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August 6, 2009

Rupert Murdoch Forgets He Ever Saw That Crazy Flash Movie

Tim says,

Five years ago, Rupert Murdoch sat down at his computer and spent a few minutes watching a movie made by two journalism students. When he rose, he proclaimed that "he and his fellow newspaper proprietors risked being relegated to the status of also-rans if they did not overhaul their internet strategies."

Then he bought MySpace and the WSJ. He also bought a locket with Matt and Robin's picture inside.

But now, instead of following the clear lesson of that movie - that is, merging these two properties to make WallSpace? MyStreetLiveJournal? - he just might out-grey-lady the Grey Lady by contending to become King Cash on Paywall Mountain.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:42 AM

June 18, 2009

EPIC 1960

Tim says,


Thomas Baekdal has a nice schematic history of news and information from 1800 to 2020. I like his 1900-1960 entry:

By the year 1900, the newspapers and magazine had revolutionized how we communicated. Now we could get news from places we have never been. We could communicate our ideas to people we had never seen. And we could sell our products to people far away.

You still had to go out to talk other people, but you could stay on top of things, without leaving the city. It was amazing. It was the first real revolution of information. The world was opening up to everyone.

During the next 60 years the newspapers dominated our lives. If you wanted to get the latest news, or tell people about your product, you would turn to the newspapers. It seemed like newspapers would surely be the dominant source of information for all time to come.

Except that during the 1920s a new information source started to attract people's attention - the Radio. Suddenly you could listen to another person's voice 100 of miles away. But most importantly, you could get the latest information LIVE. It was another tremendous evolution is the history of information. By 1960's the two dominant sources of information was LIVE news from the Radio and the more detailed news via newspapers and magazines.

It was really great times, although some meant that "The way for newspapers to meet the competition of radio is simply to get out better papers", an argument that we would hear repeatedly for the next 50 years.

The stuff about 2020 seems very familiar.

Via Lone Gunman.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:25 AM

November 22, 2008


Matt says,

Speaking of Kevin Kelly, I had basically taken for granted that one of us had already posted his call for more visions of the near future, given our recent spate of near-futurism. It appears no one had. Well, that's fixed.

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:29 PM

September 26, 2007


Robin says, gives Halo 3 the EPIC treatment. Funny how the visual language is so recognizable -- and actually quite a bit slicker in this execution! I'm impressed. (Though the voice has got nothing on Matt, and the music's no Minus Kelvin.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:22 PM

July 6, 2007

iPhone Snark

Matt says,

All I have to say about the iPhone is it sure took Apple long enough to create the wifiPod. :P

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:11 AM

June 4, 2007

February 2, 2007

Google's Master Plan

Robin says,

Speaking of Google: Scope out this super-slick anti-Google manifesto. Not too deep but wow, that is some fantastic animation. (Unit Structure-iffic.)

Comments (5) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:52 AM

January 9, 2007


Matt says,

I think Eric Schmidt just made a thinly-veiled EPIC allusion at MacWorld: "I've had the privilege of joining the board and there's a lot of relationships... if we merge the companies we can call it Applegoo -- but I'm not a marketing guy."

What think you? Can we take credit for that one?

Comments (22) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:39 AM

September 11, 2006

The Art of Verification

Robin says,

This is, by a wide margin, the coolest use of EPIC I have yet seen: A professor at Lehigh Carbon Community College in Pennsylvania sets it up as the subject of an exercise in critical media consumption and information verification. Nice use of a wiki, too. Note the contribution of student sleuth Jennifer Jones midway down.

Comments (10) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:15 PM

February 23, 2006

Googlezon Auf Deutsch

Robin says,

If you've seen previous versions of EPIC, maybe you'll love this as much as I do: EPIC 2015 in German!

Comments (5) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:07 PM

January 9, 2006

rAchel's thoughts: You could get all "meta" and, like, use the EPIC template to comment on the development of EPIC..... >>

The Sincerest Form


It's EPIC for the finance industry! LITERALLY!

Does this mean we just jumped the shark?... or that we're getting renewed for another season?... or both??

