Search Engines are go.

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Having previously only used Google and Yahoo I was interested when set the task of comparing Google with two search engines I hadn’t heard of, DuckDuckGo and Instagrok, my main intrigue was trying to figure out a point of competitive advantage that a search engine could have, after all the only alternative to Google I had seen was Yahoo which is a lot like Google, in the sense that it’s exactly the same. So the idea of alternative search engines seemed a lot like alternative air or alternative water…. oh wait, that’s actually a thing, anyway you get my point. Below are my results when searching for the Melbourne International comedy festival.

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 Google as I am sure you are all aware ticks a lot of boxes. The results are seem to be organised in order of relevance and are segmented. Youtube and news results are filter into categories of their own making it easier to find if that is what you are looking for, and filtering them out of the result if it is now what you are looking for. Whilst it was not the case in this particular search, the one area where Google searches are less than ideal is when sponsored results appear at the top and side of the search as they can be a tad confusing or distracting.

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DuckDuckGo by comparison was much more streamlined but less organised. Videos, images and news are not filtered out meaning that you have to sort for that information yourself. However a wikiepedia blurb appeared above the search results meaning if you wanted a shallow definition it was very easy to find. It was difficult to work out exactly how the results were ordered. In comparison to the Google result there was certainly more blogs and independent material high in the results, whereas Google had official pages, partners and websites of performers. DuckDuckGo offered search suggestions, which featured similar things that may be of interest. There are pro’s and con’s to the DuckDuckGo search engine, but it’s limitations means it’s hard to imagine myself using it. The main problem is if you ever wanted to search in depth you’d have to rifle through much more results than Google. The main positives being that it is much more streamlined and a simple definition or site maybe easier to find.

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Lastly Instagrok was the most unique and therefore difficult to learn. The centrepiece of the blog is a big mind map with actual website links off too the side of that. These results are organised in an even more specific fashion then Google with different tabs for glossary and quizzes. This system is far to confusing and time confusing for a basic surface level search. After spending time clicking on the different graph headings it was pretty clear that Instagrok would be particularly useful when covering a dense and multifaceted topic. By using the graph headings you can find the results for a specific area of interest on a broad topic or quickly read the heading dot points on a each area. The information is organised in a way that would make finding exactly what you are interested in a bit easier.

From this exercise what has become apparent is that whilst it seems almost second nature to ‘Google‘ something when searching their are alternatives which maybe useful in specific circumstances, with that said Google’s one size fits all approach does the job most times and therefore I don’t see myself ever using DuckDuckGo (unless I am nostalgically longing to play duck duck goose) and only ever see myself using Instagrok in the even that a Google search is getting to convoluted.

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Creative Commons Licence

Creative Commons is a good way for internet users to share content whilst maintaining ownership over their work. Increasingly the internet and editing tools have allowed creative types to use other peoples works as building blocks to create new content. For this reason traditional copyright laws are arguably redundant. If someone has created something completely new out of your work have they really breached copyright? Musicians like like girltalk would be liable to pay much more in royalties than they actually earned from the music under traditional copywriting laws.

CC is a progressive way for users to allow their content to be reproduced, re-used and remixed whilst having the original source attributed. The benefits of this is multifaceted. Firstly, it means the original author is more likely to be attributed. By clearly publishing a CC licence you are reminded viewers that the content is yours and you’d like to be attributed. Also if you allow your work to be reproduced by others, they are more likely to attribute you when they do so, because online copyright laws can be confusing often people avoid attributing the original creator for fear they have infringed on copywriting law. Having the work clearly labelled eliminates this fear.

Secondly, it makes it easier for people to find content for creative projects. This in turn should lead to people having more access to content to re-build, reproduce and remix.

Here’s an example of an effective remix which is more than likely in breach of traditional copyright laws. This series of remix videos has been so effective that it has been reposted by different users multiple times despite having been taken down by youtube for breach of copyright. It has also inspired a fake Facebook profile which has over 30’000 subscribers.

Creative Commons is a great first step in allowing people the freedom to play with content and create new content. It’s a great first step, it would however be more successful if more major publishers embraced it and where more flexible with their licence. Who knows, hopefully any exposure and lack of attribution they are currently suffering will eventually lead to this happening in the future.

Snoop Doggy Lion, Wait, What?

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If you are yet to have heard legendary hip-hop singer, horrendous attempted actor and once owner of his own porn company Snoop Dogg has changed his name from the aforementioned Snoop Dogg to Snoop Lion.

