Wow like these l33t dudes changed someones dinner reservations and announced a fake blue light special at k-mart teeehheeehee that's like so 3l3333t!
Yeah, no kidding. I live in New York, so I drove down Saturday to check it out... When you work m-f, you can't just randomly take Friday off, you know? I think they should have postponed some of Friday's talks for the weekend and put all the fluff on Friday so we could get it out of the way...
Anyway, I went on Saturday and was mightily disappointed. Most of the talks were bullshit propaganda, very few had any actual information in them, lots had weird, self-congradulatory segments, and none were particularly useful or interesting.
The audience was interesting from a sociological point of view. I saw a few people who I felt might actually know something, numerous people who clearly didn't know much of anything (the script kiddie contingent was out in force), and dozens of what appeared to be sysadmins and security staff, all of whom looked mildly aggravated because THEY couldn't find any information either.
As for friendliness, well, most of the people were kind of cool. But I had some weird experiences. There was a strange old man who would stare at me and smile, looking (for whatever reason) approximately at my left chest. I suspect he thought I was a fed (but are there any fat feds???) . Being older, there were a couple of times when people gave me the hairy eyeball and disdained me (this one short, young asian guy in particular glared at me when I offered him a hurled cDc hamburger that had landed nearby -- I guess I'm not "cool" or "leet" enough to be neighborly, how dare I?).
The only things for sale were silly "Hacker" T-shirts, which in my view are more or less like "kick me" signs no true hacker would be seen dead in. Lots of people were walking around in them, though.
I think the real significance of this conference is that people will try to identify with *anything* to fit in, even if they're clearly not being honest about their membership in a group. Look at the meaninglessness of the term "hacker" itself: it used to mean a gifted programmer. Then, through media misuse, it came to mean a system cracker. Now, apparently, it means nothing, because making prank calls and picking locks is now considered hacking. I thought that stuff was more properly called "grifting"! Or "the short con", for those of you who like Jim Thompson.
It's all bullshit. From now on I'm only going to Linux and programming related conferences. At least the tutorials have something you can sink your teeth into. And they offer swag you actually *want*...
An aggravated coder.
The Starbucks credit card scam was pretty disturbing, but tell me what kind of point was proved by changing reservations at a resturant for some guy? Congratulations, you are ready to join Don and Mike, Opie and Anthony, and the long list of security experts....er schlock radio jokesters.
Try the 'Prince Albert in the can' social experiment next.
So it was a bunch of smelly communists that took a break from playing with linux and looking at kiddy porn to gather together and (shock) relay their displeasure with the current politcal administration. Yeah that sounds like fun. Looks like that one Aaron guy didnt follow his own advice to "shut the hell up, you don't know anything". Sounds like a really nice guy though.
If these people really want to 'change the world,' they'd better start thinking like intelligent capitalists rather than bonehead hippies. Sure, use social engineering. But use it to help convince people to use Free Software, not steal credit card numbers. It's called marketing and it doesn't take genius in a world of weak minds. Sure, promote anonymous P2P networks. But use them to help starving artists who are being ignored by the establishment. Whining does nothing. Dreaming of how things might be better does nothing. It takes action and determination, not politics.
I saw Robert Steele's presentation as well, and I did not find him to be a "great speaker". It seems his primary reason to speak was to promote his books, even taking care to make sure his covers showed up on the screen periodically. When someone asked him a question he did not like he did one of two things; either go way off topic ignoring the question in the first place, or even go so far as to insult that person. As far as his "plan" goes, I'm surprised anyone into the philosphy of free/open software would even consider some of his plan to be rational. Claiming to be a supporter of open source, it seems he failed to realize what it's all about. His plan involves a layered approach, exactly what free software is against. In a later session he even admitted that creating a system of superiority was good "to pay his mortgage". Although he threw out several details that exited the audience, I hope people realized that the big picture is most important here. I AM FLAIMBAIT, but please remember that just because someone has a few good ideas, intentions are most important.
I also believe that Robert Steele got it wrong in a major way. I saw him initially as part of a three person panel on the FBI. Essentially he sort of applied libertarian theory to intellegence. The problem with having being a little intellegence agent has been well illustrated by the informant states that have existed in the past.
Furthermore, the problems with having hordes of untrained people with a little bit of power and authority all doing their best to "beef up security" leads to people getting thrown off airplanes for their choice of reading material, or even worse, the TIPS program.
There was supposed to be a debate between Jello and Steele after Jello spoke, but since Jello's verbal diarrhea went untreated for hours, I bet it never happened... (it reminded me of a recent southpark episode where people reverse the food intake/outake direction...)
I have to say that although I was at h2k2, I didn't go to see Mr. Steele's remarks. I felt it was going to be a waste of time and I could use my time somewhere else. It is obvious, he was simply there to promote his books and to piss off and insult people that are not to his liking. He might know some, but not as much as he's wants you to believe. People that are/were really in the intelligence business and really know their stuff are going to be the ones that you rarely if ever hear about. The rest are just there for other motives, like in the case of Mr. Steele. Too bad that most people go for the flash rather than the substance every single time
jello malfia? BWA HAHAHAHAHA! quite an in depth analysis of the conference, i especially love how i am left with the taste of exceptional boredom and hurting, unfocused eyes... and is it just me or since when is emmanuel such a star that seeing him at his own conference inspires exclamation points at the end of descriptions of terrible pictures of his right ear and Target-esque red shirt? LOOK AT ME! I'm your doofy cult icon! hehehehe kinda neat to get a sense of the aura though