Cisco Live! 2013 Orlando

I spent this past week in Orlando at Cisco Live! 2013. The first time I went to this convention, it went by the name Networkers and was held in Denver. That was 1998. I attended Networkers the next year in Vancouver and Whirl came along with me. We tacked a few extra days on at the end to play tourist. A lot of things change in 15 years. The attendance back in the late 90s, at the height of the dot-com boom was still only about 3000 people. Every CCIE proudly wore a leather jacket with their number embroidered on it. I was still wet behind the ears, wide-eyed and naïve.

Now I suppose I’m older. More grizzled. Less impressed by flashy things and more interested in practical knowledge that will improve my work. My boss suggested I go this year. He attended two years ago, and knew that there is real value to be obtained– and that there is some fun to be had as well. So I booked up my class schedule, found a hotel, booked a flight and set off.

I also packed my swimsuit and my Blackhawks sweater. The suit was so I could practice with Team Orlando Masters at the YMCA Aquatic Center on International Drive. The sweater was because game six (and game seven, if necessary) of the Stanley Cup Finals would be played while I was there. And I was glad for both of them. I got two practices in with the Orlando Masters, and on Monday night a made a bunch of new friends at Miller’s Ale house. We turned the beer garden into our own Stanley Cup Finals party. At the end of the night we must have played “Chelsea Dagger” on the jukebox at least nine times in a row.

I attended sessions every day starting around 7:30 and going until about 5:30 or 6:00. Everything from radio frequency specifications and antennae design to the latest features in Cisco’s newest datacenter switches– a monster of a thing that will push 83 terabits/second through the switching fabric. I went to the big customer appreciation event on Wednesday night at Universal Studios– where we closed out the park and had a private, catered party for the 20000 people in attendance. I toured the World of Solutions expo where hundreds of various tech companies had booths set up. It was quite enlightening, nearly ten times the size of my previous visits.

Anyway. that’s enough preamble. Here are a few of the koans of wisdom I gathered from my four days at Cisco Live! 2013.

  • Connecting disconnected things allows those things to communicate (who knew?)
  • Journey without Steve Perry should be called Journey on My Wayward Son
  • Compute is a noun
  • Bathroom inequality is real; I just hadn’t truly experienced it before
  • Resonate (n): superficial consideration of allegedly meaningful propositions
  • EIGRP-OTV is super-cool
  • NX-OS accounting logs can save your bacon
  • 58 seconds can last a lifetime
  • Filling your keynote speech with an over-abundance of buzzwords is a surefire way to clear a room of network engineers; simultaneously offering free food and beer elsewhere multiplies the effect dramatically
  • The Kool-Aid sometimes tastes funny
  • Cafe Tu Tu Tango is wonderful; you should have dinner there