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    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    Day 1 of Defcon 16

    Brenno J.S.A. de Winter started Defcon for me and ended it, too (see Last Day of Defcon 16 posting). “Hacking Data Retention: Small Sister Your Digital Privacy Self Defense,” was where he released a tool that would encrypt communications. The most important emphasis he made is, “...even if you don't care or don't need to use encryption, do it for all of the other people who do.” It was great to see Brenno again; we met last year and have been buddies ever since.

    CoffeeWars had already begun in the contest area when I finished catching up with Brenno. Hurring to the contest table so I could get my free coffee, I skimmed past a tall, attractive guy dressed in a black tshirt with spikes on it. But I was too distracted by the aroma from the coffee drawing me into the contest area for it to register that the guy with the spikes was Jeff Moss, (pict. above by Vissago) the founder of Defcon.

    The coffee I was given was pretty bad and I was hoping that it wasn't my submission (it wasn't). For CoffeeWars, you're given as much coffee as you want in little plastic Styrofoam cups, but there is no sugar or milk to “adulterate” the flavor. Strong, very strong stuff! I had to choke down the sludge that was already in my cup before they would pour me more from a different brew. While working to do that, I was talking to the former fed who is often spotted as being a fed—he has a collection of the “I'm the Fed” t-shirt to prove it. We were discussing the MIT undergrads' presentation. I was told that the Feds had asked the MIT guys to pull some of their slides because of an on-going investigation. That didn't surprise me because I had an idea that those guys would have some issues with their presentation, especially because they took pictures of them breaking into stuff. The former fed introduced me to Jeff Moss who was sparingly given a cup of coffee from the next brew.

    Maybe it was the coffee, the time change, or the stifling crowds in the halls between the presentation rooms, but I had a headache that Advil wouldn't touch so I went to Bellagio's spa for the afternoon. I really had intended to attend a bunch of sessions that afternoon, but I couldn't continue. The Bellagio was perfect and my headache was gone after the hour long massage by a guy with really strong hands. That spa was incredible, too; I felt like I was on a space ship while walking over rectangular green lights set into the floor and indirect spot lights coming out of the walls. Trippy atmosphere more so than soothing.

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