Observations Along the Road

Theatre Writeups, Musings on the News, Rants and Roadkill Along the Information Superhighway

Category Archive: 'acsac'

Conference Report

Written By: cahwyguy - Fri Dec 09, 2011 @ 5:37 am PST

I know I’ve been mostly quiet this week—that’s because I’ve been busy! I’m in Orlando FL at ACSAC, which means (as a long-time conference committee member), I’ve not only been running the training program, but I’ve been handling the setup and breakdown of projectors, distribution of room signs, and helping provide the NSS perspective in the FISMA track. In fact, I’ve spent most of the conference in the FISMA presentations, with the exception of one panel on Trusted Identities. Today should be a little different—I’ve no interesting in the 800-39 session, and will be attending some of the other technical sessions.

The conference itself has been great. What really sets this conference apart are its attendees—ACSAC has the best attendees hands down. I”ve had some wonderful lunchtime and evening discussions. The sessions I’ve been in have been good (no useless sessions), food has been excellent (and alas, quite caloric), and the hotel is lovely. We’ll be back here next year, which will be my 23rd year at the conference, and my 22nd year on the committee!


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Arrived in Orlando

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Dec 04, 2011 @ 3:15 pm PST

We’ll, I’ve made it to the 2012 ACSAC. Yup, it’s that time again. One quick observation: Mears seems to own a hell-of-a-lot out here… busses, shared ride vans, taxis, and the whole Disney bus fleet.

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Long Day’s Journey into Fog

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Dec 11, 2010 @ 11:10 am PST

Yesterday was a long day. Well, it wasn’t longer in terms of length of time than any other day, but it just seemed longer. Perhaps I should explain.

The day started out as most final days of ACSAC do: with the conference committee meeting and packing the office. Other than the morning migraine, that went well, and we were all packed and done by noon. Lunch was good: we went out to Stubbs BBQ and had a wonderful buffet lunch with brisket, ribs, and chicken (although the spinach was too spicy). Got to the Austin airport around 330p, and unenventfully waited until my 555p flight. That flight was on time to DFW, arriving around 7pm.

That’s when the fun started. It was a long wait until my next flight (3.5 hrs). Evidently, there were earlier flights back to LAX, but our booking tool at work never gave them to me as options. I get on the 1030p flight, and it’s only 60% full. But the pilot leaves the seat belt sign on during the entire flight, and whenever I did get up, there was a reasonable amount of turbulance. It also seems he is flying very low—I could often see cars moving on the highways we flew over.

Coming into LAX, he does the normal approach. Lowers the landing gear…. and keeps going past LAX. I think perhaps due to the fog he is landing from the other direction. But he circle to the south. I think perhaps he is diverting to John Wayne… but then he heads north… so I think Ontario. He confirms: diverted to Ontario to refuel (supposedly). We land in Ontario, and there’s no estimate on when we will leave again, but it would be at least an hour. My guess was that the MD80 we were in was so old the pilot could only do VFR, and this guy couldn’t land in that.

It’s now about 1245am Pacific Time. So I call Karen, and she gets out to ONT around 2am. We’re back home around 3am, and back to sleep around 4am. For me, it was a 26+ hour day, plus I’ve still got to pick up my car at the flyaway (plus I have no idea how to enter all this on the expense report). Oh, and that migraine… it’s back.

ETA: Oh, and what if I had stayed on that flight? It would have touched down on the runway at 2:42am, meaning it would have been after 3am when I got down to the flyaway. I might have caught the 3am bus, but more likely the 330am or 4am bus, meaning I would have been back to the valley between 330a and 430a. I probably saved at least an hour having my wife pick me up.

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ACSAC Update

Written By: cahwyguy - Fri Dec 10, 2010 @ 6:13 am PST

Today’s the last day of ACSAC, and so far, the conference has been pretty good. For me, the highlights have been the plenary speakers:

  • Wednesday morning, Doug Maughn of DHS opened the conference with an interesting talk about the problems of taking research projects and commercializing them.

