Fair warning: this is a gushing review of a conference I recently attended, and therefore (probably) highly subjective 🙂
This year, for the first time, I submitted a talk and got accepted to present BalCCon 2k18. Several of my friends from Croatia and Serbia had been (often less than) subtly pushing me to do so for years, and boy do I now regret not attending the previous years…
TL:DR? BalCCon is 3 days of non-stop amazing.
Want the longer version?
BalCCon was a complete throwback for me, in the best way possible. It reminded me of the glory days of computer & hacker meetings, right back to e.g. HAL2001, old LAN parties. It feels like the old meetups, where people dragged their equipment to a campsite, town hall, internet café or just about any other available space, just to spend time talking with each other, swapping stories, etc.
It is a genuine three day long celebration for and by people who have varying, multiple overlapping interests in computer security, embedded systems, hacking, forensics, systems administration and so much more. The conference is open to all people from all walks of life, with special accomodations made for students or other less fortunate, who might not be able to attend such a conference otherwise. That alone speaks volumes about the atmosphere and feeling of inclusiveness that BalCCon radiates. There was not a single sour note in all of those three days as far as I could tell, and many new friendships were formed.
The conference is run by and for the attendees and volunteers, who graciously donate crazy amounts of time, money, equipment and expertise for this. There are no commercial presentations, no vendor stands, no sales pitches, no other nonsense. It is lots of speakers and all the other people showing off and talking about what they love and do best. On top of that, it is held at an amazing location (Novi Sad Conference Center), organized by amazing people (<3 you J & M!) in an amazing country (Serbia).
Thank you organizers, volunteers and attendees. These are truly fond memories forever.
Why are you still reading this? Put some alerts on the keyword ‘BalCCon‘ and remember to submit for the CFP when next year’s edition comes around! 🙂