Thursday, October 27, 2011

Interview with TrendPOV

A few weeks ago I received an email from Dr. Amy Vanderbilt with an invitation to appear on the TrendPOV show and chat about Augmented Reality (AR). At that time I was not familiar with TrendPOV, and I learned that this is a one hour web streaming show about certain topics for businesses.

This sounded quite interesting, and so I agreed to participate in this. I prepared a CV and sent my picture. Then I decided that it would be good to update my website. Unfortunately, weeks passed by, and I still had not found the time to prepare a new version of my web presence. So on this Monday I finally began to set up a new Google Site for a new portal to my site(s). Not much time to put any content in, so I placed a link to my site at LeedsMet which contains the most relevant Augmented Reality work.

Then I prepared for the recording of the show, which would take place today, Wednesday, 26.October. I had taken the day off because of our friends from India were here on a visit, and I joined them for a few activities during the day. But then in the evening I went back to my office at LeedsMet and set up everything for the Skype session. I was supposed to call in at 6:50pm. There was still some time, so I some other work. Suddenly I noticed that the EDUROAM WIFI started to fail around 5:50pm. The signal dropped from 5 to 1 - what was going on? It looked as if an access point was powering down... So I tried to use another laptop computer which did have the credentials for the wired Ethernet. A pity, because this meant that I would not be able to use the built-in camera of the first laptop computer. When trying to setup the second laptop computer, I was not able to get the internet going. WIFI was out, and the Ethernet connection kept giving problems regarding the proxi server. I am sure that the credentials were correct - that all had worked fine a few months ago. But now it did not... and so I had to resort to the third option: using the office PC with its two monitors. I rarely use that PC, since most of my work is on the laptop(s). But at least there I got a reasonable internet connection. So the picture here with the four monitors does really not reflect technical sophistication, but actually shows the sad state of an emergency solution.

Then another problem: how to affix the camera on top of the monitor, so that I could look right into it and see the screen at the same time? This webcam did not have a suitable base, so I had to stick it with tape onto the top of the screen. It worked ok then, and I was ready for the show to begin.

I dialed in at 6:50pm. Had a video chat with Dr.Amy first. She was very enthusiastic about the Augmented Reality concepts and was really looking forward to this show. Then the show began. On the skype monitor I only saw a logo, but I heard the show then live, the music, and then Dr.Amy speaking. And then we talked about Augmented Reality for a whole hour. I gave my opinion and assessment about the AR technology. Unfortunately I got carried away and forgot to put a plug for the ongoing ISMAR conference in Basel, something that I actually had wanted to do. And when I talked about the LeedsMet project "Our City, Our Music", I forgot to mention the main proponents Ben Dalton and Megan Smith. But otherwise I think I got everything across.

It was a fun experience!

--- Update 3.November 2011: the video is now live online, see here on the TrendPOV site.

At one point during the recording a slight technical problem happened: in my LeedsMet office, the lights are dimming off, once they do not sense any motion in the room for a certain while. And since I did not move that much while speaking into the camera, the sensing switch-off kicked in a few minutes before the first commercial break, and then the lights dimmed away, and it got quite dark. Fortunately I did have another non-dimming lamp on, which kept my face illuminated, and so I just kept talking as if nothing had happened. Then during the next break I did bring the lights back by getting up, and from then on they stayed on fine until the end.

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