All that is wrong with the world…

February 7, 2011

The Next Hope and DEFCON 18 – Part 1

Filed under: Security, Tech, Travel — Tags: , , , , , , — allthatiswrong @ 6:17 pm

So now just over six months since these conferences have ended I have managed to write up my thoughts on them. So much procrastination, traveling and other things to write. Still – better late than never. I’ve had a strong interest in computer security for at least the last 10 years and have dreamed of going to these conferences since at least that long. Of course, I could never afford the cost of an expensive overseas flight and accommodation and when I have been in the states before it was never in summer or on the west coast. This year however things worked out well, being in the right place at the right time.

I had such high expectations for these conferences. Surrounded by some of the most skilled and prominent people in the field, listening and learning from new talks being given, a chance to play some of the games going on and learn or prove myself in the process. There was certainly a lot to look forward to; unfortunately I found both conferences to be a huge disappointment. I found most of the people I interacted with to have a very poor understanding of even basic security concepts which was reflected in the fact that the majority of talks seemed introductory rather than groundbreaking; very few relied on a presumption of basic knowledge – something I thought would be common to the majority of attendees. I was also disappointed in the opinions held by many in response to certain issues such as piracy or the whole Bradley Manning case.

In any case, I have written about my experiences attending these conferences for the first time which some may find interesting. I will be posting it in two separate parts with the first being my experience at hope, followed by my experience at DEFCON and a comparison between the two conferences.

The Next Hope


I got to the Hotel Pennsylvania pretty much on time and waited in line to get my badge which really didn’t take long at all. The badge was interesting to observe although not having much of an understanding of electronics I couldn’t make much of it. Having never been to one of these conferences before, I had expected it to be a lot more active and packed with people than it was, while it was actually quite moderate. I wandered around for a bit as I was hoping there things would be a bit more social, but really nothing seemed to be going on.

I then decided to go and attend the first lecture, “Light, Color and Perception”. It was an interesting talk, although some of what was talked about was a bit over my head. Still, there were some interesting demonstrations and I learned a few new things.

After that, I decided to catch the talk on wireless security, “Wireless Security: Killing Livers, Making Enemies”. I had thought it would be these types of talks that were the reason I came to the conference. Unfortunately, this talk was a disappointment. It was incredibly basic and boiled down to rehashing that WEP is bad. I would have hoped that everyone in the conference would have at least known that, even if they didn’t understand the underlying details as to why. The talk mainly consisted of a few stories demonstrating how easy it is to fool people into joining rogue networks and why this was bad. There were no innovative ideas given for solutions and no talk of the more recent attacks. An hour of how you can screw with people who don’t know any better is not what I was expecting. I was pretty dissatisfied with the talk but thought it would be an exception and looked forward to some of the more technical talks that would have a bit more substance to them. I was mistaken.

I then decided to go and see the keynote which at the least should be interesting. It was by Dan Kaminsky, someone who I have never felt too highly of. He has always seemed to me to be a drama queen, being overly cocky without cause and often simply getting things wrong. I also can’t think much of a security expert who uses 5 letter long root passwords and fails to comprehend the threat of dll hijacking.

I felt he lived up to some of my perceptions during his talk, which was basically talking about the problems in languages that allow for bugs. This is a fairly well understood area of ongoing research and certainly did not seem the worthy subject of a Keynote. It was essentially a slideshow summary of the problem and what has been suggested by many people as solutions. Again, no groundbreaking new ideas or revelations, just a basic summary that a lot of people in attendance would/should have been familiar with.

I’m not too sure what I did at this time. I think I wondered around the mezzanine looking for the segways which had closed for the day. There was nothing really going on that seemed too interesting, so I may have gone home briefly.

The next talk I saw was “Tor and Internet Censorship”, which was actually interesting. I would have hoped that most people in the audience would be familiar with tor and the goals of the project and while the talk was a summary, it also revealed a lot more info on what the guys are trying to accomplish. It was interesting to hear how they deal with countries trying to block the software and the various cat and mouse games they are forced to play. In today’s world the importance of projects such as tor cannot be underrated and it was great to see them keeping in touch with the community and getting the message out.

After this I saw the “Easy Hacks on Telephone Entry Systems” talk, which I hoped would be interesting. I have very little knowledge of telephone infrastructure and still have not gotten around to playing around with Asterix to get a better idea. I had hoped I would be able to pick up some things from the talk even without having the background knowledge. Well, the talk didn’t require any background knowledge. The talk was basically showing that a lot of entry systems still use default passwords and/or have the access control panel only protected by a very flimsy piece of metal. It was interesting to learn those facts…, but it really should have been one of the 20 minute lightning talks. How it stretched out to an hour I don’t know.

After this, I went home as I was exhausted. I wasn’t sure why I didn’t stay for the hotel talks talk as that seems interesting, probably I had had enough talks for one day though and there was nothing in the mezzanine more appealing than sleep.


The next day I arrived kind of late due to trying to work out why the bank had suspended my access to my funds I got there in time for most of the “Grand Theft Lazlow” talk. This talk was one of, if not the most disappointing of the talks I saw throughout all of HOPE and DEFCON. The guy was a developer for Rockstar Games and started talking about his views in piracy. Piracy is a complex area (precisely because it is NOT theft) but this guy would not acknowledge that, simply considering it completely wrong and actually pushing for greater restrictions. Many of the things he was saying were just ignorant and it was disheartening to hear the audience cheer.

An interesting moment was when someone got up to ask a question, making the point that $80 or so is too much to spend on a game without knowing the quality, so he will often pirate and buy the game if he felt it was worth it. Lazlows response was not to comment on the legitimacy of doing that but to accuse the guy of being a liar, to which the crowd cheered. This was meant to be a community of people capable in critical thinking and understanding new ideas, but that crowd was anything but.

Then it was time for the keynote which was said to be given by Julian Assange. At this time I was still catching up with the whole Wikileaks phenomenon so was surprised just how much the feds did want him and how big a thing it would be if he did show up. Obviously he didn’t end up showing and a talk was given by Jacob Applebaum from the Tor project covering why Wikileaks is important, and what they stand for.
Ironically I have not made up my mind on Wikileaks because there is so much contradicting information, and credible claims made against them.

The points given in the talk however were interesting, especially the points of privacy. All of the talk of no secrets reminded me of the Asimov story, The Dead Past, in which privacy is eliminated. Obviously the Wikileaks people are not calling for an end to personal privacy, but even so I find it hard to imagine a world in which governments as powerful as the US are completely transparent. Reason being, there is a lot of justification for a government to keeps things secret from its population, at least for a while.

The most interesting thing about the Keynote was not that Julian Assange did not appear as that is to be expected. It’s that he didn’t teleconference in, or even prerecord something. This is a hacker conference full of people supposedly ahead of the curve when it comes to many issues, not least of which is technology. It’s hard for me to believe there was no one able to set it up so he could talk, an action which would have sent a message all by itself. Was there really no one capable of setting up a webcast to go through anonymous proxies? We could have even gotten the guys from the Pirate Bay or something to host it, by the time a warrant would have been issued the webcast would have been long over. Or, maybe he had his own personal issues to deal with. In place of Assange Jacob Applebaum of the Tor project gave a great presentation and then made an amusingly dramatic exit.

