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  • #76
    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.

    Comment


    • #77
      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
      Never drink anything larger than your head!





      Comment


      • #78
        Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

        Originally posted by e_dogg View Post
        5) Axe the celebrities...or handle their presentations differently. I really wanted to see Adam Savage. I also really wanted to see the RFID Mythbusting presentation, which was in the same room right before. Rather than allowing the people interested in RFID to stay in the room, they ushered everyone out after the presentation was over (a little before it was actually finished, I might add). I understand that they didn't want people just taking up space to get a good seat, but because I wanted to see the RFID presentation, I got screwed out of seeing Adam Savage.
        I am going to strongly disagree here, look, this is potentially the best thing that could happen to this community. This was a great guy, who was happy to be here, who could potentially help our cause. He was humble, friendly, and seemed like he didn't really want to leave.

        This is the type of person we need on our side, we need someone that can show the general public exactly what they are putting their faith into. If these guys looked at us, and looked at what a lot of us really stood for, they could demonstrate to the population what's going on.

        A mythbusters episode on computer security, or even on open source vs microsoft could be the best thing to ever happen to defcon. Don't chase away anyone that saw what we really stood for and was happy to hear it.

        These are guys that are proven, people listen to what they say, they won't listen to us, we go "hey, check this, instead of an update to your antivirus I just sent a trojan" suddenly it's not "you're showing a weakness in my system" it's "you hackers are all evil"

        This is something good actually happening to us, we had someone show up, who knew what was going on and was more than happy to talk to us and with us. That whole gift horse thing, don't do it.

        Comment


        • #79
          Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

          Originally posted by renderman View Post
          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.
          I would not touch that network with anything other than a read-only Linux machine. It does come in handy for looking up schedules and grabbing slides.

          However, there was basically zero connectivity in Track 1 and Turbo. Could barely associate with AP some of the time, never get an address. I can understand the DoSers in Track 1, but those who understand Turbo stuff would hopefully know better.

          Perhaps consider creating a spot a DoSer contest and ban the idiot? I am sure others would help to detect the offending device.

          Comment


          • #80
            Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

            Sitting in the elevator with 1 of each DC15/16&17 black badge winners, it was agreed that the DC15 badge, with the LED scroller was the best, as it gave everyone at con an entry level way to play around & have fun with the badge, whether or not they were participating in the badge hacking contest.

            I am not as extreme as some who would like to see the badge vanish or different badges for different levels of interest or whatever, but if the badges are going to be a large part of the admission cost, please let there be some cool interactivity for the rest of us. Getting to write "lobstercock" and various other asinine things on my DC15 badge was stupid, childish fun. Getting to whistle at this year's badge and see it change color/intensity? Kinda neat, but the thrill was gone as soon as it was discovered.

            I think the work Joe does on the badges is incredible & I have loved Neil's graphic work as well. I'm just worried that it is headed further and further away from being accessible to every con-goer, regardless of their interest in hardware hacking.

            Comment


            • #81
              Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

              I was the first in line for adam savage and I waited an hour and a half, this does not bug me since it was the only talk I wanted to attend that day ... that doesnt help people that were in another talk though
              my friend and I were commenting that if dan k went against adam savage it would be an interesting battle of attendees ... maybe something like that should transpire, if only for comedic value
              maybe run adam savage first thing in the morning or have a buffer of no talks before? people that want to see him wont miss anything else waiting for it

              a return to an interactive badge that doesnt require a soldering iron would be nice ...just as long as it is by christmas

              on the topic of parties .... seriously, someone needs to take the stick out of the rivieras ass
              this year was pathetic, I had less fun this year partly due to their retardation ... it is worse that the ninjas had to go offsite to do what they wanted

              I am excited about the vintage computing/hacking stuffs ... I expect to fire up my microvax soon to prepare

              Comment


              • #82
                Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

                I'm on well-traveled ground, but of course couldn't get off my a$$ to post until now...

                1) DC is starting to feel like the blackhat afterparty. I would like to see the two permanently decoupled. The BH attendees (no offense) who spill over are taking up space, but without corresponding addition to con revenue (their badge is included with the BH fee). Also, the two honestly have very different publics, although there is some cross over. The more BH-lite defcon becomes, the less fun and cool it is.

                2) The badges were a thing. I don't understand this, as it's simple logistics. The date they are needed is known, so get them to the venue by that date, period. I really love what kingpin does, and respect that it's done as a volunteer, but if we can't get the badge then it's just a schematic in a brochure.

                3) The lowered quality due to overcrowding will be a limiting factor by itself. There are two choices: slightly raise the price, but cap the attendance, making the overall experience better, or let "everyone" come, keep the price the same, and have it suck. Once it sucks, the attendance drops off, con revenue follows.

                4) Personally, Adam Savage is not the kind of presentation I want to see at defcon. I don't care what exposure or support he might bring us, because if he were going to do that he would be a regular con attendee. I also dispute the premise that we, as DC attendees, have some common "cause" that he can "support", as some posters indicated.

