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  • Newbie Track

    I was unable to attend this year (a problem I will rectify this next year) but one of the things I missed that I really wanted to go to was the newbie track. I'm past the point I think where I can benefit from anything in viewing such a thing, so I'd like to help organize and maybe do a small talk about making your own hacklab. What did others think about the newbie track this last year?
    "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"."

  • #2
    Re: Newbie Track

    Originally posted by g3k_ View Post
    I was unable to attend this year (a problem I will rectify this next year) but one of the things I missed that I really wanted to go to was the newbie track. I'm past the point I think where I can benefit from anything in viewing such a thing, so I'd like to help organize and maybe do a small talk about making your own hacklab. What did others think about the newbie track this last year?
    This being my first year at DefCon, I felt like the Newbie Track might be a fun thing to see. I was right. It went over some of the ground rules, both written and spoken, such as not being an asshat, no photos unless given permission, etc. Most of the speeches had a good element of humor; I assume this was to lighten the mood a bit. It worked. Overall, it was a great presentation. It felt almost like an indoctrination, a welcome into the community.

    The one thing that stuck out most is this powerful quote by HighWiz:


    Thieves steal
    Con-artists scam
    Vandals deface
    Criminals commit crimes
    ...
    Hackers create, improve, explore, and discover.
    And honest-to-God that's all I have to say about that.

    Mundus Vult Decipi

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    • #3
      Re: Newbie Track

      Speaking for myself, having been to enough DEFCONs that my liver will never be the same, and having attended the "newbie talks" last year, if they happen again this year, I don't know how well a talk on hacklabs would fit in with the rest of the subject matter. Perhaps you might want to consider submitting for a turbo track spot come CFP time? To answer your question as to what I thought, I got a kick out of it. Great info for getting your feet wet, and I can say that the DEFCON virgin I brought along got a lot out of the talks as far as an introduction to what she was in for.
      "You have cubed asscheeks?"... "Do you not?"

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      • #4
        Re: Newbie Track

        I think I'd prefer to have the newbie track be in parallel with defcon. For example, have Room #x always be beginner talks. That way people don't have to take more time off work, spend more nights at the hotel, etc if they don't need to. Plus it won't conflict with blackhat, which many defcon volunteers also work at.
        --- The fuck? Have you ever BEEN to Defcon?

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        • #5
          Re: Newbie Track

          Originally posted by kallahar View Post
          I think I'd prefer to have the newbie track be in parallel with defcon. For example, have Room #x always be beginner talks. That way people don't have to take more time off work, spend more nights at the hotel, etc if they don't need to. Plus it won't conflict with blackhat, which many defcon volunteers also work at.
          I agree, this is kind of how I imagined the Newbie Track to be last year when we started talking about it. I was slightly disappointed when I heard the podcast of it (while cool as it was) It would almost be cool if the talks (in general) were rated by skill level (skiddie, moderate skill, advanced, leet haxxor, etc)
          "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"."

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Newbie Track

            Originally posted by kallahar View Post
            I think I'd prefer to have the newbie track be in parallel with defcon. For example, have Room #x always be beginner talks. That way people don't have to take more time off work, spend more nights at the hotel, etc if they don't need to. Plus it won't conflict with blackhat, which many defcon volunteers also work at.
            There was a time when Defcon had 3 tracks, and the labeled the tracks something like "newbie" "Hax0r" and "Uber Hax0r". The name "Newbie" (or whatever it was) didn't really have many people in it, and some of the people presenting were not happy with their topic being labeled "newbie." I attended some of the presentations in the "newbie" track, and the room was nearly empty. The room for "Hax0r" was usually full, and the "uber hax0r" track had more people than the newbie track, but was mostly empty. Not all presentations in each track followed this pattern of occupancy, but it remained the general trend over Defcon.

            It is rather silly for would-be hackers to be so easily influenced and controlled by labels, but it might be better received if it was called "Intro" or "Introductory" assuming this idea was brought back at the next Defcon.

            (Of course, I should mention, there was once a time when Defcon had one track. :-)

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            • #7
              Re: Newbie Track

              Originally posted by kallahar View Post
              I think I'd prefer to have the newbie track be in parallel with defcon. For example, have Room #x always be beginner talks. That way people don't have to take more time off work, spend more nights at the hotel, etc if they don't need to. Plus it won't conflict with blackhat, which many defcon volunteers also work at.
              I agree 100%. I have thought that ditching the introductory track a few years back was a mistake. I think that track should return but that those talks should be in parallel with the rest of DEF CON. I would personally rather have no introductory track than Thrusday DEF CON...a battle I don't think I'll be winning.
              perl -e 'print pack(c5, (41*2), sqrt(7056), (unpack(c,H)-2), oct(115), 10)'

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              • #8
                Re: Newbie Track

