1 04 2009

I just watched EPIC 2014 for the second time. It’s an interesting take on the world of journalism, both print and online. I found the doomsday tone of voice and the sombre music to be a little off-putting, but I suppose what Sloan and Thompson were trying to do was posit the world of journalism in a post-apocalyptic type setting, and to that end their presentation is quite effective.

I also found the newer version of this video here – named EPIC 2015. It’s been updated to include things like iPods and GPS positioning. It’s still pretty much the same premise, though.

As for the idea of EPIC itself, it doesn’t seem wildly far-fetched (perhaps just a smidge dramatic!). Such an information network is probably inevitable, it’s just that the effects of such a system don’t necessarily have to be as intense as portrayed here.

Judging from the past week, which brought the cessation of print runs for several long-running newspapers and magazines in favour of online versions, we’re heading towards tough times for print media. This means that the existing print media companies need to really focus on how to stay current in the digital age.

The idea of the New York Times being a newsletter for the elite and elderly is a little scary, but personally, I don’t think that such an iconic pillar of the media will be taken down so easily.

I also can’t imagine that an all-encompassing online world information system will necessarily phase out the existing (highly regarded) news services.  With no journalists, and the majority of the editing being done by computers, it seems that a system such as EPIC wouldn’t be a particularly reliable source of information. Much as Wikipedia’s content is user-based and not always fact, EPIC would struggle without proper research and editorial processes.

Sloan doesn’t think that this view of the future is a prophecy either, saying that all he was hoping to acheive with this presentation was “to illustrate the fact that the various monopolies of the large media organizations are currently being threatened by many of the new online services.” He adds that if there were to be such a “crazy integrated suite of Google services that will rule the world”, it wouldn’t be too big a deal.

Yesterday I posted a link to a blog about preparing for the onset of online news monopoly, by Patrick Kuras. I see EPIC 2014 as a similar sort of commentary, portentous for the purpose of making the news conglomerates aware that they have to diversify if they’re to ward off obsolescence.

Check out my Blogwatch for updates on GrammarBlog.


Away from the sunshine.

31 03 2009

Today has been a long day. Plenty of procrastination (oh what a clean bedroom I have!), eating, exercise, and a fair amount of internet trawling.

So, it looks like the Ann Arbor News will be following in the footsteps of Seattle’s Post-Intellegencer, and only publishing online, and there are others – Blender will now only be found online, and Maxim will be amalgamating its online and print versions.

Patrick Kuras has some interesting ideas about how we might approach publishing (particulary of newspapers) in his blog post ‘How to Save the Newspaper’. It’s not so much a guide to navigating the impending shift from print to digital, but the prompting of a discussion regarding how we can be best prepared for the change.

In other news, Hewlett Packard have started a web publishing venture called MagCloud, that allows consumers to publish their own magazines for 20c per page. HP are hoping that subverting the skyrocketing prices of bulk publishing will make this venture instantly successful. I can’t help but think, however, that in this age of blogging and self-publishing online, it might quickly lose its novelty value, and those who can write will do so for free online, and save themselves 20c a page.

Nelson Yee has also written an interesting blog post about our progression from web users to those who are used by the web, or use it in a new, more commercial sense. It’s a pretty interesting examination of how we’ve adapted to the web, and how the public perception of the web and its content has also altered.

Well, I think that’s it from me for now. I can see the backyard, and the sunshine, and it’s just too tempting. I’ll try to write more tomorrow, after finishing the readings. Have put a bit more on the Blogwatch page – have a look.

Til later!

Neville, new readings, and a love of the cold.

17 03 2009

Guess what? You know how last week I was thinking of calling my blog Neville? Well, over the weekend I actually met someone called Neville at a karaoke place. Amazing, right? No? Well I thought it was pretty incredible.

Also, I’m loving the cold weather. I am sitting here with slippered feet as I type. Goodbye, excessive heat. Don’t let the door hit you in the arse on the way out.

I’ve just been looking at this week’s readings. The Dung Beatles. Hilarious! AND – wonder of wonders – there’s actually a faeces-themed Beatles tribute band with that name. You can find more about them and their brilliant scatological song names here. ‘Hard Day’s Shite’ is a highlight of their tracklist.

Anyway, let’s get to the info in the readings, which I really enjoyed this week. It drives me crazy when websites are really badly designed and put together, because – as I’ve mentioned before – I’m not the sharpest knife in the web drawer, if you know what I mean, so I need things on the www to be as simple as possible.

There’s a website called Web Pages That Suck (can you guess what’s coming?) that lists websites that are really poorly designed. Have a look – some of them really are staggeringly bad! This one is the number one site for terrible navigation, but this one really takes the cake – voted worst site overall in 2008. It’s so bad it almost caused me severe internal contusions, such was my shock.

These are some stellar examples of how not to design a web page. There are also articles to help you assess your own website’s suckiness. The funny thing is that Web Pages That Suck isn’t designed overly well. It’s aesthetically unappealing, difficult to navigate from the homepage, and full of poorly placed ads that flood the actual content. Go figure.

There’s also a great website called The World’s Worst Website that was created as badly as possible to show you what to avoid. It’s pretty effective – it’s absolutely horrible! There are some really good points on there, too.

I thought that the principles of web design as outlined in Jonathan Lane’s article would have been fairly evident (ie. simplicity and functionality), but it seems that this is not the case out there on the web. So, I’m kind of excited to work on my own (with my group, of course) because, being the kind of person that I am, I think I could come up with something that looks a whole lot better than a great deal of existing websites.

I’ve done a little bit of Dreamweaver stuff, but not heaps and I wouldn’t say I’m overly comfortable with it, so I’m off to do the tutorials. Oh World Wide Web, I’ll conquer you yet!


11 03 2009

So, I’ve managed to finally get myself a blog. That deserves a pat on the back, I reckon.

I was going to call my blog Neville, but I found out that there was another Neville moonlighting on the blog circuit, so I abandoned that idea.


I’ve been looking at websites to talk about for my presentation, and I’ve decided to go with Arts Hub, because it’s one that I visit a bit and I’m a member of, and I think it’s pretty nifty and useful for people like us. You know, us – creative, literary, awesome.

So, if you’re in class today – check me out! Or don’t – I might get embarrassed.

Also, check out my pages for my Blogwatch of GrammarBlog, and the Group Project page for updates.