Monday, September 19, 2016

Electronic Badge Update!

What is it?

A surprise.  No, really... you'll be surprised...

The attendee badges are red this year but the badge you want to earn of course is the black badge.

Not only do you get free access to the con for life but it's also gold plated in all the right places.

There's a sweet little OLED screen which you've seen before in 2013, the joystick that nearly killed me and a few other odds and ends.

Those are three single-colour LEDs.  Knowing how much we like the bling and blinkies should give you a clue that we sacrificed the blinding LEDs for something else more interesting.  Dare I say, more practical?  Certainly more fun.

What's on the left of the badge?

What we sacrificed the blinkies for.  Worth it.

So, you going to be building badges at the con again this year?

For those not familiar with 2013, we built a badge.  An awesome badge.  A badge that we were deliriously happy with only to get delivered by our fabricator half-baked.  Quite literally half-baked; they hadn't baked the boards long enough so components were falling off boards.

Many heroic volunteers that year put in massive hours to get badges to attendees.

This year I'm building the badges by hand because I have trust issues.  Really, I built a robot to build most of the badge but I'm still having to do some of the assembly by hand like attaching the OLED display, SecretIC, joystick and battery pack.  This badge is assembled with lurve.

I intend to relax during the con.

If I want to hack the badge, what should I bring?

Yourself and maybe some AA batteries.  You're probably not going to want to hack the hardware this year for reasons that will be apparent later.

Okay, so software?  What processor / language are you going to use?

Processor doesn't matter language doesn't matter.  What is language but syntax?

You can program the badge in any language.  Fluent in APL? cool... perl? awesome... python, ruby, C, C++, erlang, elixir, Cobol (or its modern day version, java).

Bring your language and a host to show me it working on and I'll help you to get it to run on the badge.

We do however ask for advance notice if you do choose APL and bring an IBM 360/50 to run your APL code.

Write in whatever language you're comfortable in or learn a new one for kicks... maybe this is the fun excuse you needed to learn LISP?

... and that's the point.

We wanted to see a badge that people could have fun with and was accessible to anyone without being forced to crash-learn a new embedded processor, language and its idiosyncrasies.

Speaking of accessible, rock it out and we'll get your code running on all the badges...

After all, this is meant to be fun right?


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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Critical #SDC6 Dates!

In case you've been living in a cave, the dates for #SDC6 are set for October 21-23, 2016, at the Embassy Suites - Nashville South Cool Springs.  If you needed this post to tell you that...ITS ON THE FREAKING HEADER OF THE WEBSITE YOU IDIOT!

Moving on...


If you don't have your tickets yet, we're doing something new this year by pre-ordering your shirt to guarantee you get your size when checking in at registration!  There is a closing date for this to allow delivery before the CON.

If you want to be guaranteed a shirt in your size, the ticket option will close September 30th, 2016! 



The hotel block rate closes September 30th, 2016!  Its already pretty tight and we're working with hotel to allocate the block based on demand.  That said...


We're actively updating Facebook, Twitter, and the website with information so continue to monitor for updates!  See you at SkyDogCon!

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

"The Con" vs "A Conference"

Profession vs. Passion

While driving back from @BSidesAugusta this weekend, an interesting conversation was sparked about the difference between a "CON" and a conference.  We're often are asked "what is SkyDogCon and what makes it different?"  Though that question seems easy to answer, it really depends on the person who's asking as to whether or not they'll understand the answer!

So, some of you reading this know exactly what I'm getting at, while most of you are likely scratching your heads!  If you fall into the latter category, give this post by @thegrugq a read which may just add some context for you.  So, back to that "interesting conversation" I mentioned...

We came up with several ideas, definitions, and generalizations though the one that seemed to get at the spirit of the difference the most (at least to me) was a contrast of "Profession vs. Passion" as it relates to attendee's motivation for coming. It's not a small distinction and not one we take lightly when planning each year's event.  The question you should start with is, "would I go even if work didn't pay or assist with the cost of going?"

Focus on the Profession

Lets make a quick clarification, there is nothing wrong with professional conferences. One of the most amazing things about Security BSides events is they make quality security education accessible to professionals who otherwise may not have the opportunity to attend larger industry events.  That said, the demand for inexpensive "professional education" isn't really contributing to a more engaged and competent security workforce either!  It may feed the CPE monster, but sitting in lecture-style back-to-back talks for hours over a weekend isn't most people's idea of fun!

In the article referenced above by @thegrugq, he faults among other things cat memes, "infosec rockstars", and general business economics for limiting the quality of content available to smaller conferences. He's not all wrong! I have witnessed many a presentation where the speaker clearly spent more time finding memes and developing one-liners than developing their topic. Meanwhile, for every 8 presentations you attend, maybe 1 will resonate or improve you as a professional.

Focus on the Passion

If you're not getting it yet, maybe go watch the DEFCON Documentary and see if you catch on to the difference. Some may call it culture or community or passion and they're all correct! The difference between a "CON" and a "conference" is the context, the purpose. For those who have gone to CONs like DEFCON or CarolinaCon or Outerz0ne and others for years, education was a byproduct fueled by passion for learning and participating in community. A CON is for the enthusiast not just the professional!

I'd compare it as @thegrugq does to a "comic con" that many go to not because work pays them or provides for them to go. People go because its fun! It's their passion, hobby, creative outlet, or any combination of reasons that motivate them to participate regardless of who's paying.

