Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Other Side of the World is Amazing

In my last blog here, I mentioned the "Stand Up, Speak Out" web campaign. i did so knowing I was getting ready to come to India, where I was going to see first hand what this campaign is really all about.
You can not travel here and not be changed by the experience. This ranges from serious insights to silly observations. In no particular order, here are some of them:
  1. I talked about using Linux on the road over at Talk.bmc in my last post there. Nothing really specific to India here other than the plug shape is different here than at home and I had to get an adapter. Both the Apple and the Dell D620 have auto-sensing power supplies, so all that needs adapting is the power.
  2. So. Many. People. If *just* the people of this country were to consume resources at the rate they do in the States (and I am here in India at the moment, so I get to phrase it that way), then all the resources of the planet Earth would be consumed. But instead in India resources are consumed at .4 of a planet. The difference is mind boggling. All lights are power saving. Very few lights. When you leave the hotel room, the entire room is powered down while you are gone. Everything. Not even the wall plugs to run the battery charger work.
  3. So many people, part II: Streets are built by people, not for the most part machines. People carrying concrete bags and manual tools.
  4. So many people, Part III. With over 1.13 Billion people in a land area 1/3 that of the US, not only are people very close, they are very close. By that I mean they are both physically and emotionally close. Family is everything, followed by community. Visitors are taken care of every waking moment.
  5. Being taken care of: This really is hard to deal with if you are used to doing for yourself. I carry my bags in airports. Not because I am afraid they'll get stolen but because I dislike the idea that I am somehow not capable of doing so. I have probably been very rude by local standards.
  6. Where in the US one person does many different things, here with so many people available to do things, there are specialties. At the knick knack store yesterday one person wrote up the bill, another packaged them in a box, Another stood by to see if any other things need to be bough, while another opened and closed the door to the store, and another took care of storing and returning bags that you werr carrying when you came into the store. Yet another (the owner or manager) watch over it all, and talked on two phones at once. In the Sari shop (in a shopping district for just clothing that stretched to the limits of vision in all directions) one showed me Saris, thre of four others retrieved Saris or acted as Sari holders. Another slotted the ones I was interested in away for later final decisions. Four or five people sat behind the counter to take money. One for Cash, One for Credit cards, one for bill writing, and another to run the card. This may all seem silly to a western mind, but it makes total sense. People have to be employed.
  7. About the Cell phone thing. They are everywhere. No one uses land lines. Cell towers line the roofs of buildings and the sides of roads. People drive one handed on motorcycles because the other hand is holding the cell phone to their head. Given traffic density and the utterly lack of street line, this is an order of magnitude scarier than it is the us, yet at the same time I have not witnessed a single accident while here. Not one.
  8. Signs are everyplace. They are about everything. Many mention classes in data structures or C++. technology is everywhere. Linux is everywhere. Roughly speaking, half of the R&D Support team here knows Linux. MS Windows sits on the desktop systems, but it takes not effort to find Linux.
  9. iPhones may be dead useful in San Francisco, but here it is mostly a world clock and to-do list organizer. I am really glad mine is hacked, because Web 2.0 only works if you turn on the Edge service. I have a services app hack that lets me keep everything off but Wifi. So far, that has been borderline useful but WAP's are not prevalent. If I had no hacks, I could not do in-phone to-do lists and other text editing. Still, there will be an iPhone SDK out early next year, so I imagine I'll get to unhack my iPhone in a few months. Since I am locked to AT&T, and roaming charges here are over the moon, it will only ever be a useful PDA when I am here. I have seen iPhones here, so I assume they went for the full meal deal and unlocked them too.
Next week I change countries again, this time to Canada and BMC Userworld. The Adventure continues.

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