One of the reasons I came was to look at hacker culture, and how closely they relate to fandom. I see many parallels, crossovers, and nothing is really very surprising. I am not sure how accurate Shmoocon is of being a "slice of hacker culture," but they have their characters. I saw a lot of pierced people, and while they don't make the majority, I think there are a lot of people here who have a huge plethora of piercings that would probably get them unwelcome stares from the Nuns.
Yes, the Nuns. Let me explain: we're booked the same weekend as a "Christian Educators" conference, which, as far as I can tell, have about a third of the hotel to themselves. Some of the educators are Nuns, and judging by the material I am seeing these mostly 40-something women carry around, they are trying to promote Christianity as the ethical core behind the "new breed of students," as one poster said. Yeee... creepy.
Anyway, there are also more females here, which is a good thing. Some are the typical fan girls, but some are in buisness suits. In fact, there are quite a few suits around here. There is also a lot of... "subculture" dress among them, like goth, punk, miligoth, and so on. Again, no surprises. Slightly less than fandom, but they are here.
Apple iBooks are the rage, apparently, but I have seen a few Windows laptops. One of them was used in some of the main presentations. I haven't seen a Linux laptop yet. But Linux is not doing well here, this is a strong BSD crowd. Hense the Macs. But the Windows don't elicit boos, either. As has been said by quite a few people, "Any OS can be secured with brainpower and common sense." Several told you not to waste money on Anti-virus software.
The first talk I went to was Bruce Potter's Opening Statements. "Don't believe anything I say," he started with. "Don't believe anything the speakers say, either. Just because we're up here doesn't make us right or better than anyone else." He then went to express how this convention, like Toorcon and a few others, were for attendees. He then ranted for a while about bad software engineers, and buddy? I can relate! Oh my God, it's like someone was summarizing my last two weeks at work. Wow. Bruce also explained the origin of the Shmoo group, and said this was going to be the last time he explained it for a while. Apparently, he and a bunch of Shmoo members used to work at Internet Alaska, where one of the members was dating a rather wild girl who called him "Shmoo-i-kins" in a note she left with his lunch. The name stuck. The "No moose," thing comes from the fact that several outages were caused by moose in Alaska, like those that ram power transformers and things. He aslo warned us that they were testing IDS triangulation, so if anyone tried to hack their wireless network, they would be caught. A video of a Linksys WLAN PCMCIA card being shot by a high caliber bullet was shown later on.
Too bad my wireless card doesn't work with this laptop. Probably safer that way.
I stayed for Bruce Caswell's "IDS Gone Bad" where he showed he could, with Snort, Perl, and Metespolit, make snort work like a worm. Bruce confessed he only did this talk because it was interesting to a lot of people, and he wanted to get in free. Sadly, someone in the front row shot him down, and shot him down HARD. Apparently, and I don't know exactly how to re-explain it, Bruce got some basic thing wrong with cryptography. "You have a very interesting talk," said the arrogant snit in the suit, "but you are wrong." He then went on and on about how this wouldn't work and would be easily stopped. He was right, apparently, because Bruce's main defense was that he gave the talk to get a free badge (I am not making this up).
I wish stodgycat where here. He'd know exactly who this person reminded me of.
Later, Bruce sat next to me, but seemed unwilling to strike up a conversation. I asked him if he knew Adam Doxtater, who also wrote for the revised book on Snort. He replied it had like 16 authors, and he only spoke to 4 of them. Someone came to him, said he gave a great talk, and not to take the guy who shot him down personally. Bruce didn't reply much to him, either.
My throat was getting scratchy, so since the talk ended early, I broke my no-sugar streak, and got some Gatorade. It made me feel much better. I think tomorrow, I am going to make a trip outside to some drug store or something around here and get snacks. I had another opportunity to get candy, but again, even though I was bummed I was breaking a streak with the Gatorade, I couldn't make myself buy a candy bar. maybe it was the $2.75 price tag on it. Yes, $2.75 for a Snicker's. The Gatorade was $4, and the lady short changed me. I brought it up, "Hey, you only gave me $11 back," and she quickly gave me the $5, and muttered a practiced apology under her breath. Great, drawer skimming.
I came back for "The Clue Enforcers" which was... bad. I mean totally, unfunny bad. It was supposed to be in the format of a talk show, but I don't know where they were going with this. Tina Bird was on stage, with a whip made of Cat 5 cables, and then for about 20 unfunny minutes, they spoke about bad packets and little users, and people were getting up and leaving bit by bit. After half an hour, I couldn't take it anymore; it was embarrassing to watch. I went back to my room. I don't know where they were going with this, but it reminded me back in the days when... well, that's mean. I won't mention who it reminded me of. But those in FanTek will.
I just got a call from Albedo. He's staying the night here due to some "issues" with his parents. He came down for a job interview that had a lot of strings attached, and he just didn't want to deal with his parents about it. We worked it out earlier in the week, so it's not a surprise or anything. He's leaving tomorrow morning to hang out with some friends, and then he's heading back home to Philly.
Finally, a con where I can talk to him!