#ABATechshow Survival Guide 2017

29 01 2017

OK, here is my attempt at shedding some light on ABA Techshow for this year. I did a similar rundown in 2015 but I thought I would update as best I can with a few personal photos this time around for my own amusement. I’m not sure I’m going this year but a few people found this useful last time I sent out one of these so here goes:

First, you can skip this entire post and just read the ABAs official First Time Experience Guide. You should also read Victor Li’s article about this year’s even HERE.

Planning on Chicago for the first time? Do some research before you go so you don’t arrive home after the conference and find out you missed something like the Art Institute of Chicago.

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It is just down the street from the Hilton and you have to plan a little time there to see paintings you have only seen in books. They currently have a Japanese photography exhibit (and other amazing things too!)

Second, you must get out of the hotel!

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Stop and say hi to Rufus. He has been there for years and knows what you need before you need it. Ask him for a local tip, where to grab a late night meal, where to see the hidden sights, or what’s currently a hot location in Chicago. Be nice, and tip well.

Don’t be shy. You came to ABATECHSHOW to learn sometime, or possibly just to get your state required learning for the year, either way, live a little. You should/must talk to people you don’t know. Chat up people on the elevators, at lunch, before sessions start and after sessions are finished. If you go to ABATECHSHOW and leave without meeting new people you have lost out on some of your investment and some great opportunities! I can’t state this enough. This is your opportunity to chat with the luminaries of the legal profession. Want to speak to Kevin O’Keefe from Lexblog for some personal tips? He’s probably there. Maybe you want a tip on podcasting from this guy:

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OK, so he doesn’t always look like that but Adam Camras, the CEO of Legal Talk Network is a speaker and no doubt they will be cranking out high quality podcasts from the exhibitor’s floor during the conference and asking questions that weren’t asked of speakers when they were part of a panel.

Social Media – If you don’t know what social media is, well, that’s OK too, but a lot of info is zooming around during the conference on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Periscope too. Periscope is doing some cool things in 360 right now. I’m interested to see if there is anything in “surround” at Techshow this year. Find out what a hashtag is (this # is a hashtag,) and follow what people are saying about techshow and where the parties/gatherings are right now (in plain language, get a Twitter account and follow the #ABATECHSHOW feed.) Last time around I was tagging people during sessions they were speaking at and watching them look at their Apple watches and then reply (I”m looking at you Adriana!

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Speaking of Adriana Linares, find her. There’s no prize or anything (at least not that I know of,) but she will be everywhere and is this year’s Chair. If there is something going on at Techshow, she will know about it. She will know where the hot spots are for going out, where the new restaurants are, which sessions are “must attend” and she can tell you if you’re missing anything! If you find Adriana you have found the conference grail.

Vendors – Wander around the vendor floor/area more than once. Sure some of them will want your soul (or at least your business card so they pester you into the afterlife). . .but you can see lots of cool things and some of them might be right for your office, (or you will find out which ones you want to avoid in the future.) The other thing is you can’t necessarily figure out what the product is from the banners or signage as you walk past a booth so talk to someone, make eye contact and find out what it is they do! Some of the vendors give away great gifts in a draw which takes place at the end of the show. . .you can’t win it if you’re not in it (as they say.) Want to know the differences between Clio, Rocket Matter, MyCase and Firm Manager? Well this is your chance to find out! Talk to all of them, get a demo, find out about the nitty gritty costs and have them explain the Terms of Usage agreements. Ask them if they will modify them. Ask them where their cloud servers are located. Ask them what the heck the cloud is!?

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Ever wonder how Clio gets such great employees? (Full disclosure: I am friends with Rian (L) and Jack (R) and first met them just before attending techshow for the first time. They go with my next tip:

The Canadians – Find us. . .we are friendly, we know a bit about tech, and most of us will give you the shirts off our back. If we don’t know how to get someplace we will probably stay with you until you complete your journey. We will talk your ear off. We know a lot about beer (some of us,) and there is a special contingent who know a lot about scotch and sometimes arrange a scotch tasting at a nearby purveyor of spirits…seek them out if you’re interested. We are usually ridiculously polite (annoyingly so for some people.) Some of the Canadians (not me) are ABATECHSHOW insiders and know everything. Find a Canadian and hold tight…possibly more important this year than other years if any of us make it across the border.

