Sunday, March 8, 2020

Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 18x

I missed last year's Linux Expo because I had the flu. This year I was healthy but several speakers canceled and attendance was down because of the Covid-19 travel restrictions that companies have instituted! 
Microsoft was the title sponsor and there were some comments that "it's funny that Microsoft is the title sponsor and now we have virus problems" going around.

Several talks were canceled but the organizers did a fantastic job of finding new speakers and pulling off a great event! They had hand sanitizer everywhere and provided sanitizing wipes if you held the microphone to ask a question after a talk.

I got to catch up with a former co-worker and even a current customer. I have found that the "Hallway" track is one of the best parts of a conference and it was true this year!

If you have never attended SCALE I highly recommend it. The cost for all four days is only $85 and that includes as many talks as you want to attend, a party on Friday night, a CTF event all three days and a decent sized Expo floor.

The last two years DC Darknet has been there. They are the group that does the badges for Defcon and their booth is interactive - you can try your hand at lock picking, buy a kit for a Defcon badge and do the soldering at a table beside their booth. If you have never soldered, they will train you!

There is plenty of SWAG at the vendor booths, I scored "Red Hat" and "Salt stack" ball caps along with lots of stickers and Tee shirts. Even with the low entry fee, SCALE provides a T-shirt, lanyard, coffee mug and a bag to carry it in!

Saturday's keynote by Paul Vixie was eye-opening! He discussed DNS over HTTPS and why it will cause more problems than it solves! If they post a transcript I will add a link to it.

Even with the cancellations, there were still a lot of talks to attend! I managed to sit in on a Security Onion talk that was one of the best talks I have attended anywhere. The founder of the project, Doug Burks, gave the talk and his enthusiasm for the project was contagious! I plan to download the ISO and give it a good look. I think for smaller companies it is a great tool to secure their network.

I also attended a Security for Noobs talks. It was very good and generated some interesting questions at the end of the talk. The speaker posted the presentation here

I had planned to sit in on several embedded Linux talks put on by the Core Embedded Linux Project of the Linux Foundation. I attend a couple two years ago and they were great! You brought a Beagle Bone Black, compiled a Linux kernel and built a fully functional embedded device. Unfortunately, the entire track was canceled because of travel restrictions.

I had also planned to attend the Linux Professionals Institute LPIC-1 Preparation Session on Friday but got tied up at work and missed it. I was hoping to take the exam on Sunday as they offer it for $99! But I was too tired to cram on Friday night and after missing the prep session decided to wait. 

Sunday's keynote was from a man named Sha that had been convicted of assault with a firearm and sentenced to 27 years to life. A woman named Jessica McKellar volunteers at San Quentin Prison and teaches Python to the inmates. When Sha's sentence was commuted, she hired him. Sha's presentation was amazing. When the Q&A came up I told Sha that I have heard hundreds for presentations and his was one of the best. I asked him to start a YouTube channel and keep us updated on his progress. I got a large round of applause!

All in all, it was a good SCALE!

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