Duke Nukem Forever, the Chinese Democracy of the video game world that has been in development since 1997, seems to have gotten a release date of May 31, 2011. Nonetheless, it seems some people will feel that this game isn't the "real" Duke Nukem Forever -- it's just something that was hacked together and rebranded as such (like Commodore/Amiga has been doing lately). [via Techdirt]
There were 21 entries found with "Chinese Democracy":
While compiling this list, I asked a few people a dumb question: What was the biggest online event of the year?
Random answers included Oprah joining Twitter, Michael Jackson's death breaking on TMZ, and Susan Boyle coming and going. Someone even tried to argue that a writer who detailed his firing from The New Yorker on Twitter was momentous.
But frankly, I've got nothing better. So try this out: Matt Haughey selling PVR Blog on eBay for $12k was the most emblematic online event of 2009. Why? Because the amount seems both ridiculously high and preposterously low at the same time. It proved that if there was ever a time when you couldn't tell what the fuck something was worth, this was it.
With Kim Kardashian making $10k per tweet, even internet fame seemed synchronously bankrupt and filthy rich. Or as someone else asked, how didn't we notice that Perez Hilton had accidentally become more famous than his namesake Paris? And how is it possible that more people are reading Reblogging Julia than Julia herself?
So it's time to stop being wishy-washy about our value assessments. A few years ago, someone convinced me to drop the title "Best Blogs" from this annual list and change it to "Most Notable" blogs of the year. It made sense at the time, when the medium was still figuring itself out: chiefs were being chosen, voice still being refined. But as I began to assemble this year's list, it became clear that, no, these blogs actually were my favorites, not merely the most interesting.
So here they are, the 30 Best Blogs of 2009:
30) Dustin Curtis
Woe, the personal blog. It's a small tragedy that the decade began with the medium being used primarily by single individuals to gather and share small insights, but ends with the impersonal likes of Mashable and HuffPo. In the age of more more more, it's remarkable to see someone dedicate so much time to a single post, making sure the pixels are aligned and the words are all just right. Dustin Curtis' personal site is one of the dying breed of personal bloggers who care about such things (similar to how Jason Santa Maria puts art direction into every one of his posts). Start with: The Incompetence of American Airlines & the Fate of Mr. X. (See also: Topherchris, We Love You So, A Continuous Lean, and Clients From Hell.)
29) NYT Pick
The bloggers behind NYTPicker had quite a year: they got Maureen Dowd to admit to plagiarism, they pointed out several errors in the Times obituary of Walter Cronkite, and Times contributor David Blum was revealed and then un-revealed as one of them. In the process, they showed that blogs can comment on the New York Times in a more substantial way than making fun of silly Sunday Styles trend pieces. If anyone really still thought blogs couldn't be the home of original reporting and research, NYTPicker proved them wrong. They watch the watchdogs! Just wait for an enterprising blogger to start NYTPickerPicker in 2010.
28) Gotcha Media
Every year it seems like a site should emerge to take the video aggregator trophy, but the space is still a hodgepodge of sporadically embedded YouTube clips. Gotcha Media was the closest to the quintessential destination for finding video events we remembered through the year, whether that be Kanye crying on Leno or Michele Bachmann leading a anti-health care prayercast. (See also: Gawker TV and Mag.ma.)
As Virginia Heffernan recently asked in a recent NYT essay, what exactly should a magazine look like in the digital age? Once a sporadic print title, Animal is now one of the last remaining examples of what an underground magazine could look like online. (See also: Black Book Tumblr and Scallywag & Vagabond.)
26) Shit My Dad Says
Several people tried to convince me to change this entire list to "Best Twitterers of the Year," a listicle that someone probably should compile but which exceeds my pain threshold. In the meantime: "Son, no one gives a shit about all the things your cell phone does. You didn't invent it, you just bought it. Anybody can do that."
25) The Rumpus
As literary magazines go, The Rumpus is something of a mess. Created by Stephen Elliott, who spent most of the year jostling around the country in support of his novel, The Rumpus defined itself mostly in opposition to what it is not. But columns by Rick Moody and Jerry Stahl, along with a rambling assemblage of interviews, links, anecdotes, reviews, and whatever fits onto the screen, make it the best case going for a reinvented online literary scene. (See also: HTML Giant, The Millions, Electric Literature, and London Review of Books Blog.)
24) Best of Wikipedia
...Coprolalia, Foreign Accent Syndrome, Stendhal Syndrome, Dude, Mopery, Sokushinbutsu, Tyvek, Shm-reduplication, Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome, Pica, Kayfabe... (See also: Double Tongued.)
23) WSJ Speakeasy
It didn't start off very well. In the backdrop of the Wall Street Journal announcing Speakeasy in June was the chatter about Rupert turning the internet into a clunky vending machine (put a quarter in, junk food drops out). And the coverage at this culture blog was spotty at first, but the gentility eventually morphed into a more conversational aesthetic. (See also: NYT Opinionator.)
22) Script Shadow
"I was just thinking what an interesting concept it is to eliminate the writer from the artistic process," said Tim Robbins' cocky producer character in The Player in 1992, and Hollywood seems to have listened. By reviewing movie scripts before they get made into movies, this site turns the focus back onto the written word. (See also: First Showing, Movie of the Day, and Go Into The Story.)
21) Newsweek Tumblr
It isn't enough that Newsweek is the only mainstream media organization dangling their toes in the rocky stream of Tumblrland; it also happens to be doing it better than most of the kids. (NYTimes.com has been threatening to do "something interesting" with the medium for a couple months, but there's still nothing to show for it.) It's tricky for an established old media company to find the right voice on a new platform, but the Newsweek Tumblr has figured out how to mix their own relevant stories with the reblog culture. (See also: Today Show Tumblr.)
20) Asian Poses
The Nyan Nyan. The Bang! The V-Sign. The Shush. These are just some of the poses Asian Poses introduced us to this year, illustrated by photos of cute Asian ladies. Is it offensive? Maybe, but many of the most interesting blogs straddle that offensive/not-offensive line. Also, based on the well-known "members of a group can make fun of that group and you can't" rule of comedy, this is not offensive since it is run by a Chinese guy. But maybe it objectifies women! Color me confused-pose. (See also: Stop Making That Duckface, This Is Why You're Fat, Really Cute Asians, and Awkward Family Photos.)
19) Look At This Fucking Hipster
If you thought the Internet had run out of ways to mock hipsters, Look At This Fucking Hipster and Hipster Runoff proved you wrong this year. Look At This Fucking Hipster took the more direct approach, simply asking you to look at photos of these fucking hipsters, complete with caustic one-line captions. It may come as no surprise that the author, Joe Mande, appears to be a self-loathing hipster, posing in black-rimmed glasses and a flannel shirt on his website. Literary-minded hipsters are surely jealous of LATFH's book deal.
18) Hipster Runoff
Hipster Runoff's Carles took a more satirical approach, blogging about pressing hipster issues such as the music meme economy and whether you should do blow off your iPhone in fractured, "ironic quote-heavy" txt-speak. Many people suspected that "Carles" was actually Tao Lin, since Carles' writing was so similar to Lin's affectless prose, but Lin denies this. Whoever Carles is, he is most certainly another self-loathing hipster. He knows far too much about Animal Collective to be a civilian.
There's a long-standing joke on this annual list to mention Metafilter every single time. But this was the first year it seemed that more people were paying attention to what was going on in the conversation threads on Reddit. For the uninitiated: Reddit takes some of the features of Digg, mixes it with the aesthetic of Twitter, adds the editorial of Fark, and accentuates it with the comments of Metafilter. But better than that sounds.
16) Smart Football
If you had told me at the beginning of 2009 that Steve Pinker and Malcolm Gladwell would get into a heated debate about football esoterica, and that this debate would happen, in all places, within an internet comment thread, I would have said, "Yeah, and Brett Favre will have the best season of his life at 40." But every once in a while intellectuals wander into sports, and recently the NFL seemed the place where the Chronicle of Higher Ed crowd is hanging. So if you want to get smart about football, this is the place to do it. (See also: Deadspin and The Sports Section.)
It looks like a conspiracy that Snarkmarket has made this list a few times now, but unlike most blogs that become sedentary in their success, it just keeps innovating. This year, Robin Sloan quit his job at Current TV to become (among other things) a fiction writer -- and one of the most fascinating ones on the scene in some time. Matt Thompson had been gigging at the Knight Foundation, but recently hopped to a new gig at NPR. With them being so busy, Tim Carmody settled in as the new scribe of ideas. If they let me give it a tagline, it would be "The BoingBoing it's okay to like." (See also: Hey, It's Noah and Waxy.)
13) Nieman Journalism Lab
Where were these guys when we needed them? Sure, it's another think tank, but Nieman Journalism Lab has been putting its not-for-profit money where its mouth is by also breaking news, such as the item about Google developing a micropayments sytem, the crack-ass idea from the Associated Press to game search, and little factoids like NYT's most frequently looked-up words. It also happens to be the only place still hiring journalists. (See also: Reflections of a Newsosaur and Newspaper Death Watch.)
12) Anil Dash
At some point during the year, I asked Anil for an explanation in the upsurge of blog posts on his site. He said it was merely recognizing an opening: there are so few people writing intelligently about technology today. True! Daring Fireball may have the links, and TechCrunch may have the coverage, but there are scant intellectuals left in the space. When it was announced last month that he was leaving Six Apart to work for a new government tech startup within the Obama administration, the techno-pragmatism all made sense. (See also: Obama Foodorama.)
11) Slaughterhouse 90210
Slaughterhouse 90210 combined lowbrow TV screencaps with highbrow literary quotes, making it kind of the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups of Tumblr blogs. Another comparison: an intellectual I Can Has Cheezburger. Seeing a quote from, say, The Bell Jar underneath a Friends screencap is pleasantly shocking -- especially after you realize the quote fits the show perfectly -- and a reassurance that it's okay for smart people to like stupid things. Could be a good candidate for a book deal, if it weren't for those pesky copyright issues. (See also: The G Maniesto and Fuck Yeah Subtitles.)
10) Letters of Note
We've known for a while that the best blogs are dedicated to a precise nano-topic, but there is also a new thread emerging: the blog dedicated to disappearing technologies. The tagline of Letters of Note, "Correspondence deserving a wider audience," says it all. There's Hunter S. Thompson starting a screed "Okay you lazy bitch," there's Kurt Vonnegut writing his family from Slaughterhouse Five, there's the letter from Mick Jagger asking Andy Warhol to design album cover art, and there's J. D. Salinger's hand-written note aggressively yet delightfully shooting down a producer who wants to turn Catcher in the Rye into a movie. (See also: Significant Objects, Iconic Photos, and Unconsumption.)
Launching another media blog didn't sound like rearranging Titanic deck chairs; it sounded like booking a flight on Al Quada Airlines to Jerusalem. But not even six months after launching, Mediaite was already on the Technorati 100, eventually landing somewhere around #30 on a list of players who have been there for years. Sure, it can go a little bananas with the seo/pageview bait, but it's also one of the few entities in the whole bastardly New York Media Scene to actually have the will to take on Gawker (or its pseudo-sibling, The Awl). (See also: Web Newser and Politics Daily.)
8) Clay Shirky
There were only, what, a dozen or so essays on his blog this year? But one of them, Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable, caused such a little earthquake in the industry that tremors were still echoing months later. Shirky is the only guy in the whole space who doesn't sound like he has an agenda, who doesn't have a consulting agency on the side that he's pumping his half-baked theories into. (See also: Umair Haque and The Technium.)
6) Harper's Studio
The book industry is about to go through the same disruptive changes that the music industry set upon a decade ago -- this, it seems, almost everyone agrees upon. But just as with the previous natural cultural disaster, no one is sure how to prepare for the earthquake. The editors at the new Harper Studio are the most likely candidates for turning all the theory behind "the future of books" into actual functional products. An impressive list of inventive works on the horizon hints at their agenda, but the blog, which is something of a clearing house for discussing everything that has to do with the future of publishing, is like an R&D lab for print. (See also: Omnivoracious, The Second Pass, The Penguin Blog, and Tomorrow Museum.)
5) Eat Me Daily
As one competing food blogger put it to me, Eat Me Daily is the Kottke of food blogs. Which, if you want to follow that obtuse metaphor, makes Eater the genre's Gawker and Serious Eats its Engadget. And which, if you understand any of that at all, means that this blurb can end now. (See also: Eater and Serious Eats.)
