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  • Interesting writeup....

    I came across this http://allthatiswrong.wordpress.com/...con-18-part-2/ which I thought was pretty interesting.

    What do you think?

  • #2
    Re: Interesting writeup....

    Originally posted by DarthSnader View Post
    I came across this http://allthatiswrong.wordpress.com/...con-18-part-2/ which I thought was pretty interesting.

    What do you think?
    I've gone to the last three DEFCONs only, but there's ONE thing I tell everyone that is thinking about going (or has gone) -- and I can't stress this enough:

    DEFCON is 100% what you make of it. If you're bored, you're not putting in the effort to find something that interests you!!


    Good lord, there's something for everybody. Talks, swag, vendor areas, Hardware Hacking Village, Chill-out areas, pool areas, goofy-ass contests (Yes, I'm looking at you Deviant for the BCCC ), CTF, all the other contests, after-hour parties, Shoot, and the list goes on and on. When in doubt, go buy a couple of beers and sit down and start visiting with somebody.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Interesting writeup....

      Sure, Defcon is what you make of it, but most of the complaints in this post seem to be about planning.

      * Arriving late and complaining about lack of sleep
      * The cost of a taxi which might have been avoided with other transit option during the day if the flight arrived earlier. (But I could not get off work, cancel other plans, [.*] :: all issues related to planning.)
      * Not bringing enough money, relying on the charity of strangers to give a good time (time are what you make of them), (Joy is claimed when free beer, booze, shooting of other people's weapons, etc., but little joy expressed at other opportunities.)
      * In the same article, both complaining about people "posing" as hackers to influence how other people treat them and explaining one of the reasons the poster rides a scooter is because of how people view them.
      * Not being able to find the meeting place for the Defcon Shoot could have been solved with early planning -- something hackers tend to be able to do.
      * "After a conversationless ride to the shoot," ... It takes more than one person to have a conversation, and anyone can initiate conversation if they want.
      * Complaints about the rates people charged for firing their weapons. Really? Complaint that people are not more charitable and give stuff away or cheaper?
      * Taking time out to borrow money, get access to the money, and get a badge are all about poor planning.
      * "Perhaps this is why people don’t care about talks so much ...as they can always catch up later. [online]" :: Yes, this is partly the case. Also, many presentations at Defcon and other conventions have been produced at other conventions. People that attend security conferences tend to skip presentations they have seen elsewhere. Additionally, some people buy the videos and watch them at home (usually months) before they go online. When I attended my first Defcon, I thought many of the drunk people I saw were clueless losers that did not want to learn. However, several years later I found that this was not the case. Yes, there were people that went to Defcon to party, get drunk and do outrageous things even though they knew little about hacking, computers, or technology, BUT there is a small subset of drunken partying people that ACTUALLY KNOW STUFF. Some of these people were paid to attend Blackhat and have a long history of hacking and/or have been part of Defcon since the early years, but they use Defcon as an opportunity to have fun after working at BlackHat (attending presentations, speaking, taking notes, etc.) Just because some random drunk guy is dry humping your leg does not make him an idiot... sure it might mean he is a jerk, or is inconsiderate, but maybe that is a "feature" of inebriation after working so hard? Not all drunk people at Defcon are idiots.
      * "Of course my board shorts were falling down, but after trying to find a safety pin luckily the security desk had a whole tray full of them." More on issues with planning. Packing short that fit would have made a lot of sense. Relying on the charity of strangers allowed you to find some fun in swimming.
      * "Finally I gave up as nothing interesting was happening, so I decided to go home." (home = place to sleep until the next day at Defcon.) This is another problem. You really miss many opportunities at night when you stay in hotels other than the one containing Defcon. There are people (mostly OLD people) that stay in other hotels to get away from the noise and get a good night sleep, though some claim it is because they are displeased with the service and conditions of rooms in the hotel that contain Defcon. ;-)
      * "I arrived too late to catch the “Exploiting SCADA” talk..." more issues related to planning.
      * "...in the interests of socializing thought I would go to the pool. Of course no one was really socializing with each other and there was hardly anyone there." Again, it takes more than one person to socialize and anyone can start a conversation if someone else is present.)
      * "I woke up too late which wasn’t surprising given the night before." (Planning with setting an alarm or will-power.)
      * "One of the more interesting things I noted about DEFCON was that I did not get checked for my badge. Not once. For a security conference that seems awfully lackluster. I could easily go to any talk I wanted and take full advantage of the conference without having to pay $140. I wonder if it has always been this way or if the goons were unusually slack this year." I doubt this. They are often low-profile hotel employees or security guards and they just look to see if you are wearing a badge before getting access to the speaking areas, and other rooms. Sometimes these hotel security miss people but I've seen them turn back people without badges before. There have been exceptions to this:
      # On Sunday, I see fewer people checking badges.
      # On Thursday (before it was an official Defcon Day) people were permitted into many defcon rooms because badges were not immediately available, or ran out, or other reasons.




