Monday, January 31, 2011

Shmoocon 2011

Dave and I have returned from Shmoocon 2011. Again, Shmoocon was a loose-knit collections of contests, linked together by various technical talks and general mischief. My wife has already confiscated all of the swag pens and all of the t-shirts. I have the following comments about various talks:
  • The "Hacking SmartWater" talk was just scary enough.
  • As always, a talk by Johnny Long can't/shouldn't be missed. This was no exception. He's asking for help.
  • I successfully resisted the urge to argue with Tara Whalen during her discussion on Google's wireless issues.
  • we were able to grab one of the cases offered during the interesting Zigbee Security talk.
  • Richard Friedberg's talk on Flow caused me to want to take another look at it (it's been around for a long, long time).
  • the talk on Hedy Lamar's technical work was interesting (it goes with this year's idea that certain applications of FHSS are about to be overcome).
  • The talk on URL shorteners should be a source of fun for months to come.

One of the themes for this year (more than two talks on the topic) is that Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) is no longer as secure as it once was. Various people have been working on ways to determining the hop pattern and doing other things with homemade boards. Bluetooth is going to take a beating this year. I managed to snag one of Travis Goodspeed's GoodFET boards.

I embarrassed myself only twice this year: 1) My apologies for the snoring during the talk on the second day (Dave says I was quite loud). 2) Dave Marcus pointed out one of my accounts during his FireTalk about recon'ing via social media. Apparently, I'm the only one at Shmoocon who tweets with location turned on. (heh) He should have won the iPod.

My neighbor, in the room next to mine, embarrassed himself at 6 a.m. on Saturday. I woke to the middle stages of a the classic porcelain prayer, "Please God! I promise I'll never do it again." Dude, whatever it was that you were doing the night before, you weren't doing it right.

(Following was told to me by someone who made me promise not to give up his name) As always, Telmnstr brought something to the con. This year, it was a retired bomb disposal robot. TJ (a grown man) was playing with it in one of the public areas of the hotel, learning how to pick up and drop a Shmooball. He was pwned a short while later by the youngster (4-6 year old girl) who commandeered the controller and showed off the robot's ball capturing capabilities much better than anyone else (sorry TJ). We suspect that she had prior training.

We're sorry that we missed the closing session as we had to get on the road. Fortunately, someone has the closing talk up on uStream (also below). It's proof that actually work gets accomplished during the con (other than Josh Wright writing code for a speaker's prototype system while the talk is in progress). It takes about an hour to give out the prizes and say the various thank-you's. All in all, the con was fun.

[ustream vid=12355746 hid=0 w=480 h=296]