I completed my talk at the Bellua Cyber Security conference here in Jakarta yesterday. It went OK, but I admit it wasn't my best presentation ever. It took some doing to get things going to begin with. I showed up early (since I was the first speaker) to get setup. For once, my machine was working perfectly, projecting on the big screen flawlessly (not always the case when running a pre-release operating system). I didn't need a network cable since we had prepped the machine run the whole thing offline (tip: don't run demos online at a security conference. Someone will try to hack you during the talk just for shits and grins). That turned out to be a good thing since there wasn't network connectivity at the little podium.
However, I did need electricity, of which there was none usable at the podium. I asked about getting an extension cord run to the podium; this seemed like a difficult request, compounded by my poor skills in Bahasa Indonesia (that's the language they speak here, if you didn't know). They suggested they run the slide and demo from the sound mixing table (not possible to teach them the demo in the few minutes I had) or that I do my talk from the mixing table (yeah, not going to happen). Fortunately, Subhan from the Microsoft subsidiary was with me and was able to help convey my desires.
Eventually, a staff dude shows up and starts taking apart a plug assembly, cutting wires, and trying to splice them into something under the stage. Fifteen minutes before my talk, he was doing the neatest possible job of taping over the wires on the stage, cutting off the protruding edges with an x-acto knife and so on - but still no power. I started calculating if I could do my entire demo on battery power (never a good idea, especially as an unknown in front of an audience). Even when someone else showed up with a huge extension cord, he kept at his science project. Finally, he disappeared under the stage and then *poof* - there was power.
Once the talk started, I introduced myself and started into a self-deprecating joke about how we flew the Microsoft company jet to Jakarta and then showed a photo of an Imperial Star Destroyer. Crickets. Then I turned around and looked at the screen. A/V guys hadn't switched my laptop connection on, so I was standing in front of a bright blue screen. I asked the guys to show my content (since I was the speaker and all, it seemed like a reaonable request) and retried the joke, but it's a lot less funny the second time. I got a few courtesy giggles, but otherwise nothing. The energy from the audience went downhill from there. Thank goodness Jessie Burns from iSec Partners was in the front row nodding and reacting. I wouldn't have been able to tell if the mike was on otherwise. I shouldn't make excuses, but it's incredibly hard to do a high energy talk to a dead room. Anyway, the third party feedback afterwards seemed positive, so I guess it wasn't a total disaster.
Right after my talk, I did an interview with the Kompas, which I understand is the largest local paper. It was a bit awkward as the reporter's English was only OK and again, my two words of Bahasa (terima kasi - thank you) were insufficient to explain the benefits of IE7 and Windows Vista. Subhan came to my rescue again, bridging the interview. Hopefully, some of the key points will get across anyway.
Afterwards, we hung out at the Microsoft booth for a bit (where our local office had arranged for two guys in gladiator suits to march around to emphasize Microsoft's security work I guess. The Pax Microsoft?) and then I had lunch back at the hotel (crazy good and big Chinese meal) and then came back for some of the afternoon talks. They were pretty good; I thought Raffy Marty's talk on visualizing security data was especially interesting (showing graphical views of firewall log data to detect trends like port scanning quickly).
A bunch of the speakers and organizers went out for sushi together afterwards and then to a good vodka bar called Red Square. This is apparently only fun bar in Jarkarta since a bunch of the folks I was with had been there the night before and we're apparently going again tonight. Good times (as Dorian would say). I'm only sorry we missed the lounge band here at the hotel. We saw them the night before; they were surprisingly good (really). Maybe tonight or tomorrow...
OK, time to go to the conference again.