The first thing that I noticed was that the venue changed from the Artisan to the Tuscany Suites and Casino. I liked the unique atmosphere of the Artisan but felt cramped (this from a former Navy submariner). The Tuscany suites were nice and spacious, cheap, and clean. In addition, the hotel staff were friendly.
Because I arrived the morning before the conference, I decided to take a stroll around the facilities. This is something that I learned in the military. Always know where you need to go, how to get there, and develop a sense of situational awareness. While doing so, I stumbled across the main meeting room for the con. There were many volunteers rushing around putting the finishing touches on the meeting rooms. Because I like to meet new people and felt the need to pitch in, I asked where I could help. Over 2 hours later, after folding what seemed like thousands of t-shirts, I managed to meet many new friends. Exhausted from the days travels, I turned in.
The morning of July 31st, I woke early and returned to the conference area to check in and badge up. The abilities of the volunteer staff was evident as the line constantly flowed and I got my volunteer badge and complimentary sling bag in no time. In addition, a random staff member handed me a social engineering badge and explained that I was now part of the Social Engineering Capture the Flag. Fun! I quickly found Irongeek since I was volunteering to be one of his video monkeys (he used a different name for me).
What I experienced next was pure joy and
Some of the presentations I attended were:
- Christien Rioux: "The Security Industry - How to Survice Becoming Management" (KEYNOTE)
- Jimmy Shah, David Shaw, and Matt Dewitt: "Discovering Dark Matter: Towards Better Android Malware Heuristics"
- Jay "Rad" Radcliffe: "Mom! I Broke My Insulin Pump...Again!"
- Evan Davidson and Noah Schiffman: "Dungeons & Dragons, Siege Warfare, and Fantasy Defense in Depth"
- Jack Daniel: "The Erudite Inebriate's Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness"
- Nicholas J. Percoco and Joshua Corman: "The Calvary Isn't Coming: Starting the Revolution to FSCK it All!"
- Steve Werby: "Crunching the Top 10,000 Websites' Password Policies and Controls"
So, I have rambled on as usual. I will now cut to the chase. Here are the takeaways from my BSides Las Vegas 2013 trip:
- The new venue (Tuscany) was open and airy with plenty of space
- There were 6 distinct tracks (double last year): breaking ground, common ground, proving ground, underground, lightning talks, and training ground
- The staff were approachable, helpful, and cared about their product
- The volunteers did a great job
- The price was right - FREE!
- The talks were informative and high quality (new presenters were assigned mentors)
- There were free shuttles to the other cons (Black Hat and DEFCON)
- I didn't get my free drink coupons upon checkin (remedied quickly when I notified the staff)
- There are not many budget restaurants within walking distance (the midnight Steak and Egg special in the hotel was only $5.99)
***BSides Las Vegas presentations (and many others) can be watched for free on the website irongeek.com.