3) TV Tropes
If you don't know TV Tropes, it's too bad, because I probably just ruined your life. If you've ever recognized a hackneyed plot device on a tv show and thought "I wonder if anyone else has thought of this," the answer is: yes, a lot. I don't even know where to suggest starting in this labyrinth, but try entries like Butterfly of Doom or Chekhov's Gunman or Bitch In Sheep's Clothing -- or just hit the random item generator. My dream is to have Tarantino spend a month here and come out with his Twin Peaks. (See also: Television Without Pity and Urban Dictionary.)
2) The Awl
The Awl is too good to exist, or so goes much of the catty banter in the media business scene. There is seldom a conversation of The Awl lately that doesn't ask, "How the hell will they make money?" But let's set aside that gaudy little question for a second and instead ask, "Why has The Awl become an internet love object?" I've done the math, and I have a theory, involving at least two factors: 1) It winks at all the sad internet conventions while both debunking and adopting them at the same time (Listicles Without Commentary and those Tom Scoccha chats are the best example). And 2) it is willing to go to bat for the unexpected without sounding like one of those intentionally counter-intuitive Slate essays (Avatar and Garrison Keillor are two good recent examples). In short, it's just less dumb than everything else. Even Nick Denton joked about it at launch, and I don't know how they'll survive either, but The Awl already exists in an admirable pantheon that includes Spy and Suck. (See also: Kottke and Katie Bakes.)
Go ahead, scoff. But I will tell you this: no site in the past year has better personified the internet in all its complex contradictions than 4chan. Blisteringly violent yet irrepressibly creative, vociferously political yet erratic in agenda, 4chan was the multi-headed monster that got you off, got you pissed off, and maybe got you knocked out. When I interviewed moot in February, I discovered a smart kid who had seen more by the age of 16 than someone who actually lived inside all six Saw movies. People tend to think of 4chan as pure id, but there are highly formalized rules (written and unwritten) within the community. Inside all the blustery fury of the /b/tards, there is more going on psychologically than we are equipped to understand yet. (See also: Uncyclopedia, Encyclopedia Dramatica, and Know Your Meme.)
Special thanks to these exceptionally nice people for contributing ideas to this list: Caroline McCarthy, Joanne McNeil, Melissa Maerz, Chuck Klosterman, Soraya Darabi, Mat Honan, Katie Baker, Erin Carlson, Noah Brier, Jason Kottke, Taylor Carik, Nick Douglas, Lockhart Steele, Matt Thompson, Anastasia Friscia, and Kelly Reeves.
The kid who leaked Chinese Democracy got two months of home confinement, and zero Dr. Peppers.
It was a year that chimed in with idealism, and clanked out with pragmatism. "Hope" began the political season as an optimistic revelation, but concluded the year as a is-that-seriously-the-best-we-can-do? mantra right up there with "don't be evil."
Perfection was the goal, so music set itself to the task of eliminating the blemishes. Auto-Tune diluted the rough edges, but the economy fell apart and Kanye's mom died while undergoing plastic surgery. So much for perfection.
By the end of the year, we were searching for compromises. Once garish, Will.I.Am's take on "Hope" ended up sounding down right utopian.
There's a lot of fun to be had in the albums below, my picks for the best of 2008. Some of you will be disgusted by the likes of Lady GaGa, whose filthy rich party lifestyle is more gaudy than throwing a potlatch outside a homeless shelter (which is not that dissimilar from Kanye's Gucci soliloquy on SNL).
But compare that party-with-what-ya-got materialism to whatever "hopeful" nostalgia that the cosmoblogosphere was scolding you into: Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver and Vampire Weekend. When asked to pick between a luxury simulacra and faux authenticity, I'll take the loot any day. I have no idea where these indie kids found cause to overuse the word "beauty" in this weary pastoral, but this year's Pitchfork bands felt more like a retreat from the future than nothing else since -- fuck, I dunno -- prohibition. Fantasy, indeed.
Then again, I banged my head to Chinese Democracy, so what the fuck, right?
Here they are, my favorite albums of 2008:
1) Girl Talk, Feed the Animals
Depending how you want to construe it, Girl Talk is either the most cynical thing happening in music right now or the only relevant culture for our time. Or you can just ctrl-alt-delete the historicizing and declare it the Finnegans Wake of pop music: a difficult mashup classic that is as fun to discuss as to ingest. (And as my Joycean college mentor would proclaim, dance to.) Nothing this year made me think more about music: how it's created, where it's distributed, how it's discussed, who owns it, how fans have become critics, and how critics have become artists.
