DefCon, the hacker’s convention. The only real reason to come to Vegas, and here I am. Learning to be a better computer hacker.

A brief note about Vegas, before moving on. We went to Gordon Ramsay’s hamburger restaurant. Apparently he’s a big chef. You can see pictures of flames in the window of his restaurant:

Photo on 8-6-15 at 9.52 PM #2

Between my friend and I, we had $60 worth of hamburgers. Where do restaurants charge $60 for a couple hamburgers? In Las Vegas. For such an expensive hamburger, it better be really good, right? I wish I could say so, but there are three or four hamburger places in the Bay Area that are better, for a fraction of the cost. The Counter. Rave Burger. Five Guys.  Maybe Las Vegas is popular for people who’ve never seen anything more sophisticated than Olive Garden.

And gambling, of course. Give your money to the casino.

Back to the real story, DefCon is why we are here. Stood in line for two hours to register, and of course they only took cash, so the FBI can’t trace who is attending. Basically it’s a lot of talks about computer security. I mostly am here so when I write software, I can know how to make it more secure. Keeping up on the latest techniques hackers are using.

The admission badge comes with a lanyard. The lanyard has some writing on it, which I will display in the following picture:

Photo on 8-7-15 at 12.15 AM #3

The picture showed up in reverse, but you can see there is writing on it. The writing is a code. The code is a puzzle. If you solve the puzzle, you get free admission next year (and forever). So, all evening, instead of gambling or drinking, I’ve been consulting letter frequency lists. I still haven’t figured it out, it’s stumped me. Here are my notes so far:

Photo on 8-7-15 at 12.11 AM #2

I’m fairly confident the “†” character represents the letter e, but other than that, I’m lost. Oh well, a puzzle should be hard if it comes with a good prize. My friend is not helping at the moment, he is playing a video game. Lazy bum, come help me!


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