The Next HOPE (Hackers On Planet Earth) Conference

I'm speaking this year at the hacker conference The Next Hope, the biennial conference of cool stuff, put on by the people who produce 2600 magazine, to which I've subscribed since about 1985.  I've been to three previous HOPE conferences (2002, 2004, and I wrote up the 2008 edition here and here), submitted a talk this year, and am honored to have been selected.

This amazing conference, at the intersection of technology, politics, and art, always seems to be right at the nexus of some interesting current event, and this year is no exception.  Both Julian Assange of Wikileaks and Adrian Lamo are scheduled to be at the conference (it's likely that Assange will end up appearing by video link due to the current legal situation).  That whole situation is far too complicated to summarize here, so it's best to go over to Salon and read Glenn Greenwald's detailed analysis.

Fortunately, my talk is much less controversial, so I don't think FBI agents will be arresting me minutes before I go onstage (as they did with Steve Rambam in 2006, who was later completely cleared):

Hacking for an Audience: Technology Backstage at Live Shows

John Huntington

Working behind the scenes at live shows, you will find people with titles like Master Electrician, Audio Engineer, Automation Carpenter, or Technical Director. These people won’t likely call themselves hackers, but that’s what they do: take technologies and techniques from larger industries, and appropriate, adapt, and extend them to the high-stakes, high-pressure world of live shows, where the failure of a two dollar part could cause the loss of a show and hundreds of thousands of dollars of ticket revenue. In this industry, every night all over the world, hundreds of technicians with nerves of steel do their best to anticipate the inevitable failures which all hackers encounter, and accommodate them gracefully, preferably in a manner which the audience never even notices. This session will cover who does what on live shows, give an overview of the technologies, and introduce some of the strategies used to ensure that the show goes on.

Sunday 1100 Lovelace

See the full schedule of talks here, check out their very cool RFID badge project here, and sign up for the conference here!