Originally posted by FirmWarez View Post
Damn you renderman. This is like getting homework. Blah. Actually, good stuff, I too love to see the ideas flowing.

DC Kids

Arg. Arg. Did I say arg?

I feel the same way about DC Kids as I do having my kid at our local dc501 events. Double edged sword. My oldest (11) is very interested in tech/hack/cool; it would be good for him, and he has been at meetings/events when it feels appropriate. I worry that his presence causes some self-censorship in the group, and that’s counterproductive in a “hacker” environment. Fortunately he was at a secret Mossad training camp last summer and I didn’t have to make the decision about taking him to DC19…even now I would love for him to experience “DC Kids” but I’m concerned about how it would change my con experience, let alone the larger impacts on others.

Sorry there’s no real suggestion there, but I do want to point out that for parents “in the know”, it’s not an easy decision. I see a lot of value in both positions.


I think when the majority of attendees realized they needed a job.

I think there’s room for both. I ignore the corporate schlock and get on with going to talks by drunk robot chicks and such. And DT’s movie nights, those are phun. Some asshat shilling in the hall handing out cards? Do your best Depp/Wonka impression: take the card, toss is away and say “you’re really weird”. If more people did that there would be less shilling.

Me too. While there were suits about, I think I still saw plenty of passionate punks at 19. Keep ‘em coming. I’m focusing on the “built something cool” part now. The question is hacker or maker con? Or both? I think some would claim the shift to “maker” is a change from DC’s roots. As a hardware/embedded systems/hands on kind of guy, I welcome this shift…but is it really a shift?

Shift or addition?

My con background: first was 3. Hit 5 and 7. Actually 7 was my son’s first con, ShortGrrl was preggers at that one. Family and work situation kept me away a few years. I came back, and hope that it’s “back in full force”. I don’t ever want to miss again. Even though I’ve heard that dc20 is canceled. Bummer.

So while I’m not an uber hard core everyone knows me kind of guy, I’ve seen a lot of changes at defcon. And I’ve seen everything that people have complained about: it’s too big, it’s too corporate, it’s different.

I don’t know how much I agree with those complaints: I think many of these things have been additions to, rather than shifts from, the “core values” of the con. I think many of the talks I appreciate now wouldn’t have happened at 5 – it would be like “yeah, that’s cool but what does it have to do with hacking?”


ShortGrrl has mentioned doing some serious research on the topic: “The Dark Tangent: Toaster or Timelord?”

Attracting new speakers is a challenge. If you cast a wider net in the call for papers (where else does that happen other than the web site and forums?) you end up with more corporate asshats. I think the concept of a theme for the talks is done to try and attract new speakers. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t.

I prefer to see the speaking schedule stay full; it’s part of the addition instead of shift theme. More speakers is more possibilities for the varying attendees to pick a path that suits them, though I do agree with Render that the later talks pose a big “party or talk” issue, but I do like having more choices than I could possibly ever attend.

It appeared to me that this was attempted, and has been done in the past. I think the reality of last minute changes and the challenges of scheduling anything like this makes it not always work out that way. I would be happier to see “official” tracked talk groups.


Blah. Was Grand Prix racing purer “back in the day” or is the sport better because there’s more money available, albeit tied to expectations. It’s inevitable I think. As long as it’s not tied to restrictions on how the con and/or contest goes down, I’m ok with it. It’s the real world, stuff costs money. Now if BigCorp comes in and says “we’re sponsoring this contest, but you guys can’t say “what the fuck” so much”, I’d have an issue with that. Of course that’s a path for someone to hack BigCorp’s desire to sponsor – find their people and compliment them on the fine fucking job they’re doing. Asshat.

In Conclusion:

Overall I think the success of DC is that all these things have been added without really losing the “core values”. I think that how we feel about the con is a more a reflection of us than the con itself. To me 17 was like going way back, probably because it’d been so long since I had attended. 18 was a little blah, and I could’ve easily commented on how it changed….but 19 rocked on, and I felt more “there” than I had in a long time.

My suggestions?

The unofficial/semi official/goofball events are CRITICAL. The shoot, the ToxicBBQ, all that jazz, is where you make the connections so you can figure out who are the “birds of a feather”, and then plan talk attendance, village time, and parties with new friends.

Promote the forum meet more. Oh, and I think any attempt to MOVE the forum meet at 20 will be met with an Occupy force the likes even anon can’t imagine…

Goofy contest idea, and probably doesn’t add much here, but I just thought of it so I will include: On stage “Jack On” contest. Competitors have access to a big pile o’ parts, first one to build a functioning computer and put a post on a forum page wins. Even though it may be so hard for the likes of us to come up with surplus mobos and drives. Hmm, that comes back to the beard contest – I think keeping something happening on stage in that area makes more people likely to interact.

And, personally, I’d be happier with more Motoko. And more belt-feds.