DEF CON Survival Guide

This guide is aimed at some of my co-workers who are going to DEF CON for the first time. If you aren’t my co-workers, the advice may be less useful.

I’ve been going to DEF CON since 2003. Since then, we’ve moved hotels 3 times, and grown about 5-8 times larger. It’s a blast, and something I look forward to each year. It’s called hacker summer camp for a reason.

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Single Board Computers talk notes

There’s a lot of small SBCs out there. Some people have seen them, some have used them, some have a SBC habit that’s reaching ‘gotta catch them all’. Given some of the co-workers hadn’t encountered this class of devices before, I was asked to give a general overview.

This posting is my notes and link collection. It’s not a fully formed stand alone post. I apologize to anybody reading this who didn’t have me talk about it.

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Portable Solar Power Setup

I was asked to write up my solution for emergency solar power.

System requirements:

  • Portable
  • USB (5v) and 12 volt device support
  • Ability to operate a mobile ham radio, recharge portable electronics, provide light.

The core of the solution is the ReadySet from Fenix International. This device provides the necessary core functions in a nearly foolproof package. Power is supplied to the back of the device at a wide range of voltages, passed to the front panel on 4 outputs (2 at usb 5v, and 2 at 12v CLA).

Power supplied to the ReadySet can be via mains adapter, at two different recharge rates, or from solar panels, where the ReadySet will do peak power tracking.

The included solar cell is a 15 watt fixed rigid panel which is inconvenient to move around.

Thus I supplemented the system with flexible solar cells from power film solar.

The flexible panels are lighter, smaller, and easier to generate a temporary install with.

This particular setup was sent with a family member on a 2 week camping outing. I intended it to support a 2 adult + 2 child tent. It ended up support a dozen adults with somewhere upward of 17 mobile devices.

A wild success.

Your mileage may vary.

Solar cells from
ReadySet from