Taste of Techshow I have been to one of these and I would recommend going at least once. It’s hard to pick one ahead of time so I would say forget about who the hosts are and decide which restaurant you want to go to and sign up. You pay for these ones yourself so watch your budget, oh, and you’re away from home so live a little. I have added the link for the 2016 Taste but stay tuned and you will eventually see some online signon I think.

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Music – Its Chicago, go find some live music on one of the nights. . .seriously, just do it. The above snap is Shawn Lacy from Nashville. If you get a chance to see him, see him! Bub City is part of the Lettuce Entertain You group and have a series of restaurants all over the country and lots of variety in Chicago. If you don’t want to venture too far, the Hilton is next door to Buddy Guy’s Legends and there is always something going on there!

Food – I’m not going to give any real tips here except to say if you sit in your room and eat room service alone you might as well have stayed home. Tag along with some of the people you just met and go someplace fun and eat something you might not have a chance to eat again. OK, I will make a few suggestions even though I said I wouldn’t. . .eat one of the “Chicago hot dogs” just for the fun of it. They put fluorescent green relish and sport peppers on it. . .its strange…but just go with it. Find a deli and have some brisket or smoked meat or pastrami or even a place that brews their own root beer. There are places. . .use the Google! If you want to know what is supposedly hot right now in Chicago, check here

THERE’S A LAKE. . .its big…walk down to the lake…take a long walk…you will feel better…dress warmly. It is a six minute walk (East I think) to the Lakefront Trail and Lake Michigan. . .take a camera.

Alcohol – OK so be responsible but there is a lot of alcohol in Chicago…something about the post-Prohibition recovery!? Check out the nice guys at Warehouse Liquors about a block from the Hilton. These guys really know their booze and are patient if you have a lot of questions. It’s also next door to a chicken place but as I recall, when I asked, they said they eat someplace else…just sayin’.

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The conference concierge desk/genius bar-like oblong shaped holding pen of speakers – This is a resource that is hidden in the open. You might stop just to ask the person behind the counter how to get to a particular conference room and then move on. . .that would be a mistake! Engage the people behind the counter, they are the synapses firing behind the scenes that really make techshow do it’s thing. Talk to Lincoln Mead, or Ben Schorr or Adriana Linares and find out something about the conference that you would never discover otherwise. They can tell you where the best Wifi spot is in the hotel. They can fix your wifi if you can’t connect in the hotel. They can tell you where to eat. Want to know what’s going on with the Cubs, ask them (OK, so really just ask Lincoln! Want to know where someone bought a cool bit of tech, ask them. Curious about Ben’s last triathalon, ask him. They can tell you which vendors have the best swag. Its like having access to a supercomputer.

Pick the sessions you want to go to in advance, and then pick an alternate session at the same time. I have been to a few sessions that looked great on paper and then the presenter just didn’t “bring it.” It could be they didn’t have enough coffee, or had too much coffee, or they didn’t prepare, or they over prepared, or there is some technical glitch. . .but just in case have another choice up your sleeve and be prepared to get to another session if your first choice is a dud.

Don’t be afraid to have a “spare.” In other words, you don’t have to go to every session. Take some time to absorb some of what’s going on, maybe sit down and chat with someone and do a little quiet networking. It’s also a slower time (during sessions) for vendors and now you can get close to the vendor you wanted to corner.

Usually there is a “Beer for Bloggers” session in the hotel with Kevin O’Keefe and it’s worth checking out if you blog, vlog, send out a newsletter, or can spell Tweet. Also a great place to meet other drinkers….oops, I mean bloggers. Seriously though, you can usually spot Bob Ambrogi, Ernie the Attorney, Sam Glover and Molly McDonough there.

Talk to the ABATECHSHOW Planning Board members. Tell them what you like, don’t like, or give them some ideas for the next year. Engage people, don’t just be a bystander.

There are lots and lots of parties going on in the background – find one. . .ask someone what’s going on and you can be one of the cool kids (I have never attained that status but I think it’s possible for others.)

Plan ahead. This is a show packed with vendor/exhibitors. Is there some service you always wondered about? Have a look at past exhibitors and find the one you want to know more about.

