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HHV Perspective, post-con

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  • #16
    Re: HHV Perspective, post-con

    Originally posted by LosT View Post
    I made it up to the village to teach a class- I hope it was well received.

    The village was designed to be helpful for entry level people, and not just a "hack the badge only" place. I am disappointed in those that look for the HHV to be purely a hack the badge room, because that's not why I created it.
    I did see with a group gathered around for a bit, but I was stuck behind the bar answering questions and hoping I could do something with all the stuff I had laid out in front of me.

    I would like to see a lot more workshops, both for noobs and at least mid level breadboarders. Some subjects I would like to see covered are things like basic electrical theory (e=ir), micro controllers, Arduino and/or basic stamp, robots, etc. I also see no reason not to repeat the subjects once or twice so folks don't miss out. I would be more than happy to speak one or two topics.

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    • #17
      Re: HHV Perspective, post-con

      Originally posted by LosT View Post
      I am disappointed in those that look for the HHV to be purely a hack the badge room, because that's not why I created it.
      Understandable. The badge has a very limited scope. I would certainly agree that it would be better to have a "more diverse" HHV. Regardless of intent, it would seem the badge is the thing that draws most people into the village.

      Originally posted by LosT View Post
      The village was designed to be helpful for entry level people
      There certainly were plenty of them. I think some more structure to help the entry level people would be good. I heard lots of talk about HHV talks on the forums, and now people talking about giving them, but I spent quite a bit of time up there over several days and never noticed one.

      Where was the schedule posted? Did anyone think about getting it in the program? Has anyone thought about specifying a place to just have those talks to make them easier to find (or was that done and not made obvious)?

      I'm trying to think of anything to try and reduce the "I'll sit around and watch everyone else and hope I learn something" scenario.
      @Six_Volts

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      • #18
        Re: HHV Perspective, post-con

        One quick statement for those complaining about JTAG headers: you could have always soldered wires onto the pads and pluged them into the USB tap. I mean...it is called the Hardware HACKING Village for a reason. Things aren't always going to be so cleanly provided to you, thats what Radio Shack 100+ Circuit Kits are for. Joe did a great job with the pads by making them large and accessible for people (compare it trying to solder to the small artistic ones from last year!). Let's keep this in mind as we move forward: the HHV is there to create space for you to work, not provide you a service. As a volunteer I can tell you that we do not get paid, free admission, room credit, badges, or anything special like that. We are people who are paying our own money to come out to the conference and try to give you a hand. So please keep this in mind: it's not their job to cater to you at the con (even though some act like it is *cough*Bombnav*cough*).

        Originally posted by lexxmac View Post
        Understandable. The badge has a very limited scope. I would certainly agree that it would be better to have a "more diverse" HHV. Regardless of intent, it would seem the badge is the thing that draws most people into the village.
        I saw lots of non-badge related things going on. KillerSpud even put a challenge out for people to get a display to work and in return offered a kit from SparkFun he was given by them to give away. Lots of cool mini projects were going on and hacks for other competitions. By far my favorite was finding out that the Scavenger Hunt required DB25 connectors, which TieShort had just so happened to bring for people to practice soldering on.

        Originally posted by lexxmac View Post
        There certainly were plenty of them. I think some more structure to help the entry level people would be good.
        There is actually a fair bit more structure than you might realize. We had the greeter/Q&A desk where people asked questions and got answers, as well as the repair desk where repairs were being done. If anyone approached anyone behind the bars and asked, they were directed as such. I don't know how much more structured in that sense can we get.

        Originally posted by lexxmac View Post
        I heard lots of talk about HHV talks on the forums, and now people talking about giving them, but I spent quite a bit of time up there over several days and never noticed one.

        Where was the schedule posted? Did anyone think about getting it in the program? Has anyone thought about specifying a place to just have those talks to make them easier to find (or was that done and not made obvious)?
        As per discussion on the forums, any talks that we were told people wanted to GIVE were written on a white board that was hanging behind the bar closest to the Lockpicking Village. Also all talks were tweeted by @DC_HHV on #defcon and #hhv. While there really weren't that many, those we did have were announced that way.

        As someone who pushed strongly for talks this year I noticed the flaws in this quickly. One problem with talks is that it was kind of a 'no you jump in the pool first' situation. KillerSpud and I talked about giving talks but when you constantly have people coming up and asking questions, it's hard to take a break. The volunteers who had planned to do it were too busy. I don't know if scheduling this in advance would be any good but I really don't see this going in the program. Also - those working at the tables have in years past been unreceptive to talks and more upset that they were being asked to quiet down. Where LosT gave his talk I think was the best location for them to be given.

