The Challenge

If there was one thing that could take Bob’s mind off Cathy, it was a busy shoot.

It was a Wolfcrow town production, and Mayor Bayer was keen to have his town shown in the best possible light. Bob’s dad was in charge of this production. His dad looked like a superhero with a bazooka for a camera. Nobody will escape being shot.
The modern cameraman
“I want the shadows, Paul”, Bayer ordered. “The details are in the shadows. But get that beautiful blue sky with those puffy clouds too.”

Paul sighed, but nodded at the same time, wondering what the dynamic range of the mayor’s brain was.

How stupid can Bayer be, thought Bob. If he wanted everything in the shot won’t he be better off using his own eyes? Didn’t this producer know about cameras?

“Bob, help me with this lens.” Bob didn’t like handling lenses. The zooms were too big for his hands – and his father always used zooms. He was terrified of dropping them. While Bob changed the lens he wondered why it was so difficult to make and use equipment that was designed to replicate his eyes and ears. Was it so difficult?

He remembered Sampler’s notes on sampling. Boy, that was tiring! He had had to read them many times just to get an idea of what he was dealing with. Bob had no illusions. Cathy was from another planet – maybe digital heaven. A mere mortal like Bob had to literally move the earth to get to her. The very thought made him weak in the knees. He remembered dad’s words not too long ago, about how astronomers struggled to get the faintest star on camera. “I’ll take that point star discovered for the first time over any mug shot, even my own. But maybe not yours.”

“Bob, I’m waiting. The light won’t.” The crew was waiting for him.

“Sorry, dad. Here you go.”

Why did Sampler make him read his notes? After all, Sampler had to continue living in Wolfcrow. He couldn’t let people know he had planted these ideas in a kid’s brain. Why am I calling myself a kid, Bob thought. There was something Sampler wasn’t telling him, but he had told him a lot.

He told him about analog signals and how they are continuous. He told him about how the universe replicates objects or patterns with consistent regularity, and because of that man was able to develop a brain that could methodically study it. He told him about how analog signals can be sampled and then reproduced via interpolation. All this was the Wolfcrow equivalent of the birds and the bees. But what did Sampler expect Bob to do?

That’s what I need to find out, decided Bob. I want Cathy to notice me. Hell, who am I kidding? I want more! I want Cathy whole, without any loss. I need to sample her. I’m going to call her!

“Whom are you going to call?” His dad was behind him. Did he say it aloud?

“Who’s who?”

“Bob, you aren’t paying attention today. I need your focus. My eyes aren’t doing too well.”

“Are you okay, dad?”

“I’m fine. I think I’ll need to get my eyes checked, that’s all. We’ll do it first thing tomorrow. But I need you to back me up now.”

“I’m on it, dad.”

Next: The Eye checkup
Previous: Professor Sampler’s Notes: Aliasing