So today was the 101 day of DefCon 25 in Las Vegas and as a recent migrant to the City of Sin I finally had the chance to make an appearance. My friend and I got there around 0730 and already the lines were long, but surprisingly the Goons kept everything moving at a fairly swift pace. I hadn’t been following closely enough to know that the badge this year would not be an electronic puzzle as it had last year so that was a bit of a bummer for someone who was looking forward to tinkering with it. I did discover, entirely by accident, that there are several other badges available but at a reported $100 a pop it may be too rich for my blood, at least this year.

The 101 series of talks were very interesting, especially the one on digital archeology and data preservation. It’s facinating that there are parts of our computing history that simply do not exist anymore, especially with the common belief that digital things are “forever”. It was definitely cool to see that there are people dedicated to preserving this history and hunting down the surviving creators of the artifacts so that we can pick their brains before the knowledge is lost all together.

The last big surprise for me was how impossibly friendly everyone was toward us. I ran into no less than six different people who happily struck up a conversation on whatever topic my friend and I were tossing back and forth. I learned about several new tools for handling devops tasks and debated the merits of different password manager solutions. There were a few times where we ran into people and asked, honestly, really ignorant questions.

“What’s the deal with the badges?”

“How did you find out about them?”

“What are the villages like?”

The raised eyebrow would last just until we mentioned our newbie status when it was replaced with smiles and more information than we could hope to process. It felt like everyone was happy to share information and advice so long as you were willing to ask for it.

So far it’s been a great experience and I look forward to the rest of the conference with great excitement. I’m hoping to brain dump what has happened at a minimum once per day here just to keep a record of the whole thing so check back often to see what crazy I’ve gotten myself into next!