San Francisco diary – Day 3: 3 Feb 2014

(written a day later)

On Monday morning we woke at 7:30 again, although I didn’t get very much sleep. We had cereal and milk for breakfast in the hotel room. I left to get to the Hilton by 8:50 for the first talk in my conference track, while M. stayed in the room a bit longer before venturing out to check out Macy’s, which wouldn’t open until 10:00. She actually went out earlier to get some coffee from one of the many Starbucks scattered around the streets.

The digital photography conference track started with a mix of papers on hardware and algorithms for various things, in particular some focused on mobile imaging (i.e. with a phone), and there were papers on image quality measurement, glass and polymer microlens designs, and other things. I had an apple from the hotel lobby fruit bowl during the morning tea break, then went out at lunch to meet M. at the front of the Macy’s building on Union Square.

We walked down Market St to a Noah’s Bagels place like the one we went to yesterday, and had some bagels again for lunch. This time M. had a nine grain bagel with cream cheese, and then picked a potato and peppercorn bagel to try, curious about the potato, but not realising the peppercorns would make it very spicy. I had smoked salmon, cream cheese, and salad on my poppy seed bagel, which came with potato salad again.

Cable Car
Cablecar on Powell Street.

Done with lunch, I still had an hour to kill before the afternoon conference session, so we popped in at Jeffrey’s Toys and Comics to look around. It was mostly children’s toys, with a small comic section and a small section of more advanced games. They had Magic the Gathering cards, but only single booster packs. I asked if they knew where I could get boxes, and the guy didn’t really seem to know, pointing me at Walgreens or Target.

I left M. at Macy’s again and went back to the conference for the afternoon session. After the tea break, I switched conference tracks since the digital photography track wasn’t so interesting, and went to the human vision track, where they had talks about the interaction of sound and vision in 3D cinema, a statistical analysis of how movie genre affects the perception of the balance between audio and video quality, and a talk by Harry Mathias, a movie maker who was nominated for an Academy Award in the 1980s, talking about modern digital technology and why almost none of it was of any use to “real” movie makers. He came across as a bit of an old fogey who hated newfangled stuff, but he made some interesting and valid points about the intersections of artistic vision and technical requirements.

At the end of the talks, I went to the Hilton lobby, where M. was, and we went together into the conference 3D cinema event, which was two hours of 3D shorts from around the world. We only stayed for the first hour, before leaving to go to La Fusion restaurant for the arranged dinner with several other people from Canon. We got the wrong street and found the restaurant a few minutes late, when most of the others were already there. There was Geoff and Quan from Sydney, Francisco (with his wife and young daughter), Su-Kei, and Sandra from Canon USA, a Japanese guy who had been with them for six months and his wife Keiko, and a few other people from Canon Japan who I didn’t know.

The food was Peruvian fusion stuff, and very good. It started with two different ceviches, a prawn one and a fish one, and a rocket and beetroot salad. Then came empanadas: beef, fish, and corn and cheese. And for the mains were a fish pot pie (deconstructed onto a plate for sharing), rotisserie chicken (deliciously moist) with a bread salad, and lomo soltado. They made M. a special vegetarian pie with spinach and mushrooms. It was all delicious. Then we had a three layer chocolate mousse cake for dessert, which was presented to Francisco for his birthday, with candles on. Apparently Sandra had bought it earlier and brought it along.

We left the restaurant just before 22:30 and walked back to our hotel, where we showered and read for a bit before going to sleep.

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