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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

No Free Sharkfest Booze!

Putting together a conference is a hell of a lot of work - and I'm not even doing all the difficult stuff for Sharkfest, the first Wireshark User and Developer conference taking place next week (March 31-April 2 in Los Altos, California). Visit for the session list and registration information.

It was a major coup to get Vince Cerf out to Sharkfest! What a line-up! We'll have Gerald there teaching how to create dissectors and Loris will be showing the new hot tool graphing and reporting for Wireshark. My Monday presentation was altered so Loris could join me and show this hot tool in action.

Geez... the show bags, the logistics, the marketing, the presenters, the signage, the food... the FOOD!
I am shocked at how much conference people eat! I am thrilled we don't have to supply the booze for the conference!

Conference attendees’ concentration levels change as their blood alcohol levels adjust throughout the week. During the first day, their bodies are relatively free of booze toxins (BTs). As the week progresses, the BT level increases as does the sleep deprivation (SD) level. I prefer teaching morning sessions at conferences unless my BT/SD levels are also accelerated. As the week progresses, I see more eyelids than the eye shadow tester brush in the front aisle at Sephora (a very popular cosmetic pusher located in airports and swanky shopping malls. Nothing costs less than US $20... unless it is orange... or is that popular now?).

Private "voluntary class attendees" usually want to be in the class. That doesn’t mean they can give you their full attention, however. They are balancing work responsibilities, family responsibilities and their reputations. They are often in class with a peer, senior member of their firm or some junior smartass who wants to take their job. I do not fault them for being distracted and late to return from the breaks – I appreciate that they could give me a moment of their attention – let alone 6-1/2 hours a day for numerous days in a row.

Private-class "forced attendees" are just warm bodies in the room. They don’t want to be there, but some management mucky muck has decided that this class will suddenly make them worth the paperwork used to hire them. Since I truly do believe the topics I teach are important and make more effective and efficient network troubleshooters and better security technicians, these are the worst students to encounter. Many times I’ve considered handing out the Certificate of Completion papers during the first morning break, thereby weeding out these indentured students from the rest of the class.

Well - the music is blaring and it's time to play with beta products - hopefully, I will see you at Sharkfest... or at least I'll see your eyelids!