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CodeCon 2006, Day 1

  • 21st Feb, 2006 at 4:35 PM

SUV Taxi
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

I woke up on Friday morning and wondered what breakfast would be. Then I remembered that I was staying at the W and decided to forage for food elsewhere. I took a taxicab with spider88, enochsmiles, maradydd. It was a strange hybrid SUV cab that was painted all yellow, I would later learn that Yellow Cab drivers were scary and that I should avoid them.

We got to StudioZ and discovered that we didn't know how to get inside. We figured that out eventually and took stock of the situation. I started moving tables about and setting up chairs, because I abhor standing about with my hands in my pockets. Then I helped hang banners from the rafters. After I did that, I tried to see if I could do anything else.

Since CodeCon is run on the cheap so that anybody can attend, drinks like coffee are not included in the conference fee. And since the conference was being held in a night club, there was a convenient bar that would be a good place to setup a concessions stand. So I put things in order and stood behind the counter.

I got to see people walk in the door and after registering with wealhtheow or Spider, they'd stand in bewilderment in front of my bar. It was a lot of fun to watch all sorts of people come through. And then I'd smile at them and offer to get them something to drink.

We started Lance's talk a little late in order to let everyone settle in their seats. I met him the night before where he talked about his Apache module that has heuristics for detecting when a phisher is trying to clone your website. Or when your website has been cloned and the phisher is passing login requests through to you. This kind of thing is totally what financial institutions have to start doing.

We got coffee from this place called Cafe Organica, which seems to have some mixed online reviews. Or rather, Jonathan did, in a big messenger bag filled with carafes. Since Jonathan doesn't actually drink coffee, it was left to me to decide whether it was any good. It seemed to be drip coffee that was thick, dark and strong. Very decent for something that was brewed hours ago. The customers didn't seem to mind, as we ran out of coffee every day.

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

The next presentation was SiteAdvisor which takes an interesting tack on safely surfing the web. Instead of building security features into your browser, there's a central server that stores information about sites that you're visiting. But what was really interesting was how they got this information. They had an automated tool that went in pretending to be a real person, signed up for some e-mails, downloaded some programs, and examined what happened afterward.

I missed the majority of the VidTorrent presentation, because I was busy chatting with people and offering them refreshments. Also, their demo didn't work because the wireless setup at the conference kept on going down. People were abusing the free Wireless network that Cliff was trying to keep up and running. Which is sad, because Cliff had basically volunteered to set that up on his own time.

Tom came up after that to present Localhost, which is a unimaginatively named piece of software, but is interesting because it lets you browse a world-wide filesystem of torrents. What's interesting about his filesystem is that it uses a distributed hash table, so that even if there are files with the same name, you'll be able to distinguish the distinct copies. Which is useful if you want to tell whether you're downloading a legitimate and popular file, or some malicious file that someone's injected.

The last talk of the day was Truman, which not only demonstrated an interesting piece of technology, but also quite educational. The tool itself is a specialised Linux distribution that can capture what happens inside itself and simulate a public connexion to the Internet. This is advantages, Joe tells us, because modern pieces of malware are smart enough to disable themselves when they detect sandboxed environments.

After people filed out, we packed away everything into storage as StudioZ is a nightclub, so it was setting up for its nightclub crowd. Everyone else went next door to Loft11 where a party was being held, sponsored by bramcohen's awesome company

I went inside and bumped into Graydon and we tried to go about finding fellow Canadians. This was not so successful on the crowded downstairs floor, so we went upstairs to chat and catch up. I met some people who were at the speaker's reception and successfully remembered their names. Then I met a guy who was at the night club just waiting for his buddy, and I explained CodeCon to him. He thought it was a great idea.

Stack of Macs
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Len Sassaman and Bram got up to give a little speech, which I tried to take photographs of. But failed. Instead, I noticed that they were on this awesome glass ceiling which made me want to dance. I didn't do that though, because my feet hurt from standing all day. I poked my head into a room upstairs that was all white, which was very cool. Some people were playing a game of Werewolf which finished with the villagers winning.

I hung out with some people like Eric, Pete, and Kelsey who told the story of her pink Barbie backpack. I also met Chloe and her husband, whose name I have forgotten. But Chloe is awesome because she is now independently wealthy so that she can pursue her dream of studying the nitrogen cycle in soil using post-doc maths. Impressive!

I also met akashayi who is not a professional computer programmer at all. She teaches martial arts by day, and slings code by night. She drove all the way from Los Angeles to attend CodeCon and was having the time of her life. I wistfully remember when I was that excited about computing, so just hanging out with her was awesome. She promised me a Kempo lesson if I ever made my way to L.A., which is an offer I intend to collect.

I found Spider downstairs, sitting on a couch with Daniel. The night was getting long and we were totally exhausted, so we took a taxicab to the W. There, we went up to Enoch's room party where he treated us to $17 cheeseburgers. Now, I didn't think that cheeseburgers that expensive were worth it, but boy oh boy were those good.

Spider and I took a cab to kineticphoenix and riseorbleed's place sometime past midnight and we dragged our luggage into their guest room. Which was really more of an awesome guest apartment. Hurray for knowing people in foreign cities! I don't remember much after that. I think I turned on a space heater before passing out.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
22nd Feb, 2006 01:46 (UTC)
I think someone was supposed to chop them up into per-presentation audio clips. But I don't know when that's going to happen.
22nd Feb, 2006 03:12 (UTC)
As previously stated, it was awesome meeting you! I might not be affiliated with USSD by then, but I look forward to teaching you sweet shaolin! Come to LA :D
22nd Feb, 2006 05:02 (UTC)
I don't think the organisation you belong to is very important to me. As long as I get to hang out with you!

I will go to L.A. as soon as I can.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )