Finland ISO meeting, day 5

Today was the last day of my virtual standards meeting. So although it was Saturday I had to get up at 6:30 and have breakfast before starting the meeting at 7. It was all closing administrative stuff today, like going over action items and deciding stuff about the next meeting. Since we’ve only been doing these virtual meetings for a short time, the process is still being refined, and we decided to have a short pre-meeting a week before the next meeting to finalise the agenda, so we don’t end up with what happened this time, having an hour gap in the middle of a session due to someone’s presentations being short, and being unable to move the following session up because people were planning to dial in at a specific time for it. Hopefully that will make things easier for everyone next time.

It was really cold today, with a strong cold front system moving through the region, bringing bone-chilling winds. The front arrived yesterday evening, with a bit of rain. The leading edge of it hit while I was at the dog park with Scully, causing this:

Rainbow storm over Sydney

Rather than go for a big walk with Scully today in the wintry conditions, we were lazy and just did a short walk up to a nearby railway station to get some pies for lunch.

When I got home, I was going through the pantry and I found a leftover packet of bread mix, from when I was doing baking a few months ago during the COVID lockdown. So I decided to bake some fresh bread this afternoon.

Lockdown baking

And now that we’re out of mix, I might buy some more, actually. It’s pretty easy to make, and really delicious.

Also this afternoon, I played some Codenames Duet with my wife, and we won the Madrid campaign game. That’s 9 out of 26 missions completed! Oh, and I also completed making that latest batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips that I’ve bene working on for the past week while not doing ISO standards meetings.

New content today:

Finland ISO meeting, day 4

Today was the last day of technical discussions for my virtual ISO meeting. We talked about standards for image stabilisation, depth metrology, and high dynamic range and wide colour gamut image format.

I spent time afterwards making Irregular Webcomic! strips. Then picked up Scully from my wife’s work and took her to the dog park. And this evening I am in the middle of playing games with friends on our fortnightly virtual board games night – so can’t write much more…

New content today:

Finland ISO meeting, day 3

Day 3 of my ISO meeting went well. We had technical discussions on two topics: measurement of visual noise in images, and measurement of camera autofocus reliability and speed. The first is a revision of an existing standard to update the empirical formulation of how the human visual system perceives noise levels in an image. There’s a lot of very interesting experimental work being done on that across several labs all around the world to get this revision done.

The camera autofocus work is new, and is having to deal with a lot of technical difficulties in triggering and timing of autofocus – mainly because cameras are engineered to be useful in real world situations, not in standardised testing labs.

Most of the rest of the day I spent making comics, both Darths & Droids and Irregular Webcomic!. Yesterday, when I was too busy to write much here… well, it was similar, actually.

Oh! Today I got a package in the mail, a reward for a Kickstarter I backed a year or two ago. The project was delayed by various things, but they came through. Behold!

New dice

Gaming dice. Specifically, that’s a d21, a d21 with consonant labelling, a d5 with vowel labelling, and a d36 that doubles as a single die roll to generate 2d6 using the pips.

New content today:

Finland ISO meeting, day 1

Virtual Finland meeting, that is. I got up a bit early this morning, so I could finish breakfast and be ready to start my ISO Photography Standards meeting at 7 o’clock. There were delegates web-conferencing in from all over the USA, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, and me in Australia.

Unfortunately with people scattered across the globe, the time zone is bad for at least somebody. Last meeting, it was bad for me, having to stay awake until 2:30am every day (for five days in a row). This time it’s a decent block of time in the morning, but the people in Europe are suffering with an 11pm to 2:30am shift.

The first sessions are administrative, and we discussed the next meeting in February, which was supposed to be me hosting here in Sydney. Given the current COVID situation and the fact that there’s no end in sight to the Australian Government ban on foreign visitors entering the country, we decided to make the call and convert it to another virtual meeting. Then the question of timing came up. The chair suggested that we revert back to the timing of the last meeting, which is described as “Morning, New York time”, as opposed to this meeting’s “Evening, New York Time”.

“Morning, NYC” (last meeting) corresponds to:

  • Sydney: 11pm – 2:30am
  • Tokyo: 10pm – 1:30am
  • Europe: 3pm – 6:30pm
  • East USA: 9am – midday
  • West USA: 6am – 9am

“Evening, NYC” (this meeting) corresponds to:

  • Sydney: 7am – 10:30am
  • Tokyo: 6am – 9:30am
  • Europe: 11pm – 2:30am
  • East USA: 5pm – 8:30pm
  • West USA: 2pm – 5:30pm

I was dreading having another late night shift. And then someone pointed out that daylight saving will have changed by February… which makes the proposal to switch back to “Morning, NYC” look like this:

“Morning, NYC, DST” (southern hemisphere summer, proposed for next meeting):

  • Sydney: 1am – 4:30am
  • Tokyo: 11pm – 2:30am
  • Europe: 3pm – 6:30pm
  • East USA: 9am – midday
  • West USA: 6am – 9am

USA/Europe move back an hour and Sydney moves forward an hour, making a two hour relative time shift. Japan doesn’t have DST, so moves forward an hour relative to Europe/USA. As you can see, this proposal is not merely bad for me, it’s much worse.

(Now, there’s also the fact that alternating between these two schedules alternately screws Sydney/Tokyo or Europe, but never screws anyone in the USA. But there are so many delegates in the USA that the idea of a schedule where Europe/Sydney/Tokyo get decent times and everyone in the USA has to stay up until 3 in the morning on whatever didn’t seem to be considered as a serious option, alas.)

