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How would you make DEF CON 23 better than DEF CON 22?

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  • #16
    Re: How would you make DEF CON 23 better than DEF CON 22?

    A few issues this year:

    1. The move to a new hotel should help a lot with this one: the villages need more space. If they're going to run talks in them like they did this year, they need still more space.

    2. The DC101 room was minuscule. Last year's Track 4 room had the same problem -- I could never get in there due to capacity -- and this year's DC101 room was half that size. I assume the line of thinking was "less people will be interested in the noob track", but considering as it seems like 30-40% of attendees these days are first-time attendees, this is simply not true. I did like having a DC101 track run the whole weekend instead of making it Thursday only, though -- it just needed more room.

    3. The pool party was subpar compared to DC20-21. I'm sure it's always tricky to deal with the hotel on having a late-night pool party, but this year the music was too quiet and often bad -- like some of last year's pool party bands, some of this years were amusing but... grating, and that drove me back inside. Bar lines were long (probably insufficiently staffed) for the number of people out there. Of course, if the alternative to "too quiet" is "shut down by the hotel at midnight," this may not be solvable.

    4. Obviously everyone's annoyed by the badge lines, but I think the worst part of it wasn't the wait, but that we under-ordered & ran out of badges again. Everybody lines up early because they're afraid of not getting a badge, which makes the lines worse; it's going to take about 5 years *in a row* of not running out to stop this, and we just reset the clock on that again. Nobody wants to waste DEFCON's money on extra badges that won't get used, of course, but running out does a lot of avoidable harm.

    5. The lack of slides on DCTV makes it useless for technical talks. Unfortunately, the slides on the CD often bear little resemblance to the slides being presented, so they don't always help. For most talks we'd actually be better off running the projector feed on DCTV with the room audio instead of putting the camera feed on it.

    6. The disc duplicating station was a neat idea. We'd all love to get a hold of that 8TB of past DEFCON & other footage. However, why spend $16,000 on disk duplicators, which take 8 hours to fill a hard drive and require everyone who wants a copy to to buy $300 worth of hard disks, when for $16,000 you could run off 15,000 mastered 25GB Blu-Ray discs containing all that data and more? Instead of a few hundred people getting the archive, everyone at the conference could have, for a lower cost both to them and to DEFCON. Sure, not everybody has a Blu-Ray drive, but anybody willing to spend $300 on hard disks could spend $50 on a Blu-Ray drive.

    Also, one really good thing from this year: Haven (evening Track 1 party) was awesome. The music was great, the decor and entrance was creative and interesting, the bars were adequately staffed and had minimal lines, and that massive room was full of people actually dancing and having a good time. In the past, the Black/White Balls were often good music playing to nearly-empty rooms; I'm not sure what exactly drew the crowd this year but it was more energetic than I'd ever seen it before, and it kept up all three nights.

    Comment


    • #17
      Re: How would you make DEF CON 23 better than DEF CON 22?

      On page 14 of the DEFCON 22 booklet ("From Dusk 'Til Con"), there is an official notice for the "Sober Meetup" that took place Friday night.

      For those of us that went, this is more than what we found:


      Yes, an empty darkened room off in the corner that had no lights. We had to bring in the bench and the chairs ourselves.

      It became extremely obvious that the only planning that had gone into the meetup was the reservation of the room and the sign. We asked each time someone arrived if he or she was the one who set this up, and each time the list of people who were not grew.

      Well, fuck it.

      Since defcon isn't going to do it for us, we're going to do it for defcon.

      We've got some initial planning for next year, and I've opened up a forum thread for planning next year's Sober Meetup.

      Next year we won't be left in the dark.

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: How would you make DEF CON 23 better than DEF CON 22?

        Originally posted by EdselDunstable View Post
        On page 14 of the DEFCON 22 booklet ("From Dusk 'Til Con"), there is an official notice for the "Sober Meetup" that took place Friday night.

        For those of us that went, this is more than what we found:


        Yes, an empty darkened room off in the corner that had no lights. We had to bring in the bench and the chairs ourselves.

        It became extremely obvious that the only planning that had gone into the meetup was the reservation of the room and the sign. We asked each time someone arrived if he or she was the one who set this up, and each time the list of people who were not grew.

        Well, fuck it.

        Since defcon isn't going to do it for us, we're going to do it for defcon.

        We've got some initial planning for next year, and I've opened up a forum thread for planning next year's Sober Meetup.

