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  • #31
    Originally posted by t0x0 View Post
    The downside to this solution is capital cost.
    Yeah, that's the only downside to a networked signage system prominently displayed at a hacker conference. :)


    • #32
      Originally posted by t0x0 View Post
      I'd suggest an airport style solution - large screens (projectors?) with the day's schedule in a few places throughout main areas.
      Maybe use one of the DC-TV channels (maybe the chillout one playing SomaFM) or livestream for this and have monitors throughout the casino and convention areas tuned to it? Downsides - it wouldn't necessarily be near the track rooms, and I'm not sure how hard it would be to get live updates through from goons to DC-TV.


      • #33
        Originally posted by t0x0 View Post
        Anyway, I think you made some really good points. Thanks for engaging without taking too much offense to my rant.
        Civil discussion is possible on the internet! <3

        Originally posted by t0x0 View Post
        I don't think diversity and inclusion lead to "beigeness" [I really shouldn't make up words] but rather that they're the shield behind which people hide who want to eliminate everything that's offensive. I think diversity and inclusion are great, but that's not the same as removing anything that could cause offense to anyone. if you destroy everything that offends you, you will soon live in a very boring world without much creativity or change. If that goal is accomplished with Defcon, we'll end up with something more like TedX, not Defcon.
        I get where you're coming from. Getting rid of anything that could possibly offend someone would lead to things getting boring quickly. How would we ever exchange new ideas under that type of mentality? I would want to retain the quirky and crazy nature (speaking of the whole con, including HJ) minus the hostility to women or anyone seen as 'others'.

        Originally posted by t0x0 View Post
        Personally, I don't love the whole atmosphere to begin with (which is why I don't go). It seems forced and makes me a little uncomfortable. I also don't like high audience participation comedy shows for the same reason. So I don't fit into your poll demographic for people who are fine with such things, but I'll answer anyway - I would be equally uncomfortable with folks of my own gender involved as I am with the status quo. Having said that, if Queercon wants to be involved in HJ, then sure. It would be shitty to shun them and more people might be interested in attending the event, which would be great. In my opinion your suggestion has far more merit toward diversity and inclusion than others. Would HJ be less sexist if it a female were involved in asking the questions instead of just being perceived as being the eye candy? Also perhaps a way to make it more inclusive without destroying it...or a little of both (men stripping and women MCing)?
        The 'you' in my thought experiment was meant to refer to anyone reading that comment. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it. If anyone else has thoughts, I'd be interested to hear them. Having QUEERCON involved was just my hare-brained idea, I doubt they would actually do it. :) And I have to admit, I like seeing women up there being sexy and stuff. But the message it sends is that *only women* are welcome to be sexy, and women are *only there* to be sexy - these are what I find offensive.


        • #34
          Thanks everyone for your discussion and rational arguments with constructive criticism! Lots of good ideas have been brought up so far.

          Things are winding down in other spaces with respect to DEF CON feedback.

          Get your ideas and thoughts added to this thread before Aug 19, 2016 . After that, I will be building the report.

          You are welcome to suggest ideas after Aug 19, 2017, but they are less likely to be included in the planning for next year.

          Why a cut-off date? Planning for the following DEF CON begins after DEF CON ends. People have already had discussions on use of space at Caesars and some department heads tweeted in public they have been on a tour of spaces at Casars. Issues, ideas, thoughts, what worked and what did not should get added to this thread so they can then be discussed in the early stages of planning.

          Thanks again!
          Last edited by TheCotMan; August 11, 2016, 15:16.


          • #35
            Originally posted by Gigs View Post

            There's no elevators, just two banks of ridiculously long escalators. When I visited the other day one of the escalators was broken. There are 4 in a bank, two up two down.
            There's some elevators on the sides, but just like 2 IIRC. I'm curious about the BH head count vs the DC headcount. But that's a convo for another day. This will be the start of escalator con!
            DJ Jackalope
            dopest dj in the galaxy. *mwah!*

            send in the drop bears!


