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RSA 2008: Day 3

Just a few quick notes on yesterday (my 3rd day at RSA 2008). Let me start by saying that I have a throbbing headache as I write this (hangover?)... and I'm starving, because I somehow managed not to eat anything at the 4+ receptions that I visited, so am starving to boot. Ah, yes... nothing like the conference life! :)

I attended Paul Kocher's presentation "Darwin and Security: What Evolution Tells Us About the Past and Future of Society" - it was excellent, tabbing in nicely with several of the themes this year around the need for industry reformation. After that, I sat in for a short while on the "Global Privacy Compliance Strategies," but bailed quickly because it was just about US/EU SAFE Harbor (*yawn* - this is part of a strategy, not a strategy in and of itself). From there I bounced over to the Symantec "Security 2.0" brief, but it was the same old thing, just with revised number, so bounced from that, too.

For the third session of the morning, I attended the "Sixth Annual 'Hot Topics' in information Security Law" session. It was pretty good, and gave me a chance to meet some of the rest of the ABA ISC folks.

I attended about 2.5 key notes. The first was a panel on warrantless wiretapping. They had legendary info technologist Matt Blaze from U-Penn, along with 2 well-established pundits (who's names I forget) and some other Bushie pundit in a pink tie who I wanted to boo all the time. It was an ok panel, but they just didn't say anything interesting, and Blaze was setup almost as 3 against him, which was lame. I saw him sitting on the floor in the hallway checking email later and told him I thought he did well up there, especially considering how hawkish the others were. He seemed like a genuinely nice fellow.

After that session, I bounced out to the Expo floor for a while. When I came back to the keynote, I caught the end of Val Rahmani's (IBM ISS GM) speech on "The New Security Mandate." It was more of the same, but more exhorting than some of the others. Quite decent. After this, most people left, so I moved far forward to watch Jeff Hawkins' talk "Hierarchical Memory: Computing Beyond Turing." Hawkins is a Neuroscientist, so he talked a lot about how the brain works, and his company's work in trying to build an AI that works like the brain. It was a very good talk, and I was surprised how many people bailed.

Q&A with Hawkins
After his keynote, Jeff Hawkins did a Q&A session in the Crypto Commons, which helped fill in some of the gaps from his speech. If you're keeping a running total, I'm now up to 4 people I'd love to do research with: Marty Hellman, Dan Geer, Paul Kocher, and Jeff Hawkins. :)

More Expo
I walked around the expo floor slowly for a couple hours, checking out some of the booths that I'd not processed previously. There's a brand new company out called VendorRate, which facilitates anonymous ratings of vendors. Very interesting. I found a fairly new company out of Glasgow, Scotland, called Metaforic that is competing directly with Cloakware in the DRM space. Another company, nuBridges, provides a bunch of secure file transfer controls that were interesting. There were a bunch of others, and I didn't take notes, so sorry, I just can't recall details now. Note to self: take notes! :)

Party, party, party, party. Oof. I started out at the Mandiant reception. I didn't spend too long there, because I wanted to get over the Security Bloggers event. Ran into Dan from AOL there, and also said howdy to Shiffer (who's session is this morning - gotta get moving!).

From Mandiant, I went to the ISC2 event... got a free USB light... otherwise, the place was packed and the party lame... then bounced to the Security Bloggers event... that was awesome! Met a bunch of cool people, including the real-to-life Jack Daniel, as well as the usual blogging suspects (Hoff, Mogull, McKaey, and so on). This was a lot of fun, and it just was the start of the night...

From the Bloggers event, several of us followed Rich to the RSA Executive Reception. Let me just say... suits... girls... observed a lot of flirtatious interaction... it was like something out of a movie... it was so cliche, who would have thunk it to be true to life? From there, we headed to the XYZ at the W. That was the raging party. Quite fun, hung out for an hour or two, met some more people, and then headed back to the hotel. Went out later with a friend, but nothing really to report on that, except that I'm exhausted this morning (and hungry!).

People, People, People
Boy, did I ever meet a ton of well-known people yesterday. I met several McGraw-Hill authors, including George Kurtz, David Cowen, Aaron Phillip, John Viega, Ben Rothke (who works for BT INS, too, and whom I'd seen earlier in the day), Ira Winkler, Gary McGraw, Brian Chess, and Jacob West, to name a few. The GFi Expo booth had former The Apprentice star Omarosa. She was, uh, interesting. Also met a very decent Ozzy look-alike, and a couple goombas who couldn't tell if he was real or not (too funny). That's a pretty good overview of people, but dude, that's a lot of people! :)

Thursday Plans
Awaking with a terrible sinus migraine and congestion this morning, combined with extreme hunger and very sore shoulders (from carrying a backpack all over), I've opted to rest most of the morning. I need to get down to Moscone for the Mandiant preso on testing by 10:40, but otherwise am golden. After that is a session on "risk resilience" that sounded interesting, and then there are more keynotes in the afternoon, of which I'm not sure how many I'll attend. I hope to meet up with my old friend Mark K. later, and there's also an interesting character, "Ken", who wanted to chat, too. First things first: gotta get around, get fed, and get a move on.


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» Reflections on the 2008 RSA Conference from The Falcon's View
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