        Next year we won't be left in the dark.

        As I understand it, there were two different groups heading towards the same goal of something like this. I am going to *guess* there was an assumption that the other group took it over, and scheduling failed, leading to last-minute questions and then a decision to focus on other spaces in DEF CON. It is also possible there was a meeting, it happened before you arrived, and then disbanded.

        Sorry this did not work out as you expected, but the actions you took, and the work you have started is much of what DEF CON is about -- you see something missing, or needing improvement, so you (and/or) others step up and volunteer, work together and plan. I have no authority to say, "go ahead and do it!" However, working to plan it here on the forums (or elsewhere) and generating interest are the kinds of things people have done in the past to take over contests/events/villages, or start them after things did not work so well.

        [Even if other people plan it next year, ideas proposed by you and others may be included in the next attempt.]

        Good luck!
        -Cot
        Last edited by TheCotMan; August 12, 2014, 07:00.

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: How would you make DEF CON 23 better than DEF CON 22?

          Nice to have: event stats, similar to what the NOC did, but for the event itself. eg:
          • Total number of tickets sold,
          • Number new speakers vs returning speakers,
          • Total number of beers/bottles of liquor consumed,
          • Defcoin hashrate over the Con,
          • Total number of pineapples owned.


          Everyone else is harvesting our metadata, so we may as well, for lulz.

          -French

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: How would you make DEF CON 23 better than DEF CON 22?

            Biggest issue I had with dc22 was the three hour long wait in the line. They also ran out of badges, although I did manage to get one myself.

            Ideas for improvement:
            • As mentioned above: Put the badge, batteries, stickers, and CD into a bag beforehand, so the reg grannies just need to hand you a bag.
            • Accept pre-registration via Bitcoin to avoid running out of badges


            Bitcoin was mentioned in the badge talk, but DT expressed concern that it would get hacked. I think it's possible to do it very securely though, using only the Bitcoin protocol and basic barcode checking.

            Comment


            • #21
              Re: How would you make DEF CON 23 better than DEF CON 22?

              I am very surprised no one has brought up the photography issue yet...

              Once upon a time there was a very strict no photography policy - or at least make it very clear that you have the permission of those in the frame. Apparently this policy was lifted on the more recent end (possibly DC20?)

              It seemed that at DC20 and DC21 most people were still respecting this policy - probably due to the fact that they had been attending for some years.

              As we all know this year had a record attendance, and with that comes a record attendance of newbies who were no longer respecting this old time tradition. And it was horrific.

              I feel like nearly my entire Saturday was spending flipping people off with my hand over my face - every time I looked in any direction someone was videotaping or photographing me - from DC during the day to the pool party and music event at night. I witnessed someone using a telephoto lens to photograph one of our attendees wearing a bikini by the pool, to which I immediately notified her and flipped the guy off.

              Any chance we can reinstate the photo policy? Has DC just grown too big to ever have it again? Is it unenforceable? Am I alone in wishing for this back?

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: How would you make DEF CON 23 better than DEF CON 22?

                Originally posted by pH_Boston View Post
                I am very surprised no one has brought up the photography issue yet...

                Once upon a time there was a very strict no photography policy - or at least make it very clear that you have the permission of those in the frame. Apparently this policy was lifted on the more recent end (possibly DC20?)

                It seemed that at DC20 and DC21 most people were still respecting this policy - probably due to the fact that they had been attending for some years.

                As we all know this year had a record attendance, and with that comes a record attendance of newbies who were no longer respecting this old time tradition. And it was horrific.

                I feel like nearly my entire Saturday was spending flipping people off with my hand over my face - every time I looked in any direction someone was videotaping or photographing me - from DC during the day to the pool party and music event at night. I witnessed someone using a telephoto lens to photograph one of our attendees wearing a bikini by the pool, to which I immediately notified her and flipped the guy off.

                Any chance we can reinstate the photo policy? Has DC just grown too big to ever have it again? Is it unenforceable? Am I alone in wishing for this back?
                The photography policy is and what it should be is a long-standing item of contention. You are not alone. There appear to be 3 camps:
                1) People that like anonymity, and find being included in picture without permission as a theft of that anonymity
                2) People that are on facebook (yeah, I have reduced this to an unsupportable argument -- "Facebook" people is meant to be a catch-all for people that like to take images of where they are, what they are doing and share them privately or publicly.
                3) People that do not care

                We have a discussion from earlier this year on this topic: https://forum.defcon.org/showthread.php?t=13751

                I was hoping to get a policy added to the FAQ, one way or another, so people understand:
                1) Is there a rule or not
                2) if it exists, is it enforced or not
                3) is it just a request? (and not a policy)
                4) what can we do about it? (this is probably the most important question: if we can't do anything, why have a policy?)
                5) Is the wearing of masks all throughout the convention space something that we can do if open photography is allowed?

