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Posted to: cons@se2600.org
Subject: @LANta.con review

Three words:

@LANta.con kicked ass.

Certain people (you know who you are) have been doing rather juvenile things, like changing the #se2600 topic to "atlanta.con sucks". Please stop this behaviour, it's counterproductive and an insult to people who really helped out a lot with PhreakNIC v3.0.

Certain people (you know who you are) have claimed that Rattle and I have been saying "@LANta.con sucked". This is not true. Stop lying. We had a blast, & those of you who didn't attend missed out.

As the primary organizer for PhreakNIC I'd like to state that for the record, in terms of scale and organization, @LANta.con v1.0 blows away any of the PhreakNICs. If @LANta.con grows like PhreakNIC has, they will become the DefCon of the east and I'll retire PhreakNIC at v5.0. Before anyone objects, please keep in mind the whole reason for PhreakNIC was to have a cool con in the south that we could be involved with. The @LANta.con organizers have access to many more resources and a larger, less-intolerant population base than we do in NashVegas. Why "compete" when I can contribute to something bigger and better? Oh yeah, this isn't a SummerCon slam, but SummerCon isn't the same type of con as PhreakNIC/@LANta.con.

Enough of this, on to the review. Random thoughts to start things off...

The venue:

The main con room was huge. There were smaller con rooms for the panels. Cable was run across the outside roof to the sleeper rooms. The layout was great, there was a small (but too expensive) restaurant onsite. I think all in all, the con space was at least an order of magnitude larger than PhreakNIC's.

The panels:

- The particle/quantum physics geekchick was cute & she REALLY needs to put up some webpages based on her talk. That was the clearest explanation for some of this stuff I've ever heard.
- The MSNBC reporter was cool & listened to a lot of our gripes. We need to sent her lists of reliable and unreliable sources.
- Hugme's brief talk (sans Rattle) on non-network (ie - physical) intrusions was educational.
- I didn't make it to Optyx's talk, but he had some handouts that covered the same stuff, with pointers to his code.
- Sir Dystic's talk/demo of all the info you can ream from the M$ netbios & associated .dlls was scary. Source & .exes available.
- The Hacking 101 panel went pretty much as it did at DragonCon. This may become a new con tradition - ask good questions, get good booze.

I'll post email & URLs re: panels later.

Attendees:

About 200 people showed up, many of them se2600 list subscribers, people we met at DragonCon, ALE folks, GA tech folks, etc. The vibe was mostly teach & learn, not uber-l33t. Someone was running a pirate radio station, which prompted a visit from the FCC, but no one was busted - I think the station went offline before the FCC guys showed.

Gripes:

- Not enough handouts for the individual panels. Handouts mean less time scribbling notes & more time focusing on the talk, plus if you can't make it to a panel, you still get something useful out of it.
- No con t-shirts; not @LANta.con's fault, the printer screwed them over. They may print a run anyway if enough people are interested & will pay in advance (to cover printing costs).
- Spotty internet access; still better than anything PhreakNIC has done.
- The idiot weekend manager was an asshole & assured this venue will not be the site of @LANta.con 2001; their loss (and they are damn lucky we showed restraint and didn't SummerCon95 them).
- The pirate station was stomping on WREK's signal (both used 91.1fm), which is probably why the FCC showed. Guys/gals, if you are reading this, you want to use a frequency that ISN'T in use next time.
- The satellite hacking panelist didn't show; still, the panels went over better than PhreakNIC's have.

Suggestion:

- If the con space is going to be as big next year, invite more vendors & have "Bazaar of the Bizzare" for folks to set up & sell/swap stuff.
- Maybe get the local ham radio folks more involved? Play with wireless networking too? Invite vendors of such products to show them off & let them be torture tested?

Conclusion:

Can't wait for the next one, which should be great. My experience is that you make your worst mistakes on the first con & things go much more smoothly the next time around.

See y'all at SummerCon/DragonCon, DefCon and PhreakNIC v4.0.




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