Midyear predictions: Rocketboom hooks up, Ballmer holes up, Wozniak shapes up

Just like Christmas in July, New Year predictions deserve a mid-year refresher — especially since Valleywag wasn't here for New Year's. Valleywag predicts that by the end of 2006:

  • Rocketboomers Andrew Baron and Amanda Congdon finally give into the sexual tension and get hitched. Media critic Jeff Jarvis reprises his role from "Moonlighting" by appearing on Rocketboom to explain it all. Rocketboom's ratings tank.
  • Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, feeling threatened by a tidal wave of journalists predicting that he'll step down by December, barricades his office in November and insists on running the company from within. Sharp-eared employees can hear him urinating into bottles, wiping down his keyboard with sanitizer, and muttering, "The way of the future. The way of the future."
  • Oracle founder Larry Ellison rediscovers his giving spirit and pledges a $200 million donation to Stanford, one week before the deadline for Forbes' next "Most generous billionaires" list.

The rest is after the jump.

  • "Long Tail" breaks free of its scare quotes by Halloween.
  • Blog mogul Jason Calacanis, realizing that AOL has given him the entire budget left over from the Access department, starts paying his circle of friends for "doing what they already do." Competitor Nick Denton starts eating lunch with Jason for $80 an hour.
  • Three hours after YouTube and Facebook merge, the entire student population of America walks out of class in a rush to update their FaceTube profiles.
  • After Lloyd Braun greenlights three expensive shows against everyone's advice, the Yahoo Media Group head finally gets fired. Weeks later, the shows go live, and Braun's "Puppet News Nightly" quickly becomes America's favorite Internet show.
  • Dave Winer joins the Black Panthers, changes his name to Faqih, and leaves blogging for the promising medium of hand-out flyers.
  • The Valley goes carb-counting-crazy when portly Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak loses 120 pounds and publishes his diet book, "Slim Down the Woz Way."

Photos: Amanda and Andrew by Scott Beale, Jeff Jarvis by Mary Hodder