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CSUN Center on Disabilities

I am attending the 22nd Annual International Technology & Person with Disabilities conference in LA. The conversation underscores assistive technologies and its use in serving persons which that are physically challenged. There are guide dogs, motorized wheelchairs, and various other hardware which will support special needs attendees. I am thoroughly impressed with the cross section of the participants.

Of course, the ISVs that I have met primarily build applications for two platforms. None of which are Open Source. Ironically, there are some large players at CSUN, who support FOSS. SUN, Google, and IBM have booths here. It seems that both SUN and IBM have been working to improve accessibility on the web browser.

It seems that this space could be radically improved by innovation on behalf of these large FOSS supporters. Many of the developers are also end-users who have that proverbial itch that needed to be scratched.

High price real estate

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Got a chance to visit Rhode Island and spent time in Conn. too. While in R.I visited an exquisite mansion owned by the late Vanderbilt's. Yep same people whom gave their name to Vanderbilt U. in Tenn. I'll post a few pics later.

Tube Montreal - Revisited

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After spending a few days riding the Tube (STM) in Montreal, it has become painfully the obvious that the seats are much too small. For whatever reason, the top section of the seats cut into my lower back. Very different to the seats and comfort that you expect on the MTA system. I suppose that the big bonus is the overall cleanliness of all of stations, even in the thickest rush hour traffic, you don't see any trash at all.

The people have been very tolerant of the typical visitors questions, and have not resisted any of my questions. Previously, I mentioned that I had some difficulty distinguishing which side was the correct train for the desired destination. The problem was due to my inability to read the signs and follow directions. In retrospect, it really wasn't too difficult.

Tube Montreal

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Montreal is a wonderful place. It seems very rich in cultural diversity. It seems that the natives immediately associate people who are of a darker persuasion to Africans. Though, I know my lineage is somewhere in Africa, I can not honestly tell folks I am from Africa. I explain that I'm from NY, and people immediately warm-up to me ;)

Kidding aside, people seem to be genuinely friendly. I have met an Air Canada pilot, two Canadiens who were on their way to climb Mt. Kilamanjaro.

Perhaps, the most interesting aspect of the trip is the time spent in the subway. I have travelled on several different systems (NYC, DC, ATL, Chi, etc).. However, I'd have to say that these are the cleanest subways. I was particularly taken to the real-time big screen LCD monitors, strategically located at certain stations. Despite having problems understanding which side of platform to use (I had a subway map on my Treo) after making a transform, using the system was fairly simple.

The busline was a bit more challenging..

The Biodome was great, I'll post more pics and share a bit more later.

Au Montreal

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Bon jour mon amis - Good day my friends (for the non-French speaking). I could probably write the entire entry in French, but I would probably reveal my inability to correctly speak/write the language. Besides, je etudiez a la francais l'ecole secondaire pour quatre ans. If you'd like simply use Babblefish to translate the text for a good laugh.

Today, I'll spend more time in old Montreal and the Biodome reviewing the various ecosystem.

More pics will updated on flickr and photo journal.

Vacation Musings

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I'm on a speeding train heading to Toronto and I'm very impressed with the onboard Wi-Fi. All you need to realize is that you'd better have a reliable VPN, so that you can be assured that nobody is grabbing your info from the wire. I'm using hotspotvpn. The service is pretty reliable and not very expensive. I should be in Montreal by 1700.

Regarding podcasts - I feel like a deadbeat.. Some of you have asked about my defunct podcasts. Fear not, I had planned to publish four fabulous conversations, Ejovi Nuwere, Joe Gasiorek, and Mack Hendricks, but I got slammed with a ton of coursework. I'll get them done upon my return stateside. That's a promise.

More updates later.

Weekend Road Trip

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The best part about four-day weekends is the prospect of travelling and of course not going to work on the following Monday. I send this message to you from the sleepy town of Bethany,Tx. Home of the EastTex Telcom Collective. In fact, I'm actually using a 56kb (which connected at ~38.2kb) modem to surf. How repulsive. Well I suppose, that the more things change the more they remain the same.

