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It's that time of year again, start planning for Defcon. For those of you that maybe haven't been before here is a little guide to help you plan.

When is Defcon: Defcon attendance has been growing every year, and for the first time it will be hosted at two hotels, Paris and Bally's. Its normally held towards the end of July or beginning of August. It's a good idea to get there a day early to buy SWAG and get your badge because it gets super busy the day of.

How Much is Defcon:  The registration fee has gone up a little over the last few years, but they will post the fee as we get closer to the Con. Oh ya, like most everything at Defcon - don't use the ATM.  Cash only.
  • Registration: $230
  • Hotel: Defcon room rates differ depending when you book, but Defcon usually negotiates a good price.

Where to Stay: Staying at the hosting hotel is a must.  It's nice to just head up to your room between talks, and attending the late night festivities are a breeze since you only have stumble to the elevators. Reserve your rooms early for Defcon, as some of us experienced the hotels sells out quick. 

Added bonus; If you stay at hosting hotels Defcon will stream the talks and schedules to the hotel rooms. This is not guaranteed this year since we will be in a new venue.  

What to Bring:  A few essentials I bring to Vegas.
  • Snacks because eating at the CON can get kinda pricy, plus a lot people save the money for drinking.
  • Buy a cheap throw away cooler for refreshments and ICE
  • A laptop "AT YOUR OWN RISK" If you bring your laptop do not bring it to the Con, leave it in your room and even then disable your wifi, bluetooth, and do not use the hotel internet.  Defcon's network, including the hotels, have been deemed the most hostile network in the world.  Even the cellular network is risky and it usually sucks anyway. That being said, if you have a fresh wiped laptop and you want to partake in the festivities bring it just dont use it for anything other then hacking, and reformat when you get home.
  • Cell Phone, if you have an old school flip phone bring it.  If you bring your smart phone make sure to turn off the radios, i.e. wifi, bluetooth, etc. Nothing is safe.
  • Asprin for obvious reasons
  • Your finest hacker tees, there kinda a big thing, and a comfortable pair of shoe.  You will be standing in some lines, imagine a disneyland for hackers...

Everyone interested in technology should go at least once. 



What will you need:
  • 2 tbls of Coconut Oil
  • 1/3 cup of pop corn kernels
  • 1 tsp of powdered or finely ground salt
  • Clarified butter to taste

How to make it:
  • Use a pot over Med-High 
  • Add oil and allow to heat up
  • Add salt & pop corn shake vigorously over the stove until all the kernels have popped.
  • Add popcorn and clarified butter to the bowl toss and serve

All of us can agree that from a microwave, or an air popper, popcorn at home does not taste like the movies.  So I started looking online on how to replicate that movie theater popcorn taste and I came across a couple tricks.

Popcorn popped in a microwave is a great quick snack, but the secret to movie theater taste takes a little bit more time, and is probably not quit as healthy.  Movie theater popcorn is popped in a highly saturated fat, most often coconut oil.  That is the oil I tested with and it really did taste like the real thing.

Next you will need to pop it on a stove.  This can be accomplished using a normal pot over medium high heat moving it back and forth similar to how we all cooked the old Jiffy Pop containers.  There are also stove top pop corn poppers that have a crank that turns a little blade at the bottom of the pot, I will post a link to one of these.  But i used the jiffy Pop method and it worked so well I didn't have one un-popped kernel.

Next is the salt, this is kinda important.  it is really easy to over salt popcorn and it's normally due to the use of granular salt.  A little secret that can give you better coverage using less salt is to gind it almost to a powder and put it in the oil with the popcorn.  This will evenly distribute the salt during the popping process.

Lastly, and arguably most people's favorite, is the butter.  Most movie theaters use clarified butter, it is a pure form of butter fat that does not have the liquids or solids found in normal butter.  You can find clarified butter online or in certain stores, but I made my own.  You can do this by melting butter in the microwave, do not let it boil, then let it sit, do not stir it and it will eventually separate. The clear contents that rises to the top is the clarified butter,  you can even put it in the fridge to let it solidify and make it easier to collect the contents.

Once you have your popcorn popped your clarified butter warmed up add it all to a bowl toss it a couple times and you will have a 7 dollar bowl of popcorn you made for less at home.