(Via Ben Metcalfe.)

Posted January 9, 2006 at 12:25 | Comments (4) | Permasnark
File under: EPIC

December 31, 2005

The American EPIC

Robin says,

Robert Kuttner, co-editor of The American Prospect, cites EPIC in a recent column. Too bad he calls the movie's mega-company "Google-zon"... it's like those weird older comics where they'd be like, "Beware the Bat-Man!"

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:40 AM

November 12, 2005


Matt says,

David Vise peers into the soul of Google for The Washington Post's Sunday Outlook section, and finds some stuff I didn't even know was going on. (Googling your genes?) Good, quick read.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:45 PM

November 9, 2005

Yet Another View of the Future

Matt says,

This one's from 1987, made for Apple. And you know what? It's not all that outlandish.

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:49 AM

October 21, 2005

Once More With Feeling

Matt says,

MeFi-ed again. (Fourth time around, yo!) The natives are pretty much calling for our heads by this point. Oh, but backlash can be ugly.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:36 AM

October 11, 2005

Turns Out We Underestimated Google

Robin says,

References to EPIC keep popping up, but seriously, how can we compete with this?

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:59 AM

September 27, 2005

Highly Localized Content Monetization

Matt says,

I'm not sure exactly what John Blossom's talking about, but he mentions EPIC. Must be something brilliant. (Via Read/Write Web.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:24 AM

September 11, 2005

Is Pinki Nankani Involved

Matt says,

Via Waxy, cf. the ending of EPIC 2015.

Neighbornodes are group message boards on wireless nodes, placed in residential areas and open to the public. These nodes transmit signal for around 300 feet, so everyone within that range has access to the board and can read and post to it. This means that with a Neighbornode you can broadcast a message to roughly everyone whose apartment window is within 300 feet of yours (and has line of sight), and they can broadcast messages back to you. Boards are only accessible from computers that go through the local node.

Additionally, Neighbornodes are linked together, making up a node network to enable the passing of news and information on a street-by-street basis throughout the wider community.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:16 PM

August 31, 2005

Sad Time to Joke

Matt says,

Google announces plan to destroy all information it can't index. Also: The Onion is sporting a nice newsy-lookin' redesign. And it's opened its online archives back to 1996. Hott.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:21 AM

August 19, 2005

EPIC and the Editorial Board

Robin says,

The Seattle P-I is starting a new project, the "Virtual Editorial Board," and Mark Trahant cites EPIC in his introduction.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:27 AM

July 21, 2005

The Story Behind EPIC

Robin says,

At last... it can be told!

Man, it's nice to have some text beneath that teal banner again.

Comments (7) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:09 PM

July 10, 2005

Paul's Google News

Matt says,

Google Blogoscoped brings us a mock-up of "Paul's" personalized Google News home page. Methinks Paul would quickly get bored with this arrangement.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:09 PM

June 26, 2005

Lloyd Davis's thoughts: *blushes demurely* Thank, I think you, like, totally rock too, dude. ... >>

'A Strange and Threatening Vision'


EPIC in the Sunday Observer. Nice column by Frank Kane, but uh-oh, he plays the serendipity card!:

Another member of the audience summed it all up by pointing out that the original Reithian code for the BBC, along with the requirements to inform, educate and entertain, also included the obligations to 'surprise and delight'. It struck me that here was the essence of it. No digitised writing machine could ever manage to achieve those two aims, even if it were laden with all the personality of, say, Bill Gates.

Lloyd Davis handles the rebuttal:

Having a news feed that gives you what you want doesn't equate to only having the nice comforting familiarities. Blogs are written by people. Some days they're clever, some days they're not. Some days they're dull and inarticulate and then there's a nugget of gorgeous rich prose. Some days I sit and nod my head vigorously at the screen. Other days I scream at them, and then get on and respond.

Actually, Lloyd's piece is fab all-around. Here's this, too:

My interpretation of the animation is "Don't give up hope, don't run away just because this stuff looks frightening. Go up to it and say 'Hello'. You're human and it's not. You have intelligence, emotion and compassion on your side. Work out how it could help you express yourself as you really are to a global group of people. Team up with your friends to see how you could use it to build on your existing relationships. Don't be afraid."

