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  • Matchstick Men 2010

    CONs 2010

    If you only had time for 1 Conference in 2010, which Conference would it be??
    Excluding Defcon.

    Thanks for the input.

  • #2
    Re: Matchstick Men 2010

    wow... i'm sure somehow on this list i'm going to upset some people but here's my overall rundown for awesome cons (take this as you wish... but i didn't want to limit to one answer since everyone is different)

    First, my Top Three Small Cons...

    1. ShmooCon - Far and away, this would be my favorite con on just about any list. DEFCON is its own unique animal, sort of unclassifiable, but ShmooCon actually does fill the "small con" "knowledge con" and "party con" categories with top marks all around. See other threads dealing with competition for the tickets to understand why it's so awesome.

    2. CarolinaCon - Perhaps the most accessible and least-appreciated "small con" out there. This one is very small (in the "single track" category) but full of clue and good people. Easy to get to, cheap to attend, and full of boozy win... you may not get an expense report honored for this con, but i give it high marks.

    3. PhreakNIC - I feel bad that i've never made it to PhreakNIC... the calendar just always has a way of failing me. It's sort of halfway between ShmooCon and CarolinaCon in size and scope, i'd say... small con feel with big con clue and drunkenness like only southerners in a boring place can do.

    (yes, a lot of small con web sites are less than helpful... the nature of the beast. it's just one of many things that make actually attending feel like an accomplishment in itself!)


    Cons with International Flavor...

    1. ekoparty - Coolest con i've seen overseas thus far. Very non-corporate... taking place in a huge warehouse with thumping music and demoscene videos on all the walls (think "hangout area" and "CTF" and "lockpick village" and "hardware village" all in one big room) and a large talk track upstairs, the vibe at ekoparty is amazing. It's a lot like the older hacker cons that "seemed" like nothing but a big party but actually were full of wisdom. Plus, travel in Argentina is not taxing economically and most people there will help with as much English as they can muster. Also, if you're going with friends, chances are good that someone in your circle speaks Spanish. That's not as easy if, say, you're hitting one of the Norwegian cons.

    2. DeepSec - smaller than ekoparty and a little more suit-and-tie, DeepSec is a good mix of 50% techy-Black-Hat-ish material and 50% goofy-black-hat-fun (notice differing capitalization)... and a huge part of the appeal of DeepSec is getting to hang out at the MetaLab each night. They are a really great example of what a hacker space can be like if it really develops.


    Cons that Happen Only Sometimes...

    1. Dutch Hacker Camp - i missed HIP, i missed HAL, i missed WTH... i finally got over there for HAR and holy shit was i blown away. if you have to choose one single crazy overseas con experience just once in your life... this would be it. The CCC fans will disagree with me perhaps, and maybe they're right, but i have no point of comparison other than to say that this was the most remarkable experience at a con (from an "overall time spent" perspective) that i can recall in a long time. this video captures a little bit of the magic. keep in mind that basically everything you see featuring blinking lights is all network-enabled and that anyone who can find the connection to any specific device can program and upload their own patterns which got added to the repertoire. you also catch a glimpse of the sky artwork that Marius and the whole MetaLab crew put together one night. You put hackers together in the right sort of scene and the most amazing art happens.

    2. HOPE - A sort of approximation to the european hack camps, HOPE comes once every few years and while there are surely detractors who will speak ill of it, i'll say that there really aren't any other cons that compare to it for what it is. those who attend can tell you that it's not in any way a "competitor" to DEFCON or the cons we know and love in that vein... it's just a whole other animal. it has the biggest draw for a lot of our friends across the pond and keeps a more "open to crazy side projects" atmosphere than i think DEFCON does due mostly to the fact that the hotel is so much shadier and the space isn't as nice. You just don't tend to see gigantic, light-up dildo artwork at a Vegas casino. At HOPE it's nothing unusual.


    Cons you're most likely to get your boss to pay for...

    1. ShakaCon - if you can get it expensed... this is the one to hit. there are loads of really, really good speakers and talks making it totally justifiable from a business perspective... but let's be frank, the main reason this rocks is because you're in fucking Hawaii. Check out the two photo galleries here and here. One year i brought Jackalope, another time i brought Daisy... both trips were fantastic for all involved. And you never can tell who else will show up, like Pyr0 from the 303 or Andrea and Daniele, the laser-keyboard-sniffing Italians. Joe McCray was a spot of fun, as was Morgan from New Zealand. Each trip was remarkable and the photos tell the story... it's like 25% con, 75% socializing with people on the islands. Once you get there, things aren't super expensive if you know what to hit. Try it... your boss just might approve! (Or they'll select themselves for training that year instead of you)

    2. SecTor & LayerOne - tied for second place in this category. Both are conferences with a lot of good content from a business perspective, but they're in cities that can be rather expensive with a limited social scene unless you have friends and associates already there. i've been to both, and would repeat the journey again... but it's a lot easier if you have someone paying your way from a business standpoint. I've had to forego these cons occasionally in the past due to money reasons. if you can make the dollars work out in your favor, by all means they're a good choice.
    Last edited by Deviant Ollam; November 10, 2009, 09:11.
    "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


    • #3
      Re: Matchstick Men 2010

      Originally posted by Deviant Ollam View Post
      wow... i'm sure somehow on this list i'm going to upset some people but here's my overall rundown for awesome cons (take this as you wish... but i didn't want to limit to one answer since everyone is different)

      First, my Top Three Small Cons...

