[ISN] See you all at Notacon 3 this weekend!

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Thu Apr 06 2006 - 22:35:14 PDT


[I'm headed out to Cleveland for Notacon 3 this weekend, and I'm      
hoping to see some InfoSec News subscribers in attendence!  - WK]

Cool Cleveland Preview - Notacon 3
Lee Batdorff

While Cleveland's business community struggles to find ways to attract 
technically advanced young people, for the third spring in a row a 
motley gang of hundreds of computer hackers are coming to Cleveland to 
attend Notacon. This is Cleveland's own computer hackers' conference 
and one of only a hand full of hackers' conferences (cons) nationwide. 
Notacon 3, to be held this April 7 through 9 at the Lakeside Holiday 
Inn in downtown, is directed by Jodie and Paul Schneider the 
mom-and-pop proprietors of FTS Conventures conference organizers 
operating from their Lakewood home.

Attending Notacon is to gain snatches of graduate-level education on 
the cheap between snatches of laughter. The audience challenges some 
ideas in a humorous free-for-all that seems light years from grad 
school. At Notacon "class clowns" openly question some presenters and 
sometimes the presenters get the last laugh on the clowns. Tickets at 
the door are $100 for the Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon 

Last year at Notacon 2 Paul Schneider told the Saturday afternoon 
crowd of mostly of men in their 20s and 30s, "This is about bringing a 
world of people together to help each of us have a chance to be the 
center of attention." 

Richard Forno of Washington D.C. is the keynote speaker on Saturday 
and he has been the sole keynote speaker in three years of Notacon. He 
is an information assurance specialist who served as chief information 
security officer for Network Solutions and InterNIC, two entities that 
have been central to the operation of the Internet. Now a consultant 
to research organizations, he is author of the 2003 book "Weapons of 
Mass Delusion: America's Real National Emergency," among other more 
technical titles. 

In 2004 at Notacon 1 Forno described corporate digital security as 
"theaters of illusion." "The self-serving (security and anti-virus) 
industries are telling us what's best for our society, and us," he 
said. "It is not in a major software vendor's economic interest to 
improve systems." 

Forno is not the only industry-and-government-indicting presenter or 
attendee at Notacon. Even so the broad base of topics covered at 
Notacon provides little political dogma. Forum topics include art and 
music with presenters Laurence Gartel (aka the "father" of digital 
art) of Boca Raton Fla., and prominent digital musician Joe Canto (aka 
"Computo") of Los Angeles, plus Cleveland's Cascading Style Sheet guru 
Eric Meyer. 

A sample of forum titles: Ethics of the hacker; Brain-computer 
interfaces; Practical web based multimedia content management systems; 
How Microsoft is going to die; Building communities in self 
destructive environments; Computers without hardware, programming 
without coding; Patch management in a Windows environment; Why your 
computer guy sucks; Photography, a short skewed history; and 
presentations on various technical and political aspects of open 
source code, Linux, computer security and digital privacy. 

Attendees last year seemed to think that Notacom 2 provided useful 
connections. "I'm here to find talent," said Paul Bragiel, a video 
game developer from Chicago Ill. "We have small meetings of hackers 
with only 20 people in Chicago. There is no convention of hackers near 
this scale in Chicago." 

"Notacon has a good 'signal-to-noise' ratio," said Irish Masms an 
information manager for a defense contractor near Las Vegas. "Bigger 
conferences are so well known that many people go to be hip and they 
don't know what's going on. Most people here know something." 

"I'm too old and stupid to know when to quit," said 70-year-old 
Richard Baum a retired biomedical engineer from Parma and likely the 
oldest person at Notacon. "I don't like hanging out at a retirement 
home listening to people complain about their aches and pains." 

Mr. Schneider said a total of $10,000 was invested to kick-start 
Notacon three years ago. The show is produced with the help of 17 
volunteers. Ms. Schneider said "when we founded the business we 
decided we wanted to call this new project 'NotACon' because we wanted 
to pull away from the technical focus of the standard 'Hacker Con' and 
instead showcase the social aspects of human networking and the 
artistic uses of computers." 

To the Notacon staff and many attendees the Schneiders are known by 
their online "handles": "Froggy" (Paul), and "Tyger" (Jodie). Both 
graduated from Case Western Reserve University where they now work. 
"Froggy" grew up "all over Greater Cleveland" and graduated from North 
Royalton High School. 

"Froggy" attracted "Tyger" to Cleveland. While a high school student 
in Traverse City Mich. Jodie joined the Traverse City FreeNet. This 
linked with Cleveland FreeNet (the granddaddy of all FreeNets, a 
prominent precursor to the direct Internet access we have now). In 
Internet Relay Chat in 1995 she met Paul. They maintained a 
long-distance relationship through the Internet and telephone calls 
until 1999 when, partly to find better employment and broaden her 
education options, she moved to Cleveland. 

Continuously throughout the conference the Notacon "midway" room 
features wall-sized video "shoot 'em up" interactive games while lines 
of hackers at tables ply laptop computers. A favorite Notacon attire 
are "con" T-shirts. 

Saturday night loosens up with a variety of entertainment including a 
techno audio and light show lead by a crew of DJs and musicians from 
around the East and Midwest. Last year this drew an evening crowd of 
stylishly dressed Clevelanders attired in something other than 

Sponsors include Internet services firm N2Net of downtown Cleveland, 
Rentech Solutions of Cleveland, Sybex technical publishers recently 
acquired by John Wiley & Sons Publishers of Hoboken N.J., the Hacker 
Foundation of Stanford Calif. and Bawls Guarana caffeine drink made by 
Hobarama Corp. of Miami Fla. 

After launching a mom and pop hackers' conference and staging a small 
number of other tech-intense events, the Schneider's are charged up to 
make more high tech connections happen. For more see 

LayerOne 2006 : Pasadena Hilton : Pasadena, CA
Infomation Security and Technology Conference

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