Last words, bring something warm to wear. . .you will need it on at least one of the days or nights. . .microfleece is light and will keep you warm – ask someone from Minnesota (maybe even this guy) or anyone from Canada.

Go have fun, meet new people, say hi if you run into me. . .I’m easily recognized from my bewildered look. Look for a gaggle of Canadians and I am probably there. At a minimum you will recognize me by the chunk of camera around my neck (look for the D4.)

Oh wait, last word – if you haven’t been to Canada, it is a very quick hop from Chicago. You can fly out of Midway and be in downtown Toronto (4th biggest City in North America,) via Porter Air in less than 2 hours!

Very last word: I don’t think I said anything bad about the ABA app. I don’t know if there is one for this year (it’s not there to download yet,) but it has improved over the years. Biggest tip I can give is reach out and meet new people. I can’t say it enough. One year I met a guy from Canada who won two of these crazy races! You can’t judge an ebook by its ummm…never mind!

These are my own opinions. not the opinions of anyone affiliated with ABATECHSHOW nor are they the opinions of my employer.

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ABA Techshow – Survival Guide 2015

1 04 2015

I have attended ABATECHSHOW six times in seven years and I would say I always miss out on something happening but I think I am getting the hang of it now.

I thought I would jot down a few thoughts in case people attending for the first time were feeling a little timid. The first thing I would suggest is unleash your party animal. You’re out of town (if you don’t live in Chicago,) you’re on a business trip, you want to learn, and you want to network (or create synergies if you like to use buzzwords from the last few years!?) Here are a few suggestions for the first timers:

Don’t be shy. You came to ABATECHSHOW to learn sometime, or possibly just to get your state required learning for the year, either way, live a little. You should/must talk to people you don’t know. Chat up people on the elevators, at lunch, before sessions start and after sessions are finished. If you go to ABATECHSHOW and leave without meeting new people you have lost out on some of your investment and some great opportunities!

Social Media – If you don’t know what social media is, well, that’s OK too, but a lot of info is zooming around during the conference on Twitter, LinkedIn, and this year probably Meerkat and Periscope too. Find out what a hashtag is (this # is a hashtag,) and follow what people are saying about techshow and where the parties/gatherings are right now (in plain language, get a Twitter account and follow the #ABATECHSHOW feed.)

Vendors – Wander around the vendor floor/area more than once. Sure some of them will want your soul (or at least your business card so they pester you into the afterlife). . .but you can see lots of cool things and some of them might be right for your office, (or you will find out which ones you want to avoid in the future.) The other thing is you can’t necessarily figure out what the product is from the banners or signage as you walk past a booth so talk to someone, make eye contact and find out what it is they do! Some of the vendors give away great gifts in a draw which takes place at the end of the show. . .you can’t win it if you’re not in it (as they say.) Want to know the differences between Clio, Rocket Matter, MyCase and Firm Manager? well this is your chance to find out! Talk to all of them, get a demo, find out about the nitty gritty costs and have them explain the Terms of Usage agreements. Ask them if they will modify them. Ask them where their cloud servers are located. Ask them what the heck the cloud is!?

Taste of Techshow – I have been to one of these and I would recommend going at least once. Its hard to pick one ahead of time so I would say forget about who the hosts are and decide which restaurant you want to go to and sign up. You pay for these ones yourself so watch your budget, oh, and you’re away from home so live a little.

ABATECHSHOW app ** – You can probably do without it if you know how to use a smartphone, pen and paper, follow a schedule or can read a sticky note but there is an app and you’re welcome to download it. I have downloaded it a few times and probably will again this year but I have found it of limited use. It does prove that there IS an App for that though. . .

This is too late to add as a tip but I will say it anyway. If you missed out on booking the Hilton this year because they were sold out you should book if for next year. It is always a great experience to be on location for this event so you don’t miss anything. I will add this cryptic note. . .the view from the roof late in the evening is spectacular.

The Canadians – Find us. . .we are friendly, we know a bit about tech, and most of us will give you the shirts off our back. If we don’t know how to get someplace we will probably stay with you until you complete your journey. We will talk your ear off. We know a lot about beer (some of us,) and there is a special contingent who know a lot about scotch and sometimes arrange a scotch tasting at a nearby purveyor of spirits…seek them out if you’re interested. We are usually ridiculously polite (annoyingly so for some people.) Some of the Canadians (not me) are ABATECHSHOW insiders and know everything.

