Managing and Minimizing Risk

I thought I’d follow up on the security presentation I mentioned a week ago when I was home sick. I have to say that by all accounts, our session, Managing and Minimizing Risk, was a great success. We had a packed room, so much so that we had a few people sitting out in the hallway listening.

We received a lot of good feedback afterwords, both on the topic and the presentation itself. I’m a firm believer that presentation plays a huge role, because it won’t matter how good your content is if the crowd is sleeping or bored to death. Overall, I feel this was one of my better performances to date. I know I should have spent more time practicing, but at some level I must like the rush I get from “winging it”.

This was my second presentation using the drop-dead simple PowerPoint style of big white text on a black background (I just found out one name for this technique – the Takahashi Method). The first time I saw someone present like this was Jason Fried’s (of 37signals) The Building of Basecamp session at Web Design World Seattle earlier this summer. If I remember correctly, he has been influenced by information design expert Edward Tufte (see The Cognative Style of PowerPoint). Here are a few slides to give you an idea of what the security PowerPoint looks like:

Reality: You will never be completely secure

Security isn't a product. Security is a mindset.

Celebrate Diversity

So, what else has led me to my current presentation philosophy? There are a number of books and sites, including these:

Finally, a couple of other websites for tips:

PHP | Cruise – So Far

So far, the conference has been going pretty well, and has been interesting. There is a very diverse group of people from all over the world, which probably represents the actual PHP community well. Many of the lead developers of PHP and various PHP extensions are here, which is cool. The first thing that struck me during the opening keynote yesterday is that the core group of developers is young. For example, Zeev Suraski, cofounder of Zend and one of the lead developers of the Zend Engine, is probably less than 25. This means that these guys were probably in their teens when they started creating PHP 3 in the late 90’s. The majority of the attendees seem to be in their twenties, with some exceptions, including one guy who can’t be a day over 12 years old!

The people at our dinner table are all attendees of the conference. We have a man and his wife from Iowa (he’s one of the presenters), a 20 year old from Australia, and a guy from Israel who hadn’t slept in over 48 hours. We had some good conversations about North Dakota winters, why the US still uses pennies, and what ranch dressing tastes like (how do you explain the taste of ranch?).

As of this morning, we still don’t have Internet access setup (I’m writing this offline on the laptop using ecto and will post it when connectivity is available. In a way it’s nice to be away from the email and the work that goes along with it, but I wish I had a chance to email or chat with Casey. I miss her a lot!

From the sounds I hear coming from the ship right now, I think we are docking at Coco Cay. It might be difficult staying in our little theaters this morning when you just know everyone else is out in the sun and on the beach. Thankfully, we only go until the early afternoon today and then get the rest of it off!

Cape Canaveral – Part Deux

Note: For some reason, ecto lost my previous entry, so some of this may seem out of context – sorry!

Today has been a pretty relaxing day. The clouds disappeared shortly after noon, leaving us with clear skies and warm temperatures. I stopped by the Ron Jon Surf Shop before dropping off the rental car and picked up a few things. I got a give for Casey, a more comfortable pair of sandals for myself, and a new cap to help keep my head from burning up this week. It was a pretty cool store – huge too. I would have liked to spend a bit more time exploring, but I had to have the car back to the drop-off location by 2:30 p.m. After that was done, I spent a while reading down by the pool. It was very nice to be out in the sun!

I decided to order dinner into my room tonight, and went with a chicken teriyaki sandwich. They actually used real teriyaki sauce, which was a nice suprise. While eating, I caught about the first hour of the Oscar awards. I’m not usually impressed by the intro parodies they do, but I laughed several times at this year’s. The segment started off with a camera panning a crowded movie theater until they stopped on Billy Crystal. He was stuffing his face with popcorn and then took a second to turn on the camcorder he had with him, an obvious (and funny) reference to the piracy concerns of the MPAA. The other really funny moment was in a spoof of a scene from The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. They had Billy’s face placed on the body of the Elf character (can’t remember his name at the moment) and was swinging his way on top of one of the elephant-like creatures in the battle with the Orcks. The camera switches to Michael Moore holding a movie camera and screaming “This is a fictional war! This is a fictional war!”. Two seconds later, he is squashed beneath the foot of one of the giant elephants. That scene along was worth watching that hour of the Oscars! On a related note, I’m really pulling for Bill Murray to win the best actor award for Lost in Traslation. That was a great performance from him, and was very “un-Bill Murray”. I can’t remember who he’s up against, but I can’t think of someone more deserving this year than him.

At the moment, I’m actually writing this down from the pool chairs. The wind is low, the moon is out, and temperatures are still in the 60’s – you can’t ask for much more! Tonight is our last night here at the hotel. We are taking a shuttle to our ship at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow, where we will spend the rest of our trip. From what I remember, there isn’t much conference stuff going on tomorrow, except for an opening keynote address and a welcome social. It will be interesting to meet some of the key players in the PHP community from around the world. Although I’m a relative PHP newbie, I’m looking forward to learning all I can about the newest developments and programming techniques. This is going to be good!

Update: No luck for Bill Murray. He actually looked a little mad when they called Sean Penn’s name. On the plus side, Sophia Coppola won an Oscar for best original screenplay with Lost in Translation.