Sunday, February 6, 2011

Shmoocon - My first

How excited was I that day in November, when from my van, using a 3g wireless card, I won 2 Shmoocon barcodes. The 500 available sold out in 6 seconds.

Reserved my hotel room at the Hilton in Washington. Waited.

The Wednesday night before the Shmoo weekend we were hit with a snowstorm. I ended up working 36 hours those 2 days (Wed & Thurs).

Friday in the office to pay everyone, down to Delaware to see some clients, and then leave for Shmoo.

5 miles into my ride, after visiting my clients, my transmission starts to slip. Won't stay in drive; keeps dropping to second. WTF!!

As I limp back to Abington, PA, I cancel my hotel reservations and put my barcodes on ebay at face value.

I arrive home, dejected. My wife offers her car, which I decline. I sell one of my barcodes. I decide to try to get my father-in-law's Cadillac de-snowed and charged up. 4 hours later, in the Caddy, around midnight, I leave for Shmoocon.

I tried to re-book rooms at the Hilton, but the conference rooms were sold out and the regular rates were over $100 more per night. I ended up getting a room directly across the street at the Marriott. It's now 4am, Saturday morning, but I am at Shmoo.

9am Saturday morning I head across the street, grab a breakfast sandwich, double shot of espresso, and 'Let the Shmoo begin!'.

Register and get my Shmoo bag and all the assorted goodies. Go to the printer talk, then head to the lockpick village.

Meet Deviant Ollam. I purchase a set of tools. Stay for the beginner class. See some people that I chatted with at the coffee shop before registering. We sit down, and begin picking the ONE pin lock. Hours later, having picked the one, two, and 3 pin locks, I leave to grab something to eat at the McClellan's at the hotel. Sit at the bar, and order the crabcake sandwich. The bartender was very attentive, the food was ok too. Conversation with nearby geek was very good as well.

Back to the Con to check out the books, the Johnny Long Hack for Charity Table, and all the stuff going on. Ultimately, head back to the Lockpick Village. There is a round of 'Gringo Warrior' being played. Joey is the contestant. WOW...3 minutes and thirty seconds and a score of 430.

Joey then joins us noobs at the table and starts to assist us with our lockpicking. Great community. Others stop by and offer their Zen picking advice as well. End up picking a master lock, and revisiting (for my ego) the one, two and three pins. It's now 5pm, all the talks are over. Most are getting ready for the parties later that night. Starting at 8pm are the firetalks, and the Get Lamp screening.

I then run into, and say hello to Darren from Hak5, as we both head to McClellan's to grab something to eat. Also, have seen Irongeek, Shannon, and Jason running around the con, too.

Again to the bar for something to eat. the bartender recommends the fillet sliders. Pretty good, and great conversation with another barmate. I head across the street to my hotel to regroup.

On my way back across the street, I see the only person I really knew before the con, Jfrost, heading down the street with a group of folks.

I head back, but giving the incidents of work and vehicle leading up to Shmoo, I decided just to go back to the hotel and rest. Lame; I know.

Sunday morning, head back to the con to grab souvenirs, do a final walk-through, and head back. At the Lockpick Village, Hak5 is taping a round of Gringo Warrior for one of their episodes. DrTran (from Philly) is the contestant, so I join the crowd to cheer him on. Grabbed a teeshirt from Johnny Long I Hack Charities, "Gray Hat Python" from No Starch Press, and "Professional Penetration Testing" by Thomas Wilhelm from Syngress.

Before I left, I had the chance to welcome Space Rogue and the Hacker News Network to Philadelphia. He recently moved to Philly. We chatted a bit about the PhillySec group, Hive76, and Philly tech in general. I felt a little fanboy'ish; but whatever.

Not bad. Definitely could have been better, but those elements were outside my control.