Move Over Jeeves!

It’s part of the common vernacular to ‘Google’ something – just like you’d stop a runny nose by reaching for the Kleenex, or fixing a cut with a Band-Aid. While it’s hard to argue that Google isn’t the ‘best’ at finding results (if you find yourself in the 2nd page of Google results, chances are you won’t find what you’re looking for), there are definitely different ways in which search engines could deliver results to their users.

First I’ll get the technicality out of the way. I’m going to explain (preaching, really, to a congregation of more faith than I) how to make a certain search engine the default search engine.

Oh wait…no I won’t!

(Kidding, of course I will, it’s worth half a mark just to do it.)

How to set default search engine:

To make things clear: I will simply be outlining how to do it for PC Chrome users. It really should be the browser to use, because not only is it run by the same people who basically run Gmail, Youtube, Drive, Maps, Translate and, well, everything you ever need to pretend to be smart, it’s a very fast browser, and extremely easy to delete the whole bunch of toolbars and plug-ins that your parents got suckered into installing.

First, go into the main menu by pressing the horizontal lines to the top right hand corner of the browser, right under the big red X. Go down to settings, and enter the settings page. On the fourth heading on the Settings page, where you see the word ‘Search’, you’ll also see the button ‘Manage Search Engines’. Clicking that will open up a small box where there might be a whole list of websites that have any form of search function built in. The top section of that list is the list of “default search engines”, and hovering over the one you want to use – say, ‘Bing’ (ha) – will bring up a small choice to ‘Make default’. Click it, and now when you type into the blank searchbar, you’ll be using Bing by default. Quick, change back before you regret it!

Alright, now to the comparisons.

I am comparing DuckDuckGo, instaGrok and the mighty Google.

The search term which I used across all three engines was ‘dofp’, the abbreviation for ‘Days of Future Past’, which is the title for the upcoming X-Men movie. I used this because the theatrical trailer was released yesterday, so the buzz should be quite high.

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo focuses on getting the user an answer, straight away, whereas instaGrok is about teaching the user anything they would want to know about the topic, and all the sub-topics, etc. Google will find you links to sites that would have information on what you searched, placing the most commonly accessed and/or relevant on top, so on.

Because of this, DuckDuckGo gave me an Instant Answer box, which actually told me about the original comic of Days of Future Past. Then, the third result down was the one which mentioned the film in a journalistic capacity – that is, not purely review – with the video to the trailer. The first result was actually to acronym.com, to tell me what dofp could stand for, despite the Instant Answer having told me already.

In this way, DuckDuckGo was rather useless in terms of helping me get to an immediate access to a trailer, a cast list, a release date, or news from major sites, but it did give me an immediate answer, albeit to the wrong medium.

Top results with DuckDuckGo

Top results with DuckDuckGo

InstaGrok

instaGrok is probably not built for this kind of searches. Firstly, I actually had to re-assert that I was searching ‘dofp’, not ‘dop’, but after that, things got interesting. instaGrok works like a mind-map, the kind you drew in primary school with branches that come out of a central idea. In this case, the branches that came out of my search term (when setting the search difficulty to ‘Einstein’) gave me topics such as ‘Avenger’, ‘Bryan Singer’, ‘Evan Peters’, and ‘ Film’. Film was giving a separate part of the branch, meaning that it is of a different significance to the other branches.

So, I still have no idea what ‘dofp’ stands for, if that’s why I searched it, but instaGrok has given me the opportunity to delve into other, similar subjects. Bryan Singer is the director of the film, Avenger is a franchise which is set in the same comic universe as X-Men, although the movie rights are owned by different companies, and Evan Peters is an actor in the film. ‘Film’, on the other branch, gave me a chance to go off on a whole different tangent of knowledge.

Clicking on each segment gave me a few, unexplained choices. I realized that I could look at the key concepts of the segment as defined by other users (completely irrelevant for ‘dofp’), I could look at websites that discuss the search term (still useless but more relevant in terms of gathering some information), but none of them are in any way telling me about the search term, or giving me a chance to be linked to somewhere else that could, in a sentence, tell me about it.

Results with instaGrok

Results with instaGrok

Google

Finally, Google gave me news results to begin with – great, because the 2nd one down linked me to a big site that had the trailer – then went on to give me the Wikipedia link to the comic series page. To the right, Google also had a small box, much like DuckDuckGo’s Instant Answer box, that gave me a fast tidbit to tell me it was an upcoming movie.

Top results with Google

Top results with Google

Now, I spent so long explaining the first two search engines, because the results were very interesting to me. While the search term that I used may not have been the broadest of terms, it is one which would be quite popular at the time of writing given the surrounding societal situation. DuckDuckGo is good for that instant answer, but delved into strange results, especially by prioritizing smallerย orย unknown sