Skip to content

The Hacker Crackdown: Bruce Sterling’s 1992 book from a 2015 perspective


Cover of the 1993 edition

Bruce Sterling wrote, “The Hacker Crackdown”, in 1992 and published it as an ebook; let’s remember that this was before there were browsers and the Internet was mostly an academic domain. In order to read this ebook, you would have to find it available on a Bulletin Board System (BBS) and downloaded it as a file to your local machine, then read it through the text editor of your choice, and not on your tablet or phone…because those didn’t exist yet. Maybe if you were really cutting edge, you might have read it on your DD8 Data Diskman that you had picked up for a steal for 900 bucks…in 92 dollars. The central event explored in “Hacker Crackdown” consists of a nation wide AT&T phone outage that occurred on January 15th, 1990 and the subsequent action taken by AT&T and the American government, culminating in Operation Sundevil which was basically a witch hunt.


Last night, due to a bought of insomnia, I pulled up this historical document on my tablet and read the first 200 pages. I’ve never really cared for Sterling’s science fiction, but this piece of journalism is amazing. As I was reading through it, I kept wondering who his audience was: how did he imagine his reader. He is obviously biased toward the young “hackers” who were being targeted, harassed, and ultimately imprisoned by the US government, and refers to the tech unsavy, politically conservative adversaries of these young people as “straights”. So why do we get explanations of basic concepts: what “cyberspace” is; history of the word “hacker”; the basic concept of how a telephone exchange routes calls, and why a fully computerized switching system would be superior to a human operated one; what a BBS is and how it works, etc.? One would assume that his audience would know these things, and that the “straights” wouldn’t be part of his audience. Who was buying this book when it came out, or downloading it and reading it on their computer? Wouldn’t they know what a BBS was since they just used one to get access to the book?

At first glance, it might seem like Sterling made the mistake of shooting too wide, trying to please everyone with his piece of reportage. But we live in a time now where a lot people don’t know what a BBS is, let alone ever used one. (side note: check out the BBS documentary to learn more about that). The focus of the tech-biosphere has switched away from telephones and telephony: these technologies still exist, but they are no longer the focus. Our view and praxis of how we communicate with each other is radically different. And THAT is exactly what makes this such a great historical perspective: an in-depth discussion that assumes you have little to no context for the events on the table. Just check out this description of what cyberspace is:


This is what cyberspace looks like, right?

“A science fiction writer [William Gibson in “Neuromancer”] coined the useful term “cyberspace” in 1982, but the territory in question, the electronic frontier, is about a hundred and thirty years old. Cyberspace is the “place” where a telephone conversation appears to occur. Not inside your actual phone, the plastic device on your desk. Not inside the other person’s phone, in some other city. THE PLACE BETWEEN the phones. The indefinite place OUT THERE, where the two of you, two human beings, actually meet and communicate.”



Oh, the 90’s

Now, “Cyberspace” pretty much went to the same place as “the Information Super-highway”: people who didn’t really understand what they were talking about kept throwing it around until the people who DID know what they were talking about stopped using for fear of sounding like the former. But I love this definition, and I think it’s still relevant. In fact, I would say that we have shifted from spending a rather limited amount of time in cyberspace to spending the majority of our time in cyberspace. Every time you take your cell phone out of your pocket to check email, social media, text messages, or just launch a mobile browser to google something, you are transported from the place you are physically into cyberspace. The physical space has switched from mandatory to optional. Bored with standing in line at the grocery store? Off to cyberspace. No longer the part of a conversation at a dinner party? Off to cyberspace. As a guess, I bet we collectively spend more time in cyberspace, than we do in meat space. In “The Hacker Crackdown” we get a great exploration into what people were thinking about cyberspace in 1992, but from our 2015 perspective. Just for that, it’s worth your time. I’m not sure were media scholars, or the academic people who think about things like this, have gone with this theme, but it seems like the public discussion has become quieter as the novelty of the technology has worn off, and the Internet is increasingly seen like running water, or electricity: technologies that few people understand, and that require massive amounts of engineering expertise to build and maintain, but that most take for granted. In Sterling’s work we get a glimpse of what this connectivity looked like at the beginning.

As a collective society, we no longer see hackers as hyper-intellegent adolescents bent on anarchy and destruction. The day of putting a 16 year old kid in solitary confinement for 6 months because the judge has been convinced that said kid could start world war III from a payphone are, thankfully, behind us. The idea of hacker has morphed more into the Nigerian scammer, or the off-shore identity thief. Internet technologies are no longer as difficult to use or operate as BBSs. The “global voice for everyone” that Sterling talks about in reference to BBSs is here with the web and in a way that Sterling only got a glimmer of. Look! I’m using it right now! It IS a little humorous to hear him gushing about the BBS as a publishing platform when I can publish content from my phone that is far easier to consume than BBS text files; and I’m sure that Sterling would be the first to laugh. He loves dead media. But, if you’re interested in that weird boundary period–that twilight between the pre-connected, mass media, one-way-push from producer to consumer world, and the one we currently inhabit of constant connectivity and a flood of content from everyone who has access to a computer and network connection–then I suggest you take the time to read this gem. You can find it on Project Gutenberg here. If you would like to learn more about the term “hacker” and how it was co-opted to represent a certain sub-set of society, check out Jason Scott’s page about the subject here.

“Digital: a love story”–more an “experience” than a “game”


When you start “Digital: a love story” you are greeted with this welcome screen for the “Amie Workbench” which was inspired be the original Amiga GUI.

“Digital: a love story” is one of those pieces of media that was a long time in coming; it now has a whole personal story wrapped up in its discovery, initial experience, dormant phase, and subsequent completion. If you’ll indulge me, let me tell you a tale that spans 4 years. I’ll try to keep it short…I promise.

In 2010, Cory Doctorow posted a very short review on BoingBoing about “Digital”; Dan Kaminsky brought the experience, or visual novel, or game, or whatever you want to call it, to his attention. Having had a little taste of the BBS world in the early 90s, it piqued my interest. I downloaded it and played around for about ten minutes, thought it was neat, and then went on to do something else. As Jason Scott says about text adventures in his tech talk for “Get Lamp”, “a lot of people start the game up and say, ‘this is awesome!’; and then, fifteen minutes later, ‘look at this youtube video!’ And the story’s over.” And so it was with my first encounter with “Digital”.

Then four years and five months went by. In that time, I discovered Jason Scott’s BBS documentary and, to be honest, watched it many times. I became very interested in this chunk of history and learned who all the players were: from Ward Christensen, the co-inventor of the BBS, to the leaders of the ANSI art groups ACiD and iCE, to Fidonet and its founder Tom Jennings. Basically, I accumulated all the background info I need to appreciate “Digital”. As I mentioned, I did get a taste back in the day–I knew people who ran boards, played around a little with ANSI, and played some of the games like “Legend of the Red Dragon” or “Ursurper”–but it was all pretty limited. I never did anything with Fidonet, nor was I sysop myself. Last week, I was hanging out in my local coffee shop and chatting with my friend Holden about Inform7 and text adventures. He mentioned his interest in visual novels and brought up “Digital”. The memory came back across time; “oh yeah! I played around with that and it was pretty neat. Maybe I should finish it.” A quick Google search later, and I had the Linux version on my hard drive. Last night, I finally fired up “Digital” with the intention of playing it to the end, and proceeded to have my mind blown.


The ANSI home screen of “The Matrix” BBS. Notice the baud rates, sysop name, and other nice touches. Click on the picture to get a better look.

So, the basic plot of “Digital” presents the player as a new user who has just received an Amie computer with a modem. On the desktop, you find a message program with an entry from Mr. Wong waiting for you; Mr. Wong has helpfully provided you with a dialer program and the number of a local BBS. You dial up the first number, hear the nostalgic modem mating call, and dive into the message boards. The experience unfolds as you read through messages and uncover the trail of bread crumbs that lead you to the next chunk of narrative. There are only a few points in which you have to combine a couple pieces of information to determine a third piece of information that will allow the story to progress; the bulk of the game is reading the messages that tell an advancing story. This is why I call it an experience, and less a game; unlike an adventure game, text or otherwise, where you have to find the key to a series of locked doors that provides access to the next thing, this experience’s narrative unfolds more like a book which requires the reader to cross-reference different sources (i.e. the different BBSs you can dial into). There are a few puzzles, but puzzles are not the center of this thing, the heart of “Digital” is spinning a  tale and providing the BBS experience of 1988.


Described in “Digtial” as “the fastest node in the Fidonet”, Sector 001 is pretty old-school for a game that is supposed to be set in old-school. Notice, though, the Fidonet address in the bottom right hand corner: 1:255/32.0

“20 Minutes into the Future” was the title of the “Max Headroom” pilot: it presented a cyberpunk inspired future that is so familiar for the 80s: giant corporations creating dystopias and the street finding uses for discarding technologies. The idea of “20 minutes into the future” has even become a defined TV Trope regarding fiction set in a near future (follow this link at your own risk…TV Tropes can eat whole days of your life). When Doctorow described “Digital” as a game set “10 minutes into the future” he correctly places it into what is now future-of-the-past near future cyberpunk aesthetic. Love makes several references to cyberpunk through the game. But, it’s all the little things from the BBS era that get me. These are all safe to reveal because they aren’t really important to the story: there’s a character named Ward which is a reference to Ward Christensen whom I’ve already mentioned; dialing into BBSs using the old style local numbers with exchange and end point–i.e. 555-1212–which is long gone in the North American dial plan; references to “Hackers” which, though technically not 80’s, did take a lot from the late 80’s hacking scene; the tone of some of the flame nonsense is also perfect; having to use stolen calling card codes to make long distance calls which I may, or may not, have done as a youth; and, finally, the mention of Fidonet as well as a real Fidonet address, tucked in there. As the end credits rolled and a thanks to, ,which is run by Jason Scott, flashed up, I let out a squeaky cry at 12:04 in the morning; “sad”, or “cool”, I’ll let you decided…but the answer is “cool”.

To sum it all up, if you’re interested in living through a simulation of a time that you didn’t get to experience and you like reading narratives, check it out; if you lived through the BBS era and would like a trip down memory lane, check it out. If neither of those statements describe you, then, as Mr. Scott says, “check out this youtube video!”

Here’s a link to Christine Love’s website where you can get “Digital: a love story” as well as read about the author in her own words or check out other stuff she’s done: Link.

Presenting Mr. Reed


Aaron Reed’s pic from his website

I’ve already written a few posts about Inform 7: it’s a powerful tool for creating interactive fiction that has a very low cost to entry. But, it’s also very complex and DOES have a learning curve. Yes, you can make a playable game by compiling the single line of source text: “The Kitchen is a room;” it would be a boring game with one room and nothing to do, but it would be a game. Inform comes with great documentation that’s pretty friendly, but still kind of hard to plow through.  Enter Aaron Reed from stage left: deus ex ludico!

Aaron Reed is an accomplished IF author. You can check out his website here. He’s added several titles to the IF canon, and written some extensions for Inform 7. He also appears in “Get Lamp” by Jason Scott (see previous post). But, for me, Reed’s great contribution to IF is writing “Creating Interactive Fiction for Inform 7”. This book is completely amazing.

creating_interactive_fiction_with_inform_7-coverReed assumes that his audience are pure beginners and may not know what IF is, let alone Inform 7. He starts right from the beginning and gives the reader an objective: “okay, we’re going to write a game from scratch using Inform 7; you’re going to see how it works from beginning principles to increasingly complex ideas and concepts and I’m going to provide you with best practices along the way.” The game is called “Sand-Dancer” and tells the story of a protagonist on a voyage of self-discovery through a landscape of Native American inspired myth. I should point out that, being Native American myself, it’s always mildly weird when authors try to use “Native American” tropes. “Native American” is a really vague term that encompasses so many distinct peoples, languages, and cultures. But that’s a screed for a different day, and I haven’t found the tropes here offensive; in fact, I think they are very well handled. The story itself deals with very real problems I’ve seen on reservations first hand.

At this point, I’m 148 pages in and have just gotten to the good part where he gets into puzzle construction and allowing the player to really interact with the world. I’m totally hooked. If you are trying to learn Inform 7, I can’t recommend this book enough. Here’s where you can get it on Amazon: Link. If you’d like to play some of Mr. Reed’s games here’s a bunch of them on the IFDB: Link. You will need an interpreter, of course.

Jason Scott: a man you should know…if you don’t already

jason-scottI initially found out about Jason Scott from Jimmy Maher’s blog The Digital Antiquarian–another guy who will get his own post shortly. Maher mentioned Scott’s text adventure documentary, “Get Lamp.” I found it on Youtube, and was immediately hooked. When you have 2 hours to invest in something cool, you can find it here. Jason Scott considers himself a computer historian and is involved in making documentaries about recent computing history, as well as various efforts to archive what we have today with things like Archive Team, and the Internet Archive. He’s incredibly passionate and smart about what he does and really well spoken. At this point, I’ve listened to hours of his talks which you can find on his blog. Everything he does is creative commons; so, it tends to be widely available. It’s so rare to meet people who are genuinely into what they do; but, when you do find those people, they provide such a breath of fresh air. It’s so easy to get cynical and think that everything is just a cash grab; it’s good to know that people like Scott are out there, driven to make cool stuff and with little regard for reward.