That's really quite lovely! (Do you like how I'm reading British blogs and using phrases like 'quite lovely'?)

Posted June 26, 2005 at 11:13 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: EPIC

June 12, 2005

Elite, Elderly Read About EPIC

Matt says,

The New York Times has started up a print column about what's being discussed in the blogosphere. EPIC gets a brief mention in the first entry.

PS: Sorry, James Fallows. Google's awesome and everything, but you're still going to have to actually report.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:49 AM

June 11, 2005

EPIC Australia

screen grab from Australian EPIC-style presentation

Now THIS is a trip: The fine folks at the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (!) have posted their own EPIC-style Flash future-doc.

And they even got Minus Kelvin to do the music! For real!

It's actually pretty fun to watch. Great production, and the narrator's Australian lilt almost matches Matt's basso rumble for coolness. They kinda skipped the whole quasi-apocalyptic vibe, but I guess that's understandable.

Posted June 11, 2005 at 11:37 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: EPIC

June 5, 2005

'It Keeps Rearing Its Ugly Head'

Matt says,

Ouch. EPIC's third tour through MetaFilter is not so auspicious. Hype. Backlash. The circle always comes around in the end.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:59 AM

June 2, 2005

Just Can't Leave It Alone

Robin says,

What's that you say? Sick of EPIC? Too bad!

Jemima Kiss added an update to her story which includes some anecdotes about EPIC's creation.

Jeff Jarvis notes it as well.

Update: In nerdy tech news, I rigged it up so EPIC 2015 is being distributed via BitTorrent, the cool peer-to-peer downloading technology. Thanks, BlogTorrent!

Comments (7) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:25 PM

May 31, 2005

Kiss from the UK

Robin says,

The awesomely-named Jemima Kiss writes up EPIC over at She actually emailed me some questions last week but I, uh, didn't reply in time. Doh!

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:50 AM

May 22, 2005

Your Hosts, Again

Matt says,

Tune into the Advertising Show sometime during the next couple hours to hear me and [possibly] Robin being interviewed about EPIC. We'll post the archived show when we're done.

Update: Robin and I each spoke for a good sixteen seconds or so over the course of the two-hour show, most of which went like this:

Host: So this EPIC 2014 business, eh? What's that about?
Robin: X--
Host: Fascinating. We'll be back after 10 minutes to dig deeper into that fascinating answer.

Update: Here's the link. Don't go too crazy.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:03 PM

May 19, 2005

Grow, Googlezon, Grow

Robin says,

Marshall Brain (the guy who invented has blogged a bit about EPIC lately. Today he notes that the word "Googlezon" is still on the rise in the Google index.

If only we were making money off of this... why is there not a Googlezon t-shirt yet??

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:50 AM

May 16, 2005

And Here's Your Host ...

Matt says,

Check me out in RealPlaya.

Comments (10) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:37 AM

May 7, 2005

U.S. News & World Googlezon

Robin says,

John Leo of U.S. News on EPIC. Sweet!

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:53 PM

May 3, 2005

EPIC Is Pretty in Pink

Robin says,

Hey, a nice note from Patrick Phillips of IWantMedia alerted me to this: EPIC is in the Financial Times. Excerpt:

Sometimes, a piece of science fiction can turn out to be more than just a bit of crazy speculation.

A short online film* about the future of newspapers - produced six months ago by two Fellows at The Poynter Institute, a US journalism school - remains mostly pure fantasy. It predicts that the press will lose the race for online readers over the next 10 years after failing to make rapid changes needed to attract consumers who prefer to catch up with the news on the internet.

Anybody with an subscription wanna tell us what the rest of the article says?

Comments (5) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:32 AM

April 18, 2005

Awash in New Capital ...

Matt says,

... Yahoo purchases TiVo? Could happen, sports fans.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:33 AM

March 21, 2005


Robin says,

Jon Dube notes:

A new multimedia "citizen journalism" site called NowPublic is getting ready to launch. The site will allow readers to "assign" stories to reporters; sign up to be a reporter; file photographs, video and MP3s; and "build your own newsroom" and follow the news with "watchlists."