The next talk I saw was “Modern Crimeware” which turned out to be a very basic explanation of how people make money through malware with botnets…not particularly interesting or enlightening. Again, I would expect most people in attendance to already understand this basic stuff. I was hoping for some interesting details on how “cyber-criminals” protect botnets or something….researchers at universities regularly publish far more interesting papers in this vein.

I then saw “Surfs Up” – a well presented and entertaining explanation of CSRF attacks but still a very basic explanation…., I mean, were talks like this presented at the last conference? Why are such introductory talks the norm? I don’t have anything against all these speakers as I think their presentations were fine for what they were, I just don’t understand why they were given at a HOPE conference.

The “Social Engineering” talk was interesting. It was a panel with a lot of famous faces, not least of which were Emmanuel Goldstein, Kevin Mitnick and Captain Crunch. It was interesting just to hear some of the stories these guys were telling and just how easy the technique still works to this day. Definitely an entertaining panel and honestly I wished there had been more like it.

The last talk I saw of the day was “Net Wars Over Free Speech, Freedom, and Secrecy or How to Understand the Hacker and Lulz Battle Against the Church of Scientology”. I was hoping this talk would highlight some of the attacks on free speech that have been instigated by Scientology in the name of religion – instead it was mainly a summary of some of the pranks Anonymous have pulled. Which anyone who keeps up with this type of news would have been aware of?

After that I was disappointed to see that the “Hacker Cinema” was not showing something entertaining or relevant, but rather a documentary. IIRC it was “Get Lamp” which was a documentary on something to do with the history of early text games (corrected due to commenter Pan) which just didn’t seem appealing at 11pm on a Saturday night in New York City.

I was hanging around with some of the other people I had met while we were looking for more information on Lazlow and maybe to see if some other games or something were going on. Nothing much was going on except for a party in the mezzanine with horrible, horrible video game music. So many people actually dancing to repetitive loops of Mario dying and hitting mushrooms. It was just so bad. Somehow, that seemed to say a lot. New York City was right outside on a Saturday night, but dancing to video game sounds was more preferable for many people. Aye


Sunday was the last day of a conference that had so far been disappointing, but still had potential. I got there later than I expected…I think it was due to some problem with the trains. The first talk I saw was not until 13:00, and was “DMCA and ACTA vs Academic & Professional Research”. I was hoping this talk would give some insight into the ACTA treaty as I had not kept up with it and it has largely been kept secret. There was nothing on ACTA except that it was often mentioned in the same breath as the DMCA as being evil. The DMCA had been around for about 10 years so explaining it again resulted in this talk being yet another introductory talk.

The main problem I had with this talk is that the speakers would continual talk about the DMCA as being evil when the problem is not with the legislation. The problems in almost all of the examples given were from people or organizations misusing the DMCA. There was no mention of companies who would refuse to acknowledge counter-claims due to being too scared of being sued. There are actions you can take against this to stop further abuse; failing to realize that and take action does not mean that the DMCA is evil.

The next talk I saw was “Into the Black: DPRK Exploration”, which was slightly entertaining but hardly informative. The first 20 slides or so are just meant to be humorous and were skimmed through, with the rest basically dismissing every claim because North Korea doesn’t have its shit together. A fair argument, but it might have carried more weight if it wasn’t presented as just mocking the country. It’s hard to tell the talk was meant to be considered authoritative or speculation given the way it was presented.

While I was watching the DPRK talk I had no idea how significant the informant’s panel was and that Lamo would be there, so I only managed to catch the last 20 minutes of it or so. I never thought too highly of Lamo before, with his previous claims to fame for “hacking” seeming to be designed to give his as much media exposure as possible rather than actually contributing in any useful way. I didn’t know enough about the Wikileaks situation at the time to take sides but managed to get the gist of things. The main thing I noticed here was that most people were angry at him and insulting him, having made up their minds before he even attempted to defend his actions.

Regardless of if his actions were right or wrong, I do believe in this case he thought he was doing the right thing. What he did is not a simple issue and it made me sad to see everyone dismiss his actions as wrong without bothering to actually give the issue the thought it deserves. It was when question time came that I saw the real character of most of the attendees.

One girl asked him about restraining orders and his ex-girlfriends claims of abuse, which true or not have absolutely no relevance to the issue that was at hand. I expected more from this community than trying to discredit someone further because you disagree with their actions. Another attendee didn’t bother to ask a question but outright accused him of treason (which showed that persons ignorance, as per the definitions Lamo’s actions are closer to patriotism) only for everybody to cheer and applaud. I am still undecided on the entire issue as it is so very complex.

What I do think personally is that Lamo showed a lot of courage by joining in the panel and attempting to justify his actions, knowing the public opinion and abuse he would likely face. Most of the people in the audience would likely not have that courage or strength of will to do what they think is right, are more comfortable criticizing from behind the scenes.

That finished at about 3:30 or 4, and then it was some more hanging around with people in the mezzanine or outside. I had wanted to see the talk on Sniper Forensics but didn’t bother because it was going to be at DEFCON. Of course, it wasn’t, but it didn’t end up being given at HOPE either. Luckily I have my slides on the CD from DEFCON.

Closing Ceremonies

The closing ceremonies were interesting. They started very annoyingly as most of the seats were filled, and one fucking douchenozzle told me his seat was taken, when it was just his bag….and he wouldn’t let anyone sit the entire conference. I was planning to do something about that, but he left before I could learn his douche name.

I saw one girl who was basically ignoring the ceremonies, playing Scrabble on Facebook or tweeting about shoes the whole time on her iPad…yet she was continuously moving toward the front….why? Why worry about being at the front if you aren’t paying attention? Then there was a guy who kind of crept up behind me when I was leaning against a pillar, only to somehow swoop in when I left it for a few seconds. He was filming the entire thing and would just keep tapping me to move out of his way….apparently he was unable to speak or say please, despite him being fully capable of speech. I just don’t understand what it is with this crowd and the bizarre lack of social skills. The ceremonies themselves were fine….just what could be expected. Some prizes were awarded and thanks were given as well as talk of a possible next conference.

After that I didn’t feel like going home just yet, so volunteered for a few hours. After I started I heard talk of some prizes for the volunteers which kept me going. Several hours of lifting heavy cables, crates, lights and such…all for nothing. It was at least 4 hours or so of hot sweaty work and I was hoping for a copy of a book or something. Alas…nothing. Funnily enough I don’t really feel guilty about downloading the ebook.


That was the end of The Next HOPE, my first ever conference. I had always been interested in computer security and the associated underground culture. Ever since I saw the movie Hackers which was directly inspired by the 2600 community I had wanted to see what it was all about. Growing up where I did I never really had the opportunity to join in, but as I became a computer security professional and learned more about the community which I had always held in high esteem I couldn’t wait to one day go to one of these conferences and participate.

