Yes, the day is finally upon us … ShmooCon there will be! I’ve been lucky enough to attend the past five or six years of this awesome conference. You could almost call me a veteran attendee … and as such I wanted to pass on a bit of advice for anyone heading down to DC today. In honor of the movie Fight Club I present to you the …
“The Rules of ShmooCon”
1st RULE: You do not talk about SHMOOCON.
… unless it’s on Twitter and you use the #shmoocon hashtag …
2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about SHMOOCON.
(see the 1st Rule for details)
3rd RULE: Only three talks to a day.
And on a bit more serious side… The first time I attended ShmooCon, I over-scheduled myself by focusing too much on the scheduled talks. Overall, I probably attended about 20 talks. At the end each day, I was exhausted and just headed home to recover. What I hadn’t realized was that I only took part in a small portion of what the conference had to offer.
Instead I’m suggesting that you attend just three talks each day (no cheating here) and spend the rest of the time taking in everything else ShmooCon has to offer … Firetalks, Hack Fortress, Lockpick Village, Shmooganography, … and most of all … networking with other hackers and just enjoying yourself.
4th RULE: If there is a party in the executive suite and someone breaks the genitalia-shaped vase, the party is over.
… or maybe not.
5th RULE: Turn off what you don’t need.
Remember … this is a hacker conference so be cautious with our usual array of electronic goods we carry around. You need to be very careful of how your devices will interact with anything at the conference. With that in mind, I recommend that you disable any and all connections to your devices (Bluetooth, WiFi, NICs, USB ports, etc.) and only turn them on when needed.
6th RULE: Don’t f*ck with the con’s secure wifi, local ATMs, or the hotel’s information kiosks.
We want the good folks at the Hilton to have us back next year (and maybe improve cellular coverage for us) so please don’t ruin it for the rest of us. Of course as I write this late Thursday night, I see we’ve already broken the kiosks part of this rule.
7th RULE: Always wear a cheap “Hello I am …” sticker with your your Twitter name and avatar.
This is not so people recognize you … but for you to recognize others. I know … most of us are pretty introverted but this is a great time to get out from behind our computers and meet many of those we regularly interact with online. Here’s the magic move to start a conversation with anyone at the con. Find someone with a familiar avatar and say, “Hi, I’m [name] from [location]. How’d you get your ShmooCon ticket?”
8th RULE: Talks will go on as long as they have to.
… unless it’s a Firetalks … those only last 15 minutes. For all other talks you might risk getting pelted by a barrage of spongy darts from modded Nerf guns if you go over time. Of course that could happen at the Firetalks too.
9th RULE: Always connect securely.
If you absolutely need to connect to the Internet, the secure ShmooCon network is a good start but it’s probably better to use a cellular network. Of course cellular signal is another issue as I mentioned above so you may want to invest in two or three other mifi pay-as-you-go access points. I’ve heard Virgin Mobile/Sprint, T-Mobile and Clear usually work well. And just to be safe you might want to VPN out as well (think the DEFCON allegations we had back in August). For those that don’t have VPNs provided through their company, I’ve looked at a few options before (see the comments there for other suggestions too).
10th RULE: If this is your first time attending SHMOOCON, you HAVE to get on your buddy’s shoulders during the opening or closing ceremonies and yell “Bow to my firewall!” at the top of your lungs.
Well that’s all I got… Can you think of any additional “Rules of ShmooCon?” Let us know in the comments below. Today’s image came from DiggingForFire.net (and they also have the original Fight Club rules reprinted there).