1993-10-07 - Re: HACKERS: Crypto Session Being Planned

Header Data

From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 72e49a5a2f7e5de52cb4cec9b80b33554c408a045416c1e485493e2c3b80ccfe
Message ID: <9310071749.AA11356@netcom5.netcom.com>
Reply To: <m0okugE-00021HC@khijol>
UTC Datetime: 1993-10-07 17:50:32 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 7 Oct 93 10:50:32 PDT

Raw message

From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 93 10:50:32 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: HACKERS: Crypto Session Being Planned
In-Reply-To: <m0okugE-00021HC@khijol>
Message-ID: <9310071749.AA11356@netcom5.netcom.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain


I've already gotten half a dozen messages similar to this one:

> > The Hackers Conference is coming up in early November at Lake Tahoe.
> > Many of you will be attending.
> Can you send more info about this?  First time I've heard of it...thanks!

Let me clarify something: the Hackers Conference is an invitational
event, for better or for worse. The best way to get an invitation is
to do something "hackerish" that gets you noticed. I don't necessarily
mean hackerish in the breaking-and-entering vein, either.

The Hackers Conference began in 1984, sponsored initially by Steward
Brand and others, and presumably based partly on the Steven Levy book
"Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution." (Levy has attended in
some years, and you may also recall he wrote the excellent "Wired"
article on crypto and "Crypto Rebels"--us.) For the first several
years it was in a rustic jewish boy's camp in the Santa Cruz
Mountains, above Saratoga, where we slept (if we slept...) 10 to a
room in either unheated or overheated cabins. In 1990 it moved to
luxurious digs at the Granlibakken Lodge at Lake Tahoe, where we get
ski lodge-type rooms (it's before skiing season starts, though, but
this also holds the cost down somewhat).

The Conference lasts for about 48 hours, from Friday afternoon to
Sunday afternoon, and many people stay up the entire time. Lots of
interesting people, guest speakers, all-night hacking sessions,
machine room demos, "work in progress," etc.

At the 1987 Conference, John Walker of Autodesk met Ted Nelson, Roger
Gregory, and others and the funding of Xanadu and AMIX commenced.
Many interesting business contacts have been made at Hackers,
especially in areas of VR and multimedia.

"Prose hackers" also show up. Vernor Vinge has attended, as has Marc
Stiegler. Jerry Pournelle is a regular. Too many people to mention.
(BTW, Vernor was very interested in the public key crypto implications
when he attended in 1989...I wonder if the P-K references in his
Hugo-winning novel "A Fire Upon the Deep" were affected by our

My first Hackers was in 1988, shortly after the "Crypto '88"
conference, where I described my "crypto anarchy" ideas to some
folks....probably this is partly why I got invited that year. I gave a
talk on public key crypto, along with John Gilmore, at the 1990
session. The next year Eric Hughes (whom I had just met a few months
earlier) talked about digital money and the Chaum stuff. And last year
I was asked to lead a main session on crypto (I was slightly infamous
at the time for having written the "A Trial Balloon to Ban
Encryption?" piece in sci.crypt, which alerted many readers to the
"key escrow" ideas of Dorothy Denning, which presaged the "Clipper"
proposal six months later).

At that session we had several speakers, including Stu Haber on
digital time-stamping, Eric Hughes on digital money, John Gilmore on
EFF and FOIA-type activites, and so on.

The EFF activities are always a big deal at Hackers, what with Mitch
Kapor often attending and so forth. Mike Godwin is our "legal hacker,"
so to speak (aren't all lawyers hacks?), and he'll be at this year's

Well, that's enough of a summary.

The best way to get invited is to do something that brings you to the
attention of the attendees, as every year they ask us to make

Yes, there are many of you out there who are better hackers than many
of us who (somehow) got on the invite list. That's life, I guess.
Don't take it too seriously.


Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
tcmay@netcom.com       | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-688-5409           | knowledge, reputations, information markets, 
W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA  | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^756839 | Public Key: PGP and MailSafe available.
Note: I put time and money into writing this posting. I hope you enjoy it.