DEF CON 21 Recap
Posted in blog, tradeshow-events on August 09, 2013
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas -- making it a great backdrop for the one of the largest and one of the oldest hacker conventions in the world. This past weekend, 15,000 hackers convened at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in the Las Vegas desert to hack, learn, and party at DEF CON 21. Mike Biehn, an iXsystems employee and a veteran of DEF CON who's attended the past thirteen years, graciously took the time to sit down with us and let us know how it went.
Before he left for his trip, we stuffed his car full of free stuff to give away. The crowd at DEF CON was already familiar with BSD, FreeNAS, iXsystems, and what we do. According to Mike, the MeetBSD lanyards we sent over were also well-received and many switched out their DEF CON lanyard for the ones we sent. Mike recruited friends to help hand out free swag as well, and soon the convention floor saw blinking red horns everywhere. As one person put it, "Gotta represent the BSD!"
Although it was crowded and space was limited, some of the vendors allowed Mike to leave swag on their tables for the attendees. Having a table in the vendor space is a very selective process that includes a registration fee and a review selection process. The tables were stocked with shirts, stickers, hardware, and lots of lockpicks. I even noticed pictures of voodoo dolls. Some of the vendors this year included TOOOL, No Starch Press, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
For the first time in the history of the conference, federal authorities were asked not to attend DEF CON 21. Several events and organizations set up drives to raise funds for the EFF. Mohawk-con was a popular venue where people got haircuts and the proceeds were donated to the EFF.
In honor of DEF CON's 21st year, the theme this year was poker, gambling, and everything casino-related. Giant tiles, reminiscent of poker chips, covered the floors of the convention and tied into a massive cryptography puzzle. The convention also saw the premiere of DEF CON: The Documentary, a film with a behind-the-scenes look at the convention during its 20th anniversary last year. There was something for everyone and the experience at DEF CON is up to the attendee. Will Smith even made a brief appearance at DEF CON to research for an upcoming movie. Pictures exist. It happened.
"There are always multiple things going on at any given time. So long as people follow the 3-2-1 rule, it's go time, non-stop. That's at least three hours of sleep, two meals, and one shower a day," Mike explained.
Other contests included Black Bag, a modified escape game; Crash and Compile, a programming contest and drinking game combined; and Hacker Jeopardy. We reserved the best of the swag for the Hacker Jeopardy swag toss. Horns, shot glasses, water bottles, T-shirts, and beastie plushies were among the things that were handed out at the event. The ultimate prize of the coveted black badges was eventually won by DEF CON goons.
"It was great overall. I haven't missed one yet because it's such a fantastic group of smart people and curious ideas, all kinds of people from all over the world coming together and getting along in one place in the interest of making technology better," Mike said in closing. "It gives my brain a recharge every year."
Thanks a lot to Mike for all the help with this post and we'll be sure to send even more stuff next year to support DEF CON!
Annie Zhang Marketing AssistantShare on Twitter Share on Facebook