Greetings From Delhi

In Delhi for less than 12 hours and the pizza count is already at 1. Did you expect anything else? This is Finicky Ford when it comes to food after all. And I resisted the urge to stop at any pizza joints in Ireland or England, holding that in reserve for India. So of course our first lunch had to be at a Pizza Hut just down the road from our hotel.
Seriously we arrived in Delhi early this morning India time and all has been going well on the trip thus far. Our biggest problem has been the Heathrow Express turning into what we’ve called the Heathrow Crawl. A signaling issue caused a 15 minute train trip to take just under two hours.
The British penchant for politeness was on display with multiple apologies. I always wonder about such because what can they really do. A fellow on the train from New York summed it it up best after about apology number 10 which came just as the scheduled departure time for his flight by saying, “Oh well at least I got an apology. If this was New York they’d have told me to be happy I arrived in the first place.”
Delhi exploration has been limited thus far to a walk outside near our hotel. That said I have now experienced a living definition of the word Cacophony. Friends and coworkers from India warned about crowding but words do not do the experience justice.
One step off the hotel grounds and we had offers for cab rides coming from all directions and that’s literally what was happening. You’d no more than dismiss the person on your left then someone else was starting a pitch from your right.
Walking down the street was like moving through a maze of people. Chess boards, Backgammon, postcards, tours, rickshaw rides and more being offered from every direction. I’ve been in big cities before but can honestly say I’ve never experienced anything like what I did on the streets of Delhi. Under pinning all of this are a constant din of car horns and air where you can taste the smog. the initial impression is a bit overwhelming.
This is not to say it is bad. Far from it. It is a new experience and one that is proving interesting.

Gadgets, Gadgets, Gadgets

It has been a long time since I’ve upgraded much of my personal audio gear. For years I’ve been content with a basic cassette walkman because most of what I do is listen to the radio while I walk to the bus and travel to and from work.
Alas my radio has pretty much given out as I can no longer turn it off without removing the batteries. Switching from AM to FM has become an adventure in pushing buttons. This plus The desire to record a bit of audio on our trip to England, Ireland and India has caused me to browse around and see what’s out there. And now I’m reminded in part why I haven’t upgraded for years.
A trip to the local Circuit City yesterday showed that actually touching most of the radios, digital audio recorders and MP3 players was pretty much out of the question. At best, products are blocked by so much plastic packaging that actually feeling them was out of the question. At worst they are behind glass so you can not even do this much.
Oh sure you can ask folks in the stores to get stuff and such but my experience has been that I really need to feel and use the products to know if I can use them. It is a bit frustrating to read about this and that great feature in a gadget and then to take it home and realize that there’s no way to actually use the feature.
Blind Cool Tech and The Mosen Explosion help of course as folks here are way into gadgets. Still with the pace of change in the consumer electronics market the product that everyone figured out how to use tends to come out with a new model and suddenly it is back to the drawing board.
That said I guess it is time for me to take the plunge again. Things are better of course today then say 10 or 20 years ago given the fact that you can find most product manuals online and the availability of the net to ask others and share your own tips.
So now I’m deciding between the all-in-one great product that will do everything I want or picking individual products. I think the short term solution is going to be a basic radio and the Olympus DS2 voice recorder. We’ll see with a second trip to the gadget zoo, otherwise known as the local electronics shop.

Going Beyond Accessibility

A comment about braille signs on hotel room doors caught my attention in this article. Far too often folks slap a few braille and large print signs on doors and think they’ve done all they need to in order to make something accessible. This article is worth reading because it makes the point that accessibility is really about going beyond basic compliance to whatever accessibility standard you are using.