Europe diary, day 6: technical topics and imaging demos

Thursday 9 November

I have terrible luck with shoes overseas. Yesterday the pair I brought here developed one sole in the process of peeling off from the heel. It’s been making a rubbery flapping noise every time I take a step, and was slowly getting worse as the sole progressively peels away from the rest of the shoe. This exact thing has happened at least twice on other overseas trips.

I woke up a bit early this morning, but not as bad as yesterday. M. got a better sleep. We got up just after 07:00 and had breakfast. At 08:30 we left, me heading for my meetings and M. for a cafe for her morning coffee.

Today’s meeting was packed with diverse technical sessions, after yesterday’s marathon on HDR images. Today we discussed image information capacity (using Shannon information theory to measure the signal to noise ratio across an image), depth metrology (characterising depth image cameras), angle-dependent image flare (measuring lens flare caused by light sources outside the field of view of the camera), removable memory (revising a current standard to deal with the fact that camera technology has moved on from removable memory), and vocabulary (revising the list of technical camera-related definitions to update old definitions and add new ones as technology changes).

For the lunch break, I went back to the same Turkish place as yesterday since it was so good. The woman remembered me from yesterday and welcomed me back with a hearty greeting. This time I had the falafel plate instead of the chicken, and it was just as good.

Despite the load of topics, the meeting wrapped up just before 15:00 today, because we had a special event planned for the afternoon. We had to make our way to the Finlayson neighbourhood, which is all old warehouses and industrial buildings, converted into restaurants and tech companies. One was hosting a mini imaging industry event, to which we were all invited.

But on the way back to the apartment to pick up M. I stopped off at a shoe repair place that I’d found by searching online. It was right next door to the restaurant where we’d picked up the key to the apartment, and so on the way. I had some stereotypical idea of an old Finnish cobbler who didn’t speak English, so I prepared by translating a few sentences explaining my predicament into Finnish using Google Translate. It was fortunate that I did, because the shop was indeed run by an old Finnish man who didn’t speak English. I showed him the translation on my phone, which explained that these were the only pair of shoes I had with me on this trip, so I needed either to buy some glue or to get a quick repair done while I waited. He examined my shoe and held up two fingers, saying “two minutes”. It ruined out to take maybe 10 minutes as I waited, thinking we were going to be late for the industry event. He did a bang-up job on the shoe though, for 10 euro.

I collected M. from the apartment and we headed to the event. We got a little lost in the building, climbing the stairs from the ground floor to what we thought was the first floor, but turned out to be the second. So we rode back down a floor in the lift. I think ended up on a kind of mezzanine level, half a floor above the ground level. From there we were confused as to where to go until we spotted signs pointing to an imaging event, which sounded right. Following these we entered a conference room area, where women at the door asked us to sign in on a list if invitees. I couldn’t find my name there, and we had to explain that we were ISO delegates invited by Ari to this event. This got an “ah!” of understanding and they handed us a blank sheet to write our names and affiliations on.

I hadn’t quite known what this event was going to be, and was a little surprised at all this. We entered room with about a hundred people sitting watching a presentation, and hovered near the back until someone brought us a couple of high stool chairs to sit on. The presentation was a series of 5-10 minute presentations given by people from various local imaging tech companies and university institutes here in Tampere. Most had brought demos of their technology, which were set up in a series of small rooms off the main room, and where we could go play with the demos after the talks were over.

But when the talks were done they first had some entertainment! An improv comedy group named Okay 10 performed for about half an hour, doing a series of 6 or 7 different improv pieces. The group was two men and a woman, with one man playing guitar for a few of the skits. He did a whole improv song, using title and word prompts from the audience – the song was named “Nimble Swimming” and when they requested a musical style someone yelled out “jazz!”, so the guy said, ah yes, he’d do it “in the well-known jazz guitar style”. He started singing and the woman occasionally called out audience words that she’d collected while the singer wasn’t listening. He was really good and the song was hilarious. This was the highlight of several good sketches.

After the comedy, we had a stand up buffet dinner, with mixed vegetables, potato rösti, braised beef cheek, braised pork, and falafel patties with spicy tomato sauce, along with beers and wines. The food was pretty good, with the beef cheeks delicious and tender. We filled up, and also went and tried a Microsoft HoloLens at one of the demos, which was fun.

Full of free food, we departed to head back to the apartment. But M. suggested stopping at a cafe for cakes and hot chocolate. It was still very early, just after 18:00, as the buffet had started at 17:00. M. led us to the cafe Kaffila. We passed three or four other cafes on the way which I pointed out, but M. said they didn’t “look cozy”. I saw what she meant when we arrived at Kaffila, which definitely had that “cozy” vibe. I ordered M. a large hot chocolate and asked the woman behind the counter about the cakes. I had my eye on what looked like a lemon cheesecake, but the adjacent cake with layers of cream looked intriguing too. She said the first was a pear cheesecake, which sounded good and I wanted to try it, right up until she said the other was a carrot cake and “that’s my favourite”. Well, the staff favourite had to be tried, so that’s what I had. It was indeed a very good carrot cake, with layers of cream filling.

Now truly stuffed, we headed back to the apartment for the night. The only issue outstanding is that when in the shoe repair place the man asked about my other shoe and I assured him it was fine. But… as I was leaving with my newly fixed left shoe, I noticed the heel on my right shoe starting to peel off… M. cracked up laughing when I told her this and said I’d have to go back and get the guy to fix the other shoe tomorrow.

One thought on “Europe diary, day 6: technical topics and imaging demos”

  1. You seem to have the same luck with shoes and water valves. I haven’t lost a heel in decades, and I’m a big overweight guy who puts a lot of stress on shoes.

    I’m absolutely not telling you what to do, but I am surprised you didn’t just buy a cheap pair of shoes, which you could even abandon in Finland if you didn’t end up liking them.

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