Check out the Garmin store at 663 N. Michigan Ave. I believe its the only store in USA where you can go and touch every Garmin device made, even those swimmy watch stroke measuring things!

Music – Its Chicago, go find some live music on one of the nights. . .seriously, just do it.

Food – I’m not going to give any real tips here except to say if you sit in your room and eat room service alone you might as well have stayed home. Tag along with some of the people you just met and go someplace fun and eat something you might not have a chance to eat again. OK, I will make a few suggestions even though I said I wouldn’t. . .eat one of the “Chicago hot dogs” just for the fun of it. They put fluorescent green relish and sport peppers on it. . .its strange…but just go with it. Find a deli and have some brisket or smoked meat or pastrami or even a place that brews their own root beer. There are places. . .use the Google! If you want to know what is supposedly hot right now in Chicago, check here

There’s a lake. . .its big…walk down to the lake…take a long walk…you will feel better…dress warmly. It is a six minute walk (East I think) to the Lakefront Trail and Lake Michigan. . .take a camera.

The conference concierge desk/genius bar-like oblong shaped holding pen of speakers – This is a resource that is hidden in the open. You might stop just to ask the person behind the counter how to get to a particular conference room and then move on. . .that would be a mistake! Engage the people behind the counter, they are the synapses firing behind the scenes that really make techshow do it’s thing. Talk to Lincoln Mead, or Ben Schorr or Adriana Linares and find out something about the conference that you would never discover otherwise. They can tell you where the best Wifi spot is in the hotel. They can fix your wifi if you can’t connect in the hotel. They can tell you where to eat. Want to know what’s going on with the Cubs, ask them. Want to know where someone bought a cool bit of tech, ask them. Curious about Ben’s last triathalon, ask him. They can tell you which vendors have the best swag. Its like having access to a supercomputer.

Pick the sessions you want to go to in advance, and then pick an alternate session at the same time. I have been to a few sessions that looked great on paper and then the presenter just didn’t “bring it.” It could be they didn’t have enough coffee, or had too much coffee, or they didn’t prepare, or they over prepared, or there is some technical glitch. . .but just in case have another choice up your sleeve and be prepared to get to another session if your first choice is a dud.

Don’t be afraid to have a “spare.” In other words, you don’t have to go to every session. Take some time to absorb some of what’s going on, maybe sit down and chat with someone and do a little quiet networking. Its also a slower time (during sessions) for vendors and now you can get close to the vendor you wanted to corner.

Usually there is a “Beer for Bloggers” session in the hotel with Kevin O’Keefe and it’s worth checking out if you blog, vlog, send out a newsletter, or can spell Tweet.

Talk to the ABATECHSHOW Planning Board members. Tell them what you like, don’t like, or give them some ideas for the next year. Engage people, don’t just be a bystander.

There are lots and lots of parties going on in the background – find one. . .ask someone what’s going on and you can be one of the cool kids (I have never attained that status but I think it’s possible for others.)

Plan ahead. This is a show packed with vendor/exhibitors. Is there some service you always wondered about? Have a look at past exhibitors and find the one you want to know more about. There’s even a floor plan so you can find people and I know there is probably one on that App thingy I dismissed earlier but hey, I’m not great with maps when I’m below the Earth’s surface.

Last words, bring something warm to wear. . .you will need it on at least one of the days or nights. . .microfleece is light and will keep you warm – ask someone from Minnesota (maybe even this guy) or anyone from Canada.

Go have fun, meet new people, say hi if you run into me. . .I’m easily recognized from my….ummm….painting.

Oh wait, last word – if you haven’t been to Canada, it is a very quick hop from Chicago.

These are my own opinions. not the opinions of anyone affiliated with ABATECHSHOW nor are they the opinions of my employer.

** Just a quick update on the app since I wrote this – I have now downloaded and subscribed to the new app and it looks like in 2015 they may have made some major improvements – there are icons for everything in the front page to follow the official and unofficial Twitter feeds, marking your schedule, noting your sessions by topic or by speaker, a Taste of Techshow interface and even a QR Reader. I would say give it a try this year – I’ve already updated my profile to see if you truly can “Find People.”

