Tom's Rules for Conference Organizing

These opinions have been developed from 3 decades of attending and organizing conferences. This advice applies whether a conference non-profit or for-profit, all-volunteer or professionally run, community-driven or commercial.

Time is precious. A bad conference wastes people’s time. As as conference organizers you owe it to the attendees to make sure their time was well-spent.

How to fix a conference? Rehearse Your Speakers

The single biggest thing you can do to improve your conference’s content is to require all speakers rehearse their presentation two weeks prior to the conference, via video conference, with someone that has not seen the talk before. Everything else is spinning your wheels.

It's time for Chocolately

Increasingly, vendors understand that the inability to rapidly deploy their products affects the customers’ ability to rapidly purchase their products.

(quoted from Page 152 of The Practice of System and Network Administration, Third Edition)

I believe I first wrote that quote in 1999 when the first edition was still in draft form. That was 20 years ago. I’m embarrassed to say that in the last month I’ve had to remind two different vendors of this fact.

Any vendor that thinks automated installation is a new concept… sigh.

So what does that have to do with Chocolately?

Reduce the maximum validity period for TLS/SSL server certificates

Question: What would be the impact on your organization if the CA/Browser Forum approves a ballot reducing the maximum validity period for SSL/TLS server certificates from the current 825 days (27 months) at present to 397 days (13 months), effective for new certificates issued on or after March 1, 2020? (Existing certificates will remain valid for their full term).

The Slightly Broken Door Problem

When I worked at Bell Labs, there was a door that slammed really loudly when it closed. This wouldn’t be a big deal except that it was right near me. Oh, and it was in the middle of my team’s offices so when it slammed, nearly everyone on the team would jump.

Fax Machines Arent Magic

I can’t believe my health insurance makes me fax certain forms. What year is this?

Well, anyway… that reminds me of something that happened to me many years ago back when fax machines were more common.