It was then all the more disappointing to go to a conference and witness in most people an inability to think originally or creatively and to accept popular ideas without giving them the critical analysis they need, that is required to have an opinion worth anything. For most of the talks to be introductory and retreading well known topics was also a disappointment. Where were the new discoveries, the innovative attacks or just the passionate discussions on matters important to our community and society?

One of the interesting things to note was how amazed people were that I could make the badge remain blue and just how incapable they were to figure it out themselves. The badge had LED’s which blinked intermittently in no discernible pattern. When you touched a sensor on the back, it would remain blue. So, in order to keep it as blue, you just had to keep the connection somehow. Yet, no one was able to figure out this very simple hack with people being puzzled at how I accomplished it.

I should also mention the disappointing views that manifested in the talks about piracy or governments or Adrian Lamo. I think at some point in the Informants talk someone made the comment that all nation states are a fundamentally bad thing to which everyone cheered…loudly. Apparently many people in the audience are naïve fucking anarchists, not the caliber of person I would have expected at a HOPE conference.

Club Matte also deserves a mention. This drink was disgusting but hyped up as being from Germany and what hackers in Germany were drinking. Having lived in Berlin for over a year recently I had never seen it before and it tasted like shit. At $4 a bottle it really wasn’t worth the price, yet people were buying it in droves. I can understand if it were to try something new, but people kept buying it to be seen as cool. To be seen as fitting in and being part of the scene. There is just something very sad about that.

One of the highlights of the conference for me was to see Kevin Mitnick and Captain Crunch in person…icons who in many ways shaped the culture and community. I have to wonder what they think of the current state of the communities. Both Mitnick and Crunch did what they did by thinking originally and looking for solutions to problems, the very opposite of just accepting whatever they are told which seems to characterize the current community.

Despite everything I did notice a very strong sense of community, a sense of unity that I had not seen before. What I wonder is has a community once defined by solving problems in innovative ways and creating things never envisioned simply become a hobby group for people who have an interest in technology? Perhaps my expectations were too high or I was looking for the wrong thing, but somehow I don’t think that’s it. I didn’t see a few talks such as the https fragile talk, which may have been technically interesting. Even so, seeing the views of people attending was discouraging. However for $50 it was worth it and I would do it again hoping for a better turn of events.

Update 1 – February 8th 2011
Corrected one typo and fixed the description of the movie Get Lamp.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jason Scott, G. Alexander. G. Alexander said: RT @gamambel "The next talk I saw as “Tor and Internet Censorship”, which was actually interesting." via@textfiles 🙂 […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention The Next Hope and DEFCON 18 – Part 1 « All that is wrong with the world… -- — February 8, 2011 @ 5:05 am

  2. Here are some thoughts:

    – WEP is still used in a lot of places (regrettably). So, having a session on it – reinforcing that it’s a bad idea or exploitable – makes sense.

    – The poster’s comment on everyone understanding the bugs inherent in languages is another example of the misunderstanding stated above. He somehow assumes “This is a fairly well understood area…”. To whom is it fairly well understood? People who focus on that area. Which means that there are other people who don’t.

    – “I would have hoped that most people would be familiar with Tor and and the goals…” Again, same problem.

    – I agree with Lazlow that theft is hurting the media industries. The poster seems upset that people didn’t agree that “piracy is NOT theft”

    – Julian Assange may not have appeared because he needed to be physically secure. A protected, anonymous video chat is nothing if the guy had to risk his freedom.

    – Regarding the Crimeware presentation, the poster once again assumes that the crowd at HOPE is one homogenous pack of security experts.

    – The fact that the poster gets the topic of Get Lamp wrong is kinda funny and ironic. If he understood already what it’s about, he’d know it’s not about Open Source, but early text games which helped shape modern fiction and computing. He had an opportunity to learn, but completely missed it.

    – “horrible, horrible video game music”. This so called hacker doesn’t know about blip music? Jeez, I thought everyone knew about it in the security community. (If he would have stuck around, he would have seen my band perform — we utilize VR gloves and sensors in our music. Perhaps that would have been technical enough for him 🙂

    – His comments on the DMCA talk highlight the misunderstanding he has. The DMCA goes in and out of popularity in hacker/security discussions. Not everyone is aware. Also, the adherence and tactics in enforcing the DMCA have changed in that time.

    – I watched the informants panel. Lamo did have defenders and people who stood up for him. Myself being one of them — I disagreed with Applebaum that Lamo should be treated as a non-person. The poster and I agree that the erroneous comments about Lamo’s girlfriend were uncalled for. However, he has to understand that in a conference room with hundreds of people, not everyone is going to be in group think. On the one hand he criticizes everyone thinking the same, then gets disappointed that someone said something he disagrees with or thinks is out of place.

    – What exactly was the poster going to “do something about” the people who were hoarding seats?

    – The poster doesn’t realize that someone with a video camera is not going to tell you to get out of the way because the mic will pick it up. There’s nothing more annoying than hearing loud, non-related talk, over and over in a video recording.

    Overall: S/he says in several places that he expected everyone to know about “basic security”. The fact of the matter is that it’s a conference not just on security, but hacking in all forms. Also, it’s attended by thousands of people. Because of this, you can’t have talks that are so narrow in focus they only make sense to experts or small groups. Joe Blow may know a lot about lock picking, but nothing about SSL hacks or phreaking. Jane Johnson may know a lot about phreaking, but nothing about entrance systems. Also, the conference has been happening for almost 20 years now. Many people will have left and joined the community. A whole new generation of people attended the conference. They couldn’t possibly know about everything the poster considers “basic”. The poster seems to think there is some standard level of knowledge every hacker should have. That’s a silly notion.

    In terms of “new discoveries, innovative attacks…”, they were certainly covered in the conference (Da Beave’s presentation is a good example). He apparently missed a lot of talks.

    Finally, the most important thing the poster should realize is that H.O.P.E, 2600 magazine, and most of the other resources for hackers, are generated and supported by hackers themselves. If s/he doesn’t like what was presented, come again next time and give a talk that you think would be apropos. Write an article for 2600 that covers what you think people should be discussing. That’s what it’s all about.

    Comment by Pan — February 8, 2011 @ 9:34 am

    • Hi Pan,

      Thanks for your long reply.

      I really feel that you have missed the point of my criticisms however.

      Yes, WEP is still used in a lot of places. In Toronto and Cancun the major ISP’s still ship it as the default security for instance.

      However, there really isn’t any justification for having an introductory talk on why WEP is bad, considering it has been known for more than 10 years. By your logic, should we have the same talk at the next conference again, for the same reasons?

      You then defend some individual talks and point out that not everybody may know them. Of course, I know that. The point was that the vast majority of the talks were of this nature. The same goes for DEFCON. Both are primarily computer security conferences and so it makes sense to expect most attendees to have basic knowledge.

      A few introductory talks would be fine, but not most of them, and not when they are explaining things that have been known for several years.