                I’ve been thinking on this for a little bit because at least to me, it seemed like the original intent of the Thursday intro was just to introduce people to Defcon itself and what to expect, and then grew a great deal from there. Personally I enjoyed having a "here is what Defcon is all about" talk before the Con got started, but I had very little interest in any of the other talks that day. I love the idea of an "intro" track at Defcon as long as it was more of an Intro to different skills and programs, not an intro to Defcon itself. I think having just the one "Defcon 101" talk on Thursday and then having tutorial and intro talks to hacking the rest of the con as its own track would be pretty awesome. The track wouldn't even need to be just for people who are new to hacking, but could even be for people just not familiar with a certain program. I went to a couple talks I knew would be over my head just because I was trying to learn a particular program and was hoping to grab some insight. An intro to metasploit talk would be pretty cool in my opinion and I can think of many other programs (nessus, nmap, etc) that many people might find useful even as a refresher course.
                Not every problem, nor every thesis, should be examined, but only one which might puzzle one of those who needs argument

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                • #9
                  Re: Newbie Track

                  I know I'm looking to attend DefCon for my first time this year, but coming from Wisconsin, I'd first be able to get there on Friday. Having a place for the newbie's to go on Friday and start slowly would be great. I can say that I think I know more than a complete newbie, but yet I don't know as much as I would need to attend the majority of the talks, or even compete in a few of the activities, like many of the Haxor level attendees would know.

                  Just the ramblings of a newbie.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Newbie Track

                    Originally posted by Viktor View Post
                    I know I'm looking to attend DefCon for my first time this year, but coming from Wisconsin, I'd first be able to get there on Friday. Having a place for the newbie's to go on Friday and start slowly would be great. I can say that I think I know more than a complete newbie, but yet I don't know as much as I would need to attend the majority of the talks, or even compete in a few of the activities, like many of the Haxor level attendees would know.

                    Just the ramblings of a newbie.
                    You gotta get there before Friday. Everything is cranking by 10AM on Friday. Thursday is good to get your badge, get your swag, attend some of the Thursday talks (assuming they are a "GO" this year), and enjoy Vegas with some CON goers or others that come with you.

                    You don't want to get stuck in the badge line on Friday and use half the damn day waiting to get a badge. I know there's talk of hassle-free badges and a mayhem-free process of getting badges this coming year, but why chance it?

                    Come join the crowds on Thursday -- we're bringing about 20 from South Dakota. A group that includes 2 faculty members and 15-20 college students. Oh, boy.......

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                    • #11
                      Re: Newbie Track

                      I plan to reduce Thursday a bit from last year, keep some newbie stuff, but really try to up the social aspect, give people arriving early places to hang out, DJ lounges, etc. You won't need a badge to just hang out, but once we start badging people Later Thursday you will.
                      PGP key: dtangent@defcon.org valid 2020 Jan 15, to 2024 Jan 01 Fingerprint: BC5B CD9A C609 1B6B CD81 9636 D7C6 E96C FE66 156A

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                      • #12
                        Re: Newbie Track

                        Originally posted by Dark Tangent View Post
                        I plan to reduce Thursday a bit from last year, keep some newbie stuff, but really try to up the social aspect, give people arriving early places to hang out, DJ lounges, etc. You won't need a badge to just hang out, but once we start badging people Later Thursday you will.
                        Sounds like a killer plan. Last year's Thursday experiment is something that I'm sure will evolve over time, be tweaked, grow shrink, etc. until it's just right, whatever that may be. Aside from hopping into the badge line at 0700 or 0800, there wasn't a whole lot of a social atmosphere. A place for people to gather and socialize on Thursday would be welcome.
                        "You have cubed asscheeks?"... "Do you not?"

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                        • #13
                          Re: Newbie Track

                          Originally posted by Dark Tangent View Post
                          I plan to reduce Thursday a bit from last year, keep some newbie stuff, but really try to up the social aspect, give people arriving early places to hang out, DJ lounges, etc. You won't need a badge to just hang out, but once we start badging people Later Thursday you will.
                          I plan to attend Defcon for the first time this year and I am trying to figure out what time I should arrive on Thursday. I want to catch any newbie/intro talks that are given that day. Can anyone give me some advice as to what might be a good time to arrive so I'll be able to catch as much of the con as possible?

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                          • #14
                            Re: Newbie Track

                            Originally posted by hack4ce View Post
                            I plan to attend Defcon for the first time this year and I am trying to figure out what time I should arrive on Thursday. I want to catch any newbie/intro talks that are given that day. Can anyone give me some advice as to what might be a good time to arrive so I'll be able to catch as much of the con as possible?
                            Welcome, and I hope your first DEFCON is a great experience for you. Speaking for myself, I tend to arrive either early Thursday morning (dawn-ish) or late Thursday morning (10-ish) depending on how quickly I can get my shit together, as I drive. Usually a good time frame, however this year, I'm heading out Wednesday evening to avoid the sleep deprivation aspect of my usual Thursday drive. I suppose it would depend mostly on what you have to do to get to Vegas that would determine the best time for you to arrive; early and well rested is a good philosophy.
                            "You have cubed asscheeks?"... "Do you not?"

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                            • #15
                              Re: Newbie Track

                              Originally posted by sintax_error View Post
                              Welcome, and I hope your first DEFCON is a great experience for you.
                              This will, hopefully, be my first year attending also. According to my DC guys I should try and shoot for thursday so I can make the defcon shoot along with getting their and helping out with anything that needs help with. (Yes I am in a round about way offering up my services for monkey butler but that is a side point.) I'm definitely looking foward to it since I got to watch all the talks for DC17. Hope to see all ya'll soon.
                              Saving the world one computer at a time...

                              or possibly destroying, I haven't figured that out yet.

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