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  • renderman
    replied
    Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

    2 additional points.

    Many of us remember the days before the Riv over at the AP (and others even earlier hotels). While we had our issues at the AP, The one thing we all seem to miss is DCTV of the talks (not calling for it at the Riv, but hear me out) and the social allowance of room parties and the lawn / pool space

    The DCTV thing was great because we did not have to bust our ass (or piss of the fire marshall) to goto talks we may have had a passing interest in and we could chill in a room with others and watch the talk out of the corner of our eye. Might it be possible in the 'top of the riv' and/or chillout areas to provide a simulcast of some of the more popular talks so as to relieve some congestion in the halls and to be an alternative to the music in those rooms and maybe, just maybe, spur some intelligent discussion about the topics being presented by those in the room. The Riv seems to have a no-broadcast policy, but does that include internal to the hotel? Worth exploring I think.

    The social aspect is tough to fix. We got spoiled at the AP where the security would ring the property, keep the insanity inside the hotel and call DT's insurance company on monday with the bill.

    The Riv seems to be a fair bit more arbitrary in their rules and that's where alot of the friction comes from. What, specifically are they worried about? Underage drinking, fire code, noise, damage, what?

    Damage is obvious to solve. Just like the AP, give everyone a list of what damage costs to the room holder. You break it, you bought it. We're mostly adults here and can deal with that.

    Underage drinking, again, it's up to the room holder and if it's spelled out on paper upon checkin that all responsibility for the appropriate liquor laws is up to the room holder.

    Fire code, again, we're adults, what is the maximum capacity for a given type of room. Let us know and we'll attempt to follow it.

    Noise is a tough one to deal with. It's arbitrary and up to neighbors to complain. Perhaps having certain rooms designated as party friendly and have Defcon people setup around it with the neighborly agreement to invite the 'buffer' rooms to the party since they have to put up with it. I'd be willing to take a hit to my sleep and sanity so others can have a good time.

    I think that very specific questions about what policies are and being very public about them as well as seeing if the hotel is willing to turn a 'blind eye' to some events should they adhere to something resembling the policies and rules.

    Can't hurt to ask the question.

    Render

    Leave a comment:


  • MisterVandal
    replied
    Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

    Originally posted by noid View Post
    We're at an awkward size right now. The hotels with meeting space are too small for us, but places like the Sands Convention Center and the LV Convention Center consider us to be too small. Realize that 7000+ people is huge for a hacker convention, but there are shoe salesmen conventions and consortiums on molecular biology that get higher numbers.

    The new hotels that are being build really don't have much in the way of conference space as they dont want to get into the business of competing with The Sands, LVCC, The Rio, and The Riv.

    This last weekend I just kept hearing people talk over and over about this magical location we should move the conference too. This location has tons of convention space, cheap drinks/food (but are of very high quality), dirt cheap rooms (that are luxurious), bends over backwards for us, and can grow with the conference. It should also be in the middle of everything and have tons of stuff going on around it to keep people occupied.

    I forgot the name of the place, I think it was the Doesn't Exist Casino & Puppy Store & Ice Cream Shoppe Resort..

    In all seriousness, the crowding is an issue, but I don't see the easy out here. In the short term at least, we're going to have to figure out alternatives for where we're at.

    (for the record, despite being senior staff, I have no involvement in any sort of hotel/venue research. Most of the time when stuff like that gets announced its as much news to me as it is to you)
    I think most of us realize this, however, it's still a tough spot. It's not so much the beer cost, hell, I think we've shown in the past we'll pay it. 12 bucks for rubbing alcohol, we'll buy it, we like to have a good time. By the way kids, don't drink rubbing alcohol, it's a tough hangover.

    I have been to Comdex, I have been to AVN, I've been to CES, hell, I've been to hundreds of conventions over the years while working in the industries, and when the night comes the parties go on. The frustration with the Riv doesn't really reside in the convention hall, nor does it most of the staff, it's the inability to have any fun other than what they provide. We tried to move up to the 11xx party, and had a great time, we made sure no one came in under 21, we kept the smoking in the hall and even tried to keep it from being a defcon party by making people put their badges away. Music low, bunch of people, sure enough, we were shut down, but there was no reason for it.

    As far as I see it, the hotel should see us as another convention, would they treat us differently if we were a bunch of guys in suits paying tons of dollars for hookers? Yes, but we're not. A lot of people who come to defcon save all year so they can have those three days where they can watch their peers make complete and total asses of themselves and laugh later about it.

