Ive decided to put my full reaction to defcon 17 in my blog rather than post it as some of this isnt contribution to improvement, just reaction.

First off the good, I loved Defcon, I learned a ton from it.
1. I like the organizational system of having to choose between different talks, this made me decide what I was actually interested in and could actually use versus what I just thought sounded cool.
2. I learned that in most cases when I go about trying to "hack" something, its not that I'm under thinking the problem or that I don't know enough, its that I'm ignoring the fundamentals of the way things works, and how to turn that to do what I want it to be.
3. Ive honestly never been in an environment where almost everyone around me shares or at least can understand my love for technology and learning to manipulate it. Most of my friends don't share and sometimes don't even seem to understand or respect my passion for technology. Being around people that think more like me is super refreshing, and has made me want to get involved in my local Defcon group/hacker space.
4.Ive started to understand what niche in infosec I would like to fit into and how i want that to shape. Some talks i went to i loved and understood, others i found dry and boring simply because i found the content boring. I wont elaborate on this but I really just feel like I have a sense of direction.

Now for the Bad from Defcon
1. I feel like it will be a little difficult for me to fit into some of the culture of hackers and infosec in general, while I'm not naive and realize some people cant be trusted the paranoia level is a bit high to me sometimes, but that could be because i have more to learn.
2. I still have a long ways to go on understanding code. I felt lost at times at talks I should have understood simply because my programming skills are so weak. this is definitely the area i need to improve most.
3. As far as Defcon goes the only bad thing/constructive thing i can think of is that i would like Thursday to be more low key and social. I loved Defcon 101 but having lots of talks was a little frustrating as i was hoping for more socialization. I wasn't able to go to the Toxic BBQ due to a logistical mistake and ill definitely be at that next year. I think it would be cool to possibly have different random social activities scattered throughout the talk areas. Obviously with the number of people it would be difficult to be too social but I was just hoping for more.


Overall I think Defcon is awesome and was good experience. I look forward to going next year.