Defcon, but beyond witnessing it on stage, I don't know who provided this, how it came to be, or why it stopped happening.
                      wow. do you recall how long ago that might have been? what hotel was DEFCON at during that time?
                      "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
                        ASL sign for "hacker"

                        by the way, this might seriously interest some folk... according to every single deaf person whom i know, there is no ASL sign for "hacker"... you just spell it out, they all say.

                        but, the community is on it! my gal's deaf brother told me how almost immediately he had to quash some people's suggestions of words relating to criminal or bad or damage. i have told them to focus on themes of thinking differently or exploration. honestly, i am hopeful that it turns out to just be related to the sign for thought or think but using the letter "H" as opposed to a single index finger.

                        that's not our place to say, however... ASL is something that grows and evolves among the deaf community, and hearing folk can not create new ASL words any more than we can assign name-signs to ourselves. ;-)
                        "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


                        • #13
                          Re: DEAF CON

                          Originally posted by Deviant Ollam View Post
                          wow. do you recall how long ago that might have been? what hotel was DEFCON at during that time?
                          It was not Defcon 5. The first I saw people providing sign language on stage with a speaker was probably around Defcon 6 or 7. Whichever year I saw it for the first time, I saw it in more than one presentation, but not all presentations. After that year, I only saw it in one presentation, and that presentation was delayed because they were trying to find someone to sign for it.

                          If it also helps, and my memory is fuzzy on this part, I seem to recall them standing on the far left of the stage in the room I was in. I do not remember anyone signing during Hacker jeopardy, or other late-night events.

                          Again, I don't know the story for why it happened, or why is stopped. Best guess is someone had the skill and offered to provide services for certain presentations, and then was no longer available, or was occupied in future years.
                          Last edited by TheCotMan; 01-09-2013, 07:24 PM.
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                          • #14
                            Re: DEAF CON

                            This is a great idea. I would gladly donate to have interpreters or close captioning for talks. I'd also be interested in learning ASL myself. It is something I have always wanted to learn and can be useful in my field.
                            "In the room the women come and go / Talking of Michelangelo."

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                            • #15
                              Re: DEAF CON

                              Deviant, we spoke briefly on this on Twitter, but it looks like most of my GF's feedback has been covered here anyway. She also recommends finding someone who is a nationally certified.

                              After discussing it with her, she told me an example from why signing technical terms is somewhat of an issue. She interprets for HS and is mostly trained in ASL, though she knows SEE. There was a boy trying to sign "flash drive" in SEE, by spelling flash and then signing the literal "drive", as in driving a car. A lot of signs, as you know, include a lot of intentions and context in a conversation. Using the "drive" sign (it's literally holding your hands up as if you were mock driving) in describing a flash drive, it was not understood right away.

                              Volunteers would be the best way to accomplish this, but there is a challenge there. Even if we have SOs/friends/family that knows ASL, they could be not familiar with technical terms and the culture in general. If this is the route that's ultimately decided, some primer document would probably be a good idea, with resources that cover signs relating to the industry.

                              I also just remembered something, but I'm too lazy to fit it neatly into the post. She also mentioned that there is a technical school in Rochester called the RTID (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationa...e_for_the_Deaf), a part of RIT, perhaps this would be a really good resource to reach out to. They don't appear to have a Infosec program directly at the school, but they could have electives (I didn't dig too much) http://www.ist.rit.edu/
                              "As Arthur C Clarke puts it, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Here is my corollary: "Any sufficiently technical expert is indistinguishable from a witch"."

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