It's been 15 years.
Way back in 1998, some of us were gathered around the payphones at Oak Park Mall back when the KC2600 meetings were in the food court and payphones were a thing you could find at a mall. One of us had an acoustic coupler hooked up and had dialed in to a UNIX server at a nearby college to turn in some homework for a summer class. Some lady freaked out at this scene and made quite the ruckus. Security escorted all of us out of the building. There were a few other times before that where mall security hassled us in some way or another, but it's been a good solid 15 years. I guess we weren't trying hard enough.
Last night, 8 folks met on the top floor of the east parking garage to look at the surrounding terrain in hopes of testing out a wireless mesh setup that we've been tinkering with the past few months. Our hope was to find a spot far away with line-of-sight for some high-gain directional antennae (operating under FCC Part 97 rules), with some folks on the parking garage, and some others out in the distance. Maybe it was the laptops on the roofs of cars. Maybe it was the camera with a 2-foot-long telephoto lens being used as a telescope. The interdicting mall guard seemed nice and interested in the experiment once we explained it to him, but apparently the property management powers that be weren't happy with a bunch of 25-60 year-olds hanging out in an unused, far-off part of their precious parking structure.
We headed indoors to the 2600 meeting for a while, then took the wireless mesh equipment to a nearby park before sundown.
For what it's worth, there are no hard feelings. What we were doing looked a lot like loitering, even though we were mall patrons, looking to experiment with technology we plan on putting into place for public service.
DC 816/913 Meeting notes (DEFCON Events)
12 years ago