            • #36
              This was my third Defcon. For the most part I stuck with Skytalks since all of the other talks at the con were being recorded. As a result, I have very little feedback but here it is:


              1. The musician line-up was good for the most part
              2. Adding arcade machines to the lounge areas
              3. Registration happened very quickly compared to years past
              4. Using the service elevators to take Con attendees up to the 26th floor in Bally's was a great idea and I'm sure hotel guests were much happier than they were last year
              5. In general my experiences with goons were more pleasant and social than last year. May have just been which goons I happened to interact with, though.


              1. Skytalks was given way too little space. Last year it would get over half full and its space was cut in half. I was leaving talks midway through to get in line for the following talk because they had to flush the room.
              2. Some goons were uninformed about official events and locations. I encountered goons who didn't even know where the vendor area was supposed to be or when it was supposed to open. I think I asked 3 goons before I got an answer on when it opened. I also encountered a goon who didn't know there was an official Defcon party and only knew Tiaracon was happening that night. This was especially unhelpful as there was no indication that it was in the DC101 room that night instead of Track 2 as had been mentioned elsewhere.


              1. Add as little as possible to next year's Defcon. Caesar's Palace is one of the biggest venues in Vegas and probably the biggest which can support Defcon's format. Instead of trying to use all of that space next year, try to use as little as possible so you can grow to fill it more slowly and avoid having to find a bigger place. Since there are more move-able walls, maybe try organizing the rooms so they can be expanded if more room is needed.
              2. Do something special for the Defcon 25 badges. I know it's not an electronic year, but it should be something really cool and possibly electronic.
              3. Give Skytalks more space. As you've probably heard by now it was standing room only for most of the talks. The only times it wasn't absolutely full with a line were Saturday and Sunday mornings when people were hung over and sleeping in.


              • #37
                Adding some thoughts:

                1. The flow of people seemed better managed this year. It was so much smoother than last year that I thought perhaps attendance hadn't changed much. I was surprised to hear it had increased significantly. So, well done.

                2. Regarding speakers having AV/projector problems, that was 100% on the speakers in my opinion. (I spoke this year.) I'm not sure that Speaker Ops could have done much else to make that go better. They had a projector in the speaker green room for testing, they had sent out multiple emails asking people to make sure their presentations would work ahead of time, they made it very, VERY clear which video interfaces would be available, and so on. In every talk I attended where people had projector problems, two things were true: first, they were using either Linux or a Mac; and second, they were trying to project something different than was shown on their laptop screen. Either way, those issues should have been sorted out when they practised. (They DID practice, right?)

                3. The badges looked cool, but I agree that it would have been nice to have them be more easily hackable. The DC22 badge was great in part for that reason. Sure the Propeller was an obscure MCU choice in 2014, but at least the dev tools were easily obtained and easy to use, and you could plug it right in to your computer without scrounging for a JTAG adapter. I felt like we saw many more creative things being done with the DC22 badges during DC22 perhaps in part for that reason.

                4. I'd like to see more 20-minute ("30 minute") speaking slots. Although some speakers made good use of their 45-minute ("one hour") slots, many seemed to get off into the weeds or appeared to be trying to fill time. Having only 20 minutes forces the speaker to keep it tight and on-point. That, of course, assumes that the speaker prepares and practices properly -- and as we saw with the projector problems, that might not be a realistic expectation :(


                • #38
                  HHV - I was looking forward to hanging out in the Village. Last year we met folks working on all kinds of stuff: badge hacking contest, drones, was inspiring. We traded ideas and materials. This year, I couldn't get a spot because every seat was filled with the darknet badgers. I would like a Maker/Breaker spot with good lighting and soldering iron - in the conference area as opposed to our hotel room ;-)

                  Hacker Jeopardy: I like it. So does my husband. And our teenage son. HJ is irreverent, nerdie, and politically incorrect. So is John Oliver. We like him too. There's plenty of [other] things to do at night. IMHO if you don't like it, don't go...