A dear friend (practically my sister) got married, and she asked me to attend her wedding. So I grabbed my only good fitting suit and hopped a flight to Shreveport, La.
Northwest flight was delayed and the airline route took me through Memphis, TN. Luckily, I changing timezone helped me catch my connecting flight in Memphis. It too was late.

On The Boardwalk

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Took a couple of days off to enjoy a bit of travel. Returned to Norfolk/Va Beach area for the first time nearly ten years.

Walked on the boardwalk and enjoyed the sites, smells and sounds of the beach.
Didn't take any pics as i'm sure everyone has seen sand and surf. Actually the most interestng photo ops would be that of random people. Opted not to take any pics of random people, as did not want to be accused of voyeurism.

Suffice to say the rest and relaxation was much appreciated.

Naptown

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Most of you know that I love to travel. Recently, I returned to Indy (aka Naptown or Circle City). One of my old friends, invited me to her wedding. Once upon a time, I worked in Indy as a 'young', hungry co-op student. So, I have some pretty fond memories of cutting my teeth as young professional. Actually, it was one of my first legitimate 'corporate' jobs, that I secured while struggling through undergrad. I got a chance to connect with some people that I had not spoken to in seven years.

While I would never live in Indy, I did appreciate the opportunity to connect with my extended family and friends.

Anyway, I finally posted some pics of the ceremony.
You can find them here.

Travel has always been huge part of my life. In fact as a youth it was a requirement. Although I grew up in Gotham, a place which has a huge cross-section of people, Pops always told us to venture out and see how others live. Well today I find myself in Kansas City. Clearly not a place that I've dreamed about, nonetheless a place where I've not visited before.


Vegas Flight

Yes, I know it has been quite awhile since I've dropped a scribe, but I have been busy with stuff. I was forced to head west on a business trip last week. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the trip was the flight to Vegas. I had the pleasure of being sandwiched between two obese women. To make matters worse, I was unable to get any legroom because I arrived a bit late for my 6.30a flight. So, after I arrived at the airport I could not change my seat assignment to a more suitable exit row seat.

The only seat available was a middle seat, with zero legroom. A 4.5hr flight with zero legroom, not a very good feeling. The lady to left of me took nearly half of my chair. She rolled to the left to let me squeeze in between she and another oversized woman. I really wish I had a camera on my cellphone so that I could capture this moment as it happened. I said very little on this flight, I watched a couple VCDs on my laptop and read my Linux Journal.
I was very happy to get off that plane to stretch my legs. With the exception of the Hoover Dam excursion, the rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. I'll post some photos of the National Landmark in my next scribe.

European Vacation

Can't believe the Summer is over. I really enjoyed it, and hate to see the onset of the Fall. The Midwest seems to already shifted to Winter. I certainly feel cheated, and do not look forward to the 6-7 months of cold weather.

Finally posted the travel pics.

Enjoy..

Didn't make it to Graz

Didn't make it to Graz, Austria, but I did make contact with someone who would be happy to play hostess upon my return.. Actually, I also met someone who referred to me as 'Gangsta, Gangsta'.. Apparently, she watches too much MTV and thinks that all NY hip-hop gunplay is cool. She even thought the word 'niggas' was cool to say, while in the company of two brothas on the train @ 2am. Definitely, the most interesting part of my trip.. She wanted my digits and figured she could connect with me. Young females. Dunno.. Might be interesting..

Anyway, we forged onward to Munich. Took more photos and I promise, I'll post them as soon as I can organize them in some logic fashion.

Munich had a great deal of fine architecture and it also had a beautiful palace with a wonderful garden. In fact, I understand that King Ludwig has an astounding castle nearby the hotel where I stayed. Hopefully, I can get there someday.

Well.. I'm back in the states again. I thoroghly enjoyed my European Vacation. The last day in Europe resembled a Chevy Chase adventure.

We picked up a Volvo A4 sedan, so that we could travel to the palace and get back to Munich to see the night life. Unfortunately, we didn't know how to get back to the hotel, nor the car rental.. In fact, we spent 3.5 hrs looking for both venues. Talk about frustrating. More later..

