Wednesday, June 27
The day looked very cloudy when I opened my curtains and so I took a cardigan with me as I walked through the park to the tram. I had to walk through a gaggle of the largest Canadian Geese that I have ever seen. The full grown ones came up past my waist when I stretched out and stood next to me.
Breakfast this morning took place at the station after I got off the tram. I walked through a tunnel under the station which turned into a long mini-mall where, nestling between cheese shops and fashion chains, stood a big takeaway sandwich shop. Cheese and egg salad for me, please.
I walk another twenty metres under the station to the other end of the tunnel and find myself looking out over Waterfront at the IJ. I take a photograph and bicycles appear. I take a second photo and other bicycles appear. Eventually I get a reasonable photogenic combination.
I figure out yesterday’s mistake and get from the station to the Rennaisance in about four minutes. I will attend some sessions, including a roundtable which hosts an award-winningly awkward conversation in which the people who had called the roundtable started by saying they knew very little about the topic and had nothing to say. I will join in some other conversations, that more nearly resemble conversation as we know it; and then head for lunch.
In the afternoon I will attend two more sessions. I don’t wish to libel people here, or name any of the guilty parties, but my question by the end of the afternoon will revolve around the kind of world that would count any of this as research.
To take one example I will look at a very lengthy and very detailed statistical analysis of an exceptionally small sample that each had had to “touch” objects using a 3D headset, and then touch the same objects depicted in a broadly similar 360 degree video. The differences in speed (of about 1 or 2 hundredths of a second) apparently proved something about the relative immersiveness of the two systems. The objects that the subjects had to touch differed from each other radically. “Touch the apple. Now touch the mobile phone. Now touch the flower.”
Even if the mechanics of the set-up allowed me to accept the results (which they definitely didn’t) I will have no idea why it would demonstrate anything of any importance about the relative merits of a Unity-driven 3D “world” and a 360 degree image.
As I walk out of the final session I will walk into the lounge in time to watch Korea beat Germany in the world cup. I will see the replay of the first Korean goal, in extra time, and then watch the second goal live.
At 19:30 the conference party will begin. I will talk with Ben and Cynthia from South Carolina. Cynthia teaches at Clemson and has memories of Steve Bronack from his time there.
I will stand talking to Todd and his Mongolian bride, whose name I did not catch. Roni will weave around the room, alternating between dancing and chatting.
At 21:30 the party will end and I will catch the tram home. I went for a short walk at lunchtime and realised that the penultimate stop, Nieuwen Dijk, takes two minutes to reach from the hotel.
I will walk there in two minutes and wait one minute for a tram.