The Road to DefCon 21

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I have been so busy this past month in preparation for Defcon that my deltas have gathered a thin layer of dust and my mannequin torso, Tiberius has started sneaking off at night in search for what I’ve been neglecting to give him. It seems like we all put too much on our plates these past couple months, but I’m glad I was given the chance to help out as I have and can’t wait to experience the fruits of our labor (in less than a week!!).

So here’s what Jeff and I have been up to…

Crash and Compile

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This year, Jeff (Krux) is in charge of the infamous drinking while coding game that I’ve been hearing stories about since last summer… that’d be Crash and Compile. Jeff has spent pretty much every night at his computer working in preparation for this event, from overseeing registration to welding together the awesome trophy he will be giving out to the contest’s winner later this week. The only way I could participate (as I don’t code) was by designing a snazzy new logo for the event… which is now immortalized on the pint glasses we’ll be giving out to the teams competing.

The competition will be held at 3pm the Saturday of Defcon. The nine teams selected will be pinned against one another in six different hour long rounds. In each round there will be three different problems of varying difficulty. The first three teams to write code that generates the correct answer will receive points corresponding to the difficulty level of the problem they chose to solve. The challenge is that any time a team fails to output the correct answer or their code doesn’t compile, they have to take a drink. So as the afternoon progresses… everyone gets juicy.

The qualification round ended about a week ago, but awesomely enough Mark was one of the nine teams to be accepted into the contest. He’ll be a one man army, team “Burn it Down”. I will participate this year on “team distraction”, where my job will be to annoy the crap out of the competitors and keep them from solving problems and scoring points. Luckily I have just the TOOL for the job (which I’ll be poking Mark in the lower back with a good portion of the time).

Oh, and as a teaser… the trophy for Crash and Compile this year is being surfaced as I type this; hand made by Krux himself :

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I want one of these things… ❤ Go sweetie go!!!!!

The DefCon DarkNet Project

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The former event organizer of Crash and Compile, Smitty, will be orchestrating a new quest-based event inspired by the novel Daemon which both Jeff and I have been helping out with in our varied areas of expertise. Without disclosing a whole lot, this project has taken a lot of cooperation from many people with different skill sets to make possible. As someone behind the scenes it’s been exciting seeing what people can make happen when their incentive is simply to be a part of something great.

Among the recruited, Jeff helped out by designing the board which will be in a soldering kit sold at the Hardware Hacking Village.

The kit in proto-board mode :

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The home etched prototype :

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It working! :

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One of the test batch from OSH park :

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Along with designing the board…Jeff also is in charge of ordering all the parts and assembling them into actual kits…

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…which means we’ve been getting huge orders in the mail from Mouser and DigiKey. The largest I’ve ever seen.

So far we’ve had four or five fun nights of cutting surface mount reels into single components, sandwiching those tiny bits onto card stock with shipping tape, and detaching all the boards from the batch panels so that they too can be placed along with their properly sorted component kin into 300 or so static free baggies!

We drugged Mark and tied him to the couch so that he had no choice but to help. While he sorted and wept, I forced him to listen to a brainwashing mp3 that has given him the uncontrollable desire to come back this weekend and help us do it all again. He’ll be here in about an hour with beer…

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The soldering kit aside, I have been tasked with designing the web graphics and promotional imagery for the project. This has been a blast. The site is live as of yesterday, so if you want more information about the event, check it out : DefCon DarkNet Project.

I figured I’d at least give an update about all this while I’m still in the moment. There are at least four other unpublished entries on my list I need to push out before I’m caught up……. blogging can be like constipation sometimes. More to come on the name badges we made in a day or so!

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