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From: InfoSec News (alertsinfosecnews.org)
Date: Wed May 01 2013 - 01:28:57 CDT
April 29, 2013
I just returned from a brief trip to Chicago, where I attended and presented at
Thotcon, as well as attended BSides Chicago.
Thursday: After a two hour delay due to “mechanical” issues, I arrived in
Chicago. I am a bit surprised, as the flight crew in Denver did not give us a
lot of confidence. We were told a “switch” needed to be replaced and it wasn’t
switching or something. This led to them telling us that they would have to
“rewind” the engine, which doesn’t seem logical. From the airport, a long and
slow taxi ride made me late for the THOTCON speaker dinner at the Northdown
Cafe and Taproom. This is where I found the ‘Curmudgeon’ beer pictured below.
There is something very satisfying about ordering a ‘curmudgeon’ at a bar and
getting a bottle. After the dinner, Space Rogue, Josh Corman, Banshee, and I
went out looking for some good Blues music. We started at Kingston Mines but
found the music to be too upbeat. Across the road at B.L.U.E.S. we found
exactly what we were looking at. I had told my companions that I wanted a guy
sitting on stage singing and playing the guitar, and it delivered. The $1.50
Jägermeister shots appealed to Space Rogue greatly.
Friday: As happened a few times, the day began with or included a packed cab
ride. The immediate surprise was the venue. The Ravenswood Event Center sounds
like any other hall for a convention, but in reality is a unique space. Around
the main conference room were a variety of old sports cars in immaculate
condition. The third floor space reserved for speakers had high glass walls for
a bright room with good views. Courtesy of THOTCON staff, the speakers could
use this as a lounge for talk preparation, free booze, and a hosted lunch. I
ran into Jeff Jarmoc again who delivered on his promise to bring us a jar of
peanut butter for a stage prop. The picture of the Jif alongside the THOTCON
wireless information was proof for Advanced Threat who doubted my presence in
Chicago. Not to be outdone by Jarmoc, Banshee produced a stuffed squirrel who
could enjoy the jar.
The first keynote of the day was by Bruce Schneier, who treated the audience
like a bunch of eight-year olds, going into the very basics of social contract
by stretching it out 30 minutes via the speaking method of “repeat yourself
using different words seventeen times”. Josh and I were both groaning
throughout his presentation and I opted to take a ‘meta’ picture by
photographing the event photographer. Of course, any InfoSec conference needs
drama, and THOTCON’s was in the form of someone complaining about the “race
card” that was being passed around. Of course, it had absolutely nothing to do
with race, and everything to do with Mario Kart racing, but that didn’t matter.
I thought the cards were hilarious. The other sticker that came with
registration was potentially a trigger, but everyone seemed to love it as well
as the shirts that said “Fork My Dongle“. Shortly before my talk, I jumped over
to Track 2 to see James Arlen present on how to do a better presentation. His
very brief talk was a boiled down version of a much longer workshop he gives,
and it should be required viewing by anyone presenting, especially in InfoSec.
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