Primetime Emmy Engineering Award on August 23rd

I was invited to the ceremony for Primetime Emmy Engineering Award on August 23rd at the Renaissance Hotel in Los Angeles.

It was a one-night stay and three-day business trip from Tokyo to L.A.

(I confirmed with a cabin attendant; this is exactly same as their working schedule.)

I left Yokohama 23rd afternoon and got the hotel noon on the same day, and left L.A. next day, August 24th noon for Tokyo.

The 2008 Primetime Emmy Engineering Award, presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), recognizes nine contributing companies to the JVT: Broadcom, Docomo, Dolby Laboratories, Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, Microsoft, Motorola, Panasonic, Sony, and Thomson, as well as ISO, IEC, and ITU for the Development of the High Profile for H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC. Here the JVT stands for Joint Video Team Standards Committee. H.264 is now being used with Blu-ray Disc for high definition content delivery, and also for mobile multimedia content distribution over 3G network in Japan.

I represented Docomo at the winning ceremony. I know an “Emmy” is not only for actors and actress but also for engineers, while Emmys, in general, have been being considered the television equivalent to the Oscars[1][2] . In 1996, JPEG, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 were awarded Emmy for their technical contribution to the television,

I recall that I started my MPEG career in 1993 for MPEG-4 standardization, and completed my participation in 1997. After moving to Docomo from Panasonic, I was facing the emergence of H.26L (i.e., tentative project name of H.264 at that time). It was 2001, and to be honest with my friends, I was against that standardization activity, since Docomo just had started mobile multimedia applications with MPEG-4 simple profile over its 3rd generation mobile network. That was a simple timing issue, for which I thought the new standard was too early to be born. From the viewpoint of a technical person who had been trained to write patents in Panasonic, however, I decided to enter “the game.” My ex-colleague T. K. Tan joined my team, and Frank Bossen also started his contribution in docomo USA Labs (NOTE: I moved from Yokosuka Labs to USA Labs in late 2002). Behind them, several colleagues were working so hard to improve the compression quality. In 2001-2003, I really enjoyed that endeavor with them. Sorry, let me keep them anonymous. The game was so exciting!

Although we were not able to publish papers so often, nor able to show off our contribution due to the IPR issues, we are luck enough to be recognized as one of nine major JVT contributors to H.264 high profile.

Lessons from that event:

  1. Given the excellent people, and given the clear and crisp technical target, a project goes successful. Those are the conditions.
  2. “Do the right thing” will be rewarded in the long run.
  3. The stars at the stage are the tips of the iceberg of anonymous but diligent engineers; we have to imagine how they achieved!


Excellent Generation Y in Hong Kong

I visited Hong Kong last week for an educational event with Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).
I love that state as an independent territory from the mainland China. Please don’t misinterpret my observation. I always love a mixture of cultures. Hong Kong is unique in terms of the fact that mixing different things make more than the simple mixtures.

Someone wrote “Hong Kong disappears through simple dualities such as East/West and tradition/modernity. What is missing from a view of Hong Kong as merely a colony is the paradox that Hong Kong has benefited from and made a virtue of its dependent colonial status, turning itself into a global and financial city and outstripping its colonizer in terms of wealth.”

That’s true. I agree. Nevertheless it seems Hong Kong has its strength. Through the event with HKUST, I’ve learned so much from the students which I consulted as their mentor. The findings are that they are very aggressive, well-motivated, productive, talkative, risk-taking, and self-steamed.

Chinese press reported my observation on the students as follows.
(Note: I can’t read Chinese.)
There are a typical Generation Y culture, in which it is said that they can be described by the following keywords: Optimistic, Idealistic, Empowered, Ambitious, Confident, Committed Passionate, and Traditional.
(Note: Generation Y is the generation following Generation X, especially people born in western culture from the early 1980s to the early 1990s. The generation is also alternatively defined as the children of the Baby Boomer generation., according to Wikipedia)

The story is getting redundant. To sum up, my Hong Kong generation Y showed a consistent culture of US, while the generation Y in Japan showed the generation X heritage more. They are more Immature, Moderate, Isolated, Leaden, Fated and Superstitious. I may have a lot of objection from my junior colleagues though, Japan is a bit behind the globalization where East and West meet.


Fly Fishing in Merikarvia, Finland

Fly Fishing (in short, F.F.), especially with dry flies, is one of favorites. I was in California when I was invited to my first F.F. That was 2004. Before starting F.F. I thought it was one of fishing and looked so bad and obsolete. After starting F.F. I realized it was a hiking in woods, rocks, and mountain streams, and also a shooting game.
This time, I had a chance to visit Turku, an old former capital of Finland, which is located 160km west to Helsinki for an academic conference.
Here is a question. Can I do F.F. in Finland? If so, where and how can I do it?
I didn’t have the answer before visiting Turku.
From the Internet, I found Merikarvia, 180km north to Turku, is the nearest place for F.F. (see http://www.fishmaster.fi/Merikarvia-english.htm) Then I visited a fishing shop, Turun Pyyntiväline Oy , in downtown Turku so that I could get advices from some of shop workers.
One of them kindly taught how to get Merikarvia and types of flies which were supposed to work there. He said “I’ve not been there quite a long time, maybe for 10 years. Nymph would work well. BTW, I’m going to 1,500km north to Norway for F.F. in water streams in mountains”

I got Peugeot 207 from Hertz and cruised 100km/hour exactly.

It was a nice drive without signals over 130km and stopped over Rauma for rest http://www.rauma.fi/english/immigrants/default.htm

I arrived Merikarvia some minutes past 1pm and bought a fishing license at only one Kiosk there. It took 16 euros for 4-hour fishing activity.
Lovely place it is.

Dry flies worked only for small tiny fishes. I got three or four with dry flies and switched to large nymph flies.
I got two trout larger than my hand. Is this a char? I’m not sure what this is….

I had another business, which was “drinking local beer,” in Turku down town at 8PM..
Then I left there 5:30PM.
One thing to note: I met by chance Olli Ojamo who is the sale director of a fishing tackle factory, http://www.eumer.com/ at a river side of Merikarvia. I parked my car accidentally at his private space.
He showed me his factory where they are producing their original flies, and gave me sample flies. Many thanks!

It was a nice summer day in Finland. I enjoyed local beer also that night till 10:30PM at Panimoravintola Koulu in Turku.