How I Ended Up With Aught.com

Back in 1996 I was a young and eager media aspirant, only a couple of years into Silicon Alley and all of its promise. Somehow, I found myself with the title “executive producer” for SPINonline, where I was charged with developing their website (and leading the then-relevant music magazine into the digital age). Alas, a sexual harassment case against then-owner (pornographer’s son) Bob Guccione, Jr. led to an eventual sale of the magazine – and more importantly for me – a dearth of money to develop their website. This gave me a lot of time to surf a brand new web, and think futuristic (and perhaps pot-fueled) thoughts.

I remember it was early 1996 and someone was talking about the best bands of the nineties – a common conversation at SPIN magazine – which got me thinking of decades. This lead to the wonder of the next decade’s brand — I thought to myself “if this is the nineties, what will next decade be called?” At the time, I had I no idea what the next decade should be called – the zeros maybe? I did recall an episode of The Simpsons where Grandpa Simpson was going on about life in Springfield in aught-five when he wore an onion dangling from his belt (which was the style of the time.) Aha! Aught! That’s the name of the next decade!

I was delusional enough to think that I was the only person having this thought, and because I was working in the digital “space,” I went to networksolutions.com and saw that aught.com was available, Thinking that this was going to be the catch phrase of skateboard of the next millenium (”dude, that ollie was totally aught!”) I registered aught.com, fully expecting to eventually sell it for maybe $50,000 (which was the style of the time.)

Guess what? I never sold it. But its still my private email domain (and now serves as the private email domain for my wife and boys!). For most people it’s not that big a deal to have the same email address for 15 years. But a career as freelance television producer, writer and interactive consultant has made me appreciate the consistency of my own domain: aught.com. (I’m choosing not to be depressed by that last sentence.)

That being said, wanna buy a domain?


The Aughts In Architecture & Design

lamster1The decade got off to such a nice start, didn’t it? At the stroke of midnight, as the nines turned into zeroes, our millennial fears were allayed by magnums of champagne and an army of Silicon Alley wizards. Cities around the globe twinkled with the light of an infinity of camera flashes. It was all so beautiful. Who could have guessed what catastrophe awaited, and how pivotal architecture and design would be to the coming decade’s grim narrative? Our world is fundamentally different than it was ten years ago. That change has been shocking, painful, and paradigm-shifting. In that time, architecture and design reframed our world in ways we could hardly have expected. Here are a few signal moments in that recent history.

WTC

The Destruction of the World Trade Center: Since the Towers came down, it has been hard to have a rational discussion about anything in this nation, least of all those two buildings themselves. Hated by critics at the time of their construction, gradually accepted as members of the urban family, they now, in their absence, occupy a space in the collective imagination that is larger than they ever possessed while they stood guard over New York harbor. The wound of their erasure is still fresh, a physical reminder of the corrupting dangers of politics, money, and ego that have defined not just the rebuilding process, but our entire culture in the years following their fall.

nola

The Deluge of New Orleans: In the wake of 9/11, Americans were promised a secure homeland. Instead, we were the victims of an unpardonable abrogation of government responsibility. Decades of intentional urban neglect and environmental exploitation inevitably gave way to a catastrophe that will not be remedied any time soon, no matter our intentions.

mortgage

The Mortgage Crisis: The home has been the locus and symbol of American prosperity for decades, the ostensible lynchpin of our dreams for both emotional contentment and fiscal well-being. But the shelter and security promised by architecture have proven to be, for many Americans, an illusion. The exploitation of our desires, whether fraudulent or merely irresponsible, triggered economic collapse. The toll that overbuilding has taken on our environment and our communities has been enormous.

birdsnest

The Rise of China: Perhaps the most memorable building of the decade was the “Bird’s Nest,” the extraordinary stadium designed by the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron for the Beijing Olympics. It was just one of several recent high profile commissions in China that have captivated the press. But the real story of architecture in China is not so much a few high-end buildings designed by international luminaries, but the overwhelming growth of China’s cities, and the pressures that growth has exerted on the environment and China’s historic fabric.

dubai

[Photo by Karrie Jacobs]

The Fall of Dubai: An Ozymandian empire built on credit and in the desert by what amounted to slave labor. It was so obviously a parable it’s hard to believe it was ever something more than a mirage wafting over hot sands. A tower nearly half a mile tall? An artificial archipelago in the shape of a palm tree? An indoor ski slope? One could not dream up a more vivid symbol of a decade of irrational exuberance. Tread carefully, Las Vegas.

philipjohnson

The Death of Philip Johnson: The reign of America’s pre-eminent architect was so long that, when he died in 2005 at the age of 98, it was hard to believe the profession could go on without him. It was Johnson, as a young man, who established the parameters by which architecture would be judged and practiced in the United States. He oversaw the construction of America’s greatest skyscraper (The Seagram Building), designed its most storied restaurant (The Four Seasons), and built himself a national landmark (The Glass House). His protégés included Robert Venturi, Peter Eisenman, Richard Meier, Michael Graves, Rem Koolhaas, and Robert A. M. Stern.

>>>NEXT: The iPod, Hipster Culture, Green Design & Barack Obama’s Butterfly Effect


Don’t Need to Wait, Get the Record Straight

Call it the correction that launched a thousand tweets. Over the years, many errors and corrections have spidered their way around the Internet--beef panties, anyone?--but never before has a newspaper error inspired its very own Twitter hashtag. In that respect, this Washington Post correction for a tone deaf error is one of the most notable corrections...

