[nycbug-talk] Meeting content, format and future meetings

Michael Hanulec hanulec at hanulec.com
Thu Jan 4 08:18:02 EST 2007

Hi all -

Last night was the third meeting I've attended since moving back to NYC 
although I've been a member of the mailing list Jan 2004.  I encouraged 
some new folks (new to nycbug) to attend the meeting because I sold them 
on how cool/useful PF is.  Thank you Okan Demirmen for taking the time 
last night and presenting.  I know I learned a thing or two about PF. 
Unfortunately I cannot say the same for some of my friends I asked to come 
down -- overall the presentation was too low level for someone who never 
used PF before.

I know making presentations might not be many of our day jobs but I think 
we ALL can do some simple things to improve the meetings and set people's 

0. have the mic or two for audience questions.  not being able to hear 
your fellow member's questions is annoying.  a work around for this is 
having the presenter repeat the person's question prior to responding. 
this is the number one reason i didn't make these comments last night (or 
respond to the "Why use PF on a bastion or single unix server question") 
and decided to use the mailing so i could be "heard" by all.

1. NYCBUGers who attend -- Ask Questions!  Maybe you are like me and felt 
you couldn't be heard (#0 should fix that).  Or maybe you are shy and 
don't like to talk in public (#5 can give you that outlet too).  The 
presenter doesn't think you are interested or following them unless you 
ask a question.  Don't let your question wait until the end of the 
presentation either.

2. provide either the slides or a rough outline of the material to be 
presented a day or two prior to the meetings.  make sure to highlight 
examples/use cases/etc w/in this format.  examples can be as simple as a 
few lines of code to do something silly like a home nat firewall or using 
authpf to replace a vpn router.  i feel my friends might of missed our on 
how simply powerful PF really is.

3. start off and end the presentation with some real world examples.  you 
don't have to own these examples - maybe they can be borrowed from larger 
documentation sources and just cited.  maybe combine the concept of a nat 
firewall or authpf gateway and suggest people look at soekris or pcengines 
hardware to replace the dlink/linksys/netgear routers they have at home. 
or talk about enterprise-level proprietary conversion stories (removing 
cisco, checkpoint, sonicwall from the environment).

4. make the presentation slides available on www.nycbug.org.  i still 
refer to Johnny Lam's XEN slides but as i remember i had to use some 
social engineering to get the slides.

5. offer a standardized forum/method (mailing list?  blog?) and encourage 
NYCBUGers to ask questions of the presenters prior to the meeting in order 
to help meld what NYCBUGers and the presenters are discussing.  these 
questions could be used either to change the presentation prior to 
presenting OR be used and the end of the meeting in a q/a format.

My comments above are only meant to be constructive as I want to see the 
group grow and attract new, active members.  Thanks again to everyone at 
NYCBUG for their hard work.


hanulec at hanulec.com	                        cell: 201-936-1993
http://www.hanulec.com                EFnet irc && aol im: hanulec

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