2) MGMT, Oracular Spectacular
It wasn't easy, but they survived the summer.
3) Santogold, Santogold
It felt like an eternity between the moment you first heard "L.E.S. Artistes" in 2007 to when the album finally became available. And then another eternity between the album and the inevitable Bud Light commercial. The elongated backlash sine wave was the funnest roller-coaster ride of the year.
4) Juno, Soundtrack
There's a little Mark Loring in all of us. Who? Mark Loring -- that would be Jason Bateman's character in Juno (and one of the many coded references for Minneapolitans -- a memorial to the famed posthumous Loring Bar). Trapped between eras, Loring couldn't find the right place between his rocker past and grown-up future. Like the Alice in Chains tee that his wife (Jennifer Garner) splotches in eggshell yellow, he's ill-equipped for the upgrade. That tension, which is also a prevailing narrative of our time, is the essence of this soundtrack.
5) Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak
Kanye is your needy friend, Kanye is your worst blog commenter, Kanye is your John the Baptist, Kanye is your spoiled crybaby, Kanye is in your closet, Kanye is your form swallowing your content, Kanye is your everything, Kanye is your new bicycle.
6) Lykke Li, Youth Novels
Blonde, Swedish, design-damaged girl makes blippy, sullen, vulnerable album made for dancing around your apartment on a rainy day while waiting for your lipdub to finish uploading to Vimeo. Forget Suicide Girls, she's like the Tumblette of my dreams.
7) Lady GaGa, The Fame
Downtown NYC desperately needs a new hero. The hipsters, who eat their young faster than they can become zygotes, have already chewed up and spit out Lady GaGa, but she's the last great hope for a Madonna-esque crossover from naughty street creature to shiny pop diva.
8) Guns 'N Roses, Chinese Democracy
On the last page of the extensive liner notes, Axl gives his thank-yous for an album that he began recording before Dakota Fanning was born. Like the music itself, it's a hodge-podge of mysterious choices, with recognizable names and places jumping out of the jumble: Donatella Versace, Hoobastank, Suicide Girls, Ferrari, Weezer, SoHo House, Mickey Rourke, Bungalow 8, Apple Computers, Lars Ulrich, and Alice In Chains. If you stare at this list long enough, cross your eyes, spin around a few times, and throw some Hail Mary's at the Falun Gong -- Chinese Democracy sorta begins to makes sense.
9) Crystal Castles, Crystal Castles
This year I almost ceded victory to the music blogs, MySpace, and HypeMachine. The single seemed to finally drive the nail in the jewel case coffin of the album, so I nearly replaced this annual "best albums" list with a "best songs" list. (How else can I tout Teyana Taylor's "Google Me" or The Count & Sinden's "Beeper" or Kid Sister's "Pro Nails" -- songs all released in early 2008 but still have no accompanying albums.) With producers rushing out tunes and leaks fueling an embeddable culture, the time gap between hearing the song and getting the album now seems agonizingly long [see above]. But so what? No one will care about Crystal Castles this time next year, but "Crimewave" was the best Depeche Mode song never made.
10) Beyonce, I Am... Sasha Fierce
Slinging "fierce" into your lexicon at this point is like lighting the fuse on the ticking timebomb of obsolescence. Unless you're Beyonce, who can slap on a robot glove and look like she just dropped in to say hi! from 2012. The futuristic, angry Beyonce songs are always her best, and half of this two-disc package is throw-away R&B, but the other half is loud, bitter, and -- okay sure, whatever you say, Comandante Knowles -- fierce.
33) Foals, Antidotes
Chuck reviews Chinese Democracy. Grade: A- (At midnight on September 16, 1991, Chuck and I waited in line outside Budget Tapes and Records in Grand Forks, ND to buy Use Your Illusion I & II. Standing outside a Best Buy in New York, NY on November 22, 2008 sounds less enticing.)
So yeah, Chinese Democracy? Rolling Stone loves it. (I get the weird feeling that the best conceptual comparison will be Eminem.)