PB





ABA TECHSHOW – Shortcomings of technology? #ABATECHSHOW

3 04 2014

ABA TECHSHOW - Shortcomings of technology? #ABATECHSHOW

This guy was at ABA TEACHSHOW in Chicago last week and needed a charge on his device – I didn’t look closely but he’s probably using the battery vampire otherwise known as iOS 7. The charging station was a great idea but like a lot of things at Techshow it came up just a little short for me.

The good:

There were standout speakers and some great presentations about some unexpected things. I liked Ernie Svenson’s (Ernie the Attorney) meet the author session and Pul unger’s as well. These guys somehow made their sessions interesting.

Another standout for me was Randy Juip on making your trial presentation interesting! It was the best presentation about presentations I have seen and I would love to get this guy to talk to every person who has ever made me sit through a PowerPoint. I think he should have to learn Prezi though 😉

Another cool thing was watching Ian O’Flaherty (Lit Software) tweaking someone’s TrialPad software (Melissa Fuller Brown’s in fact,) at 2 AM in the Conrad Hilton Suite! That was service and that’s one of the things about Techshow, its hard to find people who won’t go the extra mile (kilometre,) and they do it with a smile.

The Clio boys (and girls) were awesome as always (full disclosure, they are good friends) and they made an announcement about their recent funding that probably caused some shudders in their cloud platform competitors. They still act like a tech startup but they are smart like foxes and the effortless part in the front is driven by a lot of work behind the curtain.

I chatted with the PKware people about Viivo which encrypts files on your email, DropBox, Box, GoogleDrive, and SkyDrive. It’s pretty much drag and drop and so far (I have it on my phone,) I like it.

Also a quick shout out to fellow Canadian Stephen Starkman from Primafact. They do paperless solutions for medium/larger firms. It’s not something that I have a need for (my employer is paperless and I am a paperless photographer,) but Stephen’s photography is amazing!

Most important thing at Techshow for me was to go and talk to other lawyers and vendors. Find out about the tech they like. What are they using in their offices? What is happening in their Bar? Are there trends? Are there threats? Are there risks? Take your head outta the sand and see what’s going on in the world.

The less than good:

The WiFi at Techshow. . .

I went to a few sessions that were duds. There was no flow to the presentations and I left one after 45 minutes that probably never got to the point, didn’t have a lot to do with tech, nor did it really hit the title or summary of the presentation that was described in the agenda.

The wrap:

John Dean was the featured speaker on the last day. Former White House Counsel who made that trip to the big house after testifying against certain parties as part of a plea bargain. Not a cool position. No lawyer wants to be a witness, and I assume most don’t want to end up in the showers in prison (jail) either, even if you end up with a speaking/book circuit later. This was the second Nixon-related speaker at ABATECHSHOW in 3 years. Dean was preceeded by Ben Stein. Will G. Gordon Liddy be next?

Overall a fun year. A few people I missed seeing this year but I’ll catch them on Twitter or in the future. Toronto isn’t a bad place to visit and a quick hop from Chicago if anyone is so inclined. . .

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The Double Stabbing

22 04 2013

burgers, originally uploaded by psuba98.

I was in Chicago for the Annual ABA Techshow and sure, I learned some stuff about technology, especially about security issues this year. This was an evening out at Au Cheval in the West Randolph area and the burgers were, pardon the pun, killer!

This was a dark place with small lights scattered here and there and packed with the crowd who knew where to be. . .and us. I took a few random snaps (not my usual Chicago shoot the food and staff from every angle a la Smoque trip,) that I have been known to do. This was strictly “hit and run” on our first trip there that evening. It was too packed to penetrate so we zipped across the street to another place to experience some Angry Birds (the beer not the game,) and relax until we could go full on burger.

This was just something to capture the mood while I dodged waiters, waitresses and patrons. . .not easy in that sardine environment. . .

The D4 was purring as usual and I was able to capture the coup de grace (x2) as this pair of meat meals were…dispatched.

Shot them at 1/50 @ ISO 4500 with my trusty 50f1.4 smooth as the challah buns they were delivered on!

