As mentioned, I attended Defcon 16 this weekend in Las Vegas and had an excellent time! Defcon is a computer security and general hacking convention. Vegas provides an excellent background for a pretty technical and semi-serious event. It took place in the Rivera Hotel, which is quite old and busted hotel, but it works fine for a bunch of nerds that just want to drink and hack all day!
We arrived around 6PM in LAS and checked into our room pretty quickly, just dropping off our things and then heading out to dinner at the Treasure Island hotel. Walking around outside in the Vegas heat is interesting, it’s like a hot sauna or something, but the dry heat isn’t that bad for short periods of time. We continued partying and enjoyed the night someplace, I don’t even remember.
I woke up around 10 or 11am and showered and headed down to the first day of talks. Plenty of good info and interested people. The rooms and talks were crowded, but well managed. The goons, people in redshirts running the event, took charge when needed and herded people properly because even for the all smart people there, we all become stupid in a crowd. I attended talks until 5pmish, then we headed out to dinner someplace I forget, then went to a party at the Hard Rock Cafe around 7pm. Getting drunk and realized it’s only 8pm is such a weird Vegas moment. We hit up a few more parties all around, there are just so many, it’s so fun to have them all be free pretty much. It was a late night and I ended up sleeping at the Treasure Island hotel somehow too! I find when I’m drunk, I love to ramble about how awesome wordpress is.
Didn’t wake up until noon and after pampering, headed to more talks by 2pm. I attended the EFF panel, which was informing people about a bunch of MIT kids received an injunction over a talk they were going to give, my friend Drew has more info. It was interesting to get the info first hand and hear people chatting about throughout the conference. Talks ended around 6pm and we headed to the Star Trek Experience for warp core breaches and really good dinner, which is surprising for a place like that. The Star Trek yearly convention was also going on at the Hilton surprisingly, it was cool to see the other nerds wandering around in full costumes. The people dressed as Klingon’s were fully in character and quite impressive.
I attended a few talks Sunday morning 10am talks before we headed to airport early and just hung out for a bit. There are around 3,000 slot machines in the airport, you can gamble constantly. Overall for the conference, it was an awesome time to meet so many cool people interested in learning and sharing together. I had attended Google IO a few months back, which is more of a programmer and web development gathering and the overall themes were quite different. IO was all about building new things, imagining what is possible and how to accomplish it. Defcon is more like “stop doing it that way, you’re doing it all wrong” and being very technical and thorough about knowledge. Just a different way of doing things and it was interesting to get that perspective. I have to go back next year!