back to article Stuck in a dull conference? You need Verity's survival guide

The technical conference season is once more upon us. The speakers at these affairs spend a lot of time sharing their software design patterns and anti-patterns with us; as a regular attendee it seemed to me that we punters were overdue for revenge. Here is some of their own medicine. Pattern: BTDTGTTS Motivation: At a talk …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Mage


    keep up the good work Verity

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can I suggest..

    Cloud-based at -0.4 (if not lower)

    Basically any technical term that has become 'management speak' is automatically graded as a negative for technical conferences.

    1. Tom Maddox Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Can I suggest..

      With the phrase "journey to the cloud" meriting a full -1.0.

    2. Andrew Moore

      Re: Can I suggest..

      remember when we used to call the 'cloud' the 'internet'...

  3. AndrueC Silver badge

    >a meandering bit of music that, despite constant changes in tempo, mood and key, never quite reaches a tune

    Mariah Carey does keynote speeches?

    1. lawndart

      And on the piano we have Colin Sell.

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        With General de Gaulle on accordion

  4. The Nameless Mist


    For those of you who don't know

    BTDTBTTS = been there, done that, bought the T-shirt,

    1. Deebster

      Re: BTDTBTTS

      I didn't, but hitting this page comments and searching for BTDTGTTS didn't help either

      1. jai

        Re: BTDTBTTS

        perhaps Nameless Mist left it as an intellectual exercise for the reader to make the jump between the two?

        Which is a bit much for a Monday morning admittedly...

  5. Richard 81

    Social convention:

    The attendee in the first situation will then be shunned for the rest of the conference, and rightly so.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Social convention:

      Or if they somehow corner you at the bar you can probably force them into a game of Fizz-Buzz-Guzz-Wuzz (3,5,7,11) in roman numerals with no technical aids. And lie so they get drunk quickly. If not rohipnol and youtube stream should keep them away from conferences for a while.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Social convention:

      This is the guy (it almost always is a guy) who goes on training courses on subjects or skills he is fully conversant in so he can continually contradict the trainer, or ask obscure questions and finish the practical tasks in 2 minutes so he can sit there making snide comments about how he cant believe everyone is taking so long on what is a fundamentally simple task.

      I'm planning to acquire a taser before going on my next course to deal with these kinds of individuals

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        This is the guy ...

        > ... who goes on training courses on subjects or skills he is fully conversant in

        Actually, I think you'll find he's the guy who is sent on those courses by colleagues (who willingly transfer their training credits to him) just so they can get him out of the office for a while.

      2. Hollerith 1

        Re: Social convention:

        I was actually giving a talk last year and had an 'expert' who winced visibly or snorted or muttered every time I said something he disagreed with, and who gradually took over the day as the moderator lost control. My nay-sayer's expertise seemed to have peaked in 2003, but he was a big man in his company now, having engineered a job for life by making himself irreplacable (and we know how these sort do that), so he felt free to pontificate on anything anyone said. I had the painful experience of being unable to give what was deemed in advance a really practical talk. One prat, one day wasted for dozens of delegates. Solution? Moderator must have tazer.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Social convention:

          There's always one. I was on a training course a couple of weeks ago where one smartarse said "I can't believe you are telling us this stuff, surely everyone in the room knows it already".

          Fair play to the lecturer, it put him off a bit but he recovered well enough. Still annoying though.

          1. Swarthy Silver badge

            Re: Social convention: (@ Evil Graham)

            "Every knows this" is best countered by an obligatory XKCD (1053)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hollerith 1

          The trouble is, these types don't just seem to just stick to conferences; I find a lot of IT workers in general can be just like this (making snide comments on views/techniques they don't agree with etc).

          Anon for obvious reasons ;)

          1. Gav

            Re: Hollerith 1

            I can't believe you are pointing this out on an IT article forum, the purpose of which is to make snide comments on views/techniques you don't agree with etc. Surely everyone here already knows this?

            *derisive snort*

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Re: Hollerith 1



  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Anti-Pattern to "Room for little me".

    'Accidentally' knock their glass of wine over their laptop. Problem solved.

  7. Spindrift

    Absolutely priceless and frighteningly accurate. I laughed out loud at the "Lenovo Duvet", brilliant!

  8. jason 7

    The clever attendee.....

    .....never goes to the conference in the first place.

    You just head to the bar or go somewhere else instead once you've picked up your goody bag to prove to the boss you went.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The clever attendee.....

      Or if you drove there, simply stop in the services close to the venue to buy some fuel and a sandwich, make sure receipt shows the location and then head off and do something useful like shopping, photos or playing the in the arcades at the services! When you get home pick up the PDF conference notes and scan it for the buzzwords to the report to the management the next day!

    2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      Re: The clever attendee.....