 

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ABA The Roundup

3 04 2012

This years Techshow was impressive. I have attended 3 times in 4 years and this year was one of the most informative. I have an appreciation for the planning that goes into a conference like this after planning a similar conference in Toronto for a few years. Reid Trautz and his planning committee/board did a great job this year.

The flaw. WiFi connectivity in the Chicago Hilton. It sucks every year. I understand it was somewhat rescued by Lincoln Mead from Utah – its great using our own IT guy. I know the hotel continues to “work” on the issues but…it was marginally better than other years and there was a proliferation of iPads this year.

The good: pretty much everything. The windup with no hit was probably the session before LexThink. It was disjointed, didn’t seem to have a focus, and fizzled faster than a spent sparkler. The LexThink sessions were strong although maybe with one weak and static and one kinda, hmmm, directionless. Hey, cramming your message into 6 minutes is hard…and unforgiving. Maybe we should stop letting emailers pick the topic.

Cloud was huge this year, tracks, topics, subtropics and at least 30 of the vendors were in the cloud. Lots of iOS stuff going on and one Blackberry session had 26 – 28 people in it. contrast that to 2 years ago when almost everyone had BBs and there were few iPhones, and everyone was worried about iPhone security. Now people were talking DropBox security and ignoring (pretty much) iPhone security.

So where did it all end up? Maybe I’ll add more tomorrow with the odd photo.

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ABA TECHSHOW Day 2

31 03 2012

ABA TECHSHOW Day 2

Ben Stein was kind enough to pause before dashing –

So yesterday was Day 2 at Techshow in Chicago. It was fun and the highlight had to be Ben Stein’s inspiring speech about access to law and the general state of economics in the USA. There were many other messages and lots of shout outs to Canadians in general but I wanted to comment about another message that wasn’t necessarily meant to be there but seeped through to me anyway – if you’re a litigator, learn to be a dynamic public speaker.

He was engaging, told a few jokes, was self-deprecating and knew his audience. He had everyone leaning forward in their seats and it made me think how could go much smoother if you had a Judge and jury leaning toward you in spite of your message. He had notes but he was smooth – he read them over before he spoke, made the odd annotation, and sipped a Starbucks tea while he spoke, occasionally saying “Oh, this is very good” but it was hard to tell if he was speaking to us, or reminding himself that it was going very well, or possibly that it was just really great tea.

Ben had the audience (mostly lawyers/attorneys from Canada and the US) in the palm of his hand. I was reminded of listening to my Dad because of the easy delivery and someone familiar way in which he spoke. It was poetry.

After his talk he was very gracious, stopped for photos with people, made a point of asking people where they were from, and was infinitely patient with people as he was lined up for another photo…for many minutes. He seemed genuinely interested in each person who spoke to him and was a pleasure to speak with one on one.

He stopped for a moment before he made his getaway, made sure I had the shots I wanted and then just before he stepped into a waiting limo asked the driver his name. . .civility is alive and well in Chicago and his stopping along the way to speak with some tech-savvy lawyers was a highlight for me and reminded me its time to pay more attention to detail when addressing an audience and to engage the group as a whole….win them one by one.

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ABA Techshow Day 1

30 03 2012

ABA Techshow Day 1

Matt Homann watches a LexThink speaker

So here we are on Day One and it was a good day of reconnecting with friends, meeting new ones and a good solid day of content. The sessions with Tom Mighell, Sharon Nelson, Ernie Svenson and Antigone Peyton were great. There were lots of tips about making a decent impact with a website and lots of tips about the dangers of public wifi, from physical dangers to lurking data snatchers who are spoofing other identities.

I would say the chatter has been basic to mid-level tech so far and I’m looking forward to sessions tomorrow on Staying Safe in the Cloud with Natalie Kelly and Dan Siegel, and session on Anatomy of a Law Firm Breach with David Ries and John Simek.

There are many iPads here this year and lots of tweeting during sessions. There is some confusion about how to access the wifi as there seems to be different access points this year for Apples and Windows machines…also the usual spotty or less than robust connections in the corners of the concrete bunkers they call sessions rooms.

Looking forward to tomorrow and my live blog something if I get inspired.