|Another day in the city...
||[Oct. 31st, 2004|12:16 am]
Today was a good deal of fun. I owe this mostly to denorae who convinced me to get myself up to the AES conference in San Francsisco today. (Though balter gets huge points too for pointing me at the get-a-free-event-floor-pass registration form).
I also finally figured out public transit from Mountain View to San Francisco. Caltrain isn't that bad (schedules are reasonable for a weekend, and the train wasn't crowded at all), but it does put you (location wise) in a less than perfect part of the city. Thankfully, it was only about 3/4 of a mile from the convention center, so I was able to just walk.
I got to the exhibit hall around 11am or so and walked around the floor for a while, mostly picking up materials to ship back to Pittsburgh so that WRCT and AB can have a look if they like. The biggest impression I got was that digital control is lightyears ahead of where it was when I first looked at replacing the WRCT airboard about 4 years ago. Its getting to the point where it is pretty pervasive. I also saw good indications that the UI problem that consoles are beginning to face as they get larger is being fixed -- SmartAV has some interesting solutions that I begin to wonder if they could help for live running of a large conventional lighting rig as well (of course, no one is doing this, so its doubtful that anyone would spend money developing it... sigh).
denorae and I met up in a seminar about Spacemaps, which is one approach to dealing with the placement of a surround sound source in a space (i.e. where the "image" of the sound is). The math behind this is shockingly simple even for systems very large numbers of disparately located speakers. You can also create "virtual sources" (speakers that don't exist) and the math doesn't get significantly more complicate. Quite a bit of fun :).
We went out to lunch with sonusexmachina who I hadn't met before either.
After lunch, denorae and I went down to Fisherman's Wharf for a short time, mostly to see Ghirardelli square. I finally got a chance to actually try their ice cream, and my chocolate supply is now restocked :). We also got a really awesome parking spot -- in a free lot basicly on the water.
We also went by this bookstore that was also in Ghirardelli square. Pretty interesting place, it had architechure books, and contractor manuals, and some books with math proofs. I'm not quite sure what the genesis of this particular selection was, but it made for some amusing browsing. I also orderd a book on the solution to the four-color problem (See Four Colors Suffice). I'm rarely intensely interested in proofs but a brief reading got me into it so I'll have to explore more.
Next we headed over to Berkeley to meet with Brighton and James (some might know him as "The guy with the red hat") and Sam (who I hadn't met before). When we got there the city was an absoltue mess of traffic. Apparently there was a UC football game about to start. So, naturally, there was less parking avaiable than normal (which is pretty bad to begin with). Not just because there were more cars, of course -- the city nixes hundreds of spots anyway.
We did run into plenty of frats who wanted to offer us parking and free bbq for upwards of $40 for four hours. We declined and eventually gave up trying to park and instead picked up the Brighton, James, and Sam to find a quieter place to eat. Which we did -- a mediteranian place that was pretty good.
While there, we played a few rounds of Set (no, not the version of Set that mdenton and Alison played), which I wasn't very good at but enjoyed watching nonetheless. The problem of Set is naturally NP-complete (I'm sure I could find a reduction to three coloring if I tried, but I didn't try too hard), but I'm sure I could find an algorithm that would allow me to go much faster then the "Random search with lots of reverification" I was doing -- certianly, there were some good players at that table :).
We also drove down to Amoeba Music and browsed around there for a bit. I purchased a copy of Quills which I saw as a thursday movie once, along with a Paul Oakenfield CD. If it wasn't in Berkeley, I'd probably go there more often. The prices were pretty wide ranging from "bargin" to "whoa, you want me to may HOW MUCH?" which was sort of odd, but it was useful to browse anyway.
Afterwords I got a ride back to Mountain View with James and Sam (who live in San Jose), and denorae headed back to LA.
So, it was a great day, and I can't believe its 1am already... Of course, it will be 1am in an hour also, so I guess I win.