Wednesday, February 11, 2009


shmoocon was this past weekend, and it was full of awesome. i spent most of the time playing around and socialising...i didn't go to all that many talks. the ones i went to were good, though: i went to Jaku and Zack's talk on the agreement [a.k.a. hacking your friends for fun and increased security...], Chris Paget's talk on cloning the enhanced driver's license, and a workshop on basic hold-breaking and attacker-disabling techniques in Cuong Nhu, a Vietnamese martial art.

i also participated in a few of the contests: barcode shmarcode, hack or halo, and gringo warrior:
  • everyone who buys a ticket gets a barcode to get themselves into the con, and the point of barcode shmarcode was to do something cool-looking with your barcode. i still need to take a picture of my own barcode hack, which was to put a design inside the barcode and then put the design on a laptop bag. Rob, however, actually won a prize for his awesomely dorky entry--a multipass from the movie The Fifth Element:
  • hack or halo was really two contests going on at the same time: a computer hacking competition and a halo 3 competition. i participated in both...which was nice, since the halo rounds gave me some nice brain breaks during the hour and fifty minutes of intense hacking action. i was terrible at halo--i had never played before, and i lack any aptitude at video games. however, i did manage to make it to the second round, since there were five people in my prelim heat, the top four made the second round, and i did not kill myself--unlike Rob, who killed himself twice. ;-) i fared far better at the hacking. i solved 6 out of the 17 objectives in the allotted time, which was not bad for a complete noob like me. i was expecting to look at the problem, be completely confused, and throw in the towel early. instead, i realised that i knew enough to actually know where to go on some of the problems and stay entertained the entire two hours. i also have something to beat next year. :-)
  • gringo warrior is a lockpicking competition. the premise is that you went to a con in mexico and somehow ended up locked up in jail, with only your trusty lockpick set. you have five minutes to get out of the handcuffs [pick the cuffs open], get out of the jail cell [pick a doorknob lock], incapacitate the guard [represented by a blow-up doll in a guard suit], get your passport [pick a file cabinet lock], get out of the jail building [pick a deadbolt], and steal a car to get out of there [pick a car lock]. points were awarded for speed and difficulty, since there were easy, medium, and hard options for each lock. i wasn't expecting to do very well, since i have only been picking locks for about two months and i had never picked any of those kinds of locks before, except for a deadbolt cylinder. however, i picked the handcuffs [from behind me, no less!], the hard door lock, the medium file cabinet lock, the medium deadbolt lock, and the easy car lock. [i also beat the guard up pretty nicely and threw him across the room. i wish there was video.] i was so pleased to get all of those locks open--and that ended up being good enough to place me second in the competition, for which i was recognized at closing ceremonies. :D that was pretty cool.

there were parties both friday and saturday night...the friday night party my favourite. saturday was fun because of the people, but the venue wasn't my thing. it was at a club in adams-morgan. friday night, however, was a dance party in a church sanctuary. that was so cool...HacDC, the hackerspace in DC, rents out part of a church, and so they got permission to throw this party in the sanctuary. the music was awesome...and included some sweet DJing by Josh, as well as some awesomely nerdy rap from dual core.

other than the actual con-like stuff, i had a lot of fun hanging out with everyone...old friends and new, locals and people from far away, phone losers and...people who can somehow manage to hang on to their phones. :-) the socializing is probably my favourite part of the con...i love seeing all of my friends who i don't get to see often enough, love meeting people who i have only previously seen on the internet, and love meeting new, interesting people with whom i have things in common, who i would never otherwise meet if not for the con.

alright...enough talking for now. it's picture time!

happy Rob is happy.

behold, the hacker wine glass:

at first i thought this guy in the hotel bar was a congoer dressed as Matthew Lesko. nope...turns out the guy was actually Matthew Lesko.

check out my sexy outfit for the HacDC party:

this is not a real shmoobadge. this is just what altalp used to convince everyone she had a real shmoobadge...and it worked like a charm.

the united phone losers have declared shmoocon a pants-free zone.

one of my prizes for gringo warrior was a large universal remote. i took it apart at the first chance i got:'s not a visit with Rob until there are train snuggles. here, we take the red line by snuggly, snuggly storm:

me and vixen at dupont circle:

surfing in the fountain:

Rob and c4bl3fl4m3 at dupont circle:

of course, these are not all of the pictures i took at shmoocon. the rest of them are on my picasa page.

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