So what's the difference?

SkyDog made the CON to be "all the things he loves about a CON and none of the things he hates" or so he tells us.  So, it is true we often have amazing talks and presenters. Even still, one of the things we love most about SkyDogCon...the community! Hanging out with our friends we rarely get to see, often since DEFCON or the last SkyDogCon. Hearing a presentation on someone's passion project which may not get a slot at an industry conference but is of value, interest, and an audience (if for no other reason than one of our own is excited to share).   We value the opportunity to have an open dialogue (many times in the middle of a presentation) and share experience from both professional and personal perspective.

Ultimately, the "CON" is a gathering of a community focused on interest not a profession and is accessible to anyone interested in learning, participating,  and contributing. It may not look or feel "professional" because it inherently isn't and yet, I postulate, is even more critical to the development of knowledge and education than any "conference" or professional organization.  The "CON" differentiates itself in cultivating a passion above attendance, relationships over colleagues, and contribution over notoriety.  This is the hacker culture we seek to embody in SkyDogCon!
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Sunday, July 10, 2016

SDC6 Video Update

Hope you enjoy the teaser video of for this year's SkyDogCon! We'll have video updates starting soon so look out for more updates!

Get Your SkyDogCon 2016 Tickets NOW!

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Monday, March 28, 2016

SkyDogCon 2016 Early Bird Tickets are on sale now!

SkyDogCon 2016 Early Bird Tickets are on sale now! This is the lowest price they will be, so get them now! Why would you want to do that? Well, simply put, it's the best price, and to show you we appreciate you getting in early, there are perks!!

All ticket purchasers during the early bird period will be invited to a early reception to thank you for your participation. This will be held Thursday evening at the hotel. It's our way of getting a chance to shake your hand, and let you know we appreciate you!

Also, for the first time this year, we are offering the opportunity to pre-order your SDC shirt with your ticket. We sold out of shirts last year so go ahead and place your order now to ensure that you get the size you want.

Please note that the people buying early are getting the best price and a reception. We know this seems a little backwards to give the most to the people who pay the least, but a good deal is a good deal! We think that those willing to step up early deserve a little bit extra.

Thank you, and we can't wait to see you at SkyDogCon 2016!

Buy Your SkyDogCon 2016 Tickets Here!

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

SDC#6 Call for Volunteers Open


Fill out the form completely so that we can keep you in the loop.  We do our best to get you in the shifts and positions you prefer and the form has a place to let us know your availability/preferences.  You will have the chance (more like requirement) to "accept" the slots you're schedule to work prior to the con.

Get your response in early so you get first dibs at the slots you want!

Before you get too excited, there is a "threshold" of time to earn a SkyDogCon volunteer badge!  There won't be any "come do 1 x 4hour shift and snag a free badge" this year! You know who you are forgiven, but not this year!  The terms are subject to change (you hackers love to test boundaries), but plan on scheduling (AND working) at least 12 hours in order to earn your free badge.

Lastly, if you're interested in sharing a room to reduce cost, please indicate it on the form and we'll do our best to link you up with other staff/volunteers who would like to share as well. Thanks everyone!

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Monday, February 22, 2016

SDC#6 Call for Papers Open

*** 2016 Call for Papers ***

If you're interested in submitting a talk to SkyDogCon 2016, please goto the SkyDogCon CFP Submission System (also in site menu bar above), and send us your entries!

We're interested in all kinds of talks! Technology related, hacking, making, electronics, "life hacking", etc. If you have any questions, please feel free to submit them to operations [at] We will NOT accept submissions sent to this email nor any previously CFP email address, only to the CFP submission site.

Please make sure to fill it out completely. If you happen to make a video for your submission, please include the link in your submission.  We'll announce cutoff dates and 1st round selection closing soon.  Get them in early to be on the first round of announced speakers!
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Thursday, February 18, 2016



Look, I'm just gonna lay it out there...IT IS ON!

SkyDog & crew are proud to announce:
SkyDogCon #6 "Catch me if you can!"

October 21-23, 2016
@ Embassy Suites - Nashville South, Cool Springs
(room block & reservation information coming soon)


Well hello there campers!  We're actually more on the ball this year than we've ever been and man do we have some great stuff planned!

First, after many challenges at our previous venue we've sought out a new location with better food options, more space, and less crappy management (long story, but if you come to SDC, you already know)!  The rooms are bigger, breakfast is included with the room, and you travel snobs can get your points!  Though we've signed the contract with the hotel, we're waiting on the links to book a room in the block, etc., so we'll post an update when that’s patient! There is plenty of time!  But don't wait too late jackass!

Second, we've already been in talks with many of last year's sponsors, vendors, and event organizers to come back for 2016!  I'm incredibly excited to announce that James Bower (@jamesbower) will be back organizing a followup to last year's awesome Capture-the-Flag event.  Keep checking back for announcements on vendors, sponsors, and events as we lock them in.


Lastly, we decided to bring back a theme for 2016 and tried to stay away from the hokey hackery and do something inclusive yet as idiosyncratic as our attendees.  In other words, it’s is what you make it...hacker, maker, infosec, locksport, forgery, Ethiopian long distance runner...bring it to SkyDogCon#6 and connect to your kind!

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