I sadly missed Steelcon in it’s first year and wasn’t going to make the same mistake this year so within minutes of the release I’d bought mine and registered Olly (my son) for his + afterparty tickets.
The cost was *really* low, I really didn’t expect very much in return apart from an opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues, watch a few presentations and if lucky have a couple of beers with infosec mates.
I was massively and very gratefully blown away with what I/we got in return for a trivial ticket price!
To save some cash I pinged a very old mate (thanks Nathan!) and he was able to put us up for the event close to Sheffield, Olly and I drove up on Friday afternoon and apart from random traffic on the M1 got there in good time to head into the city for beers and initial catch up with SteelCon peeps.
A few beers later we got to the Roebuck Tavern and had a quick catchup over a burger and another pint; we didn’t stop out late as Olly had games to play and we wanted to be in a semi-sensible state for Saturday so didn’t make it a late night.
Saturday started great, the boy (for a change) let me have a bit of a lie in and we grabbed a great coffee before heading to Hallam Uni for the event.
We managed to enter via the back doors (who needs front doors!) and enjoyed a great bacon & sausage buttie before grabbing our shwag bags.
Robin had mentioned that I’d probably be envious of the boys haul, he wasn’t wrong..
I was chuffed to get a flat cap (badge for the evening fun) and a nice hand finished set of picks from Mad Bobs plus an rfid blocking wallet and sweets; the boys bag .. well …
He got a raspberry pi(B) plus a bag of bits (n00bs distro, wifi for the pi, keyboard, shield, hdmi cable & power & heat-sinks) sweets, more lockpicks for his kit and a wallet plus hat, stickers and couple of other bits. I was really impressed, it got better in that after the opening keynote Olly went with the other kids and joined the kids track to learn some basic python with the pi; I thinks it’s great to have a dedicated & educational track for the young hackers, I can’t show enough appreciation for Robin and the team making sure there is something for the kids, not just a crèche but an actual track laid on with great goodies to boot.
I managed to offload my prized MWR T-Shirt to this dubious chap
Who is somehow still allowed into Merika where he’s planning a road trip which will allow him to give the TShirt onto Jayson who in return has promised a selfie wearing it
I managed to watch a couple of full presentations before being grabbed by the boy to help him out. I spent the rest of teh day popping into other presentations (sadly missing Arron’s / Mo’s and a few of the others I was hoping to see) but I still had a blast; A great time helping Olly & other kids with their python then small programmable robots (good kit!) plus lock picking in the afternoon (Olly was a great teacher as well, he’s got a few years picking experience behind him now plus a few sets of picks of his own).
I’ve got to mention a great lunch laid on of sarnies, crisps, fruits and drinks plus ice cream. Good food goes a long way at hacker cons and SteelCon was up there with #44CON in setting a high standard for feeding the masses.
Yet another great thing was the book swap table, simple idea; bring your old books (primarily infosec or tech) and swap them or leave them and donate to a worthwhile charity, a great way of recycling and I applaud the concept.
The finishing Keynote from FreakyClown & Jessica was fun and we then went to the evening party for a coke or two for the boy and a red bull for me (I’d chosen to drive home rather than get pissed with peeps to avoid traffic and not be hung over on Sunday), we were treated to a fun bar with great northern fodder (pie, chips and t’gravy)(omnomnom), had a few good chats then alas departed during/missing FC & Jess’s quiz.
I really appreciate the effort by Robin & the crew plus fine sponsors and helpers to make SteelCon a shining example of a weekend, cost-effective and very friendly infosec conference tup north, it was awesome & then some! – very very highly recommended!
I look forward to next years as does the boy.