Those of us who've spent a bit of time attending conferences around Australia will know that every event has its bloopers. This week's Australian Telecommunications Users Group (ATUG) conference held in Sydney was certainly no exception.
First cab off the rank was ATUG managing director Rosemary Sinclair, who chaired the first panel of speakers. After reminding the audience to turn off their mobile phones, and confessing that she was usually guilty of leaving hers on... well it's easy to guess what happened.
Probably best to leave the damn thing at home next time, Rosemary!
The ATUG chief also revealed her unorthodox method of being introduced to Corning's Robert Whitman, who presented on fibre to the home (FTTH) technology.
Sinclair found Whitman's details by Googling for "ftth.ppt" - in other words, a Powerpoint presentation on fibre to the home. A lengthy e-mail conversation apparently ensued.
Whitman himself provided the audience with some classic Yankee-brand light relief.
A former sailor in the US Navy, he told the conference that what little he knew about the Land Down Under had been narrated to him by "some crusty old navy folks".
These venerable gentlemen apparently told Whitman the best ports in the world to visit were Sydney and Melbourne. Primarily, it appeared, due to the relative merits of the Australian women who would appear whenever a US ship would dock.
To prove the authenticity of his story Whitman donned a Navy uniform -- complete with cap -- in front of the crowd.
The American followed this up by demonstrating his musical knowledge of our fair land. As ACDC's seminal hit "Thunderstruck" blasted from the auditorium's speakers at high volume, the immense screen in front of the audience changed from a mild-looking powerpoint slide to the band's logo.
Following this, it became apparent the mobile phone shenanigans still weren't finished, with the editor of a prominent communications magazine falling prey to her polyphonic device --- not once but twice.
The loss of AAPT's chief executive Jon Stretch several weeks ago didn't appear to have made much of a mark on the telco's outspoken regulatory affairs chief David Havyatt.
Dubbing his speech "The Larry Williams memorial address", Havyatt told the audience his slot was where the AAPT CEO of the moment traditionally "put the boot into Telecom Australia".
Telecom New Zealand's decision to abolish the chief executive position at its subsidiary AAPT, Havyatt said, solved the problem of whoever filled that ill-fated spot having to deal with his TNZ boss while thinking incumbent telcos were malicious in general.
Havyatt also introduced a new word to the conference.
"Confusopoly", he said, "is a tendency to introduce pricing plans that make it physically impossible for customers to compare [telcos]."
One wonders whether the term will be particularly appropriate if AAPT ends up being acquired and has to integrate its product line with that of another telco. Say Optus?
On a more serious note. Full Duplex wonders whether Australian Communications and Media Authority deputy chief Lyn Maddock's speech pleased her new boss Chris Chapman.
Chapman -- who took up his new role chairing the regulator just several weeks ago -- watched from the audience as Maddock outlined the regulator's plans for the year ahead. Here's hoping she didn't drop anything sensitive and get hauled up before the big cheese.
One can only hope day two will provide as many amusing moments.