Anyway, I had a go at proposing an alternative schedule for the southern summer meeting:

“Evening, NYC, DST” (southern hemisphere summer):

  • Sydney: 7am – 10:30am
  • Tokyo: 5am – 8:30am
  • Europe: 9pm – 12:30am
  • East USA: 3pm – 6:30pm
  • West USA: midday – 3:30pm

This keeps things same for me, makes Tokyo have to get up a bit early, but also has the big advantage of pulling Europe into an almost reasonable timeslot. It’s actually not terrible for anybody. The timing will be discussed and finalised later this meeting. I’m hoping some sort of sanity prevails and we can have this schedule for February, and then I’d be happy (or at least resigned) to go back to the “Morning NYC” schedule for the next meeting in the southern winter.

Assuming it’s still virtual that is. The June 2021 meeting is currently scheduled for Okayama in Japan, and I’m hoping we might possibly be able to do it face-to-face by then.

I’ll let you know how it goes as this meeting continues.

New content today:

Virtual Finland

I should be in Finland right now. If not for COVID-19, I would be. My next ISO Photography Standards meeting was scheduled for Tampere in Finland, beginning Monday. But of course it’s been converted to an online meeting, so I’m still at home. I was really looking forward to this one too, because I’ve never visited Finland.

Normally for these meetings I travel to arrive a couple of days early, to give myself time to do some sightseeing. Sightseeing helps with the jetlag, because I stay awake all day despite any tiredness and crash into bed in the evening. I use this method whenever I travel and it works reasonably well for me.

So, today I should have been sightseeing in Tampere. Instead, my wife and I went over to her sister’s new place. She recently moved house, so we went over to have a look at the new place. It was raining moderately heavily this morning, and we got a bit wet, but it was good to visit and see the place.

We got home, had lunch, took Scully for a run in the park, and played some Codenames Duet campaign games – winning Paris, but losing twice at the more difficult Madrid.

This week I have the virtual meeting. After last time, when it was at a time that meant I had to stay up late, they’ve shifted the time zone for this meeting. This time it’s on from 07:00 to 10:30 in my time zone, so it’s much more convenient. But because Australia is so far east, it’s actually on from Tuesday-Saturday in my time zone.

New content today:

Veg day

Today was very lazy. After the mental exertions of yesterday, I didn’t feel particularly inspired to do much today, and spent a lot of time just goofing off and browsing websites. It was also very cold again which prompted me not to venture outdoors. I ended up getting very cold just sitting at home and had some mugs of liquorice tea to warm up.

I did write a bit of Darths & Droids with some help from co-authors via online chat. Oh, and the main thing I got done was going through a bunch of emails and documents for ISO photography standards that have built up over the past few weeks. So I had some technical reading to do.

Oh, I got some good news today! An email from a Kickstarter I backed over a year ago for some gaming dice, that estimated delivery of rewards by September 2019. The campaign organiser said that the rewards are now shipping! A year late, but I do have to credit the organiser with providing regular informative updates and assurances that the project had not been dropped. The problem was with their supply chain and not directly themself, so I don’t blame them. And I’m now looking forward to getting my hands on those dice.

New content today:

Late Games Night post

It’s Saturday morning already and this is a catch-up post for last night, when it was our fortnightly board games night. Again we played virtually, using Board Game Arena to begin with. I played games of Kingdomino, Downforce, 7 Wonders (several games), and 6 Nimmt, before we moved on to skribbl.io, which is essentially an online version of Pictionary. I didn’t win any of the games – which is pretty usual for me as some of my friends are much more competitive and thus motivated to be a lot more careful with their strategy. I did come second in one game of 7 Wonders, which I’m happy with.

On Friday morning I had a Zoom meeting with Standards Australia for the follow-up to the ISO Photography meeting I had back in June. This is to brief the Australian photography experts on what happened during the (virtual) New York meeting, as well as to deal with some local Australian photography standards business (such as officially adopting recent ISO amendments, etc).

After that I took Scully for a walk to the fish & chips shop, to get myself some fish & chips for lunch. Then I spent the afternoon cleaning the car after last weekend’s road trip. Since it rained heavily, and we had Scully in and out of the car, it was pretty dirty, with mud in various places inside the car, as well as on the exterior. For the first time I actually removed the floor mats and washed them with detergent and hosed them off.

And in other news, a COVID alert was issued for my local supermarket, for anyone who shopped there between 10:30 and 11am on Monday. I shopped there on Monday morning, and I was there around 10:30, although I can’t remember if I’d left before 10:30 or was there for a few minutes afterwards. So it’s possible I was there at the same time as someone who has since tested positive. Official advice is that the risk of transmission is low, and to monitor for symptoms, but not to self-isolate and test immediately. Still, it’s too close to home, and a bit scary.

New content today:

Standards reporting

Today was a day to work on writing my report for the recent ISO Photography standards meeting – the one that I attended virtually and had to stay up to 2am each night for four nights a few weeks ago. Part of my role in this is to prepare a report for Standards Australia on all of the things discussed at the meeting. So I basically worked on that for much of the day. Got it finished a bit after dinner.

I’m going well with reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book 6 in Italian. I’m up to page 72, and there are 216 pages, so that’s exactly a third of the way through. I’m definitely noticing that as I work my way through these books I’m having to look up fewer words, and I can work out the meanings of more unfamiliar words by context without needing to look them up.

New content today:

Recovery Saturday

The ISO Photography Standards meeting concluded late last night. I’ve now spent the past 4 nights staying up until 2am (really a bit later, since I need to brush my teeth and get ready for bed after that), and waking up some time between 7 and 8 am, so I’m really surviving on limited sleep. So today was a relax and recover day, punctuated only by necessary housework.

I spent some time writing new Irregular Webcomic! strips. I’m now ready to photograph the remainder of the batch I began during the week.

That was about it really. It’s now just after 8pm and I’m ready for bed…

New content today: