Santa Clara 2017 diary: Day 5

Wednesday 7 June, 2017

It was the usual morning routine of getting up at 07:30, showering, and having some fruit for breakfast then walking over to the Intel offices for the meeting.

It was more technical discussion this morning, including a session on our liaison with the JPEG committee, which I had to run because Scott wasn’t able to attend the meetings this week. First we had a presentation by Andy Kuzma of Intel on his work in developing a Universal Metadata Format which he is proposing to JPEG for adoption into their file format standards. The concern from WG18’s point of view is if JPEG adopts some metadata format which is incompatible with requirements coming from the image capture side, and from the camera manufacturers in particular. Fortunately Andy’s proposal looks very customisable and extensible, with few restrictions, so hopefully it will all just work. We’re going to keep an eye on things though, and I have an action to draft a letter to JPEG outlining the issues regarding requirements from our side.

Glass and wood
Intel office building

Lunch was short again, as the plan was to squeeze everything in and finish the WG18 business today, so we could have tomorrow free. This was great, except the second administrative working group meeting is scheduled for tomorrow at 17:00, and I have to attend that. But in discussions with Margaret and others I got the idea to go to Alviso, an area north of Santa Clara, on the shore of the Bay, after Nicolas had also recommended it to me the other day. It seemed like it would be a long walk, but doable, and so some good exercise.

I also had to prepare an ad hoc group report for the WG18 regular session in the afternoon, and Ed had requested those submitted to him by 14:00. So I went to the Intel cafeteria and filled a take-away box with salad stuff again, choosing some cucumber, broccoli, corn, and cauliflower this time to replace the brussels sprouts I’d tried yesterday. I probably left out a couple of other things too. I took the box back to the meeting room and ate while I typed up the report.

Paul returned after lunch with a “nitro coffee”, which he explained was cold filtered coffee injected with nitrogen bubbles so it foamed up like beer. With him joking that it was a cross between coffee and beer, it took me a while to understand exactly what it was. After lunch we had the regular session, which involves summary reports from all the technical discussions, then administrative stuff and adopting resolutions. We had no technical or administrative resolutions, and since this is a plenary meeting, we deferred all resolutions of thanks to the plenary closing session on Friday.

With the meetings done for the day, we waited a little until it was time to head over to Birk’s steakhouse for the meeting dinner. This was just a short walk away, next door to Pedro’s, and looked like a pretty fancy place. I’d checked the menu online and they had several dishes going for over US$50. Neelam said that the organising committee had selected a choice of four dishes for the main meal – we would be choosing from a subset of the full menu because there were about 40 of us in the party.

Seared halibut
Pan seared halibut at Birk’s

When we got there some of the others had already arrived and were drinking at the bar. Everyone mingled for a bit and then the waiters showed us to our area of the restaurant, where there were seven or eight tables across which we had to split ourselves. I ended up sitting with Jonathan, Margaret, Neelam, Elaine, and Katoh-san at a small table of six. The menu included three choices of appetiser, four mains, and three desserts:

Caesar salad, or a berry and spinach salad, or clam chowder. Then an 8 ounce filet mignon, or a 12 ounce prime rib, or “Mary’s chicken”, or pan seared halibut. And for dessert a hazelnut chocolate cake, crème brûlée, or ice cream with a cookie. I chose the berry and spinach salad, halibut, and crème brûlée. The salad had chopped figs in it and bits of blue cheese, but was really mostly just baby spinach leaves and not much of all the other ingredients, so a bit dull. The fish was cooked a bit too firm for my preference, but was okay, and had vegetables including cauliflower in white, green, and purple varieties, so at least it was colourful. The crème brûlée was the best part.

Crème brûlée
Crème brûlée at Birk’s

During the dinner I expected some speeches or at least short thanks to the organising committee, but there was nothing, and the dinner sort of just drifted apart as people started leaving soon after we finished eating. I returned to my hotel and did the usual evening routine before hopping into bed.

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