  • Wednesday evening, Giovanni Vigna of UCSB revisited his NetStat paper with some interesting observations about the state of network intrusion detection… which contrary to some reports isn’t dead… it’s just been renamed botnet detection.
  • Wednesday evening there was also moving tributes to two of the computer security luminaries we lost in the last year: Paul Karger and Bob Arnold.
  • Thursday morning, Tom Longstaff spoke about the lack of the scientific method in Computer Security and Computer Science. I’m not sure I agree with him, but it was a provacative talk. In some sense, Computer Science is as much science as Software Engineering is engineering.
  • Thursday evening, Ches (Bill Cheswick) gave an entertaining talk about his history and of Berferd.

I also attended an interesting paper session on security in social media, and to that end, I’d like to highlight an interesting exporation of bots on Livejournal.

Lastly, a question for folks reading my journal. I’ve had the suggestion to rename the tutorial program to increase attendance. Which of the following names would make you more likely to attend the Monday/Tuesday educational program:

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One Day Down… and a Delightful Dinner

Written By: cahwyguy - Mon Dec 06, 2010 @ 9:39 pm PST

Well, the first day of ACSAC 26 is history. We had a good first tutorial day, with no major SNAFUs. This is always good thing. The ACSAC Security Blankets seem to be going over well (this year’s conference good is a good size polartec fleece throw with the ACSAC logo).

Further, I’ve been good for meals. Went to Starbucks and got oatmeal for breakfast instead of conference pastries (as well as a nice travel mug—they say “cold only”, but it seemed to work OK for hot today). Didn’t eat all of the steak for lunch, and only part of the dessert. Worked out both last night and tonight as well!

Dinner was a chance to see a friend I haven’t seen in years: gyesika. We ended up going to a nice southern restaurant: Threadgill’s. Interesting place. Good food.

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Getting Ready for Travel

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Dec 04, 2010 @ 6:51 pm PST

I’m getting ready to travel again. Tomorrow I head out to Austin TX for ACSAC. In some sense I’m looking forward to the conference: I love the people on the conference committee (you will never find a better or more talented bunch of volunteers), and the technical aspects of the conference are great. I even enjoy all the work I do there.

The conference is fun. The travel isn’t. In the old days, it used to be easy: you would pack a bag, check it, and not worry. Today, there’s the extra charge for checked luggage, so you’ve got to fit everything to carry on. Then there’s the TSA. ’nuff said there. So travel isn’t fun.

Still, the bags are packed. I’ve got the boarding pass. I’m loading up the iPod (found four great LPs today: “Blitz!” (1962 musical by Lionel Bart); “Illya Darling” (1967 OBC), “A Dolls Life” (a Comden-Green failure), and the last Weavers album… plus this morning I decided to rip a Margaret Whiting album, four Sinatra albums, and a Dean Martin album). I’m now over 22,000 songs on the iPod… so at least I should be entertained!

P.S. to gyesika: Please remember to send me contact info, so we can get together.

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Parking in Downtown Austin: Am I Silly to Even Think About It?

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Dec 01, 2010 @ 10:25 am PST

I’m going to a conference next week in Austin. I’ve currently got a rental car, but I’m rethinking it. There is parking at the hotel, but it is $27/day and valet only. Supposedly, there is parking in the area, but I don’t know its quality or cost. The taxi to the hotel from the airport is $25.

So… should I cancel the rental car? Opinions?

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Austin Questions…

Written By: cahwyguy - Thu Aug 19, 2010 @ 8:36 pm PST

I’m improving the bandwidth on this request from my ACSAC colleague, Jeremy: Austin people, two requests: For ACSAC in December, I need ideas for an attendee gift ($10-20/person), and an outing on Friday afternoon (4-5 hours) to give some flavor of the local area. Looked into tours of Dell or Fresh Fields without any luck. Suggestions?

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