Welcome to the United States! [en]

[fr] Quelques étrangetés américaines rencontrées sur mon chemin...

Here are a few of the things I noted regarding my second contact with US culture. I’ll add things to this list during my stay.

  • friendly and helpful people (besides the cashier at Walgreen who couldn’t help me use the card payment system and was a tad grumpy)
  • wide, wide roads; a normal road like Cornell in Hillsboro is roughly as wide as our motorways; a small residential lane is wide enough to fit 8 cars across it
  • big, big cars, to go with the wide, wide roads; they’re not cars, they’re trucks! And yeah, maximum one person per vehicle, please…
  • some of the cars (quite a lot) have the orange turn signals lit up permanently (not blinking) instead of off
  • in domestic airports, anybody can enter the luggage claim area
  • security people have a “we take security seriously here” air about them
  • breakfast seems to consist mainly of pastries
  • cubicles; saw the real ones, after being introduced to the concept by Dilbert; they’re far worse than I had imagined: huge, huge spaces lined with grey boxes — people must feel very lonely working in them
  • default mode of transportation seems to be the car; when I asked where I could get a sewing kit, I was sent about 500m/1km away, but the guy was a bit taken aback when he understood I was on foot, and then claimed it wasn’t walking distance
  • many more large and extra-large people here than what I’m used to seeing
  • grown-ups wearing caps
  • an ATM which charges me $2 to withdraw money
  • tap water which tastes of chlorine and frog (I feel like I’m drinking swimming-pool water)
  • grid-like roads: very confusing when trying to figure out where I am on a map — all the intersections look the same
  • nice food! Indian, Thai, burger, fish-food… yum; I’m definitely not having light meals to help with my jetlag
  • at Portland baggage claim, a surprising number of very young mothers (or very well-preserved mothers)
  • way too much choice when it comes to medicines
  • toilet bowls full of water by default (I thought the first one I encountered was blocked)
  • signs telling people to wash their hands!
  • bathtubs encountered are wide but really short and shallow
  • way too much ice in drinks
  • woman next to me on the plane who gave me a rather blank look when I said “Switzerland”
  • pedestrian lights in Hillsboro stay green for two seconds and then transform into a big red flashing hand; now what’s the logic behind training people to walk across the road with a big red hand flashing at them? in civilised countries like Switzerland, the light at least stays green long enough to allow you to cross the road while it’s green
  • paying the bill at the restaurant requires engaging in complicated calculations to figure out how much to tip

Firefox Only For White Anglo-Saxon Males? No! [en]

Browse Happy needs testimonials from happy Firefox users who fall outside the “white high-tech anglo-saxon male” profile.

[fr] Browse Happy, un site qui encourage les gens à  se "convertir" à  Firefox, a besoin de témoignages de personnes qui ne tombent pas dans la catégories "homme anglo-saxon blanc branché technologie"... a bon entendeur!

Browse Happy is a neat site encouraging users to switch to Firefox, by publishing testimonials of happy switchers.

However, it does suffer from a problem: the people featured on the site tend to fit the white high-tech male anglo-saxon profile pretty dramatically. This strikes me as an unhappy coincidence, so maybe we can lend a hand in helping them gather a more respresentative sample of testimonials?

If you don’t fit that profile, and want to help spread the word that Firefox is for everybody… send in your testimonial!