Gosh two posts in one

Gosh two posts in one day.. Vienna is fabulous.. I have taken more pics here than any other place we have visited thus far. There is much history here, and I am sure there are many more landmarks that I have not discovered.

Our next stop will be Munich or Graz, Austria. I have compiled a list of 'lessons learned' from this trip.. Some of you have already provided me with some valuable input. Keep em coming.

Thai Massage in Milan

Before departing Milan, I experienced my first Thai massage. For 45 Euro, I thought I got a great deal. Although the masseuse was quite petite, she was quite an expert practitioner. All the aches and pains that I acquired on the train ride from Germany are a distant memory now. Thx Nisa..

We arrived in Zurich later yesterday afternoon.. Switzerland is a very beautiful country. I was particular taken by the wonderful view of the Swiss Alps and its snow capped mountains in the distance. Spent most of the time walking through the merchant district before settling down for a great dinner. I had something called Monk fish. Great taste, despite the name.

Today, we're in Vienna, Austria. The 7.5 hr train ride wasn't that bad. We had much better accomodations. More later..

Arrived in Milan

Arrived in Milan, Italy this morning. It was a 7hr train ride from Stuttgart, GmBh. Apparently, I'm not getting any younger. My body feels as though it went through a meat grinder. I ache everywhere imaginable. Milan is a stark contrast to both German cities (Frankfurt and Stuttgart), in that it is not as clean and its citizens tend to be more like NYers.

For instance, Germans don't jaywalk, however, it appears that jaywalking is fine in Milan.
Actually, in Milan, it seems that pedestrians walk at their own peril. Not so in Germany.

There could be no cars coming in either direction, but nobody will walk across the street because the walk signal is red. I do not believe, we will spend much time in Milan, as it does not appear very inviting. In fact, this might be the last Italian city that we visit. Rome stop is probably cancelled.

Next stop - Zurich, Switzerland..

Last night, I had dinner

Last night, I had dinner at a great Lebanese restaurant in Wiesbaden (pronounced ' vees-bod-en ' ). Food was great and we ate in the open air cafe. One interesting point to note - the ubiquitous glass of water that comes with your meal is not free in Europe. Talk about culture shock.

While eating, Reg and I wondered if Mercedes Benz vehicles were sold at rock bottom prices, as it appears as though every German drives them. Judging from what drove by the cafe, there probably wasn't a vehicle less than 30k US. I plan to stop at one of the local Benz dealerships and ask to about the test driving policy.

Oh yeah, the Autobahn is very impressive. We clocked about 120km/h on the drive to Wiesbaden.

We are driving a French sedan, the name escapes me.. I have taken a few shots of it. I will make a point to post them later.
Speaking of cars, I also spent a few hours at the IAA autoshow in Frankfurt au Main. Many very cool vehicles. I was very impressed with the Peugot's offering. In the US, Peugots died a terrrible death long ago. Their vehicles had a very poor quality record. Yes, I took several photos and do plan to share them with you.

Today, I send this msg from yet another internet cafe in Stuttgart GmbH.. I had the pleasure of riding the highspeed ICE train. Departed Frankfurt this morning, very nice ride.. Unfortunately, I' ve not been able to use my laptop much as the both batteries are dead. The adapter I brought doesnt work. I hope to have this resolved soon. Gotta watch my DivX movies ...

Later this evening, we'll be heading to Milan, Italy.. Keep it locked.. One love..

Greetings from Frankfurt GmbH

Greetings from Frankfurt GmbH Internet cafe.. The flight on Singapore Airlines was a brisk 6hrs. Unfortunately, I could not find an exit row seat, so I sat in the standard legroom seat. I was forced to stretch my legs into the aisle. The major problem with this arrangement was that I was seated directly next to the attendants' station. So, on this international flight, you could probably imagine that these attendants were busy people. I could swear that their was more activity than a beehive. Each time one of the attendants brought food or beverage to a passenger, they nearly tripped over my feet. Obviously, I didn't get much sleep on the flight. The food was pretty good and they were not stingy with alcohol or snacks.

I watched parts of my X-Men Reunited and some of 'Jackie Chan's-Legend of Drunken Master'.

Well. Time is almost up.. More later..

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