      Valid complaints the attendee had no control over:
      * Running out of badges (also a planning issue, but more to do with parts available to build badges and the difficult task of estimating how many people would be there this year after the economy has sucked so much.)
      * The value of the talks. (I suspect that nearly everyone has experienced this at every conference they attend.) I spent most of my time at my early Defcons in presentation rooms, but as time moved forward and I learned more, many presentations became too simple, and I wanted much more from them. Additionally, as my interests became more specialized or focused, the number of topics that interested me also dropped. Now, there are a small number of presentations that I feel I must see, in-person, to ask questions, but the rest of the presentations I might like, I watch later.
      * "Even though the pool closed at 10:30 or 11, I would have thought there would be more people." This has been a long-standing complaint since we left the Alexis Park, where pool parties went on through the night and 3 or 4 pool areas were available during the day. The good news? It *sounds* like something similar may be possible at the Rio this year. Who knows how it will turn out. I don't remember how long it took for Defcon people to utilize the pool spaces at the Alexis Park as much a they did the last year we were there. It may take time for something similar to happen at the Rio.
      * "As far as I understand it a donation can be any amount and not require anything in return. What the EF was doing was charging a $20 fee to play a very basic video game, which is just lame." Maybe you should have complained to the people running this event at Defcon. Feedback is a good thing.
      * "I would like to make a special note of TheCotMan. What a fucking retard. I understand there are some idiots or troublemakers on the forums, but when people ask for help and have done research you don’t just ban them. He is the type of arrogant idiot that thinks he knows best and has heard it all before, when he has no fucking clue. Although given the average poster on the forum, the type who like to get Mohawks and call themselves hackers without understanding some simple key concepts, he seems to be with his peers." Woot! I am famous. :-D I am guessing this is Samael with a complaint about locking stuff up or failure to see the published registration hours, although that account is not banned (right now), so maybe it was someone else that failed to read FAQs, parse web page content, or plan for Defcon. If I remember correctly, I think I banned that account for 24 hours after their econd time at failing to read a web page that showed the hours of operation of the registration desk. Anyone can review Samael's posts and history to see what has happened with their time on the forums. Constructive criticism is welcome, and those of you that know me, know I mean this.




      There were some good, hackish bits though:
      * Complaining about the cost of the Deuce (bus that runs the strip) and actually DOING something about it. (Used a scooter.)
      * Clever writing like, "If you get a tattoo that looks like Tetris but isn’t Tetris you can’t really be upset when people think it is Tetris." That is pretty funny and well written, and truly something to expect people at Defcon to say.
      * Demonstration the poster is capable of not entirely being moocher, or part of a "gimmie!" class: "I could only afford to give him $20 when it should have probably been $30 or $40 based on his prices….but since I helped him pack up I can’t feel to bad." It is good to see contributions through action (helping people pack up) and contribution (cash.) So many people fail to even offer to donate something for gas/transport or provide a thank-you. (Especially after seeing, first-hand, the cost of using a Taxi or the bus.)
      * "it turned out to be spiritual crap, I left. [...] ….I just wanted to see a talk and it seemed more interesting than whatever Kaminsky was rambling on about…or did I?" Another clever style of writing and commentary on your opinions. Humor is a good thing to have at convention like Defcon.
      * Complaining about TheCotMan (that guy is a jerk), though it would have been better if you cited your complaint with one or more links. How can you expect a person to change without specific citations?

      If this person does return to Defcon, hopefully all of their experience in their first run at it will allow them to better prepare for the time at the convention.
      Last edited by TheCotMan; March 6, 2011, 21:58.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Interesting writeup....

        Very interesting feedback TheCotMan....almost as interesting as the article.

        I haven't been to DEFCON yet but hoping to first year, but honestly it's the partying and meeting people that I am wanting to get out of it. Spending all day in talks just doesn't sound like fun.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Interesting writeup....

          Originally posted by DarthSnader View Post
          Very interesting feedback TheCotMan....almost as interesting as the article.

          I haven't been to DEFCON yet but hoping to first year, but honestly it's the partying and meeting people that I am wanting to get out of it. Spending all day in talks just doesn't sound like fun.
          It is a really good idea to read both FAQ before you attend Defcon, (as HighWiz suggested Samael should, in this post, to which Samael responded with:

          Originally posted by Samael
          ...
          HighWiz: You may think you were being helpful by pasting links as answers, but you were anything but. Fortunately I got the answers I asked for from the other posters.
          and then later:

          Originally posted by Samael
          My attitude is fine. I pointed out that posting links as answers was not helpful, and rightfully so.

          I wanted perspective in my answers, from people with experiences. A link just doesn't cut it.

