Showing posts with the label Zine

The Odyssey of HackBus

Regional caravans are part of conference traditions, and the trip can be an adventure in itself. This history of Hackbus originally appeared in the Toxic BBQ History Zine . PacBell was the first hacker In could find that drove a city bus from Oregon to Vegas in the early days of DEF CON. EvilMoFo and Fpenguin followed suit in 2007. The HackBus was a 1956 GM PD 4104 bus delivered to Public Service Coordinated Transport in New Jersey. A quick vacuum and some old couches allowed it to make the trip from San Fran to DC15, but it didn’t return home until October. A laundry list of repairs, including a new engine, kept it on the road year after year. Those who rode it to DEF CON said it was one of the most entertaining, if sweaty, ways to get there. Bay Area hackers worked on it together to add amenities like 16G internet (4 carriers x 4G each!), pirate radio stations, and sometimes-functional AC. In addition to the road trip to DC, the HackBus ferried legions to Toxic BBQ, and it also resc

Solving Problems with a Chair: Not Just for Wrestling Anymore

For 2021’s Toxic BBQ, I reached out to a number of organizers within the hacker community for stories and advice on staging your own event within an event . Sc0tland told me about an incident that stood out as a good pattern for how to deal with disruptive elements at community events. An issue at BSidesDFW 2021 and its aftermath reminded me of this, so I tracked down someone who was there for a first-person account, metlstorm , “theme/art-director/webs/MC” for Kiwicon itself. Kiwicon was a hacker conference run 2007-2018 by a small group of friends that got together in the early 2000’s scene in New Zealand. Eleven cons in twelve years were marked by growth of the organizers as individuals and the scene as a whole. Looking back, they had a rocky start with aggressive themes: Kiwicon 1 artwork included Goatse, and the second rendition was “Kiwicon 2girls1cup”. As metlstorm put it, “We tried pretty hard over the years to get it right, and i think one of the overlooked bits of our story

Planning a Sideshow

  This text originally appeared in the  Toxic BBQ Retrospective Zine, Grow your own Sideshow . The path from “there’s this thing we do...” to conference-legend can be rocky. We’ve collected tips from our notes and interviews into a firehose of recommendations for you and your team. We hope these will nudge you from `wishing` to `holding` your “thing-apart” for everyone’s enjoyment. - the_bozo and DuncanYoudaho Location Where? Make yourself easy to find. Stick close to your parent venue. If off-site, provide relative directions from the venue. Also give out an absolute location/address for taxis, an information desk, or maps app. Control the Space Reserve the site for your group’s exclusive use. Whether a con booth, suite, or off-site, ensure you can enforce crowd size limits, CoC, closure, and clean-up. Understand the Rules Be an expert on the rules of your venue so your guests don’t have to be. Is glass allowed? How loud can we be? When do w

Community Building through Events

This text originally appeared in the Toxic BBQ Retrospective Zine, Grow your own Sideshow . Few were as excited to talk about organizing Toxic BBQ as Sc0tland, Las Vegas Native and early DEF CON attendee, known on Twitter as @level2three . Other than Toxic, she has been involved in Scav Hunt, Toorcamp, and countless other hacker hijinx. She’s eager to share her experiences building an event to be proud of. The following is based on notes from interviews on this very topic. - DuncanYoudaho Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of building your own event, let’s talk about why successful ones resonate and return. As a participant, they may seem to occur spontaneously, but savvy organizers are working behind the scenes to induce and foster community, narrative, and culture of the event by including these aspects: Set the stage and differentiate your sideshow from the rest of the attractions. Adopt rituals and add in relics to unify participants in action and memory. Trim the fat and re

Toxic BBQ - An Abbreviated History

This text originally appeared in the  Toxic BBQ Retrospective Zine, Grow your own Sideshow . DEF CON’s unofficial launch party is a sometimes-quiet cookout that welcomes all, n00b and 1337 alike. This prelude to the cacophony and telephony grew with its host convention to a gathering of hundreds with grill temps and daytime highs to match. If each DEF CON is a hacker carnival, Toxic BBQ is its first sideshow. We celebrated the 15th year of grill and chill (and a hybrid return to DEF CON amidst a turbulent pandemic) by collecting tips and tricks for running a sideshow of your very own. We also caught up with past organizers of Toxic and similar events to get their perspective on building community and culture in the Information Age. We hope that our masticarious adventures delight and inspire you to build (or rebuild) a culture of care and friendship at DEF CON and closer to home. Special thanks to Sc0tland, TheCotMan, EvilMoFo, Deviant Ollam, the @dc_peppercon crew, and many others for