      Lazlow is flat out wrong that piracy is hurting big industry. Regardless of id you agree or disagree I was commenting on his arrogance in calling the audience member a liar for disagreeing with him.

      Assange could have made a presentation if he wanted to, safely and anonymously. You seem to think such a thing is impossible without risking his freedom, why?

      Good call about Get Lamp. As I noted I am writing this quite a bit after the conference and got this wrong. At the time I was aware it was about text games as it states it clearly in the guide. Even so, I didn’t think it the most interesting way to spend a Friday night in NYC.

      “This so called hacker” — Where exactly did I refer to myself as a hacker? Please, don’t put words into my mouth. I was talking about how the music sounded and did not comment on the technical aspects at all. Basically, the music did not sound good. Sorry.

      Not everyone is aware of the DMCA despite it being over 10 years old? For a community ahead of the times, you wouldn’t know it.

      Again, you missed the point of my comment. The problems with the DMCA are not so much the legislation, but the abuse by companies and people. It would also have been nice for a talk that had ACTA in the title to actually give a bit of information on ACTA.

      As far as Lamo…, the problem I had was that in that room groupthink was in place to a large degree. The defenders were the exception and it was frustrating to see people resort to insulting and abusing the guy instead of discussing his actions.

      Finally, I stick by my point that it is reasonable to expect a majority of atendees to have some basic computer security knowledge. Even if you disagree and think many of the talks should be introductory, then how about keeping them relevant. An hour talking about WEP is an hour wasted, why not also mention the attacks that are possible against WPA/2? That way it can still be introductory, as well as relevant

      I’m glad you have such an optimistic outlook and are able to defend the conference and average participant to such a degree. I personally was expecting a lot more, if not in the talks than in the caliber of people I was hoping to meet. I was not judging people by their knowledge, but by theire inability to properly examinie issues or think outside the box, even the teeniest bit. I think being unable to make the HOPE badge stay blue is a good example of this.

      As I said, I would go again and indeed, maybe I just went to the wrong talks and met the wrong people. Here’s hoping.

      Comment by allthatiswrong — February 8, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

  3. Hi,

    Since other people I know have had the same reaction to your post, it might be your writing style or something. I did indeed get much of your point — you actually re-enforce many of my perceptions in your response.

    In terms of WEP and other wifi vulnerabilities: there should be talks that cover basics at least every couple years. Two HOPEs ago, there were talks on mobile War Dialing. At The Last HOPE, there were talks about other wireless aspects. Since WEP is still an issue, it should certainly be kept in the public eye. You say “justification” as if someone owed you something different. That’s kind of an odd statement. Note that Dragorn is the developer of Kismet. He certainly could have laid out massive amounts of technical detail. Instead, his talk was balanced.

    In terms of Lazlow, he didn’t call out that guy for no reason. He’s pointing out the contradiction of saying that stealing is OK because it’s expensive (the amount was $60 btw). Lazlow did not just stop there. He accurately pointed out the hypocrisy of the statement. Most importantly, he pointed out something everyone seems to forget — IT’S ENTERTAINMENT. It’s a not a necessity and you aren’t owed it. I actually think that exchange was the most important of his entire talk. The problem these days is everyone thinks they are *entitled* to content. 47:00 minutes in – Also, as a content creator and programmer, I can tell you from direct experience that piracy hurts the industry (“Big Industry” vs. “Small Industry” is a meaningless distinction). Note that Lazlow does defend copying content that someone has in fact purchased. Also, note that Lazlow did talk about solutions to the problem of paying creators and he makes a good point about the pitfalls of advertising supported content. His talk was intelligent and well-done.

    Do you know where Assange was physically? Do you know the circumstances he was in at that time? You’re making a lot of assumptions about what he can and can’t do. Note that Assange is not Wikileaks. So, having another member of Wikileaks speak (speak well in fact), is a reasonable thing under the circumstances. Consider that the speaker is a developer of Tor. That means they certainly could have technically been anonymous if they wanted. Obviously, there was something else going on. It did not appear to be a technical anonymity issue. There was a *lot* of tension during July. They did the best they could. This also goes for the informant talk. People were really jazzed up, as the shit had just hit the fan. It actually could have been much worse.

    The Get Lamp presentation was unique in that the film had not been released yet. Jason Scott has a great track record as a filmmaker (BBS). Friday night at the movies sounds like fun. I was in the next room, hosting a panel (“Interaction with Sensors, Receivers, Haptics, and Augmented Reality”). There was also films, music, lock picking, electronics, and the radio station on the mezzanine floor on both nights. That would have been another option for entertainment. As you meet with people next time around, you’ll likely also get invited to off-site happenings.

    You missed that my comment about you being a hacker who didn’t know blip music was being facetious (playing off of your idea that everyone should know “the basics”). The music sounded great to me.

    Correct, not everyone is aware of the DMCA or its implications despite the fact that it is over 10 years old. Many of the HOPE attendees are under the age of 25. That would mean the DMCA came into being before they even hit puberty, let alone been socially/politically conscious. Note that the final draft of the ACTA wasn’t released until November. Having a talk about it before it even being solidified might not have been useful, as it would have been conjecture.

    I realize that you’re going to stick to your point about “basics”. That assumption is kind of bizarre though. There is a misconception here. HOPE isn’t a “Computer Security” conference per se. It’s a Hacker conference. This includes everything from phreaking, social engineering, lock picking, education, food, wireless, radio broadcasting, sex, music, art, pets, etc. That’s a fundamental thing I tried to point out in my previous message. If you look over the talks from previous conferences, you’ll see that only a portion (perhaps 1/3) deal with Computer Security directly. The conference seems to take a holistic approach to the idea of Hacking (which in my mind is *far* more interesting than an official Computer Security Conference). Another thing to consider is that presenters change from conference to conference. Each presenter will bring their own unique perspective to the topic at hand. People come in and out of the hacking scene. So, there are always fresh faces and basics that need to be covered.

    It’s interesting to note that in several places you say the content was “over your head”, such as in the Perception presentation. Perception is actually an area I know very well. However, I realize that others at the conference won’t be familiar. So, I take it in stride and enjoy the few tidbits of things that I didn’t know and generally appreciate that someone gave a talk on it. That’s part of being a community.

    You mentioned that you have an interest in VoIP/Asterisk. Did you go to Da Beave’s talk? It was very well done and you could have learned a lot. Each year, him (and often JFalcon) put on great talks that include examples, graphs, charts, reading, etc. If you have a chance, listen in the archives.

    I take issue with your comment that the attendees were somehow sub-par. I’ve met amazing people at H.O.P.E (and related ventures such as the magazine, IRC, etc.). Using the badges’s blue light as a measuring stick of the caliber of people seems really silly. Why would you expect someone who doesn’t know electronics to understand the badge? That’s ridiculous. Also, not all the badges worked in the same way (or at all). In your post, you don’t actually reference one-on-one discussions with people. I think if you had more one-on-one discussions, you might see how high-caliber and interesting attendees can be. All in all, you can easily make the conference better by volunteering yourself. If you see an area that is lacking, contribute to bring those ideas into the fold.