    Now it's not all of the Riv staff, security was great this year, Kadys was awesome, and most of the staff I talked to was great, but the whole situation with not being able to have any party unless you get a skybox is just stupid to me.

    I realize we have a reputation, hell, I have been there to see some stuff and went "Uhm, I realize that the idea of right and wrong is an opinion, but I think it's everyones opinion that what you are about to do is wrong" but it's not like it's a group of kids rolling around now. This weekend I watched someone mention doing something stupid and several people stepped around him and basically told him if he did said idea things would end badly for him., We are almost to the point of policing ourselves.

    It's in between a rock and a hard place, there's no real solution, and the reality is all we can do is bitch. Most of us aren't going to stop coming, we may take a year or two off, a lot of old school people I wanted to see weren't here, but the reality is there's good friends we have that live far away and we can only see them once a year, and while we see them we would love to have memories other than "Why can't we have a friggin party."

    Sorry, that was a wall of text, I am going to the bar.

    Leave a comment:


  • big chopper
    replied
    Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

    Originally posted by icetre View Post
    Next year for the super duper badge let's try for something not *easier* but how about *attainable*
    Amen!
    I'd like a badge that doesn't adversely effect the total enjoyment of the con.
    --bc,

    Leave a comment:


  • icetre
    replied
    Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

    BTW: No diss to Kingpin, but the badges sucked this year. It's not that in itself it wasn't cool but to get the secret voltron mode I had to acquire *ALL* of the badges and a secret non existant (except for a solitary one I heard....) Uber badge? LAME

    Sorry man. The badges if they're going to communicate and do fun stuff it should communicate via bluetooh or zigbee... It seems the idea of combining all the badges as more or less just impossible.

    Plus WTF Labeling the pads? OMGWTFH4X!

    Don't get me wrong. It was a cool idea but how about creating a badge that the average population can have fun with without having to get the entire set.

    The uber badge is what really made the whole idea retarded. Most normal people couldn't put all that together in the first place. If could have thought to borrow my various friends badges I *still* wouldn't have gotten it cause I had 0 access to the uber badge.

    I don't even know what it did at all if you assembled all the badges. Unless it called a free hooker to my room and got me drunk, I would say the result was a little anticlimactic considering the amount of effort expended.

    IMO: Poorly thought out. At least last years badge was a TV-B-Gone

    Next year for the super duper badge let's try for something not *easier* but how about *attainable*

    Leave a comment:


  • TheCotMan
    replied
    Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

    Originally posted by Melesse View Post
    I think the effect he was looking to cause is reducing that crush when four talks get out at once, or four talks start at once.
    Ah. Well, that makes more sense, but I still don't like the idea.

    It would clear out those hallways, but it would create a new crush around those doors near registration, since that's the choke point between the two ballrooms. Very unpleasant. At least with the four talks going on close to one another, it keeps the crush localized there (except when lines form).
    Yes. I agree.

    Additionally, it would add to the traffic of people heading from Track 1/2 to Track 3/4 and the other way around, for people primarily there for the talks.

    ...
    Interesting idea concerning the Summit. What's the summit doing during the day? Can it be included as part of the con package, or would it need to be rented additionally? Would the increase in number of attendees cover that price increase? Is it too far to be realistically used? I know from attending the Last HOPE that having the con on two different floors was kind of a pain in the ass, but it was doable. What could be placed semiautonomously, and not get screwed over by said placement? Are there any other rooms up there? I've never gone to the right to explore as I've only been up there twice for the EFF fundraiser.
    One year, if I recall correctly, it was used for "Top of the Riv" and a place for the B&W Ball. Perhaps the first year we were at the Riv. However, noise problems and complaints from people 1 floor below caused it to be shut down early. After that, we gained more space in the convention area, and I think it moved to its present home, or very close to where it was this year. I think it has had its present home for 3 Defcon now, but I could be wrong... they all sort of blend together after a while.

    Do you have ideas for an event to reside in that room during daylight hours which isn't present yet? Do you have an idea for moving something up there that is not there right now? What could be started or moved there?

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Even if people nix them, other people may build or modify them and find a way to make them work.

    Leave a comment:


  • icetre
    replied
    Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

    How about a discount for those of us who don't give a flying fuck about the badge. It seems to me, a special line and a cheaper price. I can't tell you how pissed off it makes me that I have to sit in hours long lines and honestly I really don't care.

    I think the badges have become too much of a focus and I'd really love to see it so I don't have to bother.