I highly recommend checking out his blog here, or taking a look at his BBS era collection of text files here. He put together a mini series about BBSs over the course of four years, and you can find it on Youtube, here’s the first episode. He also did a great film about Defcon itself which you can find here. One of my favorite talks he gave at Defcon deals with making tech documentaries: it’s pretty inspiring stuff and you can find it here. The highest point for me is when he says, “Perfect is impossible! Something IS possible! Do something!” So right! I often get trapped in the quest for perfect. If you’re reading this Mr. Scott, thank you for all your efforts; you have provided hours of education and inspiration.


“Rick and Morty”

rick-and-mortyI was watching the Philosophy Tube’s channel on youtube the other day, and saw his episode on “Rick and Morty” as an argument against Scientism: Link

The media landscape that I live in is a little constrained: I don’t have a TV or access to cable, and tend to avoid mainstream programming. This is not to say  that I don’t have guilty pleasures: there are more than enough bad sci-fi films on youtube to keep me entertained– “Mutant Hunt” anyone? But, I hadn’t run into “Rick and Morty” before seeing this piece. It got me interested.

“Rick and Morty” is very much for adults: it’s dark, violent, and often handles sexual themes. But it’s also incredibly funny, or at least I think so. It follows a standard straight man formula–Rick Sanchez, a scientific genius–who is surrounded by people of limited intelligence. It’s kind of like “Blackadder” where the titular character is the only sane and intelligent character in the story. But, to call Rick Sanchez “sane” would be to use that word in a way not normally accepted: he is a functioning alcoholic and capable of profound acts of cruelty.

The story-lines are incredibly creative and engaging: take the episode where Rick makes Morty a love potion that proceeds to destroy the world. The jokes are infectious; I find myself quoting the series in everyday interactions…often to blank stares. And there’s an arc that goes through the whole series that deals with trauma and healing. Through the series we see Morty becoming increasingly traumatized, but, in the last episode, we discover that there’s a depth to Rick that we may not have suspected.

If you like dark humour, wacky sci-fi, with a well thought-out  narrative under current, I highly recommend you give “Rick and Morty” a go. For those of you in the states, you can watch the first season on the main website–check it here–and for those of you outside the USA, you can find it here.

Berlin Mini Game Jam, July 2014

berlin-game-jam-logo Once a month three guys throw the Mini Game Jam; it’s basically an 8 hour workshop with the purpose of creating a game from scratch. It starts with a get-to-know-you exercise: every participant is given five pieces of paper with the same number printed on each; the goal is to talk to five different people and exchange numbers. Theme’s are proposed before hand through Meetup, and then voted on by all the participants through a dedicated website. You can vote three ways: like, dislike, indifferent. Here’s what came to the top yesterday:

– local multi player!
– crossing the desert
– Games with procedural created stages. In general, games that aren’t the same if you play them again.

Coming in at fourth was the theme I suggested, “Alone in the Dark”. So close, and yet so far…I really wanted to do some kind of Lovecrafty story.


Anyone who has ever played a text adventure knows what this is: the standard mapping system of players everywhere.

Per my last post, I wanted to try to do a text adventure with Inform. I selected “crossing the desert” and decided to place my story in a post-apocalyptic setting. I brain stormed for about an hour by myself and had come up with some rough ideas for a couple of puzzles and story line in an environment of some 14 locations. I was sitting by myself in a corner and had most of the design dialed in, when one of the participants walked up to me and explained that he was late in showing up and hadn’t found a team yet. I told him that I was working on a text adventure and that it probably wouldn’t be very interesting, but I’d be more than happy to show him what I had come up with so far and show him the tools I was using. As I explained the story and showed him Inform, he got into it and wanted to work with me. We started exchanging ideas and the game design got better and more focused.

Then we sat down and started coding. I set up a repo on github for the game, so that we could each work on parts and merge them. We broke down the task into smaller parts with the first objective to get all the rooms in place and make sure that they were connected properly. By the end of the game jam, we had a working environment that you could move through as designed and a few objects that you could interact with.

At 21:00, the Jam was declared over and the teams gave presentations of what they’ve done. It was pretty amazing what people were able to do with a typical work day. Some of the titles were just as good as anything that came out in the 80’s: titles that people paid money for. A lot of the participants used a platform called Unity to build their projects. I’ll have to learn more about that. It was really cool to see the creativity and skill.