          Anyway I'm not wanting to get into an argument, so I'll leave it at that.
          The hackers I know are not afraid of information, and if they are given direction or links to information like FAQ on a topic of interest, do not shy away from following them. Notice how I observe that YOU (the person I am replying to) have found that article and read it, and are choosing to learn about a convention before you attend it. This is a quality that hackers possess -- exploration and learning about something that interests them.

          Hackers tend to do well at Defcon, as they conduct recon, read FAQ, and ask questions of peers too. They don't settle for just a single media source. Most importantly, hackers are not afraid to do things on their own and learn, or read; they don't tend to expect or require coddling, hand-holding, and charity. They also tend to be able to find a posted schedule on a webpage using the uber-leet-super-fly-technique of, "find," on page, in a web browser. (Yes, this is sarcasm. :-)

          I'd actually be happier if there were fewer people like this person at Defcon, so those that give of their time, energy, and life don't waste it on those unwilling to expend their own effort and time and money to solve their own problems first. This might be one of those people that asked astcell at the DC Shoot if he could fire some rounds, promised to pay him later for just the cost of ammo, but never did. I can't adequately describe how harmful this kind of behavior can be in groups where charity is abused. (Charity in the form of offering access to hardware to play with, if the person pays the working costs. Some fine people at the Defcon Shoot have gone even further with their charity, covering the cost of ammunition, too -- that is really amazing!)

          The other end of things can be just as bad, when profiteering jerks come in to make a fast buck, after more charitable people are discouraged from continuing kindness, and help.

          I'd like to quote an item from the rules that applies to this history of posts from this user:

          3. Doing Things for Yourself
          Originally posted by rules
          One of the things that set hackers apart is our ability to solve complex problems with little assistance. Hackers read, learn and are often self-motivated. Hackers even use Search Engines like Google or Forum Search.
          Only post your question when you have done some research. (Including examples in your post might help you.)
          If we can find an answer with a search engine or The Official DefCon FAQ, we will not be pleased.
          This is NOT tech support. Contact the vendor of your product for tech support.
          We will NOT "baby" you.
          We will NOT tolerate people who run to us for answers before trying to solve their own problems.
          Obviously, many questions from this user were answered on the main site for Defcon 18 (schedule question), and in the FAQs. As a result, "I was not pleased," and I think I banned the user because of this for 24 hours.

          I'd like to take this time to use this user's experience and complaints as a cautionary tale for people new to Defcon:

          For people new to Defcon, checkout the official FAQ:
          https://www.defcon.org/html/links/dc-faq/dc-faq.html

          And a community-contributed FAQ, assembled by HighWiz:
          http://defcon.stotan.org/faq/

          Both include useful information on Defcon, and are things I would have read when I first attended Defcon if they actually existed. Even after having been to several Defcon, I still read both of these before attending Defcon, and have contributed to both with corrections, and answers, as have MANY other people that have contributed far more than me.

          More advice for Defcon:
          * Ego: Leave it at home. There are always people better than you/me.
          * You/I are/am not "elite" -- nobody is.
          * Disagreement is an opportunity for education.
          * Your reputation is derived from more than what you know, and includes how you act and treat people.
          * If you made a mistake, admit it, apologize, let it go and move on.
          * Avoid empty criticism; if you must criticize, provide constructive criticism.
          * You/I are/am responsible for all of the decisions you/I make.
          * Socialize: Start up conversations with people. Hover in conversations if they seem open to others joining them. Participate in things that interest you (Lockpicking village, hardware hacking village, DC Shoot, and more.)
          * Volunteer: this is a way to get to know people, even if you are only volunteering to help with an event, contest, or something else. Working with people can help you to get to know them.
          * Parties: if you socialize with people, and get to know people, you increase the chances at getting information about a party, access to a party, or even a direct invite.
          * Don't wait until the last minute to ask a question on the forums... most of the experienced attendees often show up to Las Vegas one or more days earlier than the convention. As a result, some of the most experienced attendees are not available to answer questions on the forums.

          Most of the above is covered in one of the above FAQs, which cover much, much more.

          Good luck with your first Defcon.

          As a first-time attendee, you could do a service to other first timers by contributing your thoughts, constructive criticism and more on the forums, or on a web page like the user of topic that posted their experiences, did, after Defcon is over.
          Last edited by TheCotMan; March 7, 2011, 14:03.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Interesting writeup....

            Defcon (and life) is *absolutely* what you make of it. Two people can be in the exact same circumstances and one will fall asleep because he's bored, and the other will insult an arab, start a fight, then get kicked out of a hotel (until morning) and then have two undercover cops try to sell us coke at a mcdonalds before going to bed. (true story)

            All of my greatest fun times are because we MADE them happen, not because someone else did it and I just attended.
            --- The fuck? Have you ever BEEN to Defcon?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Interesting writeup....

