San Francisco 2013 diary: Day 2

Monday, 4 February, 2013. 17:15

The first day of the conference is almost over. The talks have finished, and there is only the special event showcasing some of the best applications of 3D video starting in half an hour. Then after that I’m having dinner with colleagues from Canon. We have a yakitori place in Burlingame booked.

I woke up just before 06:00 this morning, then snoozed until the alarm went off at 07:00, then snoozed a bit more until I got up and had a shower. I went down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, having neglected to find anything yesterday to buy and be able to keep in my room to eat. There was a buffet, but I ordered a smoked chicken omelette a la carte. It came with a hash brown and sourdough toast and was very good. Then it was off to the first round of talks in the Digital Photography stream. Some talks were more interesting than others, but I took notes for all of them. There was a brief coffee break, then just before lunch I switched rooms to attend a talk in a different stream since it looked relevant to stuff I’ve been working on recently. On the way I bumped into Clement from work, and Francisco who works at Canon USA. We agreed to meet for dinner at the lobby right after the 3D video event tonight. Then I went off to my talk, which turned out to be a bit less relevant than I’d hoped.

For lunch I walked down to Burlingame and got a felafel roll at the same “Middle Eastern” place where I had lunch one time in 2011. It was good, but I noticed an odd flavour in the roll, and realised there were thin spears of dill pickle in there! On the way back I stopped in at a fruit market and bought three large and good looking Granny Smith apples, as well as a bag of blueberry bagels. That’s breakfast for tomorrow and probably the day after sorted! I also stopped at an old fashioned candy and ice cream store, with a gorgeous old sign on the building that I took a photo of. I might try the ice cream another day. But this time I picked up a bag of “bloopers”, chocolates that had been messed up during production – the look hand dipped. I tried a couple just now and they taste great, one chewy caramel with what looked like sugar crystals on top, but turned out to be salt, and another with a creamy peanut buttery filling.

35/365 Preston's Candies & Ice Cream
Preston’s Candies and Ice Cream, Burlingame.

Then it was back to the conference for the afternoon session, in which I room hopped a little to catch things that interested me. One talk in particular was about automated software for choosing which photos from a collection to go into an album and automatically arranging them on the pages. The results needed a lot of work, which I commented on when I asked a question. As the chair pointed out, no one algorithm is going to please everyone’s sense of aesthetics or what photos are most significant. The last talk I attended was about plenoptic cameras in mobile phones, but started with the guy talking about adaptive optics systems in astronomy! They developed this system for huge telescopes, then right at the end they decided to try it on crappy phone cameras and decided the results were good enough to present at this conference!

The conference.


I attended the 3D video demo session, which was two hours of short film sequences produced by a wide range of people, from Pixar animations to small studios to individual film directors, to the host of the event himself who showed a home 3D movie of his kids in a hedge maze. There were documentaries, action, comedies, sports, advertising, all sorts of stuff, most of which was pretty cool.

After the films, I met Francisco, Sandra, and Sui-Kei from Canon USA, and Clement from CiSRA and we all walked down to Burlingame for dinner at a yakitori restaurant there. We ordered some soft shell crab, salad, edamame, oysters, and a bunch of skewers of various meats: chicken, duck, beef, lamb, and spicy sausage. It was all very good. Sandra disappeared for a minute and we discovered later it was to order a big slice of cake for Francisco’s birthday. This was a red velvet chocolate cheesecake, which we all shared.

After dinner we walked back to the hotel again in the cold night air. Now it’s time for bed and another day at the conference tomorrow.

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