So that happened. The name change co-incides with a musical re-allignment, ditching his gangster rap roots for reggae, if you are wondering what that would sound like you can go here. Again I say, so that happened.

It does raise a couple of questions. Firstly why did Snoops new evolution skip out of the canine family altogether? Surely Snoop Dingo, or Snoop Wolf would be more appropriate? That Snoop Dingo stole my baby perhaps? Also if one is to change animal family’s altogether why did he not have to start at the bottom again and work his way up? Snoop Pussycat, which would give new meaning to his use of that word in a lot of his songs and just think of the room for double entendre. It would however make his collaborations on that song buttons a bit weird, Snoop Pussycat and the pussycat dolls.

My next question is this, Snoop Dogg has made a career of being the big snoop dizzle, adding the suffix izzle to the word dog became a trademark, you fizzle? Now on the rizzle my nizzle if Snoop is a Lizzle instead of Dizzle it doesn’t quiet wizzle ya fizzle?

For those of you not sufficient in the language my point is this, Snoop Lizzle just does not work. Lizzle could be Lion, but it could equally be Lizard.

The best question to ask though, is seriously Snoop WHAT THE F? I mean we’ve all heard of artists performing under different monikers. Each of these artists have their own motivations, some a producing work outside of their usual body of work. Some are interested in the challenge of appealing to a fan base who aren’t so sycophantic. Regardless of why, you’d assume one of the points of changing your name would be to get some kind of anonymity  or mystique, so you wouldn’t I don’t know, take the most recognisable part of your name and add lion to the end.

Perhaps I’m being to tough on the Dizzle, or is it Lizzle (my word this is confusing), maybe the name change is a huge spiritual re-allignment. Perhaps he will produce content so diverse and challenging that we forget he once sang the lyrics “he who trusts a hoe will always be broke”. Unfortunately I think that’s very doubtful, instead I think it’s more likely that when our good friend Snoop finally comes down from the Ganja in the Bahamas the name change will be like a bad tattoo… full of regret and hard to remove.

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Live On Bowen

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So this is my first appearance on live T.V. as part of the RMITV talk show “Live On Bowen.” The show is in it’s first season and runs on Friday nights at 8:30 pm on channel 31.

As a rule I’m against zoom being used at all in filming, but the zoom out from the host to the comedian is a common convention in talk shows and it’s used to good effect here.

I think may hair posed an interesting problem for framing for the camera operator as to how to frame the photo, as a result the top of my head (hair) pops through the top of the frame, which is generally considered poor framing. But considering the zoom out to begin the shot, and the fact that it goes live to air it would be difficult to frame.

Personally my eye contact was poor. There was the tendency to make eye contact with the live audience out of habit, unfortunately this means I am not ‘looking down the barrel’ of the camera and therefore don’t look like I am directly addressing the audience.

It was really interesting trying to factor in the very brief and strict time constraint (I was given exactly three minutes), with the audiences responses.

It was a really fun experience, although I wish I didn’t look so uncomfortable whilst hanging out after my spot.

I also wish someone had told me that I need to remove the make up before going to be, because I woke up the next morning feeling like a lizard.

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The Daniel Tosh Saga

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Recently in the comedy world a large debate was sparked over an incident featuring well known comedian Daniel Tosh.

For those who aren’t aware an audience member was offended by Daniel Tosh making a joke about rape. The audience member then blogged about her experience. In the blog she claims that when she interjected saying “I don’t find rape funny!” Tosh responded by encouraging the audience to rape her.

This incited a lot of online debate over what is and isn’t ‘fair game’ in comedy, and also on the responsibility of comics. One such discussion was published on comedy website Bon Vivant.

Whilst most of my views are published in that discussion here is a quick re-cap. I have seen too many amazing acts do taboo subjects in a clever way to rule any subject as off limits to comedy. In fact the best examples create discussion and humanise topics that we may be afraid of.

Secondly, heckling is stupid. If people are enjoying a show and you are not it’s not your place to ruin it for everyone else. If you disagree, leave quietly. If you are really passionate in your disapproval voice your complaint to the venue or comic after the show.

Lastly and where this issue gets really controversial is  his response. Whilst it’s all good and well to say ‘it was only a joke’ it was a joke she clearly didn’t get, so the reply was out of hand, to the point of victimising her. At the end of the day a stage and a microphone doesn’t stop you from being a bully.