Diversity Events of note People Photography


Pridefest 2005 Today’s outing to the St. Louis PrideFest 2005 parade did not begin auspiciously–we were hit from behind by a lady driving an SUV. Luckily my roommate, who was giving me a lift, drives a larger van and we could drive away after the insurance cards were exchanged.

(I hate the sensations of a car wreck: the screeching tires, the metallic thud, and the fast jerk as your car is pushed forward. I dislike more my roommate’s car being damaged because he was giving me a ride.)

Anyway, he dropped me off at the parade route, and I found a spot in front of a light pole in a little bit of shade, right next to a large group of gay women. Ironically, it was the group the lady who hit us was joining. That poor woman became the butt of several of her friend’s jokes, and one bad pun from me (“Nice running into you again.”)

They were a marvelous group to stand with : every time any car, float, or group went by they would cheer and cheer. Their exuberance added much to the event.

The Parade started right on time, and they kept the pace up, probably because they wanted to finish quickly. It was in the upper 90’s and humid and the air quality was horrid. The conditions were more than compensated, though, by the parade participants. They were a wonderful group, and more than once, I found my eyes stinging a bit from the gentle pride, and absolute joy you could see on their faces.

A Mother's Pride

There were participants from several companies, including several real estate firms. I gather that gay money, at least, is welcome in the housing market. Even in Missouri. Politically, the mayor was there, as was the fire chief and a couple of aldermen, and Ross Carnahan, a Democrat. There was even a small contingent from the Log Cabin Republicans, though they marched at quite a distance from the one somber entry, aptly named “Fear”.


There were some fun and flamboyant participants, but most of the marchers wore simple cotton shirts in various colors, with the word “Pride” over the chest. Even though they live right in the middle of that part of the country which condemns everything about them, they can still smile at, and throw pretty beads to, a crowd that has consistently voted down many of their rights. I think next year the St. Louis Pridefest organizers should consider adding the words “Courage” and “Determination” to the outfits.


Reflection in Glass



Bubble wrap up

I’m not going to be spending a lot of time on the the topic of Microsoft’s embrace of RSS, primarily because the implementation of much of this stretches too far out into the future. When the tech hits my hands, then I’ll kick the tires, and look under the hood.

I will say that I found the Microsoft examples of their RSS integration to be less than compelling: updates of calendars in Outlook and subscribing to Amazon wishlists. The former is just ActiveX subscriptions all over again; the latter seems more geared to bringing in the Amazon name than demonstrating anything particularly useful.

I can’t help thinking that, just like years ago when Microsoft realized it was late to the browser games, it’s now discovered it’s late to the syndication party. To make up for it, the company hopes to do something bigger and better: to redefine what a ‘feed’ really means, and in the process remind people not to forget who the Big Dog is. Yet I just don’t find the effort to be exciting.

I remember when Microsoft entered the browser wars, it did so with such a bang. It brought a lot of innovation to the concept of ‘web browser’: integration with the desktop, DHTML, object models, and even early work with CSS. It was the first browser to drop support for BLINK.

Along the way, though, it also wrecked havoc with its proprietary extensions and implementations–damage we’re still feeling today. Perhaps that’s why much of the positive feedback about the announcement yesterday is more along the lines of, “Wow, Microsoft hasn’t tried to take ownership of RSS. I’m impressed. And it’s honoring the CC license, too. Golly.”

In other words, Microsoft isn’t causing harm with its effort. Whew! Let’s wipe our brows, that was a close one! I ’spect, though, that some of the stronger proponents of this move will be changing their mind on the goodness of this effort in about 2-4 months time. Tops. (Maybe less.)

In the meantime, Atom is moving forward to its first release, and other XML vocabularies are appearing in new or increased uses. Even us bastard XMLers, the RDF clan, are actually doing something useful with our unreadable and indecipherable specification. We just don’t get stage space at Gnomedex.

While Microsoft has stood still, the world has moved on: Gimp, OpenOffice, Atom, LID, podcasting, Mac OS X built on BSD, Ubuntu Linux, NeoOffice, RDF, Firefox, MySQL, PHP, REST, WordPress, even Ajax–light, open, tasty little nibbles in a world suffering a surfeit of heavy metal infrastructures. We’ve moved on.

Microsoft’s RSS team has worked hard, and I respect their efforts. I enjoyed seeing their enthusiasm in the Channel 9 video, and I hope the company gives them space to do something exciting. The photo integration demonstration was one of the more interesting ones, but even that, as they say themselves, is dependent on bandwidth and copyright issues. Also the fact that most folks use PhotoShop or Gimp, though I imagine a plugin could be created to work with these non-Microsoft tools. Come to think of it — you could traverse feeds to pages and scrape the images to pop up into PS or Gimp now, wouldn’t have to wait for them to appear in enclosures. Or Microsoft, for that matter.

Eighteen months to see most of this rolled out is a long, long time. Especially when Microsoft is already eighteen months too late.