ICANN wrap-up

Kim Hill interviewed ICANN Chairman Vint Cerf (who also co-invented the TCP/IP protocol the runs on) on Saturday morning. If you are interested in how the Internet works, it is a superb interview. Vint explains TCP/IP using postcards as an analogy. Even non-techs like me could understand it. It is 40 minutes long but touches on all sorts of issues.

Also Scoop has images and audio of a post-ICANN press conference by Chairman Vint Cerf and President Paul Twomey.

Most of the week of the conference is pretty routine with presentations and discussions on diverse topics. One of the more interesting ones was a panel discussion on what ICANN should do if a Government wants to take over the running of a country code top level domain, without the consent of the current operator. The views of Government reps and ccTLD managers was somewhat apart, but some common ground.

A few amusing incidents which I can recall:

The funniest for me was a dispute over a pub quiz question with an ICANN staffer. It was to do with how many applications for new generic top level domains were still under consideration. She disputed my answer and demanded a prize by the end of the week if I hadn’t worked out the correct answer. Now I am very competitive sometimes and this got me spending hours going through web archives, meeting minutes, transcripts etc of the ICANN site to work out which application had dropped out.

I couldn’t work it out so finally cheated a wee bit by asking on an IRC channel if anyone knew the status of the five applications. I had agreed not to ask anyone for help. Now on that channel were two ICANN board members. That night the staffer comes up to me and accuses me of cheating by asking board members. I look guilty but try to deny it (technically I asked an IRC channel) and ask her what makes her think that. She replies that the two board members asked the rest of the board and currently the entire board is discussing it on their discuss list and she now has to do an update for the board for tomorrow on the issue.

I guiltily admit okay maybe I did say something. Damn it – I hate losing! Am rather amused though that our dispute over a pub quiz question led to a board discussion on the issue 🙂 She ended up winning a prize.

Another amusing moment was at ten pin bowling with the Chairman of ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee. The GAC has been the main body opposed to or slowing down the .xxx TLD application. Hence when the GAC Chairman got three strikes in a row and the scoreboard showed an XXX next to his name, it made for a great photo opportunity. And the photographer was the .xxx TLD applicant!

Also got to poke fun at the Australians by asking out of Iran, China and Australia which country’s leader can most quickly get a parody website about him removed.

And another good moment was presenting the senior official from the US Government with an upside-down map showing NZ at the centre top, and the US at the side near the bottom declaring it to represent the new power balance in the world. It will look good on a US Government wall.

Finally on Friday night had a great night with some of the ICANN people at the NZSO with recitals of Cuban Overture, Concerto in F, American in Paris, and Rhapsody in Blue. Oh it was such a fun performance with the pianist and conductor so animated to match the music. The pianist did two encore tunes as he kept getting clapped back. I really must make sure I attend NZSO more often.

The amusing part was back at the Intercontinental Hotel afterwards where we had some nibbles and drinks. Vint Cerf had a 10 minute DVD showing closeups of Mars. However no-one in the room could get the DVD player to tune into the TV, despite being probably one of the most technologically capable groups around being present in the room. Finally we gave up and had to ask room service to do it for us 🙂

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