      What, and miss out on free drinks and food, and any vendor freebees?

      Think like a BOFH:

      1. Go to the conference

      2. Head for the bar

      3. Wheedle/bribe/blackmail vendor into inviting you to another conference for free

      4. goto 1

      1. Thing

        Re: The clever attendee.....

        Indeed... most engineers I know will never turn down the chance of free food - work on the assumption that ever free meal could be your last.

        Unfortunately most conference organisers are no longer stupid enough to offer a free bar (at least not when there are hardware engineers in the room).

    3. Andrew Moore

      Re: The clever attendee.....

      nip into the bar where you can often find the speakers indulging in a bit of dutch courage before going to give their talk. Engage them one-on-one about the topic, get all the info you want out of them. And finish with a 'don't worry about the talk, judging by what you've told me, you know the whole thing inside out.' He gets the encouragement he needed, you get all the info required to bullshit your boss the next day.

  9. David Mery

    Ada is good, Object oriented is good...

    > Long ago, the writer heard Bjarne Stroustrup himself complain that "object-oriented" had become a marketing synonym for "good"

    At ECOOP 1987 (in what may have been a keynote - don't remember), Bjarne exemplified this issue with the following syllogism:


    Ada is good

    Object oriented is good


    Ada is object oriented


    This talk has been scanned at

    The 1991 revised version is at

    All the other papers from that very first ECOOP conference can be found at

  10. SMFSubtlety

    One speaker/lecturer handled it brilliantly....

    This was at university, but similar situation.

    Guest lecturer at front giving interesting talk. Guy(male) at back (long black hair, slightly high pitched voice) asking annoying questions.

    After question 5 he actually raises an interesting point, but lecturer is frustrated, so says

    "The girl at the back has made a good point...."

    no more questions, lecture continues uninterrupted.

  11. Hungry Sean

    buzzy buzzwords

    seen most of these, but what on earth is "seam" in this context?

    1. Andrew Moore

      Re: buzzy buzzwords

      the new bs- used like 'this is a rich seam of information that needs to be data mined at all costs..."

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can you make that table dynamically update, please? I'd like to bookmark it for future reference.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll admit I can sometimes be the guy who thinks he knows more than somebody talking. But I attempt to bring things up in a better way by asking questions of what they've said

    I can't think of any good examples off the top of my head, but effectively they explain something and the you ask

    you: "Sorry, just want to make sure I'm understanding this right, so you're saying XXXX"

    Them :"Well, not quite, what i'm actually saying is XXXX"

    you: "But if it does XXXX, wouldn't that mean that XXXX would happen?"

    Them: "Well, no because of YYYY"

    you: "But if you do YYYY then ZZZZ becomes redundant, wouldn't it be better to do 1111?"

    so on so forth. Because you aren't correcting them you're just airing your thoughts, eventually they correct themselves. Most of the time you only need to ask the first question and somebody else will take over from you afterwards.

    Of course when somebody is delivering a lecture or keynote on something they don't fully understand, or something they're only referencing a single source for they really can't be that bright anyway.

    1. Richard Bragg

      I think that if I thought there was an error in the presentation I'd try to talk privately to the speaker afterwards. This would help if I mistook what was being said and the presenter can rephrase for me then I don't look dumb, and if the speaker has made an error or was unclear has the opportunity for them to make corrections without being shown up.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better ways to sabotage dull conferences

    The ones that drive me insane are the people who sit next to you and complain to you about how the speaker is blowing smoke for the whole 40 minutes. Maybe you're right, and maybe you're not, but I'm trying to bloody well listen so I can decide for myself!

    As far as escaping, fake phone calls are fun. "Hello honey. Oh, she said yes? I always knew she was a lot of fun. Well, let me tidy up the hotel room and then you two can come over. The bed's big enough for all of us". Walk out as you say this, and watch the attention paid to the speaker plummet. Come back in a few minutes later smiling sweetly and revel in the fact that 100% of the audience are constructing jealous fantasies and not paying a blind bit of notice to Mr Design Patterns up the front.

  15. James Anderson

    l give up.

    I know its humiliating to have to ask but did anyone get the "uncle bob" and "puffing billy" references?

    1. spatulasnout

      Re: l give up.

      Uncle Bob:

      Didn't catch the other.

  16. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    I'd suggest the solution to "room for little me" is to take a women's coat and bag, place it on the seat so it's hanging against the ground and conceal a glass of wine on the floor next to it. When the whale arrives he's almost guaranteed to kick over the glass all over the coat, or knock it over when shifting the thing, and you can scream bloody murder at how he's ruined your friend or significant other's brand new accessories.

    Theoretically anyway. If anyone could test this for me I'd be most appreciative.

  17. G_C

    Or you could...

    Get them drunk and enlist them into the Marines...

This topic is closed for new posts.