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Defcon 18: What to save, what to toss? Make Defcon 19 better!

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  • #31
    Re: Defcon 18: What to save, what to toss? Make Defcon 19 better!

    Oh I see. So how late is too late that one would receive a printed badge? Like after the con started? Or is it like something where I should be in line waiting some hours before its open like a midnight release for a new game?

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    • #32
      Re: Defcon 18: What to save, what to toss? Make Defcon 19 better!

      Originally posted by okiwan View Post
      Oh I see. So how late is too late that one would receive a printed badge? Like after the con started? Or is it like something where I should be in line waiting some hours before its open like a midnight release for a new game?
      It varies from year to year. This year (2010) badges arrived on-time, and were sold to people at BlackHat (?Caesar's Palace?) while being sold at Defcon (Riviera Hotel.) From descriptions, both lines were opened on the same day and the limited quantity of electronic badges were sold from both. There were reports that the line at Defcon sold out of electronic badges within a few hours, so only the people that arrived and waited in line early were able to acquire one of the electronic badges on Thursday at the Riviera Hotel.

      However, later on Thursday night, or early on Friday, "more electronic badges were found," and then put on sale early on Friday morning, providing an illusion that electronic badges were available all day Thursday and Friday morning. Attendees reports that there were no opportunities to trade-in non-electronic badges for electronic badges from the Friday batch.

      When the badges have not arrived on time, and have arrived in batches different times of the day, electronic badges have come up for sale unpredictably, with the people standing in line first, then non-electronic badges for several hours, and maybe more electronic badges later in that day, or just circuit boards with no electronics. This was 1 or 2 years ago, and people offered non-electronic badges were able to turn in their paper badges for electronic badges, and then later circuit boards.

      A few complications have combined to make acquiring badges, more complicated and less easy to predict.

      The introduction of electronic badges has necessarily made it more difficult to plan and deliver badges on-time. Electronic badge design, construction, assembly, export+customs, import+customs, and final transport. Failures or delays at any of these stages increases risk for not being on-time. Acquiring sufficient quantities of all necessary components on time, provides opportunity for delays or limits in how many badges can be built. joe Grand did much better at getting everything completed on-time, and with enough time to get through import/export to arrive on-time for sale this year (2010.) Even though we didn't have, "badges by Christmas" they were there on-time, and available for sale Thursday morning for this year.

      Previously, Thursday was reserved for unofficial Defcon Events. Badges were put up for sale on Thursdays, and the "die hard" Defcon people would show up on Thursday or earlier for unofficial pre-con events, and get a badge. Lines were not very long, because Defcon did not officially begin until Friday. Relatively recently, Thursday became an official part of Defcon, the same first day that badges are available for sale.

      Even with buying all available components for building badges this year (2010) there were not enough components to make 9000 badges. If I recall correctly, a maximum of 6000 badges could be fabricated because of part limitations. It is not clear if this 6000 badges was just human, or 6000 was split over all the different classes of badges (Press, Black, Human, Speaker, Goon, Vendor, ...) There may have been more than 6000 badges -- I was not there this year. All of the information I have is from user reports and claims, which has been contradictory. If we assume 1000 badges were saved for non-human classes, and then split between two sites (Black Hat and Defcon) then only the first 2500 people would get electronic badges unless people bought more than one, which seems likely. This could mean only the first 1000 people would actually get electronic badges assuming 2.5 badges per person.

      Combine a shortage of electronic badges for Humans, with the first day of official Defcon events to Thursday, and now you have an even larger group of people showing up on Thursday to stand in line, all understanding that they may not get an electronic badge if they don't stand in line, and you have longer lines, with people getting in line earlier and earlier every year.

      These are difficult problems to solve, and there are some bright people working on solving problems and learning from mistakes in previous years.

      Best suggestions:
      * If you absolutely want an electronic badge, then plan to arrive early enough to get in line on the first day of badge sales before there are over 1000 people ahead of you. However, once that is the norm, people will arrive even earlier.
      * Follow joe grand on twitter; if he tweets updates as often as for badges at Defcon 18, you should get some idea about how likely it will be that the will arrive on time.
      * Follow DT on twitter, as he often provides announcements about Defcon and Badges.

      Next: ask yourself if you really want to devote that much time to acquiring an electronic badge. If you are planning to enter the badge hacking contest, then it might be worth your time. If you are primarily attending Defcon for the presentations, or contests, or social offerings, you may be missing out on all of these by waiting in line and devoting so much time to guarantee you will get an electronic badge. If you just want a trinket to show off to your friends, or a souvenir, maybe the waiting in line will be worth it to you. (?)

      Some people say,"these problems didn't happen before we had electronic badges." To that I say, "yes they did. They really did happen." I remember Defcon 5 or 6, standing in line for 2 or 3 hours for a badge, and the line was not moving because badge sales did not open when they were scheduled to open. When the line finally did move and I finally got to the front of the line, there was one person taking cash and handing out badges. It was not until Defcon 8 or maybe 9? when someone had the bright idea to hire "a bunch of grannies" to sell badges that we actually had a very, very smooth badge sale at Defcon. These kinds of problems and solutions are growing pains, just like the others, and given enough time the organizers will find a solution to these problems too.

      If you do manage to go to Defcon for the first time next year, and you do find things you don't like, please, please, don't just complain. If you want to make a difference and improve Defcon, provide constructive criticism and suggestions here on the forums or elsewhere. Complaining without criticism does not help. If you find things that you do like, please provide comments about those, as it encourages behavior, services, and actions you enjoy.
      Last edited by TheCotMan; September 24, 2010, 01:30.

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      • #33
        Re: Defcon 18: What to save, what to toss? Make Defcon 19 better!