                If you (or anyone else) would like to help with the discussion on that topic. I'll move it to this forum so new account users can reply to it without waiting for account promotion and full access.
                (I changed policy for this forum, and only this forum to allow posting right-away on creation of a new forum account. This will go away in a few week, or sooner if abused.)

                Comment


                • #23
                  Re: How would you make DEF CON 23 better than DEF CON 22?

                  I was told to come here from the tweeterwerbs! Thanks for setting this thread up!

                  I think the Defcon 101 track was awesome, but some talks seemed more 102 or 103 (or possibly even higher?) than 101. I would LOVE to see a real basics 101 track, considering all the "first time" con people that were there. Just in my brief conversations with folks, it was clear that there were a number of people who came to defcon with an interest in infosec and learning "hacking" but maybe don't have a lot of background.

                  Perhaps a track of pure basics would be awesome, maybe a wifi 101, a penetration testing/kali/etc 101, RF 101, intro to linux/commandline and tools for hackers 101, privacy and crypto 101, so on and so forth. Less "specific" topics and more general "survey" talks.

                  I'd even be willing to pitch in and help organize things if need be.

                  I <3 noobs.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: How would you make DEF CON 23 better than DEF CON 22?

                    Originally posted by autobahn View Post
                    I was told to come here from the tweeterwerbs! Thanks for setting this thread up!

                    I think the Defcon 101 track was awesome, but some talks seemed more 102 or 103 (or possibly even higher?) than 101. I would LOVE to see a real basics 101 track, considering all the "first time" con people that were there. Just in my brief conversations with folks, it was clear that there were a number of people who came to defcon with an interest in infosec and learning "hacking" but maybe don't have a lot of background.
                    Thanks for accepting the invite and posting your ideas. If you have more, or comments on other people's ideas, that is also welcome.

                    One thing that is difficult with rating systems is many are subjective. What is "101" in EE to Joe Grand may not be anything close to 101 for people that have never soldered or programmed.
                    How would you describe a 101-course, to target the audience you think could benefit?

                    [Including this as what would look like a reply to my question]
                    Originally posted by autobahn View Post
                    Perhaps a track of pure basics would be awesome, maybe a wifi 101, a penetration testing/kali/etc 101, RF 101, intro to linux/commandline and tools for hackers 101, privacy and crypto 101, so on and so forth. Less "specific" topics and more general "survey" talks.

                    I'd even be willing to pitch in and help organize things if need be.

                    I <3 noobs.
                    With various villages, do you think there would be a way to encourage them to offer these kinds of 101 courses in Radio, Crypto/Privacy, LockPicking, Hardware Hacking?

                    How would you suggest that work? Same intro class each day at set hour, scheduled to not overlap or conflict between villages?

                    As someone pointed out a long time ago:
                    Nobody is 'leet'. We are all newbies every time we start a new discipline.

                    Just because someone is awesome at web-based Layer-7 exploits with SQL injection does not mean they have soldered their own circuit boards or picked a lock.

                    Any other ideas on cross-discipline and integrated support between different villages, contests, or events, like the DC101 intro that HighWiz has done in the past with mini-contests as demonstrations of the actual contests.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: How would you make DEF CON 23 better than DEF CON 22?

                      Some of this has been said, but thought I would put my thoughts down. Where there is overlap with others, I would then assume I wasn't the only one who felt that way.

