So this was my first year at DefCon and I feel like there were a lot of things that I learned and a lot of things that I want to share for any of the more DevOpsy people going to DefCon.
Once you get your badge immediately go ahead and start working on getting any DefCon specific merchandise that you want. The line is long and it will take forever but they will sell out on the first day. However, try to make some friends in line. I happened to run into a person I was on a contract with previously and we got talking about a lot of various things going on with different contracts.
Data Duplication Village
This was probably the one I was most excited about. Bring some hard drives and they will copy a bunch of data onto the hard drives for you. It has old security talk videos, rainbow tables, and a bunch of other interesting things. Go ahead and take the hard drives out of any plastic before you drop them off. It will make dropping them off much smoother.
There are a ton of villages and they are spread out through multiple hotels. The fact is that you will not be able to do everything at all of them. My recommendation for the first year is really just to walk around and get a preview of everything. That way you can plan better for the next year if there is a village you want to focus on. This also gives you a chance to read about some of them and pick up some more information to review and plan your next DefCon better.
Hacker Tracker App
Download the Hacker Tracker App before you go. It is necessary to get Merchandise as well as see what is going on and when. It is also how any announcements will be made to the conference. It really is your best way to stay in touch with everything.
Ultimately you are in Las Vegas. There are shows and food and everything else. My wife and I slipped away for a Kelly Clarkson concert one night. My opinion is to plan a dinner at a celebrity restaurant or go see a show. While you are at Las Vegas for DefCon don’t forget about all of the other things that are going on around you.
My first DefCon was somewhat overwhelming. I ultimately held on and just went for everything. I am looking forward to next year and already trying to plan things out a little bit better so that I can make the most use of the conference as a whole.