As you wander the halls of the inaptly named Caesar's Forum, amidst a
living sea of the most neurodiverse Clan humanity has ever seen, you cannot
help but stop for a second to close your eyes amidst the cacophony and
mentally exclaim, "Look. Look at the world we have created!"
Sitting in the one cafe in the Paris hotel with food, a
tattooed thirty-something who has been to Defcon twice gives you advice on
how to do the conference. "Take the unirail." they say. "Also, you should
have a hacker name! Mine is 'youngblood''"
"Noted!" you respond. These are good ideas. The unirail in particular,
probably, because Vegas is overflowing - and decent food options and
anywhere to sit that is not beeping at you or showing grungy dystopian TV
ads the Cyberpunk 2077 developers would find over-the-top are impossible to
come by, making the conference ten times more exhausting than usual.
In that sense, you miss the Alexis Park days, sitting with Halvar Flake
next to a pool where everyone was more larval than they knew, watching
Dildog lauch BO2K to a thousand screaming fans in the same room Dino Dai
Zovi explained Solaris hacking an hour earlier.
Some of the best talks this year had no attendees at all - Orange Tsai's
talk was over Zoom, to a huge room, but with few butts in the seats. There
were a hundred "Villages" it seemed like, living a half-life between
physical space in the conference room and a Discord channel.
Defcon may be the worst and best place to learn anything in that way - the
environment is hopelessly chaotic, with two talks happening inches away
from each other, and only feet from a DJ pumping out house music. But
perhaps the best environment to learn in is the one in which you are most
My friends, we've conquered the world. What's next?