                I didn't see his preso, so I'm not saying it was bad: I'm saying that it's not really DC material, IMHO. I'm ok being disagreed with, so just hold the flames, it's an opinion.

                5) However, overall preso quality seemed to have dropped. Several were of course great, but many had glaring typos, or errors of fact, or were just poorly put together and rambling. I know, there's always some variability in this area, but this year just seemed to have more filler presentations, and more presos that were half-baked and not up to par. I'm not going to flame individual presenters, just making an observation.

                I didn't have a problem with the Riv, but I don't stay in the con hotel ever, so whatever. I'm also over the all-night party phase of my career, so that aspect is not interesting to me. I think as a con venue, it's very good. We just need to work out the crowd logistics. As a party hotel, it may not suffice, but that's another story.

                No offense to anyone, and seriously to DT, noid, highwiz, queeg, kingpin, priest, and everyone who's name I don't feel like typing, you guys make the whole thing go, and we so totally respect what you do, and thank you. This isn't a bitch post, I just wanted to offer some input on the whole thing, hoping to see it improve.

                0xeb3c90

                Comment


                • #83
                  Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

                  Originally posted by Malice View Post
                  1) ... The BH attendees (no offense) who spill over are taking up space, but without corresponding addition to con revenue (their badge is included with the BH fee). ...
                  Are you sure that no money from BH makes its way to Defcon to cover some of the costs, even if it is not the full amount of $120 per badge?

                  2) The badges were a thing. I don't understand this, as it's simple logistics. The date they are needed is known, so get them to the venue by that date, period. I really love what kingpin does, and respect that it's done as a volunteer, but if we can't get the badge then it's just a schematic in a brochure.
                  This was explained during the closing ceremonies as a snafu with import/shipping even though they were ordered even earlier than previous years. This was compounded with an estimation that the economy would slow things down, but based on the comments provided by some people who were only attending to see Adam Savage's talk, it is possible that the addition of his presentation brought more attendees than expected.

                  ...
                  This isn't a bitch post, I just wanted to offer some input on the whole thing, hoping to see it improve.
                  As we post in the rules, constructive criticism is not flaming.

                  I only responded to the items that I wanted to. The rest are available for others to reply to.

                  Thanks for contributing.

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

                    Originally posted by Malice View Post
                    5) However, overall preso quality seemed to have dropped. Several were of course great, but many had glaring typos, or errors of fact, or were just poorly put together and rambling.
                    I was not able to catch any presentations this year other than Hacking WiMax mixed with Mouse's lesson on tasting, but, from the summaries, I thought this year took a major turn for the better in terms of interesting content. In other words, I thought the content selected this year was excellent but, as stated in another thread, it is difficult to judge the quality of the presenter ahead of time.

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

                      Originally posted by Malice View Post
                      5) However, overall preso quality seemed to have dropped. Several were of course great, but many had glaring typos, or errors of fact, or were just poorly put together and rambling. I know, there's always some variability in this area, but this year just seemed to have more filler presentations, and more presos that were half-baked and not up to par. I'm not going to flame individual presenters, just making an observation.
                      The Shmoocon folks added a web-based feedback system for their talks this year and I think it was pretty well done. Speakers were given a special login and could check on comments that people left for them. I had a Sunday morning talk so i didn't expect much feedback, but I was pleasantly surprised: I had a bunch of comments about my talk and I appreciated it very much. The point I am trying to make: as a speaker I want feedback, and I think others would as well. If I say something that someone thinks is BS, I want and expect them to call me on it.

                      If speakers are offended that people have something negative to say about their presentation, then so be it. But if everyone sits on their hands, then the same speakers that bored them this year could get picked again next year, and so on. By providing constructive feedback, whether positive or negative, you are helping to improve speaker selection next year.
                      Last edited by theprez98; August 7, 2009, 17:44.
                      "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

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                      • #86
                        Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

                        Being DEFCON 18 dates have been set for July 29-Aug 1, 2009, does this mean the Riv will for sure be the location?

                        If so, that gives everybody an answer to that one and we can dedicate our efforts on how to make it work even better next year.

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

                          @TheCotMan: fair points, thanks...that's what I get for not coming Sunday hm? ;)

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

                            Yes, the Mystery Challenge for Defcon 18 has already started to be put together...

                            Next year will be a bang....

                            LosT

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                            • #89
                              Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

                              Just a minor point from a speakers perspective. It felt a little bit weird presenting at one side of the stage, seemed like it would be nicer to be presenting from the centre of the stage instead of one side.

                              Like I said, its a minor point but I felt like I would have been more comfortable in the centre of the stage. I had to remember to engage (eye contact etc) with the right hand side of the room whereas the left and left/centre of the room I naturally engaged with.

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                Re: Post DEFCON 17: thoughts, ideas, suggestions -- make Defcon 18 better!

                                Bringing back defcon TV would help a lot. Most of the time I'd rather watch a talk from the comfort of my room than fight the crowds.

                                I think that would help relieve congestion a bit.
                                "There are no failed experiments, only more data"

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