I've tried to stop publishing GNR rumors, and although this one look more legit than all the others, skepticism is still warranted: Chinese Democracy To Be Sold Exclusively At Best Buy. An entirely new class of people will now be forced to step foot in Best Buy... or more likely, learn how BitTorrent works.
Your first opportunity to hear a track from Chinese Democracy will be via Rock Band. My head just imploded, I threw up in my mouth, I spewed my coffee, it's the end of the world as we know it, the future is now, music is dead, this is advanced, truth is stranger than fiction, OMFG.
Last year at this time, I made my annual Predictions for Media/Tech/Pop, which somehow even squeaked a bit of praise from Frau Denton. As I wrote in a comment in that Valleywag thread, accuracy is never the goal of these things -- it's more about creating alternate universes that seem plausible.
But that's no excuse to hide behind the veil of science fiction. So let's review how well my predictions actually were. I score them below, on an accuracy scale of 1 to 10, even the ones that were purely a joke.
1) $100 PC will be a failure.
Cha-ching. This one hardly seemed obvious a year ago, but this project has run into innumerable problems, the least of which is that it costs twice the advertised price. Score: 10
2) MySpace will introduce no new significant features.
I was very close to scoring a 10 on this, but Facebook scored the bejezus out of Tom and Rupert by mid-year, so they finally released some new things, including a user update stream. It still sucks. Score: 4
3) Apple buys Last.FM. iTV is a hit. No iPhone.
I should just erase all my points -- I was wrong about every single one of these. Horribly, horribly wrong. To be honest, I only made this prediction so I could write this: "The iPhone is like god -- if it really existed, you wouldn't care that much." Turns out, I was only half right -- it is god, but you do care. Score: -1
4) Google and Apple form partnership.
Nope. In fact, I'm surprised to see how much the two companies were competing by the end of the year -- especially in the mobile space. Score: 0
5) A rumor spreads that Conde Nast is buying Gawker.
This didn't happen, but it totally should have, so... Score: 3
6) Jim chooses Pam on The Office.
Yes! Score: 10
7) Studio 60 catches on.
No! Score: 0
8) A media company tries to buy Technorati.
If by "buy" you mean "runs away from in fear," then sure. Score: 0
9) Your mom is charged with plagiarism.
The year started with more plagiarism accusations, but they mostly fizzled out by the end of the year. Score: 3
10) 1) Brian Williams. 2) Charlie Gibson. 3) Katie Couric.
Flip the first two. Score: 4
11) Vista ships.
But it sucks. Score: 7
12) Google buys Twitter.
Could still happen. Score: 2
13) AOL does nothing.
Ya know, despite all the lay-offs, AOL wasn't as laughable in 2007 as it was in 2006. It may get spun off yet... Score: 5
14) No one buys Facebook.
A year ago, this actually sounded like a bold prediction. Score: 10
15) Terry Semel exits Yahoo.
C'mon, gimme some credit now, eh? This wasn't obvious! Score: 10
16) Zune 2.0 is a sorta hit.
Oh yeah, baby. It's not super huge, but it did sell out on Amazon and other places. Score: 9
17) Second Life begins to sink.
Hitting my stride now. Score: 8
18) The year of mobile.
I say this every year, and it never quite happens. The iPhone and... that's about it. Score: 3
19) Dane Cook hosts the White House Press Corp dinner.
Bzzt. Score: 0
Well, it came out. No accolades though. Score: 3
21) More newspaper layoffs.
Ugh, that one was really hard. Score: 8
22) Smartpox won't catch on.
What the hell is Smartpox? Score: 10
23) CBS makes some surprise investments.
Last.FM! WallStrip! Now do you forgive me for those horrible Apple predictions? Score: 10
24) Chinese Democracy comes out.
Whahahaha. (Okay, some tracks leaked.) Score: 3
25) Courtney Love come-back.
Not so much. Score: 2
26) Britney's album tanks.
Hm, tough one. It went gold. Score: 6
27) Ze Frank ends up at Comedy Central.
You wish. Score: 0
28) Amanda Congdon on ABCnews.com = success.
Shoot. Me. Now. Score: 1
29) lonelygirl15 fades.
Totes. Score: 9
30) The planet warms.
Yawn. (I mean, OMG!) Score: 7
Meh, not bad. I should have predicted that I would buy Newsvine though.
