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

George R. george at ceetonetechnology.com
Thu Jan 4 13:38:01 EST 2007

Michael Hanulec wrote:
> 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.

Hmmm. . .

Do you mean low-level or high-level?

Assuming you meant the meeting was too "high level," then it's because
there is a general level of proficiency with BSD firewalls around as the
early very unscientific poll in the beginning of the meeting
illustrated. . .

If you meant "low level," then I think Okan was very clear on providing
a flexibility in his talk to go in *any* direction the discussion demanded.

And to some extent it did. . .

> 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 expectations.
> 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.

Agree. . . Strongly.  We have made that point regularly, and Okan tried
to do a number of times.

> 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.

Agree even more strongly.  But I would think by now any who's been to a
meeting or two knows that interruptive questions are encouraged.  And
Okan did state that in the beginning.

> 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.

Hmm. . .

> 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).

We have *only* had real world PF meetings from the beginning. .
.PFSense, Soekris, Mischa from Germany on his firm's usage, etc.

That is true more often than not, but not for every meeting.

> 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.

We try to have that done.. . and it's usually part of the post-meeting

> 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.

Easier said than done.  We've made some attempts on that, and if you
feel that way, great.  Now you can initiate for future meetings. :)

> 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.

Your input is appreciated. . . Now you should take the initiative in
providing input for the issues you mentioned.

You should have mentioned the mike/repeat question thing yourself (Okan
stopped listening to me a long time ago :)

You should raise the meeting topic before the meetings if you have any

We are not rigid in this stuff. . . we are what we all make it. . .


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