I always look forward to CanSecWest. Usually cutting edge stuff. Some of it incomprehensible, some of it interesting, some very entertaining.
Every year is a different program, of course, but every year has some changes to the setup, as well. This year is the latest I can remember them opening the doors to the ballroom/theatre, but it was also one of the earliest in terms of starting the registrations.
Between getting registered and getting in to the room there’s some time to mingle. It was nice to see old friends, including some whose presence surprised me. Also nice to meet a few new people.
It’s always interesting who you run into at CanSecWest. One friend, on his first time out, sat down next to a nice chap, and got to talking. Said chap shortly asked my friend to mind his computer for the next little while, then walked up to the front and was introduced as the next speaker, Charlie Miller. Miller is a bit of a fixture at the event, as he tends to win the Pwn2Own contest year after year. You’ve probably heard of his escapades in other areas.
(As I say, lots of nice people here. However, this is definitely a conference on the geek end of the spectrum, and you can often count on running into people whose “people skills” could use work. It makes starting up conversations with strangers possibly more surprising than usual :-)
Not as many vendors at CanSecWest as at other conferences. Some interesting ones this year: one company doing managed security and reselling. They are looking at the enterprise and government market, and I suspect they may be at the wrong conference. Adobe is here: they seem to be trying to overcome the perception of them as the problem. A number of companies appear to be primarily interested in recruiting. (If they are really serious about it, they might have sent more technical people: a number of tables are staffed by sales people who are having difficulty talking to the geeks they are trying to recruit.)
As usual, getting connected to the CanSecWest network was a bit of a challenge, but I seem to be on now :-)