Well, that sounds sort've awesome, huh?

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:09 PM

NYT AFP Sues Google

Robin says,

Don't say we didn't warn you:

Reuters reports that Agence France Presse is suing Google in U.S. District Court, claiming that Google News uses AFP content -- images, headlines, stories -- without permission.
Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:33 AM

March 17, 2005

The Road to EPIC, Mile 137

Matt says,

Adrian Holovaty, in a post about the potential role of metadata in news, advocates creating a database of isolated, metatagged facts pulled together by automated news-munching robots.

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:44 PM

March 14, 2005

Rob Sample's thoughts: Well, you've created a meme, cause I found you guys via a friend who emailed me the link to EPIC ... >>

PEJ Writes Up EPIC

OK, I wasn't going to link to the State of the News Media 2005 report that's been making the rounds, but then I took a look at the thing, and I saw that they start it off by describing EPIC:

In December 2004, a mock documentary about the future of news began making make the rounds of the nation's journalists and Web professionals.

The video, produced by two aspiring newsmen fresh from college, envisioned a nightmare scenario - by the year 2014, technology would effectively destroy traditional journalism.

In 2008, Google, the search engine company, would merge with, the giant online retailer, and in 2010 the new "Googlezon" would create a system edited entirely by computers that would strip individual facts and sentences from all content sources to create stories tailored to the tastes of each person.

A year later, The New York Times would sue Googlezon for copyright infringement and lose before the Supreme Court.

In 2014 Googlezon would take its computer formula a step further. Anyone on the Web would contribute whatever they knew or believed into a universal grid - a bouillabaisse of citizen blog, political propaganda, corporate spin and journalism. People would be paid according to the popularity of their contributions. Each consumer would get a one-of-a-kind news product each day based on his or her personal data.

"At its best, edited for the savviest readers," the system is "a summary of the world - deeper, broader and more nuanced than anything ever available before. But at its worst, and for too many, [it] is merely a collection of trivia, much of it untrue, all of it narrow, shallow and sensational."

That same year, the New York Times would fold its tent and become "a print-only newsletter for the elite and the elderly."

"It didn't have to be this way," the video concludes.

And it probably won't be.

Ha! (Oh, and "bouillabaisse"? Best word ever.)

Posted March 14, 2005 at 11:06 | Comments (8) | Permasnark
File under: EPIC, Journalism

March 13, 2005


Matt says,

Have we all noted the new socially networked Netflix? Grand. Any Netflix users on here I can add to my friends pile?

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:08 AM

February 11, 2005

Julie's thoughts: She misspelled your name in your e-mail address too, and she misspelled Poynter's! Why is it so h... >>

More Gabbing on Googlezon

Masha Geller called me up for an article about EPIC. Here's what she wrote.

Not to knock the article or anything -- well, okay, I am knocking it, but only in the nicest possible way -- but it demonstrates some flaws in the old gatekeeper model of journalism. If you were really interested in EPIC, this article would not be the place to learn about it. Instead, you'd go to Snarkmarket, or one of the dozens of other blogs that have deconstructed and critiqued the movie. Or jeez, you'd just e-mail me or Matt. I read Masha Geller's article and I'm not even sure what I'm talking about.

Nothing but love, though! Masha really wanted to write this article and played phone tag with me for a long time to do it, and I appreciate it.

