I always come back from a con jazzed up and ready to deal with whatever work has to throw at me. I always end up meeting a ton of nice people and learn a bajillion things. This year at DerbyCon was no different. Some of you may have overheard me mention it before online or at the con, but I was feeling snippy and burned out since I had been working every day from Labor Day until the day before I left for DerbyCon. So seeing everyone and having all of these conversations was really great for me. I’m feeling re-energized and excited to apply some of the stuff that I learned about as well as more focused on what I want to do.
Also as usual, I didn’t get to attend most of the talks that I wanted to see. But it was more than worth it since I was able to spend more time meeting new people, seeing Twitter friends in person for the first time, and getting to spend time with people that I only get to see a few times a year. The hacker/infosec community is one of the greatest and I am always humbled at how nice and personable you all are, even if we get on each other’s nerves from time to time.
M and I got into Louisville around 3:30 and abducted a guy who was heading from the airport to the con hotel (not a random person, they were wearing a SANS shirt and we confirmed he was going to the con before offering to share the cab). After spending some time psyching ourselves up for socializing (we had been up since 2AM to catch the shuttle van to SEA for our flight), we headed to the con hotel to meet up with folks who were going to join us for dinner. The original plan for the family dinner was to have whoever responded on twitter (26 people) join us for pizza and drinks over at Bearno’s by the Bridge. What happened was we amassed somewhere between 35-40 people and scared the poor folks there. They were super acommodating and gave us the entire basement, where we hung out and yelled over one another. The wait staff were all very nice and pretty fast with the food considering the number of folks who were there. I highly recommend eating there next year.
I will most definitely be making the Hacker Family Dinner a normal part of every hacker con I attend (and will try to find a surrogate organize for those that I cannot). It was so much fun getting to sit with a whole bunch of you and talking before the con started.
After dinner, we headed back to the con hotel and @integgroll, @rogueclown, @niteshad, M and I all hung out and played Munchkin for 3-4 hours. This was just one game, but along the way people kept showing up to hang out and drink with us, which was really freaking cool. Around midnight/one, M and I decided to PTFO.
Somehow I woke up at 7:30/8 and got to have breakfast with a few folks who were also magically awake (especially @ben0xa, who joined us after his morning run). Afterward, I puttered around and did LobbyCon until opening ceremonies at 1. After opening ceremonies, I hit up almost every vendor (the only exception being No Starch, but only because I still have two books I got from DEF CON that I haven’t read) and then went to learn how to pick locks. I just want to take a minute to thank @ben0xa, @b10w, @securitymoey, and @integgroll for showing M and I the basics. It was so much fun. As soon as I successfully raked open my first masterlock, I was hooked and spent a lot of time over there. M is hooked now as well.
During my time in the Lockpick Village, I met four women (two of which I think were high schoolers) who came to the con with family and had just learned how to lockpick as well. There were also other guys at the table (along with theh Level1 folks) who were very nice and helpful when it came to explaining the locks and the picks. It was a great experience.
The only talk I hit up that day was @jaysonstreet ‘s. He had a great overall message about what we need to do and need to stop as a community and industry. Specifically, how we need to get rid of the sheriff complex and how to talk to business people (managers/users/etc.). I always enjoy listening to Jayson talk and will post the link either here or on Twitter as soon as it is online.
A little bit after Jayson’s talk was the first ”Are You Smarter Than a CISSP?”. @integgroll and I had worked on the idea a little bit about a month before the con. The turn out was a lot better than we expected (the room was full) and we had 3 contestants. Next year, we will use the full two hours given to us (we thought there was only an hour) and make it bigger and better! We have a few ideas kicking around to make it more fun and will be working on them over the year. So we hope that folks will join us next year.
Did breakfast again with a few people and embarrassed myself meeting @carlos_perez (side note: he is one of the nicest, most unassuming people I have ever met. Even if he teases us with the delicious food he makes). I was able to catch half an hour of @ben0xa ‘s first talk (it was also his Twitter/community birthday. Yay!) and then had to leave in order to go do mine. He did an awesome job and the message of you need to incentivize adherence to security policies and not talk to users like their idiots. It was a great message and I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of his talk once it is online.
After my talk, we grabbed a few folks and went down to the Blind Pig and had delicious food and drinks. Then spent the rest of the night playing Cards Against Humanity and hanging around the bar with a few Chicago people (another side note: @elizmartin is so sweet and has convinced me to come to Chicago to visit for BSides Chicago and Thotcon. Also, it will be my first trip to Chicago, so yay!).
We had to leave around 11:30 on Sunday morning, but I got to have one last breakfast with a few folks as well as catch @integgroll ‘s talk (he’s funny/interesting even at 9AM). I was able to check out about half of the closing ceremony from Midway airport thanks to the Hackers For Charity guys showing it on UStream. On a related note, I squeed/teared up in the middle of the airport when I heard that 1500-1700 people raised $30,001 for HFC. It was an amazing thing to hear and I also want to mention that they set up a Volunteer Network.
Also, here is a quick shout-out to another write-up ben0xa.com .