DefCon 17 has been off to a good start. The organization's expectation of an attendance around 6,000 people (2,000 less than last year) was torpedoed when an estimated 10,000 people showed up. DefCon does not pre-register, which makes estimating such numbers extremely hard.

For those who have never been to a DefCon before, the experience is daunting. Despite good efforts of the organizers to get them delivered to Las Vegas well in time, many of the badges arrived late again. The consequence was that many attendees had to line up twice: once to register and once to swap out the temporary badge for a permanent one. Even at that, the attendance is so much larger that many people have been unable to obtain an electronic badge. The DefCon security Goons do an excellent job at herding the lines through the Riviera's conference center, allowing the masses to flow as much as possible.

The talks at Defcon are interesting, although not nearly as interesting as the people who you are able to meet. Just about anyone who matters makes an appearance at DefCon and BlackHat.

Presentations topics range from highly technical talks to ones in which the presenter speculates on how to perform a denial-of-service attack on an air traffic control tower.

Like BlackHat, DefCon is a very interesting event and well worth the trip out here.