    Looking forward to seeing you at the next HOPE conference (or perhaps Defcon). I’ll be sure to introduce myself.


    Comment by Pan — February 9, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

    • Hi Pan,

      I’m glad you know people who agree with you in response to my post. That’s great but also quite irrelevant. I don’t mean to be rude but your previous response indicates you missed the point of my post. Defending individual talks kind of demonstrates that, as it is the big picture that I have a problem with.

      The wireless talk was lacking. I’m sorry, but it was. It’s the kind of talk that would have been given when wireless was a new thing. As I said in my reply, it would have been possible to still point out the problems with WEP instead of focusing solely on it. Better yet, if they wanted to focus on WEP than name the talk accordingly. When I go to view a talk on wireless security in 2010 I expect the talk to be at least a little bit up to date.

      You really have missed the point of why I criticized Lazlow above. The guy stated he pirates games and buys them if he thinks it is worth buying. Lazlow flat out called him a liar because such a point disagreed with the point he was trying to make. It’s that simple. You don’t have to dig through the mp3 you linked, as I link to the entire exchange above. It really was just uncalled for. You can claim all you like that piracy hurts the industry, but figure say different. I’m writing a pro piracy article at the moment, so if you have figures showing that piracy is hurting the industry rather than just an opinion formed from anecdotes, I would be very interested.

      Again, you don’t appear to have actually read what I wrote regarding Assange. I explicitly state that it was possible he may have had limitations preventing him from making some kind of appearance in person or otherwise. Really though, I think it is unlikely. He was booked in advance, so it seems unlikely that within a month or so he would not have been able to take an hour to record a video. What it comes down to is that if he wanted to appear in some form, he could have.

      Yes, there are other members of Wikileaks, but I was interested in hearing Assange talk specifically. I wanted to hear his views and opinions, not as a spokesperson for Wikileaks but as himself. Given that was in the schedule, that is not unreasonable. As you say, a lead developer for the Tor project replaced him as a speaker, so he could have appeared anonymously if he wanted to. That’s exactly the point I make above, given the technical means are available, why was it not taken advantage of? I understand not appearing in person or via some other means remotely, but at the least a pre-recorded video would have been appreciated and it’s hard to make an excuse for that unless he simply didn’t want to go that route.

      I have nothing against Get Lamp, nor did I criticize it in any way. The only point I made was that on a Friday night in NYC there were a lot more interesting things to do, especially considering many people attending were not from NYC. I really don’t get why you are even commenting in response to what I said. If you like watching movies inside on a Friday night then there is nothing wrong with that and good for you!

      I didn’t miss your point about my not being familiar with blip music, but it was a poorly made analogy. Your comment would imply that you thought I expected everyone at the conference to be familiar with everything. Which is ridiculous, I only expected a majority of attendees at a hacker conference to have a basic knowledge in fields relating to hacking.

      Again, you missed my point regarding the DMCA talk. It was yet another talk rehashing a well known topic. It doesn’t matter the age of the average attendee, if they are involved in this scene they will have seen it in the news and read about it somehow. If they had not, I would honestly be surprised. Again I ask you, why put ACTA in the name if you are not going to talk about it?

      In any event, as I said the main problem I had with that talk was blaming the legislation, while ignoring the companies and people who abuse it. Which is where I believe the real problem lies. A talk simply bashing the legislation while not bothering to point out the problems from the larger perspective isn’t much use IMO.

      I also don’t get why you keep defending all these talks simply because people may not be familiar with them. I’m sorry, but that’s a shitty excuse. If I go to a hacker or computer security conference, it is reasonable to expect most people will have at least basic knowledge. It is not reasonable to expect that most people will not have basic knowledge and that most talks will cater to this. You are basically justifying HOPE as a beginners conference, while I always thought it is more than that. Perhaps at the next HOPE talks you would be fine if the majority of talks were along the lines of “Basic UNIX commands”, “Why WEP is bad” and “Basic MITM attacks”.

      Perhaps a better example is DEFCON, which has a much greater emphasis on computer security than HOPE. It was the same at DEFCON….almost all the talks I went to were introductory or rehashing what should be well known material, and yes, it is perfectly reasonable to expect that most people involved in some way in computer security will have heard that WEP is bad.

      I understand that HOPE is a “hacker” conference and this includes many different areas of interest. I tended to stick to the computer security talks as it is what I know. I was then surprised that around 90% of those talks were introductory or out of date. While HOPE may not be a computer security conference computer security has always played a large part. With all the interesting stuff that has been happening in the last two years before the conference to see none of it mentioned or talked about was a shame.

      I didn’t see Da Beaves talk and I’m sure it was good. I do mention that I missed a lot of talks that looked interesting. I was just disappointed that for many of the talks I went to, they were underwhelming in content. I don’t think I happened to go to the few talks that were introductory and out of date and that I felt that way about many indicates to me that many were that way. If it had only been a few I would not have felt I needed to write this article. Unfortunately given that most talks I went to were like this combined with most people not bothering or unable to think for themselves I felt the need to write about it.

      I’m not using the ability to make the light blue as a metric, but as one example. I also know nothing about electronics, probably less than most people attending. Yet, if twas very obvious to figure out. Instead of most people bothering to try and solve this problem, they would just ask me how or look at their badge pressing the back in confusion, unable to put 2 and 2 together. Combined with a majority of people (and yes, it was a majority) joining in on hating Lamo, promoting anarchism or whatever. Well, it simply isn’t the type of people I like to hang around or get to know. Those type of people tend to be freshmen whose worlds is rocked after having read Nietzsche and going a bit crazy after realizing there are many ideologies in the world.

      Thew few examples I give…that people cheering when someone comments all forms of government are bad, people cheering everytime Lamo was insulted in a very low way such as when someone called him a traitor or people cheering when Lazlow called the guy a liar. Piracy is a complex issue and there are strong arguments for both sides. Which is why I was surprised for everyone to simply support Lazlow’s side.

      I don’t doubt there were many high quality intelligent people at HOPE and DEFCON, but going by what I observed from audiences and the people I spoke to they seemed to be the exception. This was my first HOPE so I was not about to volunteer straight of the bat, but may well do so next time. I will decide when I see the schedule and the types of talks so I can have an idea what to expect.

      As for meeting, I do appreciate the offer but as I wish to remain anonymous I don’t think it can be arranged. Perhaps one day.

      Anyway, thanks again for your reply, I do appreciate the discourse. We will have to agree to disagree on some things and I will wait until I have been to more than one conference before I cement my opinion. This has been my impression of just one conference and while not overly positive I will certainly do it again.

      Comment by allthatiswrong — February 9, 2011 @ 6:46 pm

  4. You know it’s funny, you keep saying “You don’t understand”, then you rehash exactly what I thought you said.

    – It is relevant that other people feel the same way. In other words, other conference attendees find value in the conference. So, the idea that somehow the conference is shortchanging people is null and void.

