YOUTUBE DEBATES AND PIZZA, 2010?

Watching the Democratic Party’s YouTube-CNN debates on the famed video channel today is actually pretty fascinating stuff.

Well, okay, not really. In actuality, it was pretty much the same old, same old when it came to the responses from the candidates: Clinton gave the same evasive, vaguely populist (but not too populist) answers, Edwards sounds a lot like his 2004 incarnation, only with a bit more antipathy and aggressiveness in his voice, Joe Biden is a bit too plain spoken and honest for his own good… well, you get the idea. Obama is still looking pretty strong at this point. If he can rise above the partisanship of U.S. politics that has plagued the country for the past seven years, he’s a sure-fire win. Okay, not sure-fire, but he’s got a better chance than Joe Biden.

I can’t wait to see the Republican YouTube-CNN debates – Ron Paul is the only candidate making their race half-way interesting.

Speaking of sure-fire wins, this video is actually kind of funny. Got to love the viral video age when politics can be reduced to scantily-clad women singing presidential stump speeches.

PIZZA ORDERS: I got sent this link today – it’s a Flash video of a privacy-infringed future in which one man is merely trying to order a pizza. It may be a little far-fetched and over-the-top, but the message is still pretty clear.

SAVE A JOURNALIST?

Last week, during the broadcast of Live Earth, a strange thing happened. For the first time, CTV was airing commercials for its shows on MuchMusic, MuchMoreMusic, Bravo! and Star! and vice-versa. The CTVGlobemedia buyout of Chum Limited is now very apparent, with Rogers about to take over the old CityTV/A-Channel/Pulse24 news division of Chum. Hurrah for corporate convergence.

I know most people don’t give a damn about corporate consolidation in the media nowadays. But this isn’t a phenomenon that exists outside of your daily life. It’s a bloody travesty that while most people consume the news passively and without much critical insight into what’s being presented. But really, it’s even worse for the lives of journalists.

I know, as most people in journalism know now, the Internet is being touted as the medium that will keep relevant, professional reporters working well into this century. Thing is, when will the Web actually be making money for these media outlets to justify in investing in more reporters? Has the culture of free won out?

I’m trying hard to believe this is merely a bad time for the media in Canada right now, a time of decreasing competition (very bad) between outlets, declining numbers of jobs (especially bad) and a shift towards cheap, tabloid-like news coverage on all sides of the newspaper/radio/TV equation. Eventually, people seem to gravitate towards quality news coverage, given that most people are more interested in what’s going on their world instead of the latest brain-dead news on Paris Hilton.

But whatever. All I’m saying is, if you’re really interested in good, interesting media, competition in Canada is what will make that happen. Write to the CRTC, complain about all these rubber-stamped approvals of corporate consolidation and bring back fairness to Canadian media, journalists and stories again.

MISCELLANIA

I’m writing this blog entry at a time in my life when I’m trying to figure out a) why I’m not blogging nearly as much anymore, b) what kind of career I really want, and c) whether the Dark Side of the Moon has renewed my faith in music. I saw Roger Waters at the Rogers Centre on Saturday – it was easily the best concert-going experience of my life. LCD screens and a giant floating pig, that’s all I’m going to say.

Anyway, not much to report about these days. Lots of change, as per usual. Really hoping that things settle soon.

WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID THE iPHONE

I know this will sound like hearsay coming from a gadget nerd like me. Normally, I’d go after the Apple iPhone (and all associated hacks) with aplomb. On the surface, this is a pretty sweet device. And all the hype over the past week and a bit is enough to convince a few people to stay outside for, um, three days to wait to buy one.

But, there’s plenty of good reasons to avoid the first generation of the iPhone. Let the rich folks get (read: earn freebies or burn cash) them first.

1) The cost is too high for so little in return.
This alone should be a good reason to avoid buying the iPhone this time around. For one, even the most insane gadget freaks would balk at a phone that, while offering some cool gimmicks like widescreen video, costs $600 for only eight gigabytes of memory. Come on Apple, that’s ridiculously small compared to what we all know you’re actually capable of putting into a device of this design, considering the rumoured 200 GB sixth-generation iPod is coming in the fall.

2) The wireless web transmission rate is slow.
According to early reports, the Wi-Fi data transmission rates are crazy slow. This seems kind of the point to have an iPhone, don’t you think?

3) Basic phone capabilities are missing.
Apparently, you can’t select a ringtone for the iPhone outside of the ones Apple has provided, nor can you enable voice recording capabilities. Um, why? These features are par for the course for most conventional cells and the BlackBerry.

These are only a small number of issues to start. It’s starting to look like the iPhone isn’t ready for prime time yet. Better wait until the next generation service comes out – this initial release has a lot of issues to be ironed out.

Oh, also, Happy Fourth of July to our American friends down south.