      1. ShmooCon - Far and away, this would be my favorite con on just about any list. DEFCON is its own unique animal, sort of unclassifiable, but ShmooCon actually does fill the "small con" "knowledge con" and "party con" categories with top marks all around. See other threads dealing with competition for the tickets to understand why it's so awesome.

      2. CarolinaCon - Perhaps the most accessible and least-appreciated "small con" out there. This one is very small (in the "single track" category) but full of clue and good people. Easy to get to, cheap to attend, and full of boozy win... you may not get an expense report honored for this con, but i give it high marks.

      3. PhreakNIC - I feel bad that i've never made it to PhreakNIC... the calendar just always has a way of failing me. It's sort of halfway between ShmooCon and CarolinaCon in size and scope, i'd say... small con feel with big con clue and drunkenness like only southerners in a boring place can do.

      (yes, a lot of small con web sites are less than helpful... the nature of the beast. it's just one of many things that make actually attending feel like an accomplishment in itself!)

      Thats it. You're off my Christmas card list..

      Originally posted by Deviant Ollam View Post

      Cons you're most likely to get your boss to pay for...

      2. SecTor & LayerOne - tied for second place in this category. Both are conferences with a lot of good content from a business perspective, but they're in cities that can be rather expensive with a limited social scene unless you have friends and associates already there. i've been to both, and would repeat the journey again... but it's a lot easier if you have someone paying your way from a business standpoint. I've had to forego these cons occasionally in the past due to money reasons. if you can make the dollars work out in your favor, by all means they're a good choice.
      Well OK then..You're back on now. Not the good card list..you get the ones I send to family..not the funny irreverent ones...We'll play it by ear from here..

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

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Matchstick Men 2010

        Originally posted by noid View Post
        Thats it. You're off my Christmas card list.

        ...

        Well OK then..You're back on now.
        heh, i was wondering if you'd wind up replying to my post. yeah, i totally see a difference between CarolinaCon/PhreakNIC and LayerOne in the sense that the former are more social (and harder for someone to get their boss to pay for) but instead you've tried to move your conference more into the professional vein (primarily i see this in how you handle the CFP process and overall registration, etc)

        heh, as long as folk don't let their company see photos from Freakshow Deluxe their expense reports should sail through.

        i suppose that even my generalizations about the social scene are slanted due to my being from the east coast. i find it easier to hop, skip, and jump down to things like CarolinaCon (or even NotACon which wasn't on the list since they're having some trouble, in my mind, defining what they want their conference to be) whereas people who can treat LayerOne as more of a social event are all west-coast based.

        how is L1 shaping up for this year, by the way? any possible dates or locations yet?
        "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


        • #5
          Re: Matchstick Men 2010

          Thanks Deviant,

          Your reply was great, just what I was looking for, On a budget, And will probably only get enough time off work for 1 con,

          Experience and Socializing is what i was looking for.
          I will post which i decided when the time comes

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Matchstick Men 2010

            Originally posted by Fidel904 View Post
            Thanks Deviant
            you're welcome. i realize, i failed to ask... from where would you be coming in order to attend? that can factor in a whole lot if you're on a budget.

            also, i posted predominantly from a North-American viewpoint. yes, i included a few "international" cons but i could speak further about many others if they're more relevant to you.
            "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


            • #7
              Re: Matchstick Men 2010

              I only go to one con a year and it's Shmoocon. I've been to all of them except for the first one, and I always enjoy it. Work pays all my expenses to go so it's even better.

              I find it to be nice and personal, easy to find people to talk, and just generally a lot of fun. I'd recommend it, if you're on the East Coast.

              Plus Bruce and Heidi rock, and Deviant and Toool crew are always a lot of fun in the Lockpick village.
              A third party security audit is the IT equivalent of a colonoscopy. It's long, intrusive, very uncomfortable, and when it's done, you'll have seen things you really didn't want to see, and you'll never forget that you've had one.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Matchstick Men 2010

                Im in North Florida,

                Shmoocon sounds like the best choice so far...
                Never been to Washington DC before so it sounds like i might be able to hit a couple of birds with one stone.

                Thanks a lot for the advice, any other hints or tips would be appreciated, On things to do while @ Shmoocon

                Very interested in craft brews if anyone is into the same and is going to be at Shmoocon,
                We should swap info...


                Thanks

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Matchstick Men 2010

                  Originally posted by Fidel904 View Post
                  Never been to Washington DC before ... hints or tips would be appreciated, On things to do while @ Shmoocon
                  the conference itself is always richly full of content and activities, day and night... so seeing other parts of the city (which i would surely recommend if you haven't been to DC) is best done before or after. i tend to always arrive on wednesday at the latest (preferably tuesday) and just see the city overall... i really don't tire of walking around the main Mall and just stopping in the monuments to reflect, etc. Making the walk out around the basin to the Jefferson is my favorite part.

