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The very first CodeCon held last February was one of the highlights of the year. Take a bunch of cool stuff that some underemployed programmers have been working on in their spare time on distributed computing and cryptography problems, and throw them into Jamie Zawinski's DNA Lounge nightclub for three days. Charge a low admission fee - that other underemployed programmers can afford, stipulate working demos and no bullshit - and see what happens.

Well, what happened was, amongst other things, the public debut of Peek-A-Booty, real-life crypto confessionals! and much work that has become pretty voguish now: such as Mesh networking and swarm downloads.

The agenda for CodeCon 2003 has just been published and it's vastly expanded in scope, while retaining a unique and distinctive flavor.

For example, IBM's Almaden labs will showcase an internal project, "YouServe" which sounds like a massive distributed web publishing system. You'll also learn how to steganographically conceal text in application binaries, and how to "hack the RF spectrum with Free Software and Hardware" and veteran Internet security Paul Lambert will be demonstrating "Ping as a covert encrypted signaling channel" (uh, look out!).

Three I'm particularly looking forward to are:

  • Brandon Wiley (of FreeNet)'s Tristero project, a set of components for peer-to-peer webcasting that independent media and pirate radio stations, for example, can use
  • A demo of an iTunes Rendezvous proxy that indexes and shares other iTunes libraries (Steve Jobs demonstrated iTunes Rendezvous cross-plays last May, but the feature hasn't appeared, perhaps RIAA'd to death);
  • A neural metadata search for P2P systems. More about why that is so very interesting, nearer the event

CodeCon isn't morphing into DefCon, but it isn't a conference for expense-account suits, either. Co-founder Len Sassaman told us,

"It is true that you won't find vacuous marketing droids at CodeCon. Half of the conference's appeal is that the people who attend have brains, and are in the trenches of new technology. With CodeCon, we try to select the most interesting, novel advances in "useful" computer science, and anticipate what will have the greatest affect on the field.

"Naturally, this attracts a very high caliber of attendee. If you are a developer of new technology, you will surrounded by your peers, and you won't have to overhear Bob over in sales trying to push snake-oil on another marketing person from another company who is too clueless to know he doesn't need Bob's goods."

"In other words, we're not like other 'emerging developments' conferences."

It also starts at a sensible hour (i.e., midday).

CodeCon runs from February 22-24 at the Club NV nightclub, and you can read full details here. ®

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