Re: [fw-wiz] Public conferences
From: Paul Robertson (proberts_at_patriot.net)
To: Kang Choo Kai <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2003 07:59:19 -0400 (EDT)
On Thu, 31 Jul 2003, Kang Choo Kai wrote:
> Hi All,
> I am really getting bored with the public user conferences, the organiser is
> kind of like hard selling their products and keep on sharing about their own
> products. Can't they come out something more interesting to really benefit
> all the participants?
I tend to avoid most vendor-sponsored conferences for this reason, unless
teh vendor has significant technical information to impart that's actually
useful (for instance, I went to Guidance's conference last year and that
was very useful. But then, I've yet to go to a computer forensics
conference that sucked.)
> We would like to know more about the trends of the technology, strength and
> weakness of the technology, the benefits of the technology and so on. Isn't
> this much more interesting rather than just product information?
> Anything interesting to share?
> how you wan the conference to be like?
Most conferences get people to talk who are with vendors and who have
products or services to sell. That tips the utility in quite a strange
way. There are conferences which don't do that, such as USENIX Security,
and you should consider those. You might also consider user's groups
where the presentations are not 90% vendor performed, often that's a good
way to get real information.
The other option is to provide feedback both before the conference starts,
and after it's over. Most conference organizers will take feedback into
account when booking speakers and when requesting topics.
When I spoke at CeBIT America recently, they were more than happy that
my Common Criteria presentation was basically a long rant about what
sucked in Common Criteria. I remember several years ago, someone on this
list let me be the "Anti-VPN" speaker on a VPN panel at NISSC, which was
a great deal of fun, because those with vested interested at the time had
trouble defending a lot of their enthusiasm for the then-immature
I've gotten a lot of feedback about how refreshing it was to not have
someone pushing the program speaking, so I don't believe you're alone in
When I was approached for CeBit, I was told they were looking for "someone
who's opinionated and independent." My employer gave me the time, I
came back with some leads, and I didn't spew the vendor line, so
everyone was happy.
Finally, if there's a Q&A session, or better yet, if the persenters will
take questions while they're presenting- asking the tough questions and
about the downsides of particular technologies is a great way to find
things out. Sometimes you can catch them beforehand and say "Hey, I
really hope you're going to cover some of the downsides too!"
 Me? Opinionated? The shock!
 ICSA Labs basically competes with Common Criteria certification, I
discussed that up-front, but I'm not a marketingdroid or salesreptile, so
I can get away without doing the evangelical dance.
Paul D. Robertson "My statements in this message are personal opinions
email@example.com which may have no basis whatsoever in fact."
firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Risk Assessment TruSecure Corporation
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