        Like it's been said: the HHV is still an experiment. Having been a volunteer since it started at DC16, I can say that I feel each year we've improved. A lot of this is due to the Goons like A, Kampf, Voltage Spike, and Phorkus who make sure that things run smooth on site. I enjoy working with these guys every year and I don't think enough thanks goes out to these guys. Without them the village would not be possible. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes that even I am not aware of and without it the village would not be possible. I think that with the new venue we will see lots of improvements. Look forward to fun times at the Rio next year!
        afterburn

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        • #19
          Re: HHV Perspective, post-con

          Originally posted by afterburn188 View Post
          The volunteers who had planned to do it were too busy.
          I'm volunteering to help as much as humanly possible, but I keep getting the "we're already doing it right -- gah" vibe. I for one can volunteer to spend nearly the entire next con in the HHV if it would help. I know at least one friend I can bring with me who is equally well equipped to help and devoted to helping others learn about hardware.

          Originally posted by afterburn188 View Post
          I don't know if scheduling this in advance would be any good but I really don't see this going in the program.
          You can't try to attend something unless you know when and where it is going to occur. It needs to be scheduled (and not on a white board that you have to walk several hundred feet away from the main con area to see). Why not put in the program? Is the HHV the scared, beaten step-child of the con? There's a first time for everything. A page with HHV info in the program would add almost nil to the cost of the program. I will personally do the page layout for the program if somebody else thinks it is such a burden.
          @Six_Volts

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          • #20
            Re: HHV Perspective, post-con

            Originally posted by lexxmac View Post
            You can't try to attend something unless you know when and where it is going to occur. It needs to be scheduled (and not on a white board that you have to walk several hundred feet away from the main con area to see). Why not put in the program? Is the HHV the scared, beaten step-child of the con? There's a first time for everything. A page with HHV info in the program would add almost nil to the cost of the program. I will personally do the page layout for the program if somebody else thinks it is such a burden.
            Such information can be added to the program, but it needs to be submitted at least 1 or 2 months before con, and 3 or 4 months is safer. This can be a difficult thing for most anything at Defcon, as people's plans change at the last minute, and then the schedule of things has to change making the information in the program incorrect, causing people to be unhappy that the thing that was claimed to happen didn't happen as claimed.

            You could ask the speaker goons about keeping things on schedule, or DT, or Nikita, or nearly anyone that has ever tried to run something at Defcon. Often the chaos is described as something like herding cats with ADD in a treasure room.... "Ooooh! Shiny!"

            Bringing order to the Chaos of Defcon is a very difficult thing to do.

            You all could look to using a wiki and include a link to the wiki in the event description submitted for addition to the program, or twitter announcements of any number of other things.

            The really good news for the HHV, is it sounds like you are really interested in volunteering and it is good to see such a positive attitude towards contributing to make things better at Defcon. Good luck with your interests in helping the HHV.

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            • #21
              Re: HHV Perspective, post-con

              I'm working on designing a wearable badge that will teach soldering for next year.

              It will take a fair amount of time to construct, 2-3 hours as it will have just under 400 joints on it. The goal is to turn someone afraid of a soldering iron into a hand soldering power house, and there is a certain amount of pride about having something you built actually work the first time.

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              • #22
                Re: HHV Perspective, post-con

                I don't know how "inviting" the HHV needs to be; the whole of DC can feel uninviting at times. That said the HHV was very comfortable to me. But then it's a place where I can plop down, and listen to other folks' issues, and offer help. Yep, soldering to aluminum substrate boards is a pain; we've done a number of high power LED designs and that's the tough bit whether by hand or by reflow.

                The one thing I agree would make the HHV would be a vendor or two nearby with parts/kits. Otherwise the vibe is cool, the place is great.

                Hopefully next year my travel won't be screwed up last minute and I'll be able to bring my stuff. I'd feel like I could help/do more with my porta-lab on hand. Again, great vibe, was happy to help some folks with the "pulled battery pad and why can't I solder to this thing?" problems, no real complaints. Crowded rooms of people who seem more intent on what they are doing than saying howdy and slightly chaotic schedules of talks and happenings are par for the course at Defcon. It can be overwhelming -- hell I hardly talked to anyone at the forum meet -- but let go of the worries, find a groove that works for you, and do stuff.
                TSA luvs my Uzi.

