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What is YOUR advice for people new to Defcon?

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  • #16
    Re: What is YOUR advice for people new to Defcon?

    My advice would be that if you're intending to try and attend a lot of talks, prioritise and plan out what you want to see to a T!

    At DC18 there was pretty much always 3 talks at any one time I wanted to attend, so I'd prioritise which ones I wanted to see the most and then if I didn't manage to get into them I could fall back onto the others. And definitely bring some food / water when you're waiting to get in as you could be there for a long time, and there's nothing more irritating than having to lose your place in line to get hydrated or go to the toilet etc.

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    • #17
      Re: What is YOUR advice for people new to Defcon?

      Bring a hat, sure the conference is indoors, but you might be staying at another hotel, go outside for a smoke, etc. you're in the middle of the desert.

      Bring personal business cards with whatever information you feel like sharing, name/handle, Google Voice number, email, PGP fingerprint, etc. Makes life so much easier for remember who you are when you mail someone 2 weeks after DEF CON.

      Bring a pen.

      Bring a hydration backpack, again you're in the desert, mind you it doesn't have to always be carrying water, packing 100oz of Midori Sours makes for some pretty interesting conversations at 2am, also it does a good job of holding your hat, business cards, pen, DEF CON info, schwag, etc.

      Bring an open mind, I've been coming to DEF CON for 14 years, I learn something new every trip out here, don't be afraid to ask questions, the only stupid question is the question not asked.
      Nonnumquam cupido magnas partes Interretis vincendi me corripit

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      • #18
        Re: What is YOUR advice for people new to Defcon?

        Get drunk.
        Don't ask too many personal questions.
        Don't put people up on pedestals, just talk about normal stuff. Turns out the stereotypes are mostly wrong.
        Don't ask people to hack your girlfriend's gmail.
        Make sure attend hacker jeopardy, it's the best "talk" of con.
        There's a huge range of people, a lot won't fit your personality type, but some will.
        If you give any of the security goons a beer they'll tell you where all the cool parties are.

        Kallahar
        --- The fuck? Have you ever BEEN to Defcon?

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        • #19
          Re: What is YOUR advice for people new to Defcon?

          It's pretty much all been said. One thing I seem to see every year are newbies who try to impress others with their computer skills. They hacked into 127.0.0.1 or formatted a floppy and think they deserve free beer. For all you know you are talking to the guy who wrote the program you use. I know one person who bragged to another about knowing more than a book she had just read only to have the other person say, "If you bring me the book I will autograph it for you." If you are new into computers and work the night shift at McD's and had to save for six months to take your A+ don't sweat it. Attitude is everything.

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          • #20
            Re: What is YOUR advice for people new to Defcon?

            If you're drinking:
            * Alternate water. Camelbaks are great for this. Just don't accidentally bring the one that you filled w/ vodka.
            * If you're recovering, take aspirin or ibuprofen (motrin/advil), not acetominaphen (tylenol) if you're going to be drinking again later. That shit will fuck up your liver in a hurry.
            * It's Vegas. No one is going to look at you funny for having a 40 in-hand at 10am. Whether this is wise or not is up for debate.
            * Try to not get all your shit stolen if you're at a large party.

            Registration:
            * The Line is an experience unto itself. Go with friends or make new friends while you're waiting. I hear rumors that the reg process will be much-improved for DC20, but it always feels like a shit show. Show up as early as you can. Bring beer.

            Talks:
            * If it's a popular talk, you're probably going to have a tough time getting in. Don't sweat it. You can talk about computers at parties and the bars.

            General:
            * Don't swarm the famous people. They're just people. Some are dicks, some are cool. If you run into one later, say hello.
            * Feed the Goons. They can't drink booze on shift but they love water/juice and muffins.
            * Don't be an asshat. Life will be difficult for you.
            * Be social. Even if it's your first time. Limit yourself to emergency use of your laptop only.
            * Check out the chillout room. It's great to unwind a bit.
            cows like candy

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            • #21
              Re: What is YOUR advice for people new to Defcon?

              balance your time...