    Even more. Honestly they ALWAYS run out of badges and other shit. Why is it that I have to pay full price to get a paper badge, no cd and no program considering the costs of those productions are what are supposed to be part of the cost.

    Furthermore, someone mentioned moving blackhat a few weeks after defcon or making it so you don't get a DC badge automatically if you go to BH.

    I have to say this is a good idea. Gets the straights away from the freakshow and makes our fun a little more so.

    Anyways enough bitching

    Adam

    Leave a comment:


  • Melesse
    replied
    Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

    Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
    How do you see separating the speaking tracks to opposite ends of the convention space as an advantage?
    I think the effect he was looking to cause is reducing that crush when four talks get out at once, or four talks start at once.

    It would clear out those hallways, but it would create a new crush around those doors near registration, since that's the choke point between the two ballrooms. Very unpleasant. At least with the four talks going on close to one another, it keeps the crush localized there (except when lines form).

    I agree, the chill out room was a touch loud for sitting and talking. When I went in there to hang out on Sunday afternoon there was no music at all, and I was crushed and unchilled. I know that keeping it staffed all con might be a pain, so maybe a random playlist for when there's no DJ? There's enough equipment in there that a goon needs to be stationed anyways to prevent it from absconding I imagine.

    Interesting idea concerning the Summit. What's the summit doing during the day? Can it be included as part of the con package, or would it need to be rented additionally? Would the increase in number of attendees cover that price increase? Is it too far to be realistically used? I know from attending the Last HOPE that having the con on two different floors was kind of a pain in the ass, but it was doable. What could be placed semiautonomously, and not get screwed over by said placement? Are there any other rooms up there? I've never gone to the right to explore as I've only been up there twice for the EFF fundraiser.

    Mel

    Leave a comment:


  • meethade
    replied
    Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

    Hmmm,

    1) how about moving the chill out room to a smaller room and using that for talks,

    and/or

    2) using the summit during the day for con stuff

    or,

    3) swapping the chillout room and one of the track rooms?

    Swapping really sounds like a good idea to me to distribute crowding amongst the different areas of the con.

    Leave a comment:


  • renderman
    replied
    Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

    Originally posted by wiseleo View Post
    The WiFi coverage was insufficient. If I can't get a stable 5-bar connection in front row in Track 1, something is terribly wrong.
    That may not be con orginizers or NOC's fault. In every crowd there's one douchbag with a jammer or mdk DoS'ing the crap out of the network.

    Considering it's the most hostile network on the planet, consider yourself luck y to get on at all and not have a flaming hulk of a laptop left at the end.

    Leave a comment:


  • wiseleo
    replied
    Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

    Respectfully, but what crowds?

    My motto: arrive 0-2 minutes late, grab a front row seat. This never failed in any talk I wanted to attend including Hacker Jeopardy and other headlining events. I was certainly within easy reach of Happy FunBall's whip.

    I saw people on the sidelines and I also saw lots of open seats.

    Great conference. May want to consider additional screens for the back of the room.

    Raising prices is not a good idea. Defcon is a great way for our next generation to learn more about the craft and culture.

    I am not at all bothered with lines. They cease to exist very quickly.

    I AM very bothered with the CDs and schedules fiasco. Electronic badges getting stuck in customers I can understand, but there is no excuse for not having enough CDs. Schedules I can handle and share, but I need my CD so I don't have to ask Google where the slides are.

    The WiFi coverage was insufficient. If I can't get a stable 5-bar connection in front row in Track 1, something is terribly wrong.

    Leave a comment:


  • renderman
    replied
    Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

    My opinions, after a few days of sleep, are in line with most others but with some of my own.

    First: The hotel needs to understand that (within limits of local liquor and occupancy laws, etc) that they would fare better to leave us to our own devices rather than try and dictate. We are not unreasonable people. I have would point out that, per person, the hotel would likely make more off us than gospel con folks.

    Second: I noticed that there is an ever increasing percentage of attendees coming over from Blackhat that, while they have every right, don't contribute much to the event other than occupy space.

    While there are those who attend both because they want to, there are many that do so because they can (free ticket). They end up coming over to Defcon to watch and observe us but don't interact or contribute to the experience. I may be wrong in my numbers but separating BH and Defcon by a week or so would cut down numbers by 1000-1500 which would take some pressure off and eliminate people who are there out of convenience rather than want. I hate feeling like an exhibit in a zoo. So many people have put in effort to make Defcon what it is, it's a shame these others come in and take without giving back.

