Amp's blog

Real thoughts on Defcon 23

Hey, I hope everybody enjoys the intentionally ridiculous Amp Blasts post that I made about Defcon 23. The big theme I generally have for these posts is that they are based on elements of truth but made to be ridiculous to the point where it comes off as funny. With that in mind I figured that I should share my genuine thoughts about my experience with Defcon 23 as it was an important event for me for reasons different than most people.

Originally, I wasn't planning on going to Defcon due to the fact that I figured I had no legitimate incentive to go back due to how the event has inherently changed over the years. What changed though was that I gave my Elena (my girlfriend during Defcon, now my fiance) the choice on if she wanted to go to Vegas or not and that if we did it would be more of a general vacation which Defcon would just be one aspect of. I honestly didn't expect her to say yes to this so the end result was that I ended up back at Defcon. Overall, the sad reality though is that while I did enjoy that trip to Vegas as it afforded the opportunity for myself and Elena to take a much needed vacation, the reality is that for myself (along with Blake and other SX associates who attended the event) it was probably the least enjoyable Defcon overall.

Now, I'm going to state upfront one important reality about why this may be the case. When SX and many of its associates started to attend this event, we all did it during the Alexis Park era which was much more intimate. Thus I feel one thing that can be pointed out is that part of what happened may be the fact that there may be an element of nostalgia for some of us now for that era. However, this doesn't encompass the reasons that were stated though for feeling this way.

Amp Blasts: Defcon 23

Disclaimer: The following is intended to be an intentionally ridiculous post parodying internet rage. I hope everybody is able to enjoy this. Also, an actual post on my Defcon 23 experience will be posted shortly after this goes up as beyond this post I wanted to share my genuine thoughts on the event. I apologize for not writing this sooner as well.

I remember in 2000, Badger, Blake, and myself all walked into Defcon for the first time representing SX. It was a hell of an experience and gave us an opportunity to meet like-minded people which is something that due to the locations that the three of us came from, was extremely rare. In my case, I inadvertently became a part of the crew after making some flashwork and starting to write some tutorials so it was an inadvertent fluke which I am more than willing to admit to. Over the years me and Blake continued to attend Defcon, albeit infrequently and after Defcon 23, we both agreed that it fucking sucked.

Let's face it, we both already know that by becoming a bigger event and revamping to be more generally accessible we would face an element of idiocracy. However, it went far beyond what we saw from Defcon 21 and 22 by leaps and bounds. Splitting up the convention between two hotels and having people travel between them amongst non-con attendees was one of the worst decisions that was made by far. What was the thing that was beyond ridiculous though was that they have already confirmed that the same thing will be going on for Defcon 24 despite saying that they would have a better gameplan. I'm waiving a giant brown bullshit flag on this and I am not the only one.

Content updates

Since I've been unavailable due to being at Defcon, I figure I would give a quick update on what is coming down the pipeline. First off, I will be continuing to revise the HDB as necessary. In addition to this, I also will have to get back to work on some other projects for the group (OFACE being one of them) and some more behind the scenes work. The big thing is that I typically do an annual recap about Defcon. This year though.... I've decided to handle it differently as it will be a "blasts" post along with an afterword containing some real thoughts and concerns!

OFACE plans

I've kept it mostly low key, but those who are not VIP may benefit from this post. Most of the OFACE news and development is mostly going to be in the VIP forums of the site. Currently, we are in alpha releases and will be doing further updates on there. For those who have supported us and helped with its development I thank you for your support.

A brief overview of Defcon

I figure I would cover some stuff about Defcon quickly while I had the chance. Overall, we had a sizable crew presence this year which was surprising. The events overall were a mixed bag with some hits and big misses. However, for me this was a rather important Defcon as originally I had no plans on going until I was convinced otherwise as it was the first time that I would be going with a budget that wasn't shoestring and there were a few things I wanted to do while I had the chance.

First off, let's talk about the theme. While Edward Snowden's decision to leak sensitive information was shortly before last year's event, this year was the first one to reflect the ramifications of those leaks. The end result is that the bright and vibrant theme from last year is gone, changed to a darker tone with some aspects based off of the film 'They Live' and other aspects have a zombified influence. Overall, it was somewhat appropriate, but it did go a bit over the top.