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Tangential View Post
                    Now that registration has been solved (discounting the paper badge fiasco), why does Thursday suck, and what can be done about it? 101 is too crowded, workshops fill up in seconds, no villages are open yet, and there is not enough space to accommodate the hackers that linger in the halls. What am I missing?
                    The problem with Thursday is that DEF CON keeps inching more and more INTO thursday.

                    if you say "the problem with [city X] is that too many folk are moving here" the solution is not to build more housing.

                    not to take too strong a point against you, man, but you people are all grown-ups. you don't need every instant of your day pre-planned for you (or maybe this play date, helicopter parent, little leage 5-nights a week generation does)

                    arrive in Vegas whenever (the pros arrive Weds or even Tuesday) and do the unofficial activities beforehand...

                    * ToxicBBQ
                    * DEF CON Shoot
                    * hang out by the pools
                    * try to scam your way into Black Hat
                    * hang out at BSides
                    * hit the poker tables
                    * or, you know, it's goddamn Las Vegas... there's shit to do in this town

                    ... the last thing we need is more and more and more of DEF CON on Thursday. people who do BSides and Black Hat already scream about having to miss out on some things

                    not to mention the whole "stuff has to get set up" argument.

                    you want Villages open on Thursday? or the Vendor room? good luck... that means DEF CON has to get those spaces open to the Village Staff and Vendors on Wednesday (which usually means a Tuesday rental to get the rooms flipped and prepped) and then all of THOSE people have to have their staff arrive a day earlier, etc etc etc.

                    Not to mention work shifts for manning booths, etc. TOOOL runs the Locpick Village. it MURDERS us every year, and that's with something like 20+ volunteers. DEF CON doesn't pay for their travel, their hotel rooms, or most of their badges. suggesting an opening of the Villages on Thursday would entail bumping up everyone's workload (and thus likely our staff numbers) to 133% of current levels. and all associated costs.

                    again, i'm not trying to rag on you (or anyone else) here... but for fuck's sake, keep DEF CON a Fri/Sat/Sun event only, at least in the main con spaces. now, something that would NOT entail a whole lot of difficulty in terms of staff levels and logistics would be: DEF CON Pool Party. that is, we block off or somehow reserve the whole hotel Pool area (or at least get a permit to have DJs, etc) and encourage folk to hang out there and meet one another. Just like the old Alexis Park days!
                    Last edited by Deviant Ollam; August 11, 2016, 21:25.
                    "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


                    • #40
                      There were a number of things I thought were better this year than in those past, including:
                      the friendliness level of the goons,
                      the ability to get in and out of talks quickly,
                      and the amount of time spent in line to get a badge.

                      I really only ran into two issues.
                      1. The equipment the speakers were using to test their laptops and the equipment in the speaker tracks wasn't the same. That caused some speakers to be late in starting and others to not have access to their slides at all. The obvious answer to this is to make sure the test equipment and the actual equipment are the same.
                      2. In one talk the speaker wore a hood the entire time making his words completely garbled and not understandable. If you're going to beat out hundreds of others for a speaker spot, you should have to take it seriously and make sure you can be understood.


                      • #41
                        Pros: Considering you have no idea what you're up against numbers wise, things go better than expected.
                        Cons: I saw many talks, and I don't think I saw a single demo that was squared away. Furthermore, presenters seemed to be having an awful number of technical issues which results in considerable amounts of lost time.

                        Personal Points/Suggestions
                        Badges and Materials: I didn't get an electronic badge, and I was a bit bummed about that but I figured those would be somewhat limited. What I found unacceptable is when I registered on early Friday morning, got a paper badge, a string, and a sticker. No media CDs, no program... just a sticker. That smells of hard failure. Fire up an 80's Xerox in a basement somewhere and at a minimum print the schedule on copier paper.

