Thoughts on Shmoocon 2013 by Hans Bosch (@hans_bosch)

Bags are packed, lobby is clear, goodbyes are said and the knowledge transfer is complete.  The curiosity level is so high I feel my blood flowing from the back of my neck down to my fingers.   I haven’t stopped coding and checking my notes on all this new stuff I just learned.  I’m a senior computer professional but tonight I feel like a kid with a new toy, the toy of learning something new.  Years of formal training have kept me employed, but cons keep me young and excited about my profession.  At Shmoocon I was alive again, curiously eager to learn something new.

My dear friend and colleague Kevin Figueroa (@KevinFigueroa) summed up his thoughts on the con by reminding me of the Panel discussion on Friday.  It was the last talk of the day, but the first to ignite passion, of why I’m a con junkie.  It left everyone present engaged on the simple topic of research.  Kevin’s take on this is   “The community needs to be diligent in sighting other contributions to ones work and grow”.   Dave Marcus (@DaveMarcus) insisted, “What hackers do is not research”.  His point is that hackers tend to reinvent the wheel and never grow the knowledge in the community.  An academic approach to hacking research may never take hold but who is to say that we need such stringent measures.  I find that hackers do apply research where they target specific problems with awesome effectiveness.   Like the courses I took for my associate degree.  Each class was intended for me to get a programming job, at the time in JCL and COBOL, yes COBOL!

As a kid I wanted to be a scientist, a rocket scientist at that.  From the window in my dad’s apartment, I could see parts of the East river and Brooklyn.  I imagine each rooftop with a spaceport where we could hop on a rocket and sail to the stars.

This year I sailed to the stars, not in a space ship but rather in the euphoric high I felt form being greeted by friends I only see a few times a year and the curiosity their talks inspire.  To quote (rest in peace Brad  aka Nurse “this is a family reunion with the family you like”.   His words are so true; I was in need of a barcode and was content in chilling at yet another lobby con.  Instead before all my change got sucked up in the parking meter I got a barcode.  One, which Marcus graciously offered to buy, but I came prepared and purchased it at face value from another buddy I meet via another buddy.  Gee what a great family.  This is the kind of brotherhood I find endearing at these cons, especially Shmoocon.

The talks where well balanced from technical to patriotically inspiring, making me feel proud to be an American!  So you must surmised that one of my favorite talks was Hardy’s “Hacking as an act of war” but I also liked “Paparazzi over IP” by Mende and Turbing, “OpenStack Security Brief” by Joyce and “Generalized Single Packet Authorization for Cloud Computing Environments” by Rash.  Sighs I can go on and on, be sure that I will spend more time watching the talks I missed online when they become available.

I leave you with one final thought everyone I meet thinks I’m 10 to 20 years younger, they “ax” me how I do it?  I tell them I Shmooz a lot!

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