                "We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time." -T.S. Eliot

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                • #23
                  Re: HHV Perspective, post-con

                  This year HHV did feel less crowded, which was nice for those of us who really just want to play around in there most of the time. While I loved the extra space, I was sad there wasn't more activity. The HHV staff were awesome as usual, but they looked more bored than past years. I understand the kits being sold in the vendor area was for a specific purpose, but I think they should have been sold right there. Last year that seemed to get a lot of people to feel more comfortable diving right in. They encouraged a lot of newbies to learn how to solder, ask what does what, and I know that I made a bunch of new buddies while I was working on mine last year.

                  I won't go on about the power issue since it's understandable. Plus, I kinda bitched about it to VoltageSpike about it at the Ninja Party in my drunken stupor.

                  I have a feeling that Rio will be better prepared for our power consumption issues.

                  DCFlux, I would love to help you with that. I want to contribute to HHV more, but I am no expert. So if you want someone to help test or whatnot, let me know. We were kind of kicking around the idea of a learners kit too since I'm still learning, and helping another newbie at the same time.

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                  • #24
                    Re: HHV Perspective, post-con

                    The comments and criticism will help for next year, so keep both coming.
                    #ut2600 / #dc-forums | EFNet

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                    • #25
                      Re: HHV Perspective, post-con

                      Anyone know the diameter of the lanyard hole that is on this years badge?

                      The hardware looks good, but the software could use improvement. Also I am using a microcontroller from 6 years ago, so I might change it to something a little more modern, but I don't know if I can find something with enough I/O pins. I suppose I could do the bus thing but than I need 5 chips instead of 1. and I'm trying to keep component count to a bare minimum.

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                      • #26
                        Re: HHV Perspective, post-con

                        Looks like it's 6mm.
                        #ut2600 / #dc-forums | EFNet

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                        • #27
                          Re: HHV Perspective, post-con

                          HHV Talks:
                          I think making a hard schedule for the talks 4 months out is a bit optimistic. I don't doubt that everyone intends to attend, but things change and life happens (and somebody might forget while sitting in a track). To remedy this I propose a much more open paradigm, that each talk be written as a group (probably using the wiki proposed earlier) and the actual speaker be selected of volunteered shortly before. The way I see it, any HHV denizen is should be adequately versed on all of the possible topics, even if they are a bit nervous when standing in front of a group.

                          Kits / badges:
                          I appreciate DCFlux's enthusiasm in designing a kit for guests to get started with, but by all means, don't keep it to yourself. I have a few ideas to chip in myself (like tonnes of LEDs and the possibility of using them as touch sensors). If you would be so kind, start a new thread and lets have some discussion.

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                          • #28
                            Re: HHV Perspective, post-con

                            DCFluX: I've already got a small device that is designed to be a "soldering kit" that could be very easily modified to be a badge (I think an older version of it was a badge for a summer "engineering" camp). The code for it is written and several groups of students from middle school through college freshman have built the kit. It uses a freescale microcontroller and a 5x3 array of 5mm LEDs. Its 100% though-hole and costs around $10. I'd be happy to collaborate on it with you.
                            @Six_Volts

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                            • #29
                              Re: HHV Perspective, post-con

                              Originally posted by afterburn188 View Post
                              We are people who are paying our own money to come out to the conference and try to give you a hand. So please keep this in mind: it's not their job to cater to you at the con (even though some act like it is *cough*Bombnav*cough*).

                              Hey I am getting better I think I did very well... heck I even had time to learn something and have time to eat this year.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: HHV Perspective, post-con

                                Originally posted by lexxmac View Post
                                I'm volunteering to help as much as humanly possible, but I keep getting the "we're already doing it right -- gah" vibe. I for one can volunteer to spend nearly the entire next con in the HHV if it would help. I know at least one friend I can bring with me who is equally well equipped to help and devoted to helping others learn about hardware.



                                You can't try to attend something unless you know when and where it is going to occur. It needs to be scheduled (and not on a white board that you have to walk several hundred feet away from the main con area to see). Why not put in the program? Is the HHV the scared, beaten step-child of the con? There's a first time for everything. A page with HHV info in the program would add almost nil to the cost of the program. I will personally do the page layout for the program if somebody else thinks it is such a burden.

                                Lex, I look forward to working with you next year so make sure to checkin next year with A. Next year there are a lot of unknows due to a new venue... heck we might be out in the open next to the vendor area... who knows... and the unknown is what makes DEFCON great for me.

                                I usually bring tooo much to the HHV so get with me next year and lets work a public domain parts point for the HHV where we can give out resisitors (I have a lot that Russ brought to the village that will return as well as smt badge parts Joe dropped off) and LEDs to the masses.

                                I was like you when I started working in the first HHV and have learned that the community sets the stage for how the HHV will be used. But there is always another way to do things and your input will be valued by me so lets keep in touch.

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