“And you just have to imagine why on Earth you can’t get ye flask…”

Lessons learned: a lot of time was wasted fighting with Github and Inform7 due to simple beginner mistakes. We were struggling to bring the story to life because we didn’t know enough about our tools. I really need to sit down and learn Inform better so that the technical side becomes more of an aid than a hindrance. Next time, I’d like to be able to come up with a design, implement it, and then publish it as a browser playable game. Then I could pitch the game in the presentation and, if anyone is interested in playing it, they can do so. Presenting a text adventure is a little challenging: there are no pretty graphics to look at.

So, here’s what would be on the back of the box if my text adventure was finished and on store shelves in the 80’s.


“Silenced Voices”post-apocalypse

In the ashes of the aftermath, every man does what he must to survive. Slowly, settlements have come back from the brink and opened trade routes across the desolate waste land, bringing needed goods across the dangerous landscape. As a caravan guard, you knew the dangers. But danger means money, and the need for the one out weighed the fear of the other.

They came out of nowhere on the 13th day. Ambush! In the middle of the fight, your gun jammed and, when you took cover to try and fix it, an explosion went off, taking away consciousness. You don’t know how much time has passed, but, when you finally woke up, you find yourself alone in the ruins of a battle field. Nothing of value remains. You have no food and no water. Can you find your way to provisions and make it back home?

Inform 7 and Text Adventures

inform7-logoI’m actually a little to young to have experienced the full wonder that was the Text Adventure era; being born in 1976, I could kind of understand what was happening in any given text adventure, but I didn’t really have the patience required to really interact with them. As Don Woods says in Jason Scott’s brilliant documentary, “Get Lamp”:

“You didn’t go into “Zork” to play; you went into “Zork” to do battle.”

Those early games were very unforgiving: they tended to kill the player a lot, and size limitations meant that a typical Infocom title would equal about a 30 page novella. We were standing at the beginning of the question of narrative in video games: what kind of stories can you tell with this medium? What were the advantages and limitations? If you’re interested in history, check out “Get Lamp“; it’s worth your time.

Last month, I went to the Berlin Mini Game Jam where people interested in making any kind of game–video games, board games, card games, they are all represented–meet up and try to make a game prototype in 8 hours. I knew that there were developer platforms out there to make text adventure authorship easy. I didn’t know which one to use; so, I went to Andrew Plotkin’s website to try and find out what he was using. If it’s good enough for Plotkin, it’s good enough for me. Due to some technical issues, I wasn’t able to complete the single room I was trying to do; but I got enough exposure to know that I want to work with this more.

There goes 2013…

2013 wasn’t the hardest year in my history, but it was pretty rough: trying to adapt to a new country, to a new language, getting a working visa, finding a job. It proved even more challenging than I had expected. As of last September, things started to turn around and now my position looks much better…exciting even.

With my new job at Biolab, 2014 will provide all kinds of new opportunities to explore new technologies and work on new systems. The only thing is making sure that I can really take advantage of it all. I’ve started to put together a learning program for 2014, experimenting with different ways of structuring goals and time. Just as important, though, is to take a moment to breath and think. I have to avoid that tendency to pile on too much, too fast.

So, here’s to a successful new year in 2014.

Star Trek: The Next Generation and more future of the past

TNG_head Last year during the month of December, I was unemployed and had a lot of time on my hands. Businesses are usually down to a skeleton crew, and everyone is on vacation; so, the job hunt was on hold. I had a bunch of seasons of TNG on my laptop, and started watching them.

This year, I’ve accumulated a bunch of vacation that I had to take or lose; it snuck up on me actually, and I didn’t really have any plan of what to do with two weeks off. While sitting around the apartment,  I decided to rewatch TNG. Maybe it will turn into an annual thing?

TNG is now firmly obsolete; it has become a future of the past. In a time where we are talking about transhumanism and the singularity, none of these topics are even briefly mentioned. The characters are surprisingly like modern humans. What do I mean by that? Well, TNG is supposed to be taking place in the 24th century which is about 300 years away from now. 300 years ago would be the 18th century. Watching TNG is like going back to the 18th century and watching a play about people living in the 21st century but whose outlook and attitude are still grounded in the 18th century . The reality will be soooo much weirder! Just look how much things have changed since the show debuted in 1989! Considering the rate of change and the technologies that are around the corner, I wouldn’t be surprised if humans are barely recognizable as such.