Posted February 11, 2005 at 8:46 | Comments (4) | Permasnark
File under: EPIC, Media Galaxy

December 12, 2004

bof.'s thoughts: Yup. the last paragraph should have '--' in place of the comma.... >>

'Un Film D'anticipation Sur Le Monde Impitoyable De I'internet'

The French edition of ZDNet links to EPIC:

Dans le genre prévision risquée, justement, citons un film d'anticipation sur le monde impitoyable de l'internet. Imaginé par Robin Sloan et Matt Thompson, du Museum of Media History de Tampa (Floride), il décrit l'inexorable ascention du conglomérat "Googlezon" qui dominera le monde infotech en 2014. Google, aujourd'hui, est déjà ce qu'on sait, et encore plus (rachat de Dejanews en 2001, Blogger en 2003), mais en imaginant qu'il fera plus tard main basse sur la force de frappe d' et les décodeurs vidéo numériques de Tivo, ces spéculateurs de l'histoire nous emmènent bien loin (rendez-vous sur le site d'un des deux auteurs pour vous mettre au parfum - animation Flash). Au point de prévoir le concept ultime de la technologie "customisée" à l'échelle de l'individu: "EPIC", pour "Evolving Personalized Information Construct".

De quoi, pensent ces oracles, terminer en 2014 sur la mort de Microsoft et du New York Times. Encore la génération Michael Moore qui prend ses désirs pour des réalités!


*Unless they're talking smack about it and I just can't understand

Posted December 12, 2004 at 12:32 | Comments (4) | Permasnark
File under: EPIC, Media Galaxy

December 4, 2004

Ramón Antonio Parada's thoughts: I would like to create subtitles for spanish and portuguese. I have tons of frends saying "in see... >>

More Notes from 2014

Check out the awesome convolutions applied to EPIC 2014 on Farai Chideya's blog. (No permalinks, so click fast while it's still up top.)

Farai writes:

Who is Evan Emerson? This almost feels like one of those frustratingly addictive follow-the-clues marketing campaigns.... but for what, I don't know.

First, a friend in Miami sent me [a link to] an eight-minute lo-tech short on the disappearance of news as we know it. The conceit is that Amazon and Google join forces to form a super-tech-engine that filters news based on databasing and recommendations (think your iTunes favorites list meets Amazon meets Google News) that ends up killing the New York Times.

Who IS Evan Emerson? If you went to this EPIC mirror and stripped out the /epic you might start to wonder...

Shades of the alternate-reality gaming fans' suspicions, there!

And then there's this follow-up:

Meanwhile, Andrew Blau found out who Evan Emerson is, or isn't. I was right--it's not a real name. A friend emailed Andrew info that two California-based journalists, Robin Sloan (Sacramento Bee) and Matt Thompson(INdTV) did the piece. [...]


News of this investigation was passed on to me by "Evan Emerson" -- who may or may not be a rogue AI bot sent back in time from 2016... the year EPIC went mad.

And yeah, with that mind, I want to re-publish Matt's excellent comment on the original EPIC post in case you missed it:

It's funny to see where the super-old-school thinking and the super-new-school thinking bend back around and meet up. (And crash, and lie inert, secure in the knowledge that this exact future will never come to pass.) When we presented this to the editors, it was always, "Oh, no, nothing like this would ever happen. The sensible citizens of America are far too enamored of our beautiful agate type to ever pay much attention to those dreadful noisy light-emitting contraptions." And some of the most thought-out responses from the technopagan crowd have been along the lines of, "Come on, this is nothing like the future. This doesn't even take into account last year's Quantum Fluthinger API, which outcalculates Google's Helsinki7 algorithm by a factor of 10^23."

So true!

Posted December 4, 2004 at 3:16 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: EPIC, Media Galaxy

November 18, 2004

Filip Verhaeghe's thoughts: They didn't buy Tivo in time for your timeline, but they did launch Google Video and now snapped ... >>

Googlezon Lives


Matt and I had planned to build a full-blown website around a souped-up version of our Googlezon presentation (you know, the one that masquerades as a transmission from the Museum of Media History circa 2014).

Buuut it didn't look like that was going to happen anytime soon, so we decided to just go ahead and release our eight-minute Flash opus into the world.

Not ideal, as it's basically without context and therefore somewhat weird, but hey! Let's see how it fares in the howling chaos of the web.

Here it is: the Googly future of news. (Note: updated link... file has moved as EPIC madness washes over the Internet in a great flood of dread and wonder.)

Watch it spread on Technorati.

Posted November 18, 2004 at 12:15 | Comments (34) | Permasnark
File under: EPIC, Media Galaxy
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