              1/4 sticking head in talks
              1/4 hands-on stuff (contests or learning in villages or having sex)
              1/4 hangout / hallway track / smoking area
              1/4 parties (come see the Goon Band! then go to all sorts of other stuff that you've learned about by talking to people throughout the day!)
              "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

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              • #22
                Re: What is YOUR advice for people new to Defcon?

                I am a Defcon virgin and there are two questions I need answered:

                What is the beer of choice at Defcon? ;)

                Also, is the rumor true: Stock up on Redbull (and maybe even Jager) ? ;)
                “Should we all confess our sins to one another we would all laugh at one another for our lack of originality” - Kahlil Gibran

                "Show me a sane man, and I will cure him for you." -- Carl Jung

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                • #23
                  Re: What is YOUR advice for people new to Defcon?

                  Originally posted by CWB View Post
                  What is the beer of choice at Defcon? ;)
                  Depends on the people. In my sample set, the three biggest groups of beer are:
                  * Guinness
                  * RollingRock
                  * PBR (yes, there are people that prefer this over the other two above.)

                  Also, is the rumor true: Stock up on Redbull (and maybe even Jager) ? ;)
                  Redbull and most food and drinks at the hotel are super expensive, so if you plan on consuming much of anything and want to save money, get a ride to a local grocery store, or Sam's Club to buy in bulk for much cheaper than the Rio will sell you items, and save your cash for other things.

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                  • #24
                    Re: What is YOUR advice for people new to Defcon?

                    Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
                    Depends on the people. In my sample set, the three biggest groups of beer are:
                    * Guinness
                    * RollingRock
                    * PBR (yes, there are people that prefer this over the other two above.)
                    Thanks! I am very much looking forward to my first Defcon!
                    “Should we all confess our sins to one another we would all laugh at one another for our lack of originality” - Kahlil Gibran

                    "Show me a sane man, and I will cure him for you." -- Carl Jung

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                    • #25
                      Re: What is YOUR advice for people new to Defcon?

                      For my group the best beers are:
                      -Cold
                      -Free
                      -Refillable

                      Jaeger is my weakness, and the 5-hour energy drinks, as much as folks love them, are VERY expensive, so you can always, make friends by handing a few out.

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                      • #26
                        Re: What is YOUR advice for people new to Defcon?

                        Go to DC101...srsly. People with decades of experience willing to talk and answer damn near anything.
                        Aut disce aut discede

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                        • #27
                          Re: What is YOUR advice for people new to Defcon?

                          Originally posted by astcell View Post
                          For my group the best beers are:
                          -Cold
                          -Free
                          -Refillable

                          Jaeger is my weakness, and the 5-hour energy drinks, as much as folks love them, are VERY expensive, so you can always, make friends by handing a few out.

                          So i have to bring Red Bull and Jaegermeister. In Germany we call it "Flying Deer"

                          Obi-Wan
                          May the force be with you
                          --------------------------------
                          Obi-Wan

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                          • #28
                            Re: What is YOUR advice for people new to Defcon?

                            Do NOT trust the GSM networks.

                            You shouldn't trust cellular networks to anything especially sensitive at the best of times, but especially at DEFCON.

                            Do not do phone banking on your cell phone at DEFCON.
                            Do not accept over the air software updates at DEFCON.

                            Your calls will probably get MITMed; there was plenty of this happening last year.

                            If you use a GSM phone, take a 3G-capable handset, and force it to 3G only anywhere near the Rio. That'll mitigate most of the risk.

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                            • #29
                              Re: What is YOUR advice for people new to Defcon?

                              I wear a light backpack for swag, survival food (breakfast bar, pretzels), lockpicks, cans of energy drink, and plastic or metal flask(s) for liquor(s). I've found the bartenders happy to fill my cup with ice, or give me a cup with ice. I start the request by dropping a buck in their tip jar. You're still coming out Way ahead on your bar tab.

                              Cold water's easy to come by (big coolers all over con) so I don't usually carry more than one bottle, which I refill.

                              As others mentioned, talk to people. It's the main unusual behavior I indulge at con. You're standing there, they're standing there... talk. Talk to a bored-looking goon, they're good folks.

                              Surreal

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                              • #30
                                Re: What is YOUR advice for people new to Defcon?

                                I have never seen a bored goon.

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