    Third: While management may be in the loop low level hotel employees don't seem to be getting the message about being tolerant of us and our eccentricities. Care should be taken next year to stress to the hotel to let everyone know we don't take shit well from employees and when we are treated unfairly, we want to speak to an *actual* manager with power, not some flunky.

    Fourth: As much as I liked having Adam Savage there, the getting people in and out issue was insane. I think that the only reason it ws 3/4 full was that there were so many people thinking this was insane and skipping it. For something that size, a simulcast to all the rooms so no one has to move is the only way to deal with it.

    I also felt bad for Adam as well since there's so much stuff there he'd enjoy that his celebrity status prevents him from attending. If it is possible or sane, it would be nice to see him have the ability to interact and participate in the con instead of be locked out. I'm not the only one who thinks he'd be perfect for competing in the Mystery Challenge (Adam, if your reading this, you can have a spot on my team!)

    Fifth: The chillout room was a good idea but the music was too damn loud (I'm not old, just not wanting to yell). Calm chillout areas where one can have a conversation should be a priority next year. Maybe in the evenings, throw open the doors to the Q&A rooms and use those? I dunno.

    I'm sure there's more somewhere in my brain but those are the main things right now. Feel free to comment of PM me for discussion

    Leave a comment:


  • TheCotMan
    replied
    Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

    Originally posted by jchillerup View Post
    Maybe, to reduce the amount of line clusterfuck, you could swap track 4 and the contest area, as well as track 3 and the vendor area.
    I don't think that would be a good idea. People that come to Defcon for the talks often stick around in the talk areas, and move from one track to another or stay where they are.

    People interested in the contests often stick in the contest spaces.

    Having the speaking tracks so far apart would probably make the problem worse, for people changing from one talk to another -- especially if they don't like the talk they are in after a few minutes and decide they want to see a different talk, or find out a talk was moved, or canceled.

    How do you see separating the speaking tracks to opposite ends of the convention space as an advantage?

    Leave a comment:


  • jchillerup
    replied
    Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

    Maybe, to reduce the amount of line clusterfuck, you could swap track 4 and the contest area, as well as track 3 and the vendor area.

    Leave a comment:


  • e_dogg
    replied
    Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

    Thanks for the detailed reply, Chris! I'm glad to see that the folks involved are always striving to make Defcon better.

    Originally posted by Chris View Post
    Unlikely, it would be next to impossible to do this. We (DEF CON) are not the Riv, they are just a venue where we hold our party. They aren't going to collect money for us, keep track of it, hand out badges and all the hassles associated with that, and then write us a check for the registrations. Just not feasible.
    That's a good point. I wonder if they'd let you set up a table next door to the registration area? Registration seemed to be super quick so I can't imagine it slowing things down and clogging up the area. Just a thought...

    Originally posted by Chris View Post
    Being happy with the paper badge makes you the exception, not the rule.
    Then it makes the idea of charging a few bucks for a hardware badge that much better, IMO. More money donated to the EFF or more money to be used for the con = a good thing. Plus, like I mentioned, it would reduce demand a bit...

    Either that or just make sure that the hardware badges are available during initial registration rather than having people stand in line twice. Though, I do understand that there was an issue this year with Chinese customs, so maybe they're normally available. I only have the experience of this year's con to go off of.

    Originally posted by Chris View Post
    The will be posted. Later. We have gotten much better at getting the website updated after con.
    Great news!

    Originally posted by Chris View Post
    I wasn't there so I don't know the exact nature of the question, but DEF CON is all about allowing dissenting viewpoints to express themselves. the Fed panel knows this. This isn't a national convention for a political party where everyone agrees on a platform. If the individual was being belligerent or profane I am sure he would have been escorted out. Just disagreeing with the panel is certainly not reason to remove someone from the room. Again, I wasn't there and don't know the details so feel free to provide more information on this if you'd like.
    This wasn't necessarily "dissenting viewpoints". The guy was just being an obnoxious prick from the start of the presentation and basically was a heckler. He was selected for the "Spot the lamer" portion and even after a few minutes of being in the lineup, one of the feds said "I'm sick of you, go sit back down".

    He stepped up to the mic during the Q&A session and asked the feds if they felt that the current Obama administration was hampering their ability to do their job function compared to previous administrations. That's like asking a Microsoft employee during Tech-Ed if they feel like Microsoft is going down the tubes now that Ballmer is running the show. Any employee who wants to keep their job is not going to answer something like that in a public forum.

    The feds waved their Bullshit flags and refused to answer while he kept pushing it. He finally stormed out of the room and once he left, there was quite the applause.