    – Individual talks are what you listed. So responding with comments on individual talks is indeed valid.

    – I listened to the wireless talk again earlier today to verify. It covers exactly what they said they would cover in the introduction. If you didn’t find it have enough detail in a specific area you wanted, that’s an opinion you are entitled to. However, the talk was true to what they outlined. The information is not out of date. It’s correct. It didn’t say “The latest trends in wifi hacking” and they specifically do mention WEP in the description.

    – Re: Lazlo: He didn’t call the guy a lier outright. That is an incorrect statement. The guy says he pays for stuff after pirating it if he likes it. Lazlo questions that the people who say they buy it after pirating actually pay for it after (using HIMSELF as an example). That’s not calling the guy a lier. It’s pointing out that most pirates do not pay for what they steal — which is a true statement. It wasn’t a dodge at all. He answered the guy quite clearly. How many people that you know who download stuff pay the company afterwards? In terms of stealing hurting the industry, it’s a simple formula: resources are spent to create the product. Money (or other resources) are not returned in kind for that product. Putting something in and not getting something out of a business hurts a business. It’s quite simple and there is no way to dance around it. Putting resources into a business service/product, and someone partaking of that product and not returning the value requested for it creates a shortfall in the balance sheet. Perhaps you’ve never run a business, but that’s how it goes.

    – Regarding Assange: Lol, again, you say I don’t understand and then you rehash exactly what you said before. No, you don’t know the circumstances and you don’t know that he was in a position to make an appearance, or that he felt the need to pre-record something at an earlier time. You have absolutely zero knowledge of what/where/when in Assange’s life. None. “Really, I think it’s unlikely” is not a fact-based statement. Do you know Assange? No. So, it’s all conjecture on your part. Not a good argument. And again, the technical possibilities have absolutely nothing to do with physical realities of which you know nothing in terms of Assange.

    – Regarding my joke about music: What are the “fields related to hacking”? Who defined these fields? Why would you assume that someone would know about electronics? or phreaking? or whatever? You don’t seem to have spent much time hanging out with groups of “hackers” if you feel they all should have a base set of skills. The term hacking covers a wide variety of skills and interests, very few of which are all understood/practiced by each individual. You are going to be sadly disappointed in the world if you think that all hackers should have a base set of skills along your definition. Whether at a meeting, a conference or an IRC channel, you’ll find people have various interests, strengths and weaknesses — as it should be. Hacking simply means a desire to explore and push boundaries of technology. There are lots of technologies in the world. So, the expectation that every hacker should have a base understanding in each is completely unrealistic.

    – Regarding DMCA: I understood you perfectly… and you continue to say the same thing. My response, again, is that *no*, you cannot expect everyone to have an understanding of it. You are being unrealistic. Having heard about something is not the same thing as understanding. In terms of focusing on the legislation, that’s the area where people need to start. If they don’t understand the legislation, how are they going to know what basis the companies do/don’t have for their actions?

    – It’s not a shitty excuse at all to say that the conference provided people with information that they do not know (and apparently want to know, because they keep coming back to the conference). I get the sense you’ve not even listened to any of the archives of the previous conferences. You are so full of blanket statements that show a completely misunderstanding of how these things work. You do not have a clear understanding of how social communities coalesce.

    – Out of date implies not valid. The information was valid and basics are where people need to start if they don’t know. I’m a teacher and technologist in education, and that’s how learning works.

    – I saw many people thinking for themselves. If you are judging the people at the conference from quick responses in sessions, or quick conversations, you don’t have nearly enough information.

    – “Combined with a majority of people (and yes, it was a majority) joining in on hating Lamo, promoting anarchism or whatever”. You really didn’t socialize very much at the conference did you? That’s fine, you will as you go to more of them. However, you should reserve judgement. You are incorrect on the types of people at the conferences. They are *many* different types. Every day I communicate with various people who attend the conference each time. We all have different likes/dislikes, specialties, desires, etc. That’s part of what makes it fun.

    – If you want to learn about electronics, you should have stopped by the electronics work area where literally dozens of people over a 3 day period built Freeduino projects – learning to wire, solder, etc. Setting that up was a huge undertaking by some dedicated folks. It paid off, because a lot of people learned. It will likely be there next time around. So, by all means, stop by there.

    – During the Informant talk, people cheered on all sides… and I know this for a fact, because people cheered for what I said. The panel actually went pretty well. It inspired thought. The energized conversations between different “factions” continued out into the hotel the rest of the weekend. You seem to have filtered, or missed, an lot of what that.

    – Listening to Lazlow’s talk, it’s clear that a certain group of people were cheering, not all. Also, he is there to present his opinion (which he even stated). He doesn’t have to give what you would consider “both sides”. If you have a different opinion, give your own talk.

    – I think your desire to be anonymous actually hurts your ability to construct an educated opinion.



    Comment by Pan — February 9, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

    • Hi,

      So, lets look at things.

      You don’t seem to disagree anywhere that many if not most of the talks are introductory. By the very fact that you have continually defended their introductory nature you have implicitly accepted that fact.

      On this we already disagree. Some introductory talks would not be out of place but when the vast majority are introductory, then I feel something is wrong. I want a conference where my peers will have more than a basic understanding and at least basic knowledge, and you’re happy to go to a beginners seminar. The problem is that that is not what I thought HOPE is and it certainly isn’t what it’s famous for. So, we can agree to disagree.

      You then seem to be defending most people attending the conference. You have estimated the most people attending are in their early 20’s (not something I agree with, but lets go with it) and that most do not have basic knowledge which is why the introductory talks are not out of place. You keep playing semantics and asking why they should have basic knowledge of fields related to “hacking”. I’m not going to get into that discussion with you as if you don’t think telephony, electronics and computer security are core fields then there is nothing more to say.

      You then try to defend the average attendee as thinking critically and originally. OK, we both only have our anecdotes to go by on this. However I saw no evidence of this personally. It does not mean it was not present, it just means I did not see it. What I did see was a lack of original thought and critical thinking in abundance and so I commented on it.

      I will take the average audience behavior at many talks as an indication, and at many talks such as the piracy or Lamo talks, a majority were cheering. Yes, it was a majority, not just a select few as you say. I know that people were applauding the other side in the informants panel….people were outright cheering when he was being criticized. There is a difference and it was far from equal. For me, personally, this indicates that the people who attended HOPE last year are not the people I want to hang out with. As we don’t have hard evidence either way, we will again have to agree to disagree.

      If you met people who were actually questioning things and giving well thought opinions and not just jumping on bandwagons then good for you. I was not so fortunate, and going by what I observed it was less common to find such people.

      As for some individual points you made.

      I don’t have to know the circumstances were regarding Assange. As I said in my article (something you seem to have ignored), I can accept that he may not have been able to appear remotely or in person, but there is really no excuse he could not have recorded something unless he didn’t want to. He was not of ill health and was still obviously using a computer evidence by his giving interviews and updating Wikileaks.

