... but there's so much to see and do: networked Team Fortress, lasersight shooting games. The Wall of Sheep, where those sniffed over the DEFCON wifi are ritually humilated on a giant wall in the vendor room. A vendor room where you can buy NSA mugs and caps, though "of course the agency doesn't even exist", etc. (The Director was there, doing a keynote.)
And movies, demos, gatherings, and some big, joyful parties, to boot.
I was amused at all the movie-esque hacker stuff that 2012 has turned out; blinky lights everywhere, and techno, light-up toys, ELwire. Plenty of (spiky / tattooed / fun-coloured-hair) ladies there, too. Maybe Hackers wasn't so off, after all - that, or what goes around comes around. My highlight: Katy Levinson's Sunday-morning, vodka-drinking robotics comedy-rant, a must-see. I'm waiting for a video to turn up of this. She was brilliant.
But back to the title - I post this mainly for DEFCON KIDS, hands-down the best kids' programming at a con I have ever seen, and by an overwhelming order of magnitude. Nico, the organiser, made sure that all the big names from "DEFCON Grownups" also came along to do a Kids talk.
From the "Top Secret Keynote" by General Alexander, Director of the NSA - YES, RE-READ THAT - to lockpicking demos and practice, to Moxie Marlinspike discussing privacy tips with 9 year old girls... oh it was just so, so damn excellent.
Zoom in on those and check out the detail, it's really boggling.
They screen movies and have a special kids party on the Saturday night, too. iPads, Nexuses and other devices were lying about for kids to play and hack with, as well as toys like Snap Circuits:
Poesy went to a lockpicking class. I don't think she picked up much on this occasion (BUT I DID. Muahahah).
DEFCON & DEFCON Kids. If you get the chance, I couldn't recommend it more.
There is a Team Fortress 2 major content update coming called Pyromania (Pyro's a lady!). There's a video to promote this, possibly one of the most disturbing (and hilarious) videos I've seen in a while:
So, MAKIES. Live late May; sold out the first run in 3 weeks, and got the final four [cylons] out of the door yesterday, late June. You can imagine how nutso it's been: feet haven't touched the ground. Everyone's been working crazy hours, night and day - best team ! - and now we plan Batch Two, and holidays. Trying to get those not to collide...
Watching the MAKIES head out to their new owners is an amazing feeling, but completely blown out of the water when photos start to come back. Here's a few:
This is why I've been so ridiculously silent around here for so long: on Friday, we put MAKIES into open alpha:
MAKIES is an action doll creator: a player/customer can design their own action doll - features, hair, clothes and everything - & we then 3D print it uniquely to them, build & dress it, and send on to them within 3 weeks of ordering.
There's more to come, too: the avatar will be able to unlock collectibles for the action doll. In the future, the action doll will be able to do the same for the avatar, using clever bits of electronica \o/.
So here we are in May, in open alpha (it's the new closed beta, only scarier :-))
Which means people will see all the string and sellotape, but everyone can also pitch in with suggestions at an early stage, too. During alpha, the doll is £99, including an outfit and taxes.
For beta, we'll have cheaper and more expensive versions available, playing with complexity of tailoring and size of print, etc. Tablet apps, too, and lastly, the all-important full battery of toy safety tests (totally confident on that last one - the doll's already passed a full series, but we still need to do USA and Japan ones too, etc. It just takes time).