Category Archives: Talks

Why Your Computer Can’t Just … – Brenda

Why Your Computer Can’t Just …

Ever been mad at your computer? I bet your rant eventually gets around to this fundamental question: Why can’t it just โ€ฆ ? In this talk, I’ll explore our collective progress towards Do What I Mean, enumerate the requirements and obstacles, and describe where I think our quest needs to go next.


Brenda grew up in Montana and hopes she remembers how to layer. She is into most things, including Smalltalk, usability, building things, and application security. Brenda is a co-founder and the lead developer for Trike (, an open source threat modeling methodology and tool that partially automates the art of security analysis. By day, Brenda works as a security consultant for Stach & Liu, writing secure requirements, analyzing architecture security, and giving Agile and secure development advice.

Montessori Education for “Slum Dogs” – Amita

Montessori Education for “Slum Dogs”

Toorcon has generously donated laptops and funds over the past few years to Alpha School. This presentation is designed to share the amazing work that is being done in India under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

The school, founded in 2003, provides high quality, Montessori Education to children of an underprivileged community of East Delhi. The community mainly consists of low-wage-earner, labor class people such as vendors, painters and rickshaw drivers. Each family averages 5-8 members, with a combined family income of $1200 – $1500/ year. The parents of these children are illiterate. The basics of survival: food, shelter, and clothing are all they can manage to think about and provide. The education of their children is quite low on their priority list. Alpha School educates these children, who otherwise would have no opportunity in life. There are currently 60 children, ages 3- 11. One third of the children are on full scholarship and two thirds of the children are on partial scholarship, paying $5-$6/month. The impact that this education is making on these children and their families is nothing short of miraculous.


1980: Ph.D., Mol. Bio., UW, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
2006, E.C. Diploma, American Montessori Society, USA

1980 – 1992, Scientific Research, La Jolla Cancer Research Foundation and UCSD, La Jolla, CA
1993 – present, Managed accounts, Cut and Dried Hardwood, Solana Beach, CA, Owned and managed Trios Gallery, Solana Beach, CA, Currently, CFO, David Alan Collection, Solana Beach, CA

Project Develpment:
2004: Established education foundation to set up a NGO, Adhayatmic Vikas Shiksha Sanstha (AVSS) to start education for the underprivileged children in India
2005: Founded Alpha Montessori School in Delhi, India
2007: Founded IGNITE: A Foundation for Learning, a 501 (c) (3) to fund education AVSS.

Recent Award:
2010: Education Innovator Award, Lucknow, India
Hobbies: Cooking, knitting, beading, weaving, painting, reading, travel

Techniques for Persistent Command & Control – Allen & Tatiana

Techniques for Persistent Command & Control

This talk will focus on techniques for retaining remote command and control of infrastructure.

Allen & Tatiana

Allen Wilson has over 20 years experience in risk management, information security research, development, and vulnerability analysis at leading Internet and technology companies.

DIY Solar Panels – Adam

DIY Solar Panels

I’ve been making solar panels for a few years for everything from charging cellphones (and other USB devices), attaching an array of panels to the roof of a cargo van, to sending power back to the grid at home. Many mistakes have been made, including melting traces off the cells, water getting inside the panel, and shattering the glass on a panel using my steering wheel. This talk will just be the basics of how to build your own panels, what you can do with them.


Founder of dc949, co-founder of Open Capture The Flag and ran that for 5 years. I’ve simply been interested in learning how things work, and helping others learn, and I found that the hacker community is a good fit. I’ve been interested in clean energy for quite some time, and enjoy experimenting with hacking together contraptions from random parts that I find lying around.

Building a Logic Analyzer for SD Cards – Xobs

Building a Logic Analyzer for SD Cards

SD cards are a black box tat contains a large block of “dumb” flash memory along with a small microprocessor to manage that memory and present it to the SD interface. We would like to open up this black box to peek inside the inner workings of an SD card in order to ensure that the card’s firmware contains no malicious code or secret commands that can be used to recover removed data. This talk goes into detail about the hardware jig we’ve created to begin to analyze this data, including board design, Verilog FPGA code, and Linux userspace code. It will not detail the results, as we have not yet analyzed the data.


Worked for chumby Industries and did the firmware for the chumby One and Infocast 8, and then moved to Singapore to work with Bunnie on the NeTV. Have been living in Singapore the last two and a half years, coming up with new board designs, learning more about computer architecture, hardware design, and supply chain management, and generally enjoying life. No formal background in technology other than extensive playing around with technology and seat-of-the-pants on-the-job just-in-time on-demand training.

A Very Brief History of ToorCon

A Very Brief History of ToorCon

I’ve been around since before Toorcon 1 and am one of a handful who have attended all 14 San Diego Toorcons. I have a few anecdotes, impressions, and pics (if I can find them).


Have packed pineapples, sewed bikinis (over a thousand; a proud accomplishment!), and been a civil engineer in Honolulu. Taught math in Melbourne, AU, and sold sheet music and biochemical apparatus in Cambridge, UK. Was a research psychologist for a Navy R&D center and a computer teacher at a Montessori school in San Diego. Currently, living my ideal life in my favorite city, Seattle, working at my favorite bookstore, Ada’s Technical Books, and sipping my favorite drink, chai.

Ask Me Anything: A Geek in Beijing – TProphet

Ask Me Anything: A Geek in Beijing

TProphet has lived and worked in Beijing for nearly three years. He will talk about his many and varied experiences in China, and leave plenty of time for Q&A. Interested to learn more about one of the fastest-developing cities on the planet? Ask him anything!


TProphet is an author, futurist and technologist. When he is not working in one of the world’s top computer science research labs, he writes the popular “Telecom Informer” column in 2600: The Hacker Quarterly.