                      1. Badges handout were really long. I waited in line 3+hours to pay and pickup this year. Last year it was half of that. Also, the line caused me to miss almost all of the Thursday presentations and I'm sure that speakers were wondering where everyone was. I felt bad for the early Thursday speakers as it appeared most of the attendees were still in line with me. My solution is to either start selling badges sooner, and prior to the first talks - maybe Wednesday afternoon and evening - and then on Thursday - don't start to talks until the majority of people can get their badge. Some other suggestions that have been made may work.
                      2. As you know - the venue couldn't accommodate all the people. I ended up staying in a track that had some talks I wanted and didn't bother trying to get into other talks in other rooms. My friends did and were often refused entrance due to capacity issues, leaving them stuck in the halls with no talk to see. I assume that the new venue will help address this issue. Defcon 22 was far too crowded and as you know, there wasn't room for everyone to attend all of the talks and areas due to capacity.
                      3. The official swag seemed limited this year. I know you don't want to over order stuff that doesn't sell. Maybe figure out the top sellers - make sure those are available and then just limit the fringe swag to limited amounts.
                      4. Two talks I attended had promising topics but one of the speakers seemed to have done very little research into the topic. They found out something interesting and then put together a talk without themselves researching the topic to the point of being able to explain it with competency. The other talk was 30 minutes of info stretched into a one hour talk. I don't know what can really be done about the first point as it's hard to vet the knowledge of a speaker through a set of slides. The second speakers topic may have just needed a bit more review to ensure that there was enough 'meat' to fill the entire time allocated. Most of the talks were well done.
                      5. Tracks could be more clear as to what the overall theme of the track is.

                      My biggest issue was number 1 and 2. After the crowds this year, the wait for entrance and the inability to get into some talks...I was seriously thinking about not attending #23. With the new venue, I am hoping that these two issues will be resolved and am looking forward to coming back.

                      Hope that helps and is what you are looking for.

                      Thanks for putting on one of the best security conferences out there.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: How would you make DEF CON 23 better than DEF CON 22?

                        I had a great time, participated in events and talks. Here are my gripes and suggestions:


                        -Badges/Line, this has already been beaten to death, so i +1 it.
                        -Vendor area: guys? wtf? Capitol College, Carnegie Mellon University,Pentester Academy,and University of Advancing Technology were all ghost towns. Such a waste of useful space. I noticed there were no solder/build kits this year, which saddened me.
                        -HHV was stupid small, and no DIY kits to buy.
                        -Hacker jeopardy nerfed Vanna Vinyl. Wheel of Beef Thief is what it turned in to. Bring back Vanna Vinyl. I think hacker Jeopardy BEFORE 10,000 cent pyramid was a mistake, i couldn't be bothered to attend at that point.
                        -Scavenger hunt was very lacking. The list was bland and short. No one bringing toasters full of skittles and no crazy shit going on. Also, why were there people soldering the entire time at the choking point corner?
                        -Bunny ears get you special treatment.
                        -The pool party on sat night with Keither Meyers, his "venue" is get more and more sad over the years. The first year at the Rio there were lights, dancing girls, swag tossed out, etc. Year two there were lights but no girls. This year he had a folding table. ಠ_ಠ Lame.
                        - I had no idea where the Sober Meetup was... nothing listed in the book.

                        + Tamper evident is taking off, good job guys! @stits
                        + I love my close parking spot

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: How would you make DEF CON 23 better than DEF CON 22?

                          The lack of kits for DIY was really disappointing as was the small space for HHV.

                          Another issue is the lack of vegetarian options in the chillout cafe. Because there was nothing to eat, my boyfriend and I missed part of the Con finding appropriate food (aka Whole Foods run).

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Re: How would you make DEF CON 23 better than DEF CON 22?

                            Originally posted by happypappy View Post
                            [chop]
                            Hope that helps and is what you are looking for.
                            [chop]
                            Those are the kinds of items we *are* looking for. Thanks for the constructive criticism!


                            Thanks to everyone that has been contributing. It really helps us to get feedback on what works and what does not, and that helps with addressing issues.

                            -Cot

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Re: How would you make DEF CON 23 better than DEF CON 22?

                              Originally posted by extremx View Post
                              I had a great time, participated in events and talks. Here are my gripes and suggestions:

                              [snip]
                              -Hacker jeopardy nerfed Vanna Vinyl. Wheel of Beef Thief is what it turned in to. Bring back Vanna Vinyl. I think hacker Jeopardy BEFORE 10,000 cent pyramid was a mistake, i couldn't be bothered to attend at that point.
                              [/end snip]
                              Talk to Hackajar on that note. In the effort to appease a very small - yet very vocal - crowd, they removed her role. Welcome to the new and improved, nicer, gentler, more 'correct' version of things.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: How would you make DEF CON 23 better than DEF CON 22?

                                @Hackajar, YFIU

                                Originally posted by blakdayz View Post
                                Talk to Hackajar on that note. In the effort to appease a very small - yet very vocal - crowd, they removed her role. Welcome to the new and improved, nicer, gentler, more 'correct' version of things.

                                Comment

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