Like every conference attendee, I was way too busy dealing with logistics to deal with most anything else. But now that I'm all unpacked, here are a few things of note that I left out of my conference blog, including advice from the Department of Homeland Security, cloudy goodness from Dmitry Kachaev of the District of Columbia, and why we might all want to be teleconference luddites.
I've found that many government agencies crater in the operational requirement definition space, so Cellucci's office and associated materials may help you establish common ground if you serve such an agency. See the "SECURE" program and the "operational requirements definitions" section. Seriously. Some of these ideas are so good I actually carried the 3 pound printed book home with me instead of leaving it as a room tip. And, I pack light - it takes a lot to get me to do that.
He also described how the district, in addition to using Amazon EC2 and Google Apps, also uses Intuit's QuickBase for small throwaway web applications. The audience all appreciated this and he got a bunch of followup on it. After all, while there are quick-and-dirty tools out there for surveys, whose organization doesn't need quick inexpensive temporary data collection sometimes? This was a nice tip worth sharing.
That type of story played itself out several times. And sure, folks could have posted to the listserv or tweeted questions or moaned about it on Facebook, but here's the problem.
We're all getting overloaded with more information than we can possibly bear, and with x number of legit emails coming in per day, and y tweets, and z status updates, some of that is going to be lost as noise. Everybody's practically frantic keeping up, and most of us have other things to do like project management and configuring switches and databases and checking budgets and dealing with human resources and, oh by the way, eat, exercise, and see your family now and again. The good old days of low traffic usenet lists with low signal-to-noise ratios is gone, buddy. I'm sure that some budding entrepreneur is figuring out the problem right now of displaying only things that you're an expert on or want info on, but it's going to take true artificial intelligence, and I'm not sure that's coming before you or I retire.
So, I am profoundly grateful that I got to go to this conference, or any conference where lots of smart IT people get together to learn. Massively high signal to noise ratio, and that's what it's all about.