Top 5 Tips for Snagging that ShmooCon Barcode

Today’s the day … or at least one of three days throughout the year where we drop everything around 11:55 AM EST, head over over to the ShmooCon registration page, and starting F5ing the hell out of our computers with the hope of getting a barcode. Being someone that’s attended ShmooCon for four or so years now, I thought I’d pull together some of my tips for getting ShmooCon tickets. I’ve written about this previously however the ticket process has significantly changed since 2009.

Tip #1 – Read & Become Familiar with the ShmooCon Purchase Instructions: This is a repeat from my 2009 tips but is still very relevant today. It comes from the organizers themselves and one we should all take seriously. They explained the whole process in the “So the actual process will go like this” section on the registration page.

Tip #2 – Keep Refreshing to Buy Tickets Even if You Get a Sold Out Message: Here’s another repeat from 2009 and I’ve anecdotally found it continues to be helpful. After you get the dreaded “sold out” message … fear not. In previous years there’s been reports that the ticket system would let some slip through even after 30 minutes. So even if you get that message saying to wait until the next month, just keep refreshing…

Tip #3 – Disable Chrome HTTP Throttle: Chome has a lot of great security features built in … including this fellow. It is a self-defense mechanism that helps prevent “Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks from being perpetrated by web pages and extensions.” Unfortunately, this bit me last time. I was refreshing Safari as well so I don’t think I affected me that much. Anyway to disable it enter “chrome://net-internals/#httpThrottling” into the URL field and uncheck the box.

Tip #4 – F5 on Two Computers: Getting tickets that sell out in 10 seconds is pretty much a lottery. So the more times you enter, the better chance you have to win and with at least two computers you are doubling your chances to win. As the Shmoo High-Availability Moose Cluster starts to slow down this technique also gives you something to do while anxiously waiting page refreshes. You could go to three machines but I think you might loose focus and miss the magic “click here to reserve your barcode” and accidentally refresh again. Also if you don’t have access to two computers, at least bring up two browsers and let them fight it out.

Tip #4b – Learn How to Refresh on Macs: Related to the F5 tip above … if you are on a Mac, hitting F5 isn’t going to do you a lot of good. The key combination that I found that consistently works on Firefox, Chrome, and Safari is “Command – R” instead. For Firefox you can also hit “fn – F5” but that didn’t seem to work for any of the other browsers.

Tip #5 – Disable All Security Add-Ons/Extensions: I don’t think it should affect things that much as the ShmooCon site doesn’t seem to rely on any third-party mashup technologies. But to be on the safe side I’d turn off add-ons like NoScript, HTTP-Everywhere, and Adblock Plus just in case they trip the browser up. Also disabling any of the other add-ons might speed the browser up some.

Bonus Tip – Just Wait: If you really want to attend and weren’t lucky enough to grab a barcode, all hope is not lost. I’ve seen a lot of tickets come available a few weeks just before the con. Plans change, emergencies come up, or work deadlines move… And there’s always eBay. Most people out in the security community that I know aren’t looking to sell these tickets for a profit so become part of the community and one should turn up.

Good luck to everyone… At @shmoocon‘s signal unleash hell.


You know of any surefire tips on getting the sacred barcodes? Let us know in the comments below. And afterwords why not comment on what did and did not work. Today’s post image is from

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