I decided to enter the Honeynet challenge. To maximize my own learning experience, I decided to do it the hard way: by not running the binary, not even in strace or a debugger. Just working on the disassembler output. The first part was easier than the last part. I actually thought I could finish this in 24 hours, but then I fell asleep on the keyboard ;-)
I am finished now and I think it was worth it. There is still plenty of time, so if you think you are up to it, go ahead and join the contest!