              Originally posted by DarthSnader View Post
              I came across this http://allthatiswrong.wordpress.com/...con-18-part-2/ which I thought was pretty interesting.

              What do you think?
              This guy almost seems like he'd blame TheCotMan for the weather being shit...

              I mean, I'm a very unsociable person. I don't like to speak to anyone, be it on a phone or face to face, I just don't like speaking to others. I imagine many DEFCON attendees have a similar mind set. The way the article writer writes, it seems like he wants to make a few friends from the experience... By going to the pool just to speak to people sounds like a desperate cry for attention...
              while 1 == 1:
              print "Help, I've got myself stuck in a loop."

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Interesting writeup....

                Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
                * Complaining about TheCotMan (that guy is a jerk), though it would have been better if you cited your complaint with one or more links. How can you expect a person to change without specific citations?
                Originally posted by OP
                Perhaps also consider appointing a non douche forum moderator.
                Isn't non douche descriptive enough? When you broke Caesar's Challenge in like 5 minutes a few years ago...very douchey. ;-)
                Aut disce aut discede

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Interesting writeup....

                  Originally posted by AlxRogan View Post
                  Isn't non douche descriptive enough? When you broke Caesar's Challenge in like 5 minutes a few years ago...very douchey. ;-)
                  Do you really think I am smart enough to break that challenge, let alone beat it in 5 minutes? I think You are making up stories. If I ever have beat it, it certainly would have taken a lot more time than 5 minutes.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Interesting writeup....

                    That was mildly depressing. This will be my first year attending DefCon, and, just from the videos, it looks very interesting and fun. (Ok, so, maybe to me if it involves a lot of non interesting mindlessness like watching Jersey Shore, it also isn't fun...)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Interesting writeup....

                      Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
                      Do you really think I am smart enough to break that challenge, let alone beat it in 5 minutes? I think You are making up stories. If I ever have beat it, it certainly would have taken a lot more time than 5 minutes.
                      You're right...it was when you hacked the gibson..my bad.
                      Aut disce aut discede

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Interesting writeup....

                        CotMan is an awesome, benevolent forum moderator. Although I kind of miss roamer laying the smack down on dipshits...
                        45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B0
                        45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B1
                        [ redacted ]

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Interesting writeup....

                          Originally posted by bascule View Post
                          CotMan is an awesome, benevolent forum moderator. Although I kind of miss roamer laying the smack down on dipshits...
                          Honestly. Thanks to the awesome job Cot does as the primary forum admin there aren't enough dipshits around that i need to rain smack down upon. Hey. we should rename this thread "All hail CotMan!"
                          perl -e 'print pack(c5, (41*2), sqrt(7056), (unpack(c,H)-2), oct(115), 10)'

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Interesting writeup....

                            Thanks for the kind words, but in my family, when people are being nice, they are executing some nefarious plan.

                            What are you two planning? ;-)

                            I don't do all of the work moderating the forums, you and the rest of the mods do most of it. And we do a pretty good job of not stepping on each others' decisions. Most of the ideas I've brought forward were ideas that one or many of you (including blackwave) suggested in the past. Additionally, we've asked our forum members (about once each year) how we can improve the forums, and they have provided some good ideas that we have tried, too. Most of the really good ideas for the forums are from people other than me. The forums are the way they are now, thanks to all of you.

                            Some examples of ideas we use that you all suggested:
                            * Google+Forum Search on each page near the top
                            * Add comment in google+forum search form on what they are for, because people thought this was the username/login
                            * /dev/random sandbox with fewer rules
                            * waiting period & promotion process for new users to encourage use of FAQ and help with spammer problem
                            * new theme/style to match Defcon
                            * Review /dev/null content for rule violations, classify, then rewrite rules to address
                            * Each rule in its own post for post= citation when a rule is violated.
                            * forums for each contest or event (so people don't post new threads in "Defcon XX planning" asking about information for an event which was buried in a thread somewhere
                            * Forum Leader/Organizers to control setting of stickies, thread open/closed, etc. but not moderation
                            ....
                            (long list of changes that I cannot remember.)

                            Thanks everyone!

                            Speaking of improvements, I don't think I have had time to ask for improvements and ideas this year, and will probably have to wait until after Defcon.
                            Last edited by TheCotMan; March 22, 2011, 20:38.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Interesting writeup....

                              This was an interesting article. It seems that the guy was eager to socialize, but didn't really want to put in the effort to meet anyone.

                              Last year was my first time attending, and I have to say I met quite a few people. I got myself involved in the forums, and then the Tamper Evident Contest before I even got there. That opened doors to meet a lot of people. So I managed to get a lot out of my time there, with very little real effort. Just gotta do more than sit by the pool and expect people to talk to you.

                              Comment

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