As for the events, they were a mixed bag. The dcdarknet, which I had planned on participating in, was not ran very well in my mind and the badge aspect of the game was completely mishandled, which when I take into effect the problematic missions once again returning I feel this should not have been a black badge event. However, there some good ideas seen with a crypto/security village introduced and an expansion of other villages. The biggest draw that I had were the music acts, with The Orb pumping out a great set despite having visible headphone issues early on. Overall, mixed bag, but the good outweighed the bad.

Amp Blasts: Best Buy

Ya know, there are times where many people want to be able to get movies, music, games, and some PC hardware. The reality is though that for many people who don't like in major metropolitan areas in the US, the choices are limited with regards to brick and mortar. This would eventually result in the one place to go becoming none other than Best Buy. However, I feel that Best Buy is not only on the way out, but has done a considerable amount of damage with regards to consumer quality with the spectacularly terrible decisions they have made over the years.

First, most of the electronics sold are hardly quality. The two major cable suppliers are Dynex and RocketFish, both owned by Best Buy themselves and typically are very poor quality with an up-marked price tag when compared to similar cables online that reaches astronomical levels of what the fuck. Then there are the low quality PC products that they sell, which includes their 'high end' since most of the laptop models utilize one heatsink pipe for both the GPU and CPU. The biggest what the hell is the extra warranties that they attempt to sale which to me feels dirty since many times there can be loose verbiage to avoid payout once the standard warranty is at an end. Overall, don't bother getting electronics here.

Second, there is the matter of it's video selection, or rather the increasing lack thereof. Now, I am actually of the opinion that they made the right move to reduce the anime footprint cause quite frankly, anime does not make money in this day and age. However, the general selection has become nothing short of abysmal and there is an insistence of pushing the site to store option which barely has any better of a selection and will take a considerable amount of time to arrive. The end result is that for people wanting a good DVD/Blu-Ray selection, go on Amazon or other online vendors.

A word on Java 8

I heard about the buzz regarding the recent Java 8 release and it's usage of Lambda expressions and honestly, it's nothing to get very excited about. Yes, it makes code more readable, but the reality is that the majority of other languages including the C++11 standard beat them to the punch in doing this. The bigger concern is that rather than being proactive, Oracle's approach to security has been reactive which hurts the language badly. At this point, they need to rethink their strategies a bit as more and more, many people like myself are avoid Java based applications and development when possible.

Current OFACE status

I'd figure I'd pop in and chat a bit about OFACE at this point. One of the things that was stopping me from finalizing an alpha and over time became the Moby Dick to my Captain Ahab were my attempts to find a non-GUI equivalent to TDSSKiller. After discussing the matter with RaT however, I have made the difficult decision to move forward without this for the time being. I will be piecing everything together when availability permits as I am only able to work on this on an after hours basis at this point. Once an alpha is tested as working and released, I will discuss future plans for the further development of OFACE with RaT.


Based on What people foolish enough to use this site are thinking....

Amp Blasts: Nintendo

Notice: The following is a humor piece (partially based on my real opinions, but tuned up to AVGN levels of what the hell) and as always, the SX usage policy applies.

I know that the title of this alone is going to cause some rage with some people and I can see how. I myself have great memories of the NES and SNES. Both of these are great consoles. However, the reality is that the Nintendo that I knew and loved is dead. Today, I will explain why I feel this way.

The first major misstep happened in the fifth generation of game consoles with the N64. The reality is that partnering with SGI was a bad idea as they never did real-time graphics and the console's hardware limitations along with the complexity of developing games made it problematic. Add to it that a large portion of the games were pure and utter shit (Superman 64 being the most well known, but there are plenty of other games that outright sucked) and many of them featured some of the worst soundtracks I have ever heard in gaming history. The biggest beef I have is that people try to hail Goldeneye as ground breaking when the reality is that it was a slow, choppy, piece of shit with crap controls that was saved only by it's auto-aiming. (Also, people like iJustine's stupid ass in a shitty mentalfloss video, need to stop saying that it was the first game with multiplayer deathmatch as Doom had it years earlier!) The amount of good games for the N64 were few and far in between, something that would be true for all non-handheld consoles for them from that point forward.

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