Ubicomp 2019 September London Trip

image of ilnp testbed at ubicomp 2019

September has been a rather eventful month.

In the earlier post, talked about spontaneous star photography, but couple weeks before, I was away in London for a week attending conference and workshops. This time, it was for Ubicomp 2019.

Ubicomp is a conference about ubiquitous computing. Simply put, it’s about ‘computers everywhere, in our everyday life’. Sensor networks, IoT devices, wearable devices and etc. My supervisor, Prof. Saleem Bhatti, and I have submitted a paper to a workshop called Pervasive Urban Application Workshop (PURBA). Fortunately, our paper was accepted, so I took some of our kit to show them working.

Our paper, “Seamless internet connectivity for ubiquitous communication” (https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=3341162.3349315) featured ‘continuous mobility’ experiment. The experiment emulates the movement of mobile device while we send and receive data continuously. We took the position that ‘ubiquitous computing’ needs ‘ubiquitous communication’; the ability to use any connectivity the device has and move between them smoothly. I was given a chance to present the paper and a live demo during the workshop, which was a success. Thanks to very friendly crowd, I had a very pleasant conversations with them. On top of that, I have managed to take the opportunity to do a spontaneous demo during the main part of the conference in the ‘social/networking area’ of the venue.

Photo of a table with a laptop showing slides. Two desktop computers with one display on the far right. The computers are connected with various cables with some routers in between.
ILNP demo at Ubicomp 2019

The demo featured something different from what we described in the paper. While the paper used benchmarking software iperf and emulation of movement was done by a script, in the demo I have physically attached and detached cables while a video stream was sent from the one side to the another. I believe this was much more compelling demo for two reasons: 1. video stream is a real application where mobility can enhance the experience 2. physically removing cable is visually more convincing how the data flow has migrated. And as suspected this drew some attention amongst more smaller demo kits and or booths with just a poster.

The original intention was to present everything on the first day and to keep rest of the week little less intense than lugging 20+ kg case and running demo all day. However I felt I should make the best use of the opportunity, so during the day I was rather busy all week. Luckily, I have managed to squeeze some meetups with good friends and some photography in.

It is always refreshing to be elsewhere to do some photography. It gives me chance to try new things and see different perspectives. While I hate how busy London is, it’s what makes it so diverse and exciting. I look forward to be down there again!

I’d like to thank my supervisor and the school for the funding to go to the Ubicomp 2019.

I ended up liking the following so that went to the flickr:

Joyful Hour
Twilight Market

Little glimpse of star trail

During the summer – early autumn, it’s not the easiest time to capture star. The sun set is rather late. This alone was enough to put me off from attempting one. But a friend of mine had dragged me out to do one after checking the weather.

Turns out, the field around observatory is a great place to do this. (duh) This was my first time doing star shoot around that area so I was little unsure, but it turned out to be a great location. The only gripe about the location is that because it is right next to the sports centre, we had to wait till they close to turn off the over-head lighting for the outdoor track. Hence, it had to be rather late.

This time, we met up at 23:00 with all our gears ready near the sports centre to scout the location. This time of the year is when the temperature and humidity varies quite rapidly throughout the day. And that particular day was rather humid while the temperature was dropping rapidly. This created rather inconvenient fog.

After nervously looking for the right path in rather dark field, we’ve arrived at the location. As our eyes got used to the darkness, we started to see the stars. It was simply astonishing. I always forget how beautiful the night sky is in St Andrews. That is, if the clouds happen to be not there that night. But when it is clear, this is one of the best place I know to see the star.

As we took couple test shots figuring out focus, exposure settings etc, couple of other friends joined. As we chatted we dialled in the setting further. And I began my long exposure. As the temperature further dropped, those who joined us had left, and it was just myself and the other friend who initially came out.

After a long wait, of about 45 minutes, which is probably the longest I’ve done, I nervously checked the image. And this is what I saw on the back of my camera:

Raw image before developing

I was quite excited. I could see the longest trail I’ve captured on single exposure. While I do understand ‘stacking’ is much better for noise performance but the sheer fact that it is captured like this to me is fascinating.

I continued to shoot at different angle for short 25 min exposure after that and that looked promising as well.

The next day, I sat down at my laptop and processed it properly with Lightroom:

45-min exposure at the observatory in St Andrews after processing

I think this worked out quite well. Hopefully, my next step will be to remember to shoot with tighter aperture and or to shoot with different focusing point for focus stacking… There is always more to try.

Link to my Flickr Profile: https://www.flickr.com/photos/coconutryo/