Diane Sawyer Looks Back On “GMA” Memories (VIDEO)

Diane Sawyer looked back Friday morning at 11 years of "GMA" memories as she gets set to trade in the 4AM wake-up-calls for the "World News" anchor chair.

Sawyer recalled her first day anchoring the program with Charlie Gibson in 1999 and the almost 3,000 shows since then, shows that brought her around the globe and in the center of all of the decade's most newsworthy stories. Sawyer recalled covering 9/11 from Ground Zero and Hurricane Katrina from New Orleans, Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture," and her interview with Nancy Reagan, in which she described her husband's last moments.

"Every day here has been a grateful journey forward with the 'GMA' family around me," Sawyer said in the package, remembering when Charlie Gibson became a grandfather, when Joel Siegel died, when Chris Cuomo's children were born, and when Robin Roberts was diagnosed with cancer.


WATCH:


Top Online Song and Video Downloads


Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" led the iTunes top downloaded songs last week. See full chart for top iTunes, AOL music video and peer-to-peer music downloads, and Yahoo lyric searches.


The Aughts: A Decade Of “Huh?”

Screen shot 2009-11-22 at 12.40.54 PMThis new decade has snuck up on us. It’s mid-December and only just now has the media world seemed to have awoken to the fact that, wow, we’re about to enter a new decade. I myself had not even realized it until I got an email from Newsweek inviting me to participate in their end-of-decade package. What a difference from ten years ago, when a millennium was drawing to a close and we lived in fear of the havoc to be wrought by Y2K even while we were partying like it was 1999. (I was dreaming when I wrote that.)

By contrast, this year has been so crazy that just chronicling the madness of 2009 has seemed like more than enough work, let alone reflect on the past decade. But part of the import of a passing decade being so overlooked lies to in how un-unified it seemed. The 90s were a big deal because they were so different from the 80s and so different from the 70s. And when we left the 90s behind, we left them for…what? Sure there was Y2k and The Year 2000 and A New Millennium, but beyond that, who knew what to call it? I certainly didn’t and never really called it anything, and certainly not anything generally-accepted or official-sounding (the Oh-Ohs? No-oh.) . In fact, it wasn’t until I started working with Colby Hall, our managing editor here at Mediaite, that I even heard a term for the decade: The Aughts. Flying in the face of our Gmail generation, Colby’s email address is at “aught.com” which I wondered about, asked about, and subsequently learned was what this decade was supposed to have been called. (Colby registered the domain in the late 90s thinking he was sitting on a gold mine. Aw. Read his account of that decision here.)

It was the decade of September 11th, which really changed everything — but even in a world fraught with the scary realities that were made manifest that day, it was also the decade of that world getting so much smaller.

So – The Aughts. As the decade’s close drew nearer it seemed prudent to actually call it something, and the Oh-Ohs, Double-Os and Two-Thousands frankly sound dumb. “The Aughts” is nice, clean, short, simple and definitive, and also sounds vaguely British which means it’s classy. That is why, here at Mediaite, our end-of-decade retrospective series is called…The Aughts. And you ‘aughta’ call them that too! Ha, ha.

But whatever we call them — and none of us agree, which is actually sort of appropriate for the decade in which everything nichiefied and individual opinion gained primacy — there’s obviously no question that they contained multitudes. The Aughts changed the way we lived, and worked, and thought about the present and the future, and became the future way quicker than ever before (Seriously? Just think about the iPhone. A marvel). It was the decade of September 11th, which really changed everything, but even in a world fraught with the scary realities that were made manifest that day, it was also the decade of that world getting so much smaller. For those of you reading this on the go on a little screen on a devide you’re holding in your hand, that you will soon use to make a phone call, watch a video, send an email, self-publish your thoughts in an instant or receive any of the above from someone halfway around the world, you know what that means. You’re living it.

There’s much to grapple with in this decade and we’ve invited our staff, columnists and contributors to think about it from any and every angle — politics, movies, music, TV, technology, religion, demographics, art and architecture, fashion, sports, feminism, human rights, science, ridiculous trends like Crocs — and how all of those categories relate to and can be viewed through the media prism. (We’re also accepting submissions so if you have an idea let me know at rachel@mediaite.com.) Lots has happened since we all held our breath waiting for our computers to implode at midnight on January 1, 2000, and we’re already having fun breaking it down for you. (And when we miss something, please do let us know.)

In the meantime, we’ve got 20 days to go until…the Tens? The Teens? The One-Oh’s? Whatever it’s called, by the end of the next decade what we’ve come to take for granted in this one will be obsolete. So please join us in marking it here, before Richard Branson buys it and sends it into space or Mark Zuckerberg just takes it. Enjoy it while it lasts, folks. If there’s anything the Aughts have taught us, it’s that over the next decade, everything is gonna change.

The Aughts [Mediaite]


Apple Files Countersuit Against Nokia

Jim Dalrymple:

Apple on Friday said it had launched a countersuit against the world’s largest cellphone maker, Nokia.

According to Apple, Nokia is infringing on 13 of its patents. Apple’s lawyer was very blunt in his statement concerning the case.

“Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours,” said Bruce Sewell, Apple’s General Counsel and senior vice president.

I wouldn’t want to fuck with Apple Legal.