Fellow SMPTE TC delegates:

Welcome to day one of the TC meetings in Sydney.   For those of you who are on the phone, my commiserations.  The weather in Sydney today is just gorgeous, which often happens in winter.  Unfortunately, it looks like we’re heading into showers over the weekend.

Questions that have arisen:

Nearest coffee:   it appears that the fastest and closest is actually just across the road  in the UTS building that you can see through the meeting room windows.   Quickest way to get there is:
* take the lifts near the meeting room to level 4.
* turn right out of the lifts, and walk out the building at the back
* go down the stairs to the street and across the road.

Nearest convenience store:   right next to the coffee shop

Nearest place to get sandwiches, hot food, donuts, or sit down at tables to get away from the meetings:  the same coffee shop.

Useful terms:   The Australian language is subtly different to UK and US English.  Beware of expressions like “lucked out” which is an antonym for the US meaning.   We might say “lucked in” instead, but we probably wouldn’t use either term.

Franco and I (as Sydney natives) are happy to translate or direct if you ask.

Nearest general electronics store (think Radio Shack on steroids):  Dick Smith Electronics in the Broadway shopping mall.

Nearest specialist computer store:  you’re in luck.   One of the cheapest sources of computer stuff in the country is a few minutes walk away.  http://msy.com.au/   and look for the NSW  Ultimo store.  Jones Street is the next parallel street beyond Thomas Street, which is the street you can see from the meeting room.

Nearest interesting attraction:   If you’re into Science Museums, Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum is a must.   It’s about 10 minutes walk up Harris Street away from Broadway (the ABC is in Harris street, and Powerhouse is on the same side).  They are doing some reconstruction and so for the moment the entry price is reduced to $5.

Nearest REALLY good book store:   Kinokuniya  at 500 George Street, opposite Town Hall and The Queen Victoria Building.   20 minutes walk.   Huge, open late, and really well priced (for Australia).

Nearest Town Hall:  Sydney Town Hall, opposite Kinokuniya.   If you can get a look into the actual hall you will see one of the most magnificent 19th century civic spaces.  Also the Town Hall Organ, which is one of the largest organs in the world and has the world’s only 64′ reed stop (not visible).   If you’re interested in organs or music, grab me.   It’s a passion (along with coffee).

Nearest vogue shopping:  The Queen Victoria Building or QVB  (opposite Town Hall and Kinokuniya).   You should wander through the QVB after hours if you can’t get there in shopping hours, and go to the top levels where you there are two wondeful clocks which do interesting things on the hour.

Geek tip:  there is a Dick Smith store and  a Jaycar store in York Street behind QVB (Jaycar is a much more traditional electronics store, where you can still buy resistors, caps,  chips – 5534  or  TL081 anyone? – and it’s cheaper than Dick Smith which doesn’t seem to carry components any more).  The two stores are almost adjacent.

Tip of the day:  Ordering coffee and food:
Cappucino (or just “Cap”):  one 7ml shot of coffee with frothed milk (“foam”) and chocolate powder on top.   Milk will be full cream (US translation:  4%)
Flat white:  one shot with heated milk and no froth
Latte:  probably same as a flat white, maybe with a bit of froth and no chock
Mocha:  Cap or flat white with chocolate added
Skinny:   made with skim milk
Decaf:  made with no caffein
Soy:  made with soy

Cup size:
Small: about a mug size
Large: about 50% bigger, which means more milk

So a “weak skinny decaf cap“:  a cup of coffee with appearance, but no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

Additional note:  John’s coffee:  small double shot flat white no sugar.   Remember that, because it will buy you a lot of favours.   Franco’s coffee:  Cap with two.

Be ready for additional questions, such as “sugar?”.  Be ready for the questions to be asked in a heavy accent, since Sydney is unquestionably a multicultural city.

Other questions you might be asked:
“solpep?”:   would you like salt and pepper on that?
“soss?”   would you like [tomato] sauce with that?
“airyago-en”   literally, “how are you going”, a general request about your health, for which no response is expected.  :-)