        WOW thanks for all the info! I do plan on entering the badge hacking contest if I can get one. I was loving all the videos of the different badge hacks. I dont have any friends to show it off too so thats not an option. lol. A souvenir, well of course. And trust me I'm not one to complain about things unless it really sucks. Being that its going on defcon 19 and so many people attend I'm sure it wont suck.
        btw: who is DT on twitter? is that short for something?

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        • #34
          Re: Defcon 18: What to save, what to toss? Make Defcon 19 better!

          Originally posted by okiwan View Post
          WOW thanks for all the info! I do plan on entering the badge hacking contest if I can get one. I was loving all the videos of the different badge hacks. I dont have any friends to show it off too so thats not an option. lol. A souvenir, well of course. And trust me I'm not one to complain about things unless it really sucks. Being that its going on defcon 19 and so many people attend I'm sure it wont suck.
          btw: who is DT on twitter? is that short for something?
          DT is short for the Dark Tangent (aka Jeff Moss); he's the founder of DefCon. His webpage is here: http://www.defcon.org/html/links/dtangent.html

          For DefCon related information on Twitter he uses the hash tag #defcon.

          Knowing who DT is comes under the heading of "things you should probably know before you go to DefCon". I know you're new and haven't attended DefCon, so you might want to read the official FAQ: http://www.defcon.org/html/links/dc-faq/dc-faq.html as well as the unofficial FAQ: http://defcon.stotan.org/faq/.
          Thorn
          "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

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          • #35
            Re: Defcon 18: What to save, what to toss? Make Defcon 19 better!

            Thanks. Ya I read those like a month ago. I just didn't remember if it mentioned DT. I know about him though I'v seen his interviews and what not.

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            • #36
              DC19 Rio Recon Thread

              Just got back from Vegas and did some *very* early recon. Won't go into too much detail just yet as I'm I'm tired, and a lot can change in 10 and a half months.

              Food: Counted 5 casino-side bars, usual Vegas pricing. Food from just about every part of the world you'd want to eat, and damn good based on the 2 places I ate (Pablo McFadden's and Iforgetthenamerightnow Chinese). Skimmed every menu in the hotel, expect prices to start around $15/plate and go to $50+, give or take a couple bucks.

              Pool area: Fecking awesome chillout space, staff is cool, chlorine smell is a tad harsh.

              Con space: Some IBM thing was going on while I was there, speaker space and hallway width trumps the Riv no questions asked, apparent reg area also huge in comparison. Many "Guest Internet Access" pay for time internet kiosks littering the area, and the walk between the con space and the casino floor can be a little treacherous when inebriated, a lot of sloping going on there...

              Stuff to do: Drink, gamble, gamble with cocktail waitresses dancing half naked atop your chosen slot machine, Penn & Teller, drink, eat.

              Pictures may or may not go up sometime soon when i go through all my crap.
              "You have cubed asscheeks?"... "Do you not?"

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              • #37
                Suggestion for DC19 ?

                Greetings all!

                Last year (DC18), there seemed to be a huge turnout of people. So much so, you ran out of Badges early. This of course does not account for the few who had handfuls of badges "for sale" at $300+ each earlier in the week at BlackHat.!

                It was nice that you had early registration at Blackhat,, but I got a better idea. I'm sure you've heard it before, but here goes....

                Not knowing the actual size of DC can be, why not just do Pre-Sales or Pre Registration so people can actually register early and RESERVE a badge!

                This way you could actually get a handle on HOW MANY to expect !! Not to mention how many to make up!


                Go ahead and throw Rio beads at me on this, but I was rather annoyed as were others that we did not get a badge as well as seeing others walking around with handfuls trying to sell them for obnoxious prices.


                Thanks!

                Look forward to the Rio this year and will be great to video the antics "up above"?

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                • #38
                  Re: Defcon 18: What to save, what to toss? Make Defcon 19 better!

                  From the Official DEFCON FAQ:

                  Can I pre-register for DEF CON?

                  No. We used to do this a long time ago, but found that managing the registration list, and preventing one 'Dr. Evil' from impersonating another 'Dr. Ev1l' too much of a hassle. Seeing how we would only take case in the first place, and things becomes time consuming and easy to abuse. Cash at the door works every time.

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                  • #39
                    Re: Defcon 18: What to save, what to toss? Make Defcon 19 better!

                    --Keep the pool open, killer bees be damned.

                    --Get the head of security on stage for three cheers of happiness at Opening Ceremonies. Riviera Security had issues with us while one felt out the position of the other. People were banned, private parties were shut down, Defcon goons were not always the final authority. It sucked.

                    --Folks are gathering at the Alexis Park because of what we missed at the Riviera. Defcon staff need to see the need for this ability to hang by the pool or in the hallways with a network jack and AC power. This is what we want, can we have it at the Rio? If it is not there, can we make it?

                    --Hallways sucked at the Riv, please tell me we can move around the Rio without mooing.

                    --If getting a piece of paper saying "This is a DC19 badge" and having it "laminated" with scotch tape is a possibility, then screw the electronic badges, I want something real. Most of my electronic badges have bit the dust but my DC9 squishy badge is alive and well. See: http://xkcd.com/889/

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                    • #40
                      Re: Defcon 18: What to save, what to toss? Make Defcon 19 better!

                      Originally posted by astcell View Post
                      ----Hallways sucked at the Riv, please tell me we can move around the Rio without mooing.
                      astcell,

                      The Halways are huge in the Rio. I posted a picture of them in the Rio recon post (page 5) here is the link.

                      https://forum.defcon.org/showthread.php?t=11709&page=5

                      I also read a post that the entire conference area at the Rio is going to be for Defcon, so we should have a much improved space compared to the Riv.

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