      If you want to believe he was somehow disables and unable to access a computer or internet for over a month despite evidence to the contrary, so be it.

      As for Lazlow, yes, aside from using the word liar he called the guy a liar. He called the guys argument nonsense and said that no one pays for what they can get for free and to keep getting it for free. After he already stated he pays for them. You can defend him all you like, but what he did was wrong and says a lot about him as a person. As for your argument on piracy…you seem to have missed a very basic point. People who downloaded something would not pay for it if they could not download it. Looking at every download as equating to a lost sale is extremely flawed. In reality people are exposed to something they may not have otherwise been and so sales increase. The sales figures support this with movies and games doing better than they have in a long time, despite what the various media agencies report. Again, if you have some evidence to support your claim I would be interested to see it.

      You think it is unrealistic for a majority of people to a HOPE conference to have a basic understanding of the DMCA, controversial legislation that has been in the news constantly since it was introduced? I don’t know how you can support that and frankly it is a ridiculous stance, but again, we will agree to disagree.

      The same goes for the talk on WEP. I’m sorry, but it is out of date and largely irrelevant. The fact that it is still in common use and still a problem justifies it being covered in a few slides, not an hours talk being dedicated to it. Especially not when the talk is called Wireless Security which implies it covers…..Wireless Security. Which has progressed a lot since WEP in the last decade. You seem to think there is absolutely no issue with an entire talk dedicated to WEP. Again, I think that is ridiculous for the reasons I have stated, but we will have to agree to disagree.

      Now, you say that my desire to be anonymous hurts my ability to construct an educated opinion. Aside from that being being rather irrational, I will point out what you have done in your comments so far.

      You have:

      * Put words into my mouth ( I did not refer to myself as a hacker at all)

      * Ignored many points I mentioned in the article (Acknowledging the possibilities Assange did not make any appearance)

      * Made assumptions about me that are invalid (I didn’t socialize much, I have a desire to learn electronics)

      * Giving your anecdotes further weight than than mine, without justification.

      You are obviously closely involved with this conference and I can’t help but feel you are arguing from emotion. Which is understandable. As I have said, I was expecting a lot more from the conference. The fact that every talk I went to about computer security was introductory and that everyone I spoke to lacked basic knowledge well…that is a good indication of the average. If it had been a few or some or even half it would have been different, but it wasn’t. It was most.

      Now, you can keep believing I am wrong or misinformed and that the conference is full of useful talks appealing to people with all various levels of knowledge attracting a diverse crowd of people all with different opinions and ways of thinking. That’s fine.

      All I have been pointing out above is that 95% of the talks I went to in a field I am a professional in were introductory. I did not find any talks that required even a basic level of knowledge. Looking at the schedule such talks appear to be a minority.

      Out of the more than 100 people I talked to not one could figure out how to make the badge stay blue, at least 90 shared the same opinion on Lamo yet when I asked them questions which required thought they had no answer and a majority of people were cheering in the audience on issues that required a lot of thought and cheering was not at all appropriate.

      You can keep defending the people and the talk, but it doesn’t change my experience. I really do hope I have a different experience the next time I go.

      Just remember, passionately defending something because you are attached to it and your own personal (and necessarily limited) experience has been positive can leave you blind to the problems. When people point out such problems it does not mean they are wrong, even if you did not personally have the same experience.

      I feel we are going around in circles so I won’t be defending myself any more.


      Comment by allthatiswrong — February 10, 2011 @ 1:26 am

  5. – I disagree that the talks are “introductory”, because I think that’s a false label. The presentations vary in the material they cover. Take a look at the archives of all the previous conferences. You’ll find a wide variety of topics and varying degrees of specialization. The talks need to be accessible to the varying skills and interests of the crowd — particularly when you have such a large group of people. It’s not a place for too much specialization or you will only have 10 people showing up for each talk. I’m not speaking from opinion, but experience.

    – The fact that you don’t want to get into a discussion of what you define as “core” exemplifies my point. You have unreasonable expectations that originate from something you cannot pinpoint. That failure underlies all your assessments.

    – I defend the conference goers because I’ve been going to HOPE since the 90s. I’ve participated in various aspects of the conference (presenting, performing, doing radio, doing interviews, cleaning up, etc.). Note again that I associate with people who attend the conference in other social venues *every day*. My opinion is based on a large amount of experience.

    – If you watch the videos of the talks, you’ll see that the notion of “majority of people cheering” is in fact incorrect. This is also seen in your understanding of Lazlow’s presentation. You obviously have a bias that doesn’t jive with the recorded reality. Please go back and view/hear the archives.

    – If you don’t want to hang out with the people at HOPE, then don’t. Some of the most interesting, honest, hard working people I’ve ever met were through HOPE, 2600, etc. You’re simply shortchanging yourself. And again, there is not *one* type of people at the conference.

    – Re: Assagne: You’re cracking me up here. You repeat the same thing, over and over and over. On the one hand you admit you don’t know his circumstances. On the other, you say “but there is really no excuse he could not have recorded something unless he didn’t want to”. How can you know that he had the opportunity to do so? Maybe he thought he was going to be able to show up, but something changed at the last minute. If you don’t know, you don’t know. You can’t have it both ways. End of story.

    – Regard piracy: Read “You are not a Gadget” by Jaron Lanier, then get back to me. Your notion that somehow musicians/artists/etc. are doing better because of downloading is a fantasy — and there are no numbers to support your case. Musicians have been forced to make their money off of incessant touring and merchandise these days. Artists have been forced into making special agreements to get paid. I’m speaking from experience as an artist/musician — not someone trying to justify their desire to download free content.

    – Regarding the DMCA: I can say unequivocally that a majority of people aren’t familiar with the inner workings because I’m involved in conferences, do a technology radio show, publish technology content, teach — and most importantly, I’m involved in a group of artists who deal specifically with issues regarding IP in the arts. If you check the archives for The Last Hope, you’ll find a panel that I assembled, several panelists of whom are well-known creators in the re-contexualization scene (e.g. Mark Hosler from Negativland, Trademark G. of the Evolution Control Committee, etc.). In other words, I’m speaking from personal experience, not from expectation.

    – The description of the talk mentions WEP-based attacks and tool updates. That’s exactly what they covered. Again, listen to the archives if you need to refresh your memory.

    – I never said you are a hacker. I don’t call myself a hacker. You said you know what the “core” of being a hacker should include. I’m simply speaking off of what you’ve said.

    – I’m not ignoring your points. Your points don’t work to back up your argument. You end up dancing around the issues and contradicting yourself (e.g. Assange).

    – If you socialized more at HOPE, you’d have a more informed opinion. It’s that simple.

    – I didn’t say that I *know* you want to learn electronics. You said you don’t know much about them. So I directed you to a place at HOPE where you could learn more. Whether you want to or not is not the core of what was said.

    – Yes, I do believe you are wrong or misinformed and that the conference is full of useful talks appealing to people with all various levels of knowledge attracting a diverse crowd of people all with different opinions and ways of thinking.

