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Multimedia over Networks

Presented the paper 'Caught in the Web: Traditions, Cultures & Spidermen ' with Tom Smith at Multimedia over Networks conference at the University of the Balearic Islands, Mallorca, Spain
When Jul 13, 1994
Where Mallorca

This is a tongue-in-cheek diary of the trip to Mallorca to present at the conference and stay with Dai Grffiths:

Tuesday
Easy journey to Gatwick, arriving exactly on time, to the minute.  Unfortunately this means we have two hours to kill, so we head for the bar.  Two pints later it’s close to last call so we nip in the duty free, only to be sidetracked into tasting some single malt whiskys.  We have to try a couple in order to make an informed purchase, but by now we’ve left it a bit late.  Man on the gate says grumpily “We’re just about to take your luggage off.”  Stewardess asks in schoolteacherly way “Why are you late”, doesn’t take Tom’s excuse and asks again (everyone in the airbus looking on).  How embarassing!

We get to Palma and Richard asks Tom to hold his carrier bag while he looks for his passport.  Tom goes on through the control, but Richard can’t find his passport which is in the carrier bag.  Richard decides to go through, mouth open ready with an excuse for losing his passport (I still didn’t know where it was), but the control is too busy watching young female tourists, so waves everyone through with trousers.  Dai Griffiths is there to meet us and we travel to Deia to have supper with Francisca, watch Bulgaria win and then go to bed.

Wednesday
Cold showers, there’s no hot water.  We go to the conference sit bored rigid through altogether too many tedious presentations full of acronyms and performance capabilities.  Our session is rearranged for Thursday afternoon.  We set up in the lab after the conference, then go to the inaugural dinner where we’re forced to eat excellent Catalan food, drink Rioja and generally pretend we’re enjoying ourselves.  Josep (Richard sat next to him) reports major sucesses on the European stage in 3D graphics work, a warming to Silicon Graphics and Telefonica (Spanish BT) and cooling from Apple.  Apple man doesn’t turn up, his story is he had some kind of accident.  After dinner we go to bar in Palma then another bar in Palma and subsequently sing ourselves hoarse, returning to Deia at some ungodly hour.

Thursday
Slow getting up, but we make it to UIB for more slow presentations - after lunch we have to perform so we’re glad to have a breather.  Finished our presentation - plenty of good feedback, as usual everyone likes the informal, mildly argumentative interplay between two speakers. Send this e-mail and we're off to the beach.

Friday
Meeting with Aina Calvo and Jaume Sureda Negre (Subirector del Dept. de Ciències de l'Educació).  She is coming on the Sunday 17th and leaving again on Sunday 31st.  Jaume suggests that we make a formal agreement - Aina is tasked with bringing a draft so I must book up a meeting with Maidi Brown. We attend the last sessions, including one from a Polish man working with an Amiga.  Say our goodbyes to most of the delegates, it seems likely that a good link with Maria João M. N. Loureiro in Portugal should be explored.  She is working in education and has long experience working with others in the UK on Project Minerva and other stuff.  She also talks about the "los chiquititos" (the little boys) who can help her with sorting out internet access to our WWW pages.  Tom and I have different explanations about who these boys might be, me preferring the affectionate reference to two young, rather enthusiastic, men at the conference who came from their region, Tom thinking it was a derogatory term for their computer services staff.

Saturday
We travel with Dai, Francisca, Juan and Katerina to see Francisca's relatives in Maria de la Salut a small town in the centre of the island.  We spend a pleasant time in the orchard digging around and watering trees, then have a really nice lunch, sit by the municipal pool all afternoon. We watch Italy play Spain in the bar near to the pool.  Outside are two local minor league football teams also playing a formal game in proper strips.  When Spain scores, all the footballers leave the pitch and rush into the bar, watch the replay, applaud, and then return to their game.   Tom and I plan an ULTRALAB book.  It has to be a "coffee table" product with plenty of good graphic, tactile quality.  Tom suggests no front cover but multiple starting points in something like a spiral bound format.  Transparent pages with overlaid commentary (learning veneers?) might be both novel, interesting but also practical.

Sunday
Went to the beach along the coast from Deia, spent several hours in the sea, met the Portuguese chaps, confirmed Richard's story on "los chiquititos".  Had a party at the caseta with Juan from Valencia.  Richard broke the hammock.

Monday
Richard, Tom, Iwan and Dai went to Palma.  Tom and Iwan go to games arcade and buy fireworks from the carnival shop.  Dai and Richard visit Logical to collect Dai's repaired computer and arrange a meeting with Pere Obrador and Josep Secchi (the mafiosi) for the next day.  Excellent meal in the Restaurant  Montenegro (in the Carrer Montenegro).  We return, swim and then a small bit of user testing of Carnaval and X with Iwan, Geoffrey and Llewellyn.

Tuesday
Dai and Richard go to Logical for meeting with the Mafiosi.  Afterwards we go to the fish market to buy fresh fish and prawns.  Tom helps with the watering on the farm with Francisca.  Return to a brilliant paella cooked by Juan from Valencia.

(Words: 980 )

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"the scale of a mile to the mile."

A character notes some practical difficulties with such a map and states that:

"we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well."
— Sylvie and Bruno Concluded, Lewis Carroll, 1893

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