                  The Smithsonian, Air & Space Museum, etc... these are all fantastic choices, too. If you have a vehicle, getting out of the city to see the NSA Crypto museum is also a good choice.

                  Originally posted by Fidel904 View Post
                  Very interested in craft brews
                  You may be very interested, then, in the Brickskeller and Royal Food and Drink. I don't know how much of their selection is gimmicky vs. how much is true, interesting craft brewing... but someone who is really into it could find some use in a trip there, i'd bet. The Brickskeller is within walking distance (a mile or so) of the con hotel.
                  "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


                  • #10
                    Re: Matchstick Men 2010

                    Originally posted by Deviant Ollam View Post
                    2. CarolinaCon - Perhaps the most accessible and least-appreciated "small con" out there. This one is very small (in the "single track" category) but full of clue and good people. Easy to get to, cheap to attend, and full of boozy win... you may not get an expense report honored for this con, but i give it high marks.
                    Thanks for pointing that out — that's in my backyard and I had no freaking idea... :)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Matchstick Men 2010

                      Another new arrival on the scene for the "small con" world... QuahogCon. we have yet to see what it will be like, as the first one is in April... but if any of you folk east of the Mississippi are not too burned out from NotACon, it's the following weekend. I've been invited to bring some lockpicky-goodness... and i get to hang with my brother Che for the first time in ages.
                      "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
                        Re: Matchstick Men 2010

                        Originally posted by Deviant Ollam View Post
                        Another new arrival on the scene for the "small con" world... QuahogCon. we have yet to see what it will be like, as the first one is in April... but if any of you folk east of the Mississippi are not too burned out from NotACon, it's the following weekend. I've been invited to bring some lockpicky-goodness... and i get to hang with my brother Che for the first time in ages.
                        I have a CFP or two submitted and am looking forward to heading up to Providence in the spring. I am thinking of bringing the family along too.
                        "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Matchstick Men 2010

                          Are there any cons that happen in or near Atlanta? I've seen an old post about "Atlanta Hacker Con", but I wasn't sure if they still have that. I'm supposed to be living down there for a little while next year - I'd love it if I could go to my first hacker con and my first anime con in the same year :)

                          Also, is Carolina Con always in Chapel Hill, NC? I wish I'd known more about it, and maybe I would have gone this year

                          Any other good ones on the East Coast that haven't been mentioned yet?
                          "Why is it drug addicts and computer afficionados are both called users? " - Clifford Stoll

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Matchstick Men 2010

                            Originally posted by Deviant Ollam View Post
                            Another new arrival on the scene for the "small con" world... QuahogCon. we have yet to see what it will be like, as the first one is in April... but if any of you folk east of the Mississippi are not too burned out from NotACon, it's the following weekend. I've been invited to bring some lockpicky-goodness... and i get to hang with my brother Che for the first time in ages.
                            Cool. I can drive to Providence in about 3 hours. This one sounds like a winner.

                            EDIT: Considering this is QuahogCon, I should have said "Giggidy giggidy giggidy!" instead of 'cool.'
                            Last edited by Thorn; December 10, 2009, 10:53.
                            Thorn
                            "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Matchstick Men 2010

                              Originally posted by AgentDarkApple View Post
                              Are there any cons that happen in or near Atlanta?
                              well... there's SummCon, which is actually the oldest continually-active con in the hacker scene! granted, it has nowhere near the following that DEFCON does and isn't large by any measure, but it has been around forever (for one year longer than DEFCON, i believe) and can still be some fun. SummerCon had moved around a whole lot for a long time, but for the past few years it's been localized in Atlanta. There are good talks and such, but the main focus really is just majorly drunken madness. To get an idea of this, you can check this video... my SD card had too much on it and the camera stopped recording after just 10 minutes, but you surely get an idea of the atmosphere at SummerCon by giving that a look, hah. [31 MB, XviD]

                              Originally posted by AgentDarkApple View Post
                              is Carolina Con always in Chapel Hill, NC?
                              from what i understand, yes. or someplace really close. i believe this is determined simply around hotel availability, etc.

                              Originally posted by AgentDarkApple View Post
                              Any other good ones on the East Coast that haven't been mentioned yet?
                              i don't think people have mentioned PumpCon yet. technically, this is an invite-only event... but if you know anyone in the philly area (and you do, given that you're on these forums and know me, xor, etc... i think that maybe even streaker has been to a PumpCon and knows the location.) or if you can use some Google-fu to figure out which hotel it's always held at, you're more than welcome to join us. It's almost always right on Halloween weekend, so that can make life hard for people with families (that's also why a lot of us missed PhreakNIC this year, we enjoy handing out candy to kids... and that's the one time of year we can do it from our houses as opposed to our vans.)

                              Originally posted by Thorn View Post
                              Cool. I can drive to Providence in about 3 hours. This one sounds like a winner.
                              sweet, man! i'll see you there!
                              "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

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