PSA-TEC, day 1
Just a quick thought before I get into the TEC coverage: People who submit spam comments to blogs because they hope someone will be dumb enough to click on their links for free "c1al1s," or because they think it will help their search engine optimization or something, just might be the lowest form of life, somewhere below the trilobites that crawl away when I move the kids' plastic toys that have been sitting on the lawn for a week. Maybe it takes some ingenuity to create the software that trawls the Internet for blogs like mine, finds comment boxes that are relatively unprotected, and deposits the link text, but I'm pretty sure that many of the 100 or so comments I reject each day are typed in by real people who are "working at home." Get a blog and you, too, can enjoy reading comments like: "Interesting! I just had a thought like this myself. I'm going to go post on my blog about it." And then there's a link to some site called "CPA on Crack," which I really am tempted to visit (who wouldn't want to see an accountant all cracked out, really?), but am thinking maybe isn't closely related to the post I wrote last year about Day 3 of ESX. And even if you were fooled for a minute, and were tempted to approve said comment, you would soon realize that someone has made the very same comment on 15 others of your posts from 2008, and so maybe they didn't really just have a thought just like mine 15 times. It's hard to say. I've got to say, marking them all as spam is tiring, but even more annoying is having an email come through every time one of the spam comments is left. "Just filter them out," you say. But then I don't see the real comments come through that I have to approve and everyone accuses me of filtering out negative comments because I took all of 30 minutes to approve them. Seriously, if I find you, spam comment leaver, in a dark alley (or, really, anywhere), I will absolutely do everything in my power to kick you repeatedly in the shins with my cowboy boots. Repeatedly. Sorry, but sleeping in a hotel room where the temperature is regulated by an air conditioner that comes on when the temperature reaches a certain point (loudly), and then snaps off after five minutes, and does that roughly 300 times a night, makes me ornery. Which is too bad because this PSA-TEC show is great, per usual. Admittedly, I sort of blew off some of the educational content yesterday because it was mostly plugging-stuff-in training and I didn't get here until 1 p.m. and I was working on the NetVersant story and I was hungry, etc., but it's really hard to beat the networking events here. First up, they had Frank Abagnale, the Catch Me if You Can guy, who absolutely bored the crap out of a room at Security Growth three years ago, but was really quite good last night (and the room was pretty full - I was expecting many fewer people than last year, if only because I was able to book a hotel room here roughly 36 hours before the event started, but that doesn't seem to have happened). Someone here must have been at that conference three years back because Abagnale made a point of saying that he usually talks (long-windedly) about counterfeiting and fraud, etc., but that he was asked to talk about his life experiences and what we saw in the movie. That's the good stuff. Imagine being 16, fooling the world into thinking you're a Pan Am pilot, and logging more than a million miles sitting in the jumpseat of thousands of airplanes, spending just about every week in a different city. He only lasted about five years on the lam, eventually doing time in three different prisons, which probably sort of put a damper on those five years, but that must have been one seriously long rush. Then he got a little sentimental for me, but some of the room teared up and the place was dead silent when he started talking about the 35 years he's spent since then working for the FBI, talking about how he learned the value of family, the value of being a dad, the horrible devastation that divorce can wreak on a young kid (he ran away from home when a judge asked him to pick a parent), and how he's not proud for a second about what he did when he was a teenager. How he cried himself to sleep every night for those five years. That and the open bar made that a pretty successful opening reception. Then the PSA All-Star band hit the stage and actually didn't suck at all. Which is a major accomplishment, if you ask me. For the third year in a row, PSA's Tim Brooks (eastern sales guy) organized a bunch of players from the industry, including me, together into a make-shift band. Sure, there's a backing house band who are really top-notch, but for much of the night, close to three hours, we were actually keeping people entertained largely on our own. It's amazing what you can do with three-chord rock, blues, and country songs and a large amount of booze (someone beat me to one of my favorite lines: The more you drink, the better we sound). Great thanks to Bill Allen from Minuteman UPS (great player in general, but I loved his vocals on "Brown Eyed Girl"); Tim Miller from ASG (he was still riding high from Jazz Fest in New Orleans and was killer behind the drum kit); Paul Michael Nathan from Protective Security, who's really the rock star on the harmonica and basically fronted the band; Tom Hoffman from Flir (he had the best hat and tambourine); Daved Levine from SCI, whose bass solos were maybe the only redeeming quality of those jazz standards Tim Brooks insists on singing (just kidding Tim!), and everyone else who had the balls to just ask if they could sit in and then totally rocked it. And of course, big thanks to PSA honcho Bill Bozeman, whose idea this band was in the first place and who always sits front and center and actually watches the band and talks music with anyone who wants to sit down next to him. Damn that guy knows a lot about music. And for a genuine networking event where people actually have fun, that's a hard event to beat. I bailed at 11:30 or so and am feeling quite frisky this morning, thank you, but I'm guessing there are a few folks who maybe won't be down for the exhibit floor at 9 a.m. sharp. More later, including what may be some live blogging from the exhibit floor and some educational sessions. Maybe.