08 February 2010

Shmoocon 2010 review

A few items of review of this year's ShmooCon:

ShmooCon Firetalks were awesome. I don't know how I missed them last year, but it was an absolute blast this year. The Wilson rooms (Bring It On track) were mostly filled on Friday night and it was a fantastic time (didn't get to see much on Saturday though). Great talks by all, and I was absolutely humbled to have my SHODAN talk picked as the best of the lot. My thanks go out to @grecs, @mubix and the entire NovaInfosec crew for organizing. Special thanks in that regard go to @achillean for all his great feedback (and because, well, it is his tool!).

The main track talks were good as normal, although there seemed to be a general consensus that there were fewer "must see" talks than normal. If true, I think some of this stems from the fact that ShmooCon makes a concerted effort to provide itself as a platform for new speakers (which I think is a good thing); but with that come some risk that the speakers may fall flat. So while you may get some very good talks from new speakers, but you might also get some "just OK" talks. Still, this shouldn't take away from the conference overall as something that I will continue to personally advertise as my favorite con.

The Internet kiosks moved from "typical" pay-style kiosks to simple desktop computers running SiteKiosk but requiring no authentication. Perhaps this help to stave off the annual kiosk hacking event, or perhaps just make it less fun. :-) However, that didn't totally kill the fun; we located a Panasonic HDTV with a wireless interface...maybe worth the story of a separate post. :-)

Spending just one day at the Potter house rolling t-shirts gave me more insight than I could have ever guessed into all the work Bruce, Heidi, and all the volunteers do to pull this off; add in Own the Con and you realize that their life becomes ShmooCon for a good portion of the year. Thanks again to everyone at the Shmoo Group for a great time.

Other have said, and I agree wholeheartedly, that you will get out of a con what you put into it. In fact, I believe some places offer an extended return on investment, and I believe that ShmooCon is one of those places.
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