The usual caveats apply: I have no inside knowledge on any of this stuff. I talk to media+tech people about trends all the time, but nobody ever tells me anything important. And I only have mutual funds, so don't try to play that angle.
Besides, I'm just taking cheap shots anyway.
1) $100 PC. Finally, computing in the Third World! But priorities are reassessed when someone does the math and realizes that the One Benjamin PC could feed a single African for 37 years.
2) MySpace. Despite (or because of) News Corp's ownership of MySpace, unique users start to disappear. Someone at the New York Times realizes that your friend Tom has released absolutely zero new features to the community since Fox's takeover. In a scramble, MySpace releases a bunch of bad features that everyone hates. However, they sell several more sponsorship deals for movies, tv shows, and bands that you don't care about.
3) Apple. Apple buys Last.FM. Finally. And iTV is a hit. Finally. And the iPhone? Nope, never. Why? Cuz the iPhone is like God -- if it really existed, you wouldn't care that much.
4) Google. By partnering YouTube and Apple's iTV, Google has you watching Ask A Ninja on your plasma. Hello, Google Video ads.
5) Gawker. A rumor is leaked about a Conde Naste buy-out that involves a digital unit built around the new WiredNews.com. Nick Denton is too busy updating Lifehacker to respond.
6) The Office. Jim chooses Pam. Forgetting this is fiction, I attempt to drunk-dial Karen.
7) Studio 60. Sorkin's new show sorta catches on. Gloating until my pancreas explodes, I try to explain that Studio 60 is the first example of middle-brow camp. You call me a moron.
8) Technorati. A media company takes a shot at buying Technorati. Maybe Tribune, maybe NYT, probably Wash Post. By the end of the year, people are talking about a Newsvine purchase.
9) Publishing. Your mom is charged with plagiarism. Her book skyrockets to the top of the best-seller list.
10) TV News Anchor Ratings. 1) Brian Williams. 2) Charlie Gibson. 3) Katie Couric.
11) Windows. Vista ships. You try not to yawn.
12) Twitter. Google buys Twitter. A bunch of media organizations sigh deeply over not thinking of this first.
13) AOL. I have no idea. And neither do they.
14) Facebook. That snotty Harvard kid tells Yahoo, "Tell you what, I'll buy you instead."
15) Yahoo. Ba-bye, Terry.
16) Zune. Version 2.0 of the Zune is launched. A small group of converts start to form, while Engadget asks "too little, too late?"
17) Second Life. Robots invade and kill everyone. Turns out "everyone" is 5 kids in Tallahassee.
18) Mobile. 2007: the year in mobile. If I keep saying it, eventually it will be true.
19) Comedy. Dane Cook gets invited to speak at this year's White House Press Corps dinner. When Cook jokes about fucking the Bush Twins, G.W. laughs more than he did at Colbert.
20) Chumby. This little nerd toy you've never heard of becomes a huge hit.
21) Newspapers. More lay-offs, more shrinkage, more free weeklies, more navel-gazing.
23) CBS. The digital unit will make a few acquisitions that seem peculiar. But by the end of the year, they will look hipper than Unkie Viacom.
24) GNR. Klosterman spreads a rumor that Axl will release Chinese Democracy on April 24. Thousands of thirty-somethings show up at a record store at midnight only to discover... ha ha, fooled you, old man.
25) Courtney Love. Comeback album, comeback movie, comeback fragrance.
26) Celebutantes. People talk a lot about Britney's comeback, but the new summer album does as well as releases from Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, and K-Fed. Meanwhile, Nicole Richie accidentally eats herself.
27) Ze Frank. The funniest guy in America lands a deal at Comedy Central.
28) Amanda Congdon. While the blogosphere wonders who's watching, Amanda's ratings go up, up, up. When you go home for Thanksgiving, you realize your dad has it bookmarked.
29) lonelygirl15. Remember Ellen Feiss?
30) Earth. The planet will get warmer.
Have a swell 2007.
Traffic is to Seattle as weather is to Minneapolis. People love to talk about hating it, but they're all resigned to its existence. Alright, here are a few links:
So I'm listening to last week's On The Media via podcast, and I hear Bob Garfield start swearing at an FCC official. It's both really funny and really good. But I'm thinking, "This can't possibly have aired. This must just be on the podcast." But no, it turns out that it actually was broadcast. There appears to be no fall-out yet, but I can't wait until next week's reax pieces, which seem inevitable.