This time around, my suspension of disbelief kept running up against road blocks. I found myself wondering a lot about where exactly the Enterprise was and where it was trying to go. “At warp 8, we will be there in 16 hours.” Okay…How far is it from your current position to this place you’re going? I know it’s 2 light years between us and our nearest star. I guess light speed is warp 1 which means it would take 2 years to get from Earth to Alpha Centari. Are warp speeds some kind of logarithmic scale so that warp 9 is exponentially better than warp 1? Still, where the hell could you be that it would only take 16 hours to get anywhere in space? I’m sure you could go on Archive Alpha, the Star Trek wiki, and read a detailed description of how it works; but, I’m not going to do that. I’d rather it be clear within context of the show.

The saying, “form follows function”, kept coming back to me as I was watching the bridge crew dealing with their stations. Like, what happens at the “ops” station, and how is that different between what’s happening at the helm or tactical? Those consoles seem to be plot ticket generators and nothing more. Whenever they need something for the plot, it’s available at one of the bridge interfaces; and, when it’s not convenient, the interface won’t work for some trumped up reason, “the moon’s gravity disguised our warp signature.” It got me thinking about what kind of controls you would need on a star ship. What are all the systems involved? What kind of adjustments would you need to make them? What information is available? I feel like the Enterprise runs more on science-magic than anything real. “Well, we could go to warp 9, but you’ve got to be livin’ right!”

In 300 years, I think we’ll be lucky if we have colonized the solar system. I know that to hold people’s interest you need to have anomalies in the space-time continuum, warrior races, and extinct alien empires. But, I would love a more hard-science fiction approach to a series. Space is really hard to live in; just building a self-contained environment that could self-sustain is really challenging. Trying to live in such a hostile environment would have plenty of drama on its own without Romulan Warbirds showing up. I would also like to see an alien species that is as diverse as humans are with a rainbow of cultures, religions, philosophies, and governments. I’m getting really tired of monolithic alien species that don’t really make any sense. How, for example, did the Klingons ever develop warp drive? How did they avoid wiping themselves out once a weapon of mass destruction was invented. In an infinite universe, anything must be possible; but human technological advancement depends on community. As methods of communication improve, we see technologies jump forward. The kind of community necessary to make the sustained advancements over generations to figure out faster than light travel would have to be in an atmosphere unbroken by struggle and violence. If history is any example, the societies that are really good at making weapons, usually aren’t good at anything else. Soviet Russia was awesome at weapon design, but they had a hard time with refrigerators. Anyway, I think you could do something like Firefly, but set in the Sol system, with a diverse human race that has colonies on most of the planets and planetoids. I’d watch it…

Open-Source Film editing software

Interface to kdenlive, showing the video and audio tracks on the timeline

Interface to kdenlive, showing the video and audio tracks on the timeline

A few weeks ago I started thinking about what kind of media you could whip up with just a smart phone and whatever open-source editing software that might be out in the wild. I asked Dr. Google a few questions, and I found out about the kdenlive project. I was able to get it installed and worked through the available tutorial. In a few hours I put together a couple of short pieces, using minimal editing techniques. I created a Youtube channel and dumped my two films out there. Normally, I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with something like Youtube, but the temptation of having a globally accessible distribution platform that was freely accessible was just too much. Sharing things like a few photos is one thing, but when you want to share media files that are pretty large, it seems like a good way to go. After muddling through the Youtube interface and seeing what they have to offer, I think I may switch over to vimeo. But, that’s another discussion.

So, in the course of a week, I was able to create two short films and to make them accessible to anyone who wanted to see them…in the world. They weren’t master pieces, or anything. But the barrier to entry was just so low. I always love to use Kevin Smith’s, “Clerks” as an example to illustrate how much film making used to cost. “Clerks” ran up a tab of 25k dollars and Smith had to sell of a lot of assets and go into debt to make it. It was shot on film and all the equipment was rented.  Smith, an unknown kid with no film degree but a lot of moxy, showed great dedication to see his project through. And today, we could make a film of about the same quality with what we have in our pockets and tote bags: every person with a smart phone and a laptop is a potential walking film studio. And this begs the question, with these technologies present just about everywhere and with global platforms for distribution available, where is the new media revolution? Is it happening all around me, and I just don’t see it because I’m not applying the right filters, or looking in the right places?

Anyone interested in checking out the results of this experiment can find the Youtube channel at the following link:

Digitalhecatomb on Youtube