    – Note that 95% of the talks that you went was a small fraction of the total talks. Have you listened to the talks in the archives? From previous conferences as well? No. So your opinion is not very well informed.

    – I’m not arguing from emotion, but experience — which factors into the greater issue here. You have a very, very narrow vision of how HOPE, and conferences in general, are assembled and play out. You need far more experience. The conference is made from people who volunteer their time and energy. HOPE doesn’t hire people to talk, they accept volunteers. If you feel the talks aren’t at the level of detail you want, direct people whom you think have more detail to give talks. Get involved yourself. It’s that simple really.



    Comment by Pan — February 10, 2011 @ 7:24 am

    • Your reply only reinforces the previous criticisms I made against you.

      You continue to miss the overall point I made or dismiss it entirely because you don’t agree with it. You are telling me that my experience is flat out wrong. I already note that my experience was limited and may not have been a good representation but that isn’t enough for you. You say that I am flat out wrong and go on to use your own necessarily limited experience as a defense because you can’t accept that what I say may have truth to it, even in part.

      Despite the evidence to the contrary such as youtube videos or your very own comments(where you did indeed state that I referred to myself as a hacker) you continue to deny. The problem is that you continue to make invalid assumptions and continue to defend some of the talks with a defense bordering on absurdity. Really, what excuse can you make that in 2011 people are not familiar with the DMCA or WEP? It doesn’t matter if they are familiar in depth as the talks did not cover them in depth, but just covered cursory knowledge that yes, most people would be familiar with.

      Your entire defense is from emotion and a perfect example of confirmation bias. You are unable to accept criticism of the conference, even when it is limited to one persons experience which may have been negative. You take each individual point I make and dismiss it because you personally have had a different experience. Which is completely irrelevant to the experience I had. Given your inability to objectively consider the points I have made and to think critically, I find it ironic you are the commenter defending the conference.

      You exemplify in some ways the type of people I kept running into and they are not the type of people I like to hang around with. Look at your replies…everything you are saying is coming from emotion and your own personal experience. Objectivity and critical analysis goes out the windows and you’re fine with that. Of course there are many different people at a conference, unfortunately the majority at HOPE and DEFCON seemed to share the same shortcomings.

      As I said, I’m not going to bother to defend each point at length when you ignore or misrepresent what I say and put words into my mouth, but I do hope you take the time to reread what you have written and understand just why it is a poor argument.

      Also, is it really so hard for you to reply to my comment instead of making a new comment everytime?


      P.S. , I appreciate the reference to “You are not a Gadget” and will indeed investigate it. As for the numbers not supporting the industry doing well, sorry but that’s just flat out wrong. I’m less familiar with the music industry but both the movie and game industry have been having their best years ever. A cursory search reveals the last few years have been record years as well as many articles discussing how piracy can be hurting sales given these record years. I suggest your read them.

      Comment by allthatiswrong — February 10, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

  6. – The overal point you made is that you didn’t like HOPE. Your options are….

    – Don’t go to HOPE.
    – Get involved to make it better

    – It’s funny that you say limited experience: I have 18 years of participating in the Culture Jamming movement (i.e. dealing with IP issues in the arts), 30 years experience with computers, 28 years of dealing with organizing events, 14 years hosting a technology analysis radio show, etc. That’s not limited friend, that’s a lot.

    – Which goes to the next point… as a content creator, a speaker, a radio show host, a technologist, etc. they are not assumptions, they are observations based on years of experience.

    – There is not excuses about the DMCA. What you seem to lack in comprehension is that not everyone reads the same media, goes to the same talks, etc. People are different and are exposed to different things. It’s the same with 2600 magazine, which publishes articles relevant to particular topics over again, even if it covers some of the same ground. Emmanuel has learned, same as myself, that over time you need to rehash things to account for new people, new perspectives on the topic, etc.

    – You deny that my comments are based on experience and analysis. However, I’ve clearly pointed to both experience and analysis. Hell, you don’t even acknowledge that I hosted a panel at HOPE that involved the DMCA and IP. In other words, you’re just rehashing your opinions without factoring in reality. These things I’ve done involve a deep analysis of the topics at hand.

    – I would encourage you to not hang around me if I’m the type of people you don’t want to hang out with. That would be silly.

    – I’ve reread what you’ve said (over and over and over) and you’re still rehashing your limited perspective.

    – Please don’t bother arguing anymore. It’s clearly not helping you here.


    Comment by Pan — February 13, 2011 @ 11:14 am

    • The point was that my experience at hope was a letdown because of the introductory nature of the talks and the people I both met and observed.

      Outright in the article I state that my experience was not an accurate indication of the whole conference, nevertheless it was an indication for part of it.

      The problem is that you can’t accept that. You want to argue that what I wrote is completely false because you, personally, experienced something different.

      If you really don’t see a problem with that, then I don’t know what to tell you.

      In your 30 years of experience with computers you should have realized you can reply to individual comments without posting a new one each time.

      Comment by allthatiswrong — February 14, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

  7. No, my initial (and continued response) to your post was that it is filled in inaccuracies and assumptions that you’ve made (e.g. Assange, Get Lamp, Intellectual Property, etc.) I would hate for anyone to write off HOPE or other conferences/experiences based on such misinformation.

    So, in other words, the problem isn’t mine. It’s your lack of information. You don’t need to tell me about that, you’ve already written it up.



    Comment by Pan — February 15, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

    • Sigh

      That’s the problem.

      I said above “You are telling me that my experience is flat out wrong. I already note that my experience was limited and may not have been a good representation but that isn’t enough for you.

      You then go on to say what I said, although iy misrepresenting me in an accusatory tone.

      My personal experience was not at all wrong and I can actually support a lot of it. At the same time I said up front that it was possibly not an accurate representation of the entire conference of attendees and that I will have to attend more to get a better feel.

      You simply can’t accept that. You can’t acknowledge that any point of my experience was true despite not experience it yourself. You keep appealing to your experience and I’m sorry, but it’s completely fucking irrelivant. It’s Your experience, and therefore necessarily limited.

      Your argument isn’t in any way rational and is the result of arguing from emotion. No wonder you have no problem with Lazlow. Confirmation Bias at it’s finest and a fine example of the average HOPE attendee I encountered. It’s ironic in that trying to defend the attendees you actually helped to prove my point.

      It’s clear that there isn’t anything to be gained from replying to you further. Respond if you really need to have the last word, but I won’t be acknowledging you any further unless you actually have something to contribute.


      Comment by allthatiswrong — February 17, 2011 @ 3:31 pm

  8. It’s funny that you continue to claim that I argue from emotion when all the experience is clearly laid out. It’s as if you don’t actually read or understand what the word “experience” means.

    You were wrong about people, places, times and have admitted that it was your first conference. So, you have been corrected — not by emotion, but by experience and facts. Luckily, the people who judge so quickly without said facts are in the minority and H.O.P.E., and other conferences, continue.

    Comment by Pan — February 25, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

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