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>Is there any way to get use out of it that doesn't include 'booze-fueled and partying'.

Sure, you can check out the talks, wander around the venue (CTF, vendor booths, etc), talk to people. The "partying" isn't as rampant as some may have you believe. Sure there are parties, but it's not like you will be dragged into one. They also appear to be non-inclusive. I know I wasn't invited to any last year (and I'm no wet towel! ;). In fact, I was uninvited to one (you can't come; it's "private"). There is still plenty to get out of going and plenty of fun to be had.

I like all the competitions and games you can join before or during the con (check the forums for official contests etc). Hacker Jeopardy is by far my favorite con event. On Thursday there's the Atomic Barbeque, which is a great way to network with people and chow down. I don't know if they still do the Hacker Iron Chef, but that was fun to watch.

Getting into parties is half the fun! I remember the times I social engineered my way into the Ninja party. Humans are so insecure...

p.s. even if you don't drink, the quickest way to make friends at defcon is to give someone free alcohol. the goons also appreciate free beverages.

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