Your Linux Data Center Experts

Thursday was the final day of ISPCon. Here are my thoughts from the last day and on the conference over all.

There wasn't much for me to see of the conference on Thursday. There were 4 tracks of talks scheduled, each with 3 talks, and I gave 2 of them. My first presentation was in the morning on Redundant Routing using Linux High Availability tools. Right before lunch I gave my presentation on various anti-spam measures. These were both fairly well received, though to fairly small audiences. Evelyn said that the anti-spam talk had one of the larger audiences of that session, which really says quite a bit about the attendance.

I spoke to many people on Wednesday who expressed interest in one or both of my talks, but were not planning on being at the conference on Thursday. As this would indicate, attendance for the show on Thursday was quite a bit smaller than on Wednesday, and people were wondering why the show was so small on Wednesday. Part of it may have been that there's some sort of “web hosting” conference coming up next week in Chicago, and lots of people at ISPCon were talking about that show. I hadn't heard anything about it.

We had spoken to many vendors at ISPCon and they had said they got a very healthy interest at the show. We had run across little interest in our services until the extreme end of the show, when another elevator passenger overheard me describing what we do. Sometimes business comes at the most unexpected times.

The one session I did go to on Thursday on Outsourcing Essentials was pretty good. It was presented by David Snead and Larry Donahue, who also presented at the ISPCon in San Jose. They did a really nice job. Part of what I got from it is that David is a lawyer and it's interesting to get that perspective at times. Though, it's kind of disappointing to hear him say that he recommends you not put requirements on paper and give them to your vendors because it could be used against you down the road. We always try to put our understanding on paper so that we know exactly what is being agreed upon and our clients have the opportunity to provide feedback where there may be misunderstandings.

I came in a little late because I ran into the “SBC Lady” in the hall and we spent a lot of time talking about various random things from the ISP-CEO meeting the previous night and other topics, both related and unrelated to ISP stuff. Apparently, she left the ISP-CEO meeting after 11pm and it was still going on strong.

The final session of the day, the last days keynote, was on the “Brand X” case which should be getting ruled on over the next few weeks. He assumed you knew what the case was about, which I suspect was not a totally invalid assumption to make with the average audience, but at the show was the first I had heard of it so many of the things he said I couldn't really follow because of this. My understanding is that it's another case about whether ISPs are common carriers. He seemed to know what he was talking about, but it really didn't mean that much to me.

Evelyn pointed out that some of the topics he was taken as being known are still up for debate. For example, he seemed pretty confident that being a wireless ISP would make you a common carrier, but the differentiation between the wireless ISP shooting signal and average users with an AP and a card in their laptop wasn't clear. Do all AP owners need to get the appropriate “common carrier” certificate? What if you sometimes access your wireless AP from outside your land (say, on the street)? If you've secured your AP using encryption, and only use it on your own land, it's pretty obvious that you're a private carrier. In other cases, it's not quite so clear, however.

After that, they claimed to have some give-aways in the exhibit hall, but we went down there all the exhibitors were, more or less, breaking down. They were giving away beer, but shortly after we arrived they made an announcement that all the aisles needed to be cleared because they were pulling up the carpets. As far as I can tell, none of the media players were being given away.

That's it for the show. Over all, it seemed to be poorly attended compared to the last one we were at 6 months ago. It was probably worth while for us to go, but not as much as I'd expected. Possibly this was because people were going to the event next week in Chicago, I'm not sure. There were a disproportionate number of presentations that had been re-scheduled and the presenters apologized for the quality by saying they had been asked to speak at the last minute. I'm not sure if there were lots of cancellations or they had talk ideas that they just couldn't get people to speak on or what…

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