Reporters Notebook: BrainShare 2000

FRAMINGHAM (04/03/2000) - Dressing down in DENIMFollowing the opening keynote address, Novell Inc. CEO Eric Schmidt got a few fashion tips from his executive colleagues who joined him at a subsequent press conference.

The suit-clad Schmidt was the only one of four on stage not wearing denim pants in honor of the company's so-called Directory Enabled Net Infrastructure Model (DENIM) initiative.

David Shirk, senior vice president of product management, looked at Schmidt in his suit before answering a question about DENIM and said, "Apparently one of us didn't get the message about denim."

Hack Attack I

Novell partnered with Cabletron to provide wireless modems to BrainShare attendees. The deal involved plunking down a refundable $199 fee for the pleasure of being constantly wired to the show's in-house network. What users may not have realized is that an enterprising attendee ran a sniffer trace of the wireless traffic and watched as unencrypted clear-text passwords passed between the BrainShare floor and users' office networks.

Hack Attack II

It took all of about half a day for someone to hack into the conference network and bring it down. The hacker changed the network's configuration and sent Novell engineers scrambling. The system was soon brought back up and things were back on track.

Flock of sheepish chatters

Members of the Novell community chat forum resorted to analog communication to bring together their herd at a BrainShare bash before the conference opened.

Bleating like sheep, they figured they would be able to recognize members - many of whom they had only met online.

Now that's a BAAAH-D way to get in touch with each other when you could be exchanging passwords on the wireless network.

And more brains . . .

At the risk of sounding a bit gross, the place was wall-to-wall "brains." There were foam brains flying around the pressroom; "BrainMan's" giant brain protruding from his skull in the conference game room; a plaster brain suspended from the ceiling in the tech lab; miniature toy brains in a nearby restaurant; and brains on conference banners lashed to light poles outside the convention center.

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