Digg Soundboard. Indeed.
Since earlier this week we linked to a Tom Waits dog food commercial, this week you get a Rolling Stones 1964 Rice Krispies commercial.
Klosterman wrote a fake review of Chinese Democracy, but half the blogosphere thinks it's real.
I'm moving to Seattle in a few weeks and can't decide whether to change my phone number -- from a 612 area code to a 206 area code. NYT Styles tells me this is the existential crisis of our times, or something like that.
Similarly, there's also this little trend piece about girls taking pictures of themselves. I've asked girlfriends about this peculiar obsession, and they all claim that it's somehow liberating.
Put this one together: Michel Gondry will direct a Rudy Rucker novel with a screenplay written by Daniel Clowes and starring Jack Black. C'mon, that doesn't even make sense.
A Scanner Darkly trailer. Sweet.
Did anyone else think that the scene in last week's Lost in which Hurley was caught with a stash of food was simply a ploy to explain that he wasn't losing weight on the island? Well, according to a Maxim interview, he has lost 30 pounds.
Video. Of. The. Year. Kanye's "Touch The Sky".
That Arctic Monkey album that the English won't shut the hell up about comes out Tuesday.
Daytrading is back -- in Japan.
Just when you thought you heard everything about Web 2.0, how about a Marx comparison!? Oh, Weekly Standard. Doy.
Good interview with The Smoking Gun regarding the Frey scandal.
So best. Amazon has put up a page for GNR's Chinese Democracy -- check out the release date. It seems optimistic that Axl will be dead by then. (Update: drat, it's already been removed. For those who missed it, the release date was listed as December 31, 2025.)
New Fiona Apple video.
Lost + wikis = Lostpedia
Everyone keeps emailing me Forbes' list of the 15 Wealthiest Fictional Characters to add to the list of lists, but it's not a "of the year" list.
Sarah Silverman: "Give The Jew Girl Toys" (video).
Oklahoma Full Auto Shoot. And I thought North Dakota was nuts.
Eminem is getting back together with his ex-wife. This guy is so Axl it's sick.
So yeah, CNN.com launched Pipeline, their subscription broadband multi-stream portal. I haven't even looked at it yet.
Google's 10 Golden Rules.
Someone did a parody of Jakob Nielsen's infamous
2000 column about Flash 1996 column about frames and pretty much just supplanted "Ajax" for "Flash" "Frames" -- even the Slashdotters got tricked for a bit.
Uh-oh, lookie what's changed: Macromedia.com.
Kottke: do you keep a secret site?
The Gawker kids launched another: Consumerist.
43 songs about the blogosphere.
What did I do over the long weekend? I saw both War of the World and Star Wars: Episode Three, so that you don't have to. But mostly I waited for the "Karl Rove is the Valerie Plame leak" plot to develop -- but it hasn't even made it onto NYT yet. Please God, let it be Rove.
Someone should write a crazy-murderer-speech-algorithm that catches things like this blog, which was written by Joseph Duncan, who's being held for murder in Idaho. I have a ton more links over at MNspeak.
Reading NYT's piece on writers who are using blogs to help write books, it's immediately glaring how many of these books are exactly what my friends and I are reading right now (including Steven Levitt's Freakonomics and Steven Johnson's Everything Bad Is Good For You) and are looking forward to reading (including David Weinberger's Everything Is Miscellaneous, Chris Anderson's The Long Tail, and John Battelle's The Search.
Tony Pierce lists the 100 Greatest American Men of All Time.
In a wait rivaling Chinese Democracy, the release of the movie Prozac Nation is finally upon us today -- but it went straight to DVD.
Wired has most of its Remix issue online. It's my favorite issue in many months.
NYT reports on Romenesko's salary, a cool $169K/year.
Missy Elliot's new album, The Cookbook, comes out today.
Finally, it took Tom Cruise to get the brilliance of Brooke Shields onto the NYT Op/Ed pages.
Suicide Girls interviews Rick Moody.
158-image slideshow from IDEA / Business Week's annual designs awards.
Casa Camper is a Barcelona hotel designed by Camper shoes. Yeah, I don't get it either.
Decent NYT story on wetware (aka bioart).