Friday, August 19, 2005

GMU2005 in review

Well, GMU2005 is over with...I'm looking forward to GMU2006, or whatever they'll end up calling it.

First off, shoutz out to the staff, volunteers, sponsors and attendees who made GMU2005 possible. It was fairly well put together, though not without its hiccups...but that's too be expected.

I ended up giving a total 4 different presentations, but was on the podium 6 times. Usually, after 4 hrs of presenting, I wasn't really in the mood to attend any of the training or other presentations. Funny how having to keep the balls in the air for four hours straight can sort of take it out of you. Some presentations ended up being cancelled, either due to good reason, or b/c the speaker wasn't able to make it. I did want to attend Terry Gudaitis's presentation on cybercrime profiling, but she presented at the same time I did, albiet in a different room. However, she was nice enough to send me a copy of her presentation, which I found very interesting.

During and after my presentations, I got a lot of great questions...questions are always good. I could see from the questions that a lot of folks were interested in actually using what I was talking about, especially with regards to my USB storage device presentation. After lunch on Thursday, one of the attendees told me that he'd received an email from the HTCIA listserv, asking how to determine if an iPod had been connected to the system. So, this guy broke out my presentation and sent the original poster the answer! Very, very cool! And Cory, if you're reading this...thanks for putting me on the spot with this guy - I did end up giving him a free copy of my book.

Speaking of giving away free copies of my book...if the publisher doesn't have a bookstore at the conference, I usually get in touch with them and ask them to provide me with free copies of the book to give away at the end of my presentation. I usually give one away to someone who can answer a trivia question. For the first presentation on Tues, I gave a copy of my book to the guy who brought a video cable to the room so I could plug my laptop into the projection system (that was one of the hiccups).

A couple of notes/comments for attendees of conferences like this...most presenters work pretty hard in order to not only put a presentation together, but to also make it pertinent and useful to the audience. Sometimes, this can be tough...the content of the presentation depends upon the make-up of the conference attendees. If you think that the presenter did a good job, tell him or her that. If you've got comments about what the presenter could have done to make the presentation a little better, let them know. Keep in mind that there are some things that a presenter can control, and other things they can't...such as providing desks to write on and paper copies of the slides ahead of time, etc. This sort of thing really helps, as it lets the presenter know how they did, and maybe even what they can do next time that might improve the presentation.

A question I get a lot (and I mean A LOT) when I give presentations is, "...what happens if you...?". This is the case, whether I'm talking about NTFS alternate data streams, USB connected storage devices, or embedding/merging OLE documents. I've developed a stock answer for these questions..."why don't you try it and tell us." I don't do this to be mean or rude...I just think that a lot of times, the questions aren't reasoned through before they're asked. Now, don't get me wrong, I love questions...they get me thinking and if I can give a presentation and walk away having learned something, I'm happy. But, members of the audience, please keep this in mind...I'm not rich, and I do have a life. Yes, there are a lot of things out there that maybe I didn't cover in my research or presentation...but that's usually because I didn't have the time (I have a life, or had a deadline) and/or because I'm not rich and can't afford to purchase one or two of every type of USB device available on the market. I'm sure that in the course of a case, you're going to come across a specific piece of equipment that I didn't specifically cover in my presentation, but that's why I try to lay out the process I used to get the information that I did...so you can follow that process.

So...I just wanted to say that in case anyone attending my presentations thought that I was being rude when I responded the way I did to that particular question.

Anyway, as a wrap-up for this entry, I heard other attendees say that some of the presentations were good, others weren't so good, but overall they were pretty happy with the conference as a whole. Next year should have a much larger attendence, so if you're interested in attending or presenting, keep your eye on the RCFG website.

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