                        Registration: Maybe it's time to open up a pre-registration or proper registration system. The number one flaw I've seen is not knowing your audience. Everything is a gaggle and a last minute scramble to try to accommodate an unknown problem (number of attendees). This hits you everywhere, from room planning to water stations. I understand the idea is anonymity, but the truth is no one has it... not anymore. If someone wants to pre-register with anonymity, I'm absolutely certain you can figure out a way to accommodate that. The truth is the majority of your audience doesn't care about anonymity and it's causing more problems that it's worth. DefCon has outgrown being able to not give a **** about attendance numbers. You already have started pre-registration of sorts by allowing Black Hat's to gain early registration. Giving access to Group A before Group B is a registration, whether or not you collect their email addresses.

                        SITREP: Unfortunately my buddies won't be attending 25. They feel the conference is continuing down a path of being underdeveloped (which I attribute that attitude to having a much larger audience than anticipated). We started attending years ago with 12, but now it's just me. I'm on the fence myself. I've booked the room just in case, but to be honest, I'm not looking forward to a convention expecting 35k people and ending up with 55k. Nothing good comes from that. I appreciate everything over the years, but this might be my first sign-in and final sign-out. Have a good year everyone!


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Jenshadus View Post
                          Considered digital or analog signs? There is a lot of screaming going on. Example have a whiteboard outside (and inside) for signing up for the workshop sign up room on the first day to apprise people of workshop availability. Mark presentation lines with stand up signs rather than yelling directions or putting them on the floors. Never been to one of these before and it seemed chaotic. Maybe that's the whole point. Just wouldn't hire you for ant wedding planning

                          Sounds like a related isue is the height of the signs. Screens higher on the walls would make the signs easier to read from farther away.


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by _multithreading View Post
                            Since it ends up needing to happen every year anyway, why not divide the hallways into 'lanes' of traffic from the get-go? Make some signs to point people in the correct direction, have 'exits' for the different tracks, etc.

                            A wish-list item would be some service to check to see if a track is full and standing in line is a waste of time, though I do love me some linecon.
                            Hire a consultant from Disney on wait line management. They have good resources on this topic.

                            You need the "abandon hope if you are past this point because the event is at capacity" type notification.


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by _multithreading View Post
                              It sounds like more of an engineering/data-gathering problem than anything, in terms of being able to change the traffic lane widths quickly. Finding a one-size-fits all solution to all talks in all tracks would not be very easy. However, to a certain extent, I'd imagine that the attendance of a particular talk can be estimated, and lanes potentially adjusted several minutes before the end of the talk or before people start coming in. Ideally, having the red tape posts on some sort of mechanical track that can be slid remotely would be nice, but that's easy for me to say if I'm not the one tasked with building such a contraption.
                              Are we dealing with problems or symptoms? Traffic is a symptom to me.

                              The real problem is timing so people can take more time to stream out and spacing big events so the corridors outside big events aren't overwhelmed.


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by braydawg View Post
                                On an unrelated note; l am a first time defcon attendee. I attended alone and find myself at one point very lonely and mopey. I did find one gentleman who spoke to me for an extended period of time about his affiliation with the conference on the 26th floor while he worked a party... I think the 803 party. I don't remember his name but I would like to give him a shout out if he happens to be around. He helped me feel a bit better. As a 30 year old man no one else is really responsible for my happiness but he still hung around. I wore black/red shorts and a red t-shirt if he reads these forums and happens to read this post. He wore a leather jacket and was bald with long hair. Also thanks to the 803(?), 801(?) party for providing me with free alcohol. This was one of the few times I showed up before the mob and managed to get my drink on and not sit in a line.
                                A designate area for lost / overwhelmed people is good for any conference. Somewhere close but not too close to Information Booth.

                                You should also see the twitter thread from the event start and harvest some that information into a newbie guide. The tag was #BadDefConAdvice. At the beginning, it did appear to be anti-advice for newbies. Then it drifted into bad infosec advice.