Don’t be too sure of parity

With today’s news that the FCC would allow further deregulation of the media industry, effectively allowing fewer companies to own more media properties, it’s interesting to note a similar, if ironic trend, going on with the Web.

It’s conventional wisdom (for whatever that’s worth) that in traditional media, the fewer the companies the worse the user experience. For example:

  • Clear Channel owns thousands of radio stations, therefore only a handful of watered-down, corporate-approved songs make it into 60% of the nations radio market.
  • AOL/Time Warner owns several TV networks in addition to its movie studio, meaning that simple economics dictate crappy bomb movies will be shown over and over again on Comedy Central and TBS simply because they’re cheaper to buy and air repeatedly.
  • ..and you get the idea.

The irony here is that this situation- the few owning the many- is in the best cases a very good thing for the Web. Notice:

The best companies on the Web are focusing on the user experience, and they’re winning. There’s only a small handful of them right now, but it’s no coincidence that three of the top 5 Web companies are also three of the most popular, well-known Web sites in the world.

Amazon has expanded its simple, powerful interface to a new Web index, Alexa, which is still taking off. The biggest mystery of all is why the parent hasn’t reshaped their child in their award-winning image, considering it’s easily the best, most widely used and referenced movie & TV database online.

That’s not to mention the offline and online retailers who have moved under Amazon’s banner, and not the reverse- including CDNOW, Target, Toy’s R Us, and many others.

Google, the most popular search engine, is revolutionizing the online news habit with it’s , a smash after less than a year in existence. Though Google doesn’t own any subsidiary companies of note, they are a monopoly on search, the most user-centric tool on the Web, and they’re creating new usable ideas almost every week, from the news to text ads.

And there is one recent purchase of note that has made Google a parent company- Blogger, the first ever Weblog tool, was snapped up by Google last February. Though the once-leading Blogger is now sagging far behind the much more confusing, elitist MovableType software, it still says a lot about Google that they made the purchase, signaling an important trend towards the categorization and indexing of the disparate, dynamic blog culture.

Finally, there’s Ebay, the online auction site. Setting the pace with a clean, text-based design heavy on content and superior features for free, eBay strattles the lowest common denominator in an accessable way that attracts power users and alike, clearly the key to its brilliant strategy.


Die Another Day DVD

Sitting down to watch Die Another Day on special edition DVD, even though it doesn’t officially come out here in the US until tomorrow.

Thank you again,

The Teammates

Historian David Halberstam was on The Daily Show Thursday talking about his new book, The Teammates.

The book is about Red Sox legends Dom Dimaggio (yes he is) and Johnnie Pesky driving from Boston down to Florida for one last visit with Ted Williams, who has since passed.

Williams was the greatest hitter that ever lived, and Dimaggio and Pesky were his teammates during a time when men like Williams left the game to serve during wartime, and those who stayed behind stayed with the same team, often throughout an entire career.

Dimaggio and Pesky are two peas, both small, wiry men who made great players with their heart and attitude. Pesky, at 83 years old, is still employed by the Sox in this, his 57th year in pro ball.

It sounds almost too good to be non-fiction, but it is…these are the stories that make New England the most true, and best, part of this country.

The new Bond makes up for the breaking desk…

On this desk that I’m sitting at, the left side of the slideout keyboard tray has been steadily detaching from the side of the desk for the past few days…every time I hear an ominous crack, the left side of the keyboard tilts down slighty to the left, leaving us typing on an ever-growing tilt.

Of course, I could easily take the time to slide out the tray, drill a new hole in the side of the desk, and put the tray back in right…but I think we all know that’s not happening until it breaks.

In better news, I picked up the new Die Another Day from our friends at It’s got an entire disc of special features that look pretty amazing according to MI6, and besides, it’s the best Bond film to come along since Goldeneye, at least…

Mike Tyson in the fight of his life

Greta Van Susteren’s Mike Tyson piece just aired on the Fox network’s horrible newsmagazine, The Pulse. Besides her fake, stupid “I’m trying to be serious” look, the piece was not a total trash job like I expected it to be.

Tyson was convicted of raping Desree Washington in 1992, and the piece spent much time uncovering jurors, witnesses, and Tyson’s attorney, all contributing evidence that the trial was a sham.

Web media was flashing snippets of the piece all day, no doubt released early by Fox for just that purpose, in which Tyson was quoted as saying he was so mad at Washington that he would rape her today if he saw her.

The quote, typical Tyson, is certainly outrageous- but it’s equally as outrageous for a hack, pompous journalist like Van Susteren to provoke Tyson into a typically Tyson-esque quote just for ratings.

the series premier

Hoo ha! Today is the first day of After two years of owning the domain name and doing nothing with it, I’ve finally got something here.

Mostly, I think we’ll be using this site to publish photos we’ve taken (or that have been taken of us), so hit up the photos section, and be sure to check out the wedding photo album. So far, I’ve got about 10% of the photos up from our big day, with the rest to follow in the coming days.

For everyone who made the trip to the wedding, thank you for coming out. For those that could not make it, start here.