    Originally posted by Chris View Post
    Now...I do actually run the vendor area and select the vendors. It is not possible to please everyone and I certainly take your criticism seriously. That said, as mentioned earlier in this post, this isn't a trade show. This is a hacker conference. We don't want corporate sponsorship. If I have Cisco as a vendor or worse yet as a sponsor and a speaker plans to detail an IOS vulnerability, I am in a tough situation. Do I not allow the speaker to give his presentation because it might anger a paid sponsor of the con? I don't want to be in a position where a conflict of interest can arise.

    Our vendors typically come from within the community. Many of them don't do this as a "job" year round but rather come up with ideas on how to provide a product that enough of the attendees will find appealing that they can break even or in a great case, make a little money. Many of our vendors are just happy to break even but see you back wearing their shirt next year. Personally I like the way the vendor area works and consider it to be an extension of the community, not a place to bring in corporate sponsors to hassle our attendees with sales pitches.
    Those are really good points that I didn't think of. I guess it was just my expectation that there would be some corporate vendors like that. I did notice the Digital setup that was in the TF2 room and assumed there would be other things like that. Though, maybe that was a collector.


    Originally posted by Chris View Post
    I hope this helps to address some of your concerns and I hope you'll decide to come back. Maybe my comments have helped to provide a clearer understanding of how some of these things work at DEF CON and why it is different from a typical "trade show".
    Thanks for taking the time to read my long post and reply to the points. I think part of my dissapointment with certain aspects of the con was my mis-set expectations. Also, I'm not in the security biz nor am I really a "hacker" per se. I'm just a geek who loves all things technology. So I don't think I'm really the target audience of the con.

    That said, I may come back next year. Part of me says "been there, done that" and part of me says "maybe next year I'll know what to expect and have a better time with it". We'll see what the next 360 days brings.

    Leave a comment:


  • afterburn188
    replied
    Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

    Originally posted by big chopper View Post
    Sure, either Reno or Atlantic City would be good choices. :-)
    --BC,
    Alright now we're talking! THAT would definitely save me some money in air fare

    --RANT ON--
    I didn't find the crowds to be that ridiculous. Maybe since this is only my second year, i have very little to compare to. Sure the hallways were crowded but what's so different between that and say a concert you go to? If one dared to venture into the sunlight (I know, most attendees are afraid of such things) you could also bypass the main hallway to get around the congestion. As for this continued talk of raising the price, I really don't see the point unless they have to. A lot of people talk about how it's so much cheaper than blackhat but, not everybody's company is paying for it, or is making enough money that they can afford to drop 1K on just admissions. I think for the price we pay it's a great conference and I really think DT and the Goons have gone out of their way to accommodate. In the program DT said he went out of his way to try to make sure this year was a great conference and sucked up some costs, and this definitely showed in my opinion. I found this years experience to be so awesome and have very few complaints. Getting the pool alone was really awesome. The new contests, the new content, the expanded old content, it all combined to make a con experience that will keep me coming back for years to come.

    Again, this is my own opinion on the matter. If the talks really mean that much to you, maybe consider buying the talks instead? There just seems to be so much more than just the talks to do at the conference. You could go mess around in any one of the villages, join a team in the contest area, or dare I say socialize and meet great people in the chill out area. I managed to sit down with an OpenCTF team and see what they were up to and learn more than a talk could provide from just interacting with them. I also learned much more about all the SSL/CA vulns people were hyped about by actually speaking to one of the speakers with a group of people in the chill out area. Then again, I learn much better as a hands on person. Still, I feel that so many people treat the conference as a training experience and take it way too serious. Break out of the norm, check out something new, broaden your horizon. The slides will be available, and if you miss something just ask around...*someone* had to have seen the talk

    As for the badge going away - I hope it doesn't. I really enjoy it and love being able to play with it year round. I think it gives opportunities to people who normally wouldn't be able to play with hardware to get their hands on it. Maybe people should give it more of a try as opposed to just complaining about it. Still, I do know that a few who I met were able to find people who didn't care about the hardware on the badges and trade them their unpopulated badges. The badges were a problem but it's been promised to be fixed. Rather than just delete the whole idea or create all these alternative solutions why not just let the powers to be actually attempt to fix the problem. And let's be honest, there was no way anyone in their right mind with the current economy would have estimated that SO many people would show up this year. So I would like to say that while trading out badges may have sucked a little, I don't think anyone can completely blame the staff for the lack of supplies this year.
    --RANT OFF--

    Leave a comment:

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