I drove up to Vegas on Thursday, got there, the next day I was up at 0800, and
then I was on my hands and knees taping down network cables, power strips and
other such things so that the trainers at Black Hat had their own networks to
show their stuff. I was up till about midnight before I got to go to sleep. The
next morning I had to be up at 0800 again, this time to put out fires, run a
new network cable there where it is not working, and or fix power strips that
did not provide power.
After that we have to stuff delegate bags. Delegate bags are Black Hat labeled
bags which contain information, a CD with presentations and other things. We
ended up stuffing 5000 delegate bags that same day. Chinese sweat shop style.
We end the day at about 2000. I finally get to go to sleep at about 1100, after
I find some dinner that does not cost an arm and a leg. Finally I get a break,
Sunday I get second shift. Have to be up at around 1200. Straight to lunch duty
(more about that later). Not much else goes on, we have to put certificates of
course completion into black envelopes. Side note: Every single certificate is
hand signed by Jeff Moss the creator of Black Hat. We all end up being let out
early at around 1800, we head down to the bar to hang out and socialise. I end
up leaving at around 2300 to head to bed. Next morning we have to be up at
0800, new people are coming in for training, this means that the instructors
always have more issues than ever before, for some reason when new people come
in they screw things up badly. A room that was perfectly fine 24 hours ago is
now suddenly having 10 cables that don't work. Go figure. After putting out the
fires we get some down time to just sit around, until lunch duty roles around
again. It is a Monday, and I think back to the weekend I just spent running
around like a mad man. That night the entire crew ends up at the Hofbrauhaus in
Las Vegas. German beer, German food and German music. It was a great amount of
fun. One of the guys is celebrating his birthday, so the waitress brings out a
paddle with shots on it, and he then gets spanked. I got to sleep early, 2300.
Tuesday is the last day of training, so we get up in the morning, put out any
fires and once again put certificates in envelopes. I also get to help setting
up the store, it is going to be open at around 1500 that day so we have to get
all the swag sorted into different boxes, by size, and by what type of shirt it
is. After that we have lunch duty. I end up being on store duty from 1400 till
1800. It is crazy, we have to in our head calculate the cost of each persons
bag they want to purchase, and then either get cash from them, or hand it off
to GuuWii for credit card processing. Then at the end of the day at around 1700
when classes let out, we have to go around to each room, untape any and all
cables. That includes power, network and other. This takes us well until 2300.
After that we need to run long network cables for Aruba networks access points
so that people can get Wifi during Black Hat. This takes us until about
midnight. I get to sleep at about 0100. And you guess right if you think I have
to be up by 0800 the next morning. I am on store duty again, this means that
once again it is a mad house trying to get people their shirts and products,
calculating out numbers in my head and getting it all set up and good. I miss
out on the Keynote, and on Dan Kaminsky's talk, which is the talk I wanted to
go to. Grandma Kaminsky has once again made cookies and I miss out on them
because I am working my ass off. Oh well, I am going to see him at DefCon this
year. The store is almost out of all of it's product by the end of the day.
Briefings went well, and I got to go to see the one on using Dtrace on Mac OS X
for reverse engineering. Very cool. End of the day we end up doing what is
going to be an annual tradition, the walk from Caesars to NYNY.
The year before, Joe Grand, AKA Kingpin had lost a bet and had to wear one of
the shirts that the porn card pushers wear. The ones that say, "Girls direct to
your room in 20 minutes" with a number. This year the same thing happened,
except no bet was lost, however one of my friends, who has now been dubbed
Pushpin looks very much like a younger Joe Grand. He was with us, and
unbeknownst to him, we bought him a shirt and he too had to wear it. Pictures
will be forthcoming. It is hilarious.
I get back to the Hotel at around 2300, hang out at the bar for a little bit.
Just socialise, introduce myself to people in the security industry. Next
morning, same drill, up at 0800. I work the store until lunch, and then I am
once again down stairs in the heat. Last day, that means that I get some down
time, until the talks break at 1800. We have to rip up all of the cables that
we put down for the speakers and the wireless AP's. We also have to make sure
that all of the BlackHat equipment is out of all of the rooms and everything is
properly packed up. We then have to put it all on pallets, and shrink wrap it.
After this is all done, I head over to the Riveria to get our room all set up.
Pushpin had made the reservations. We head over to the Peppermill for some
dinner, and then to the EFF Summit in the Penthouse to raise some money for the
During the day Black Hat provides lunch to the attendees, meaning I have to
stand outside in the sun making sure that only people with badges come in to
eat lunch, and if anyone asks what is going on I have to let them know it is a
This is everyday, and trust me, being on your feet for 12+ hours a day is no
pleasure at all. The amount of time there was to slack off and sit down was
This is at Caesars Palace in Vegas, one side of the hotels conference area to
the other side of the conference area. The amount of walking involved was
insane, every part of my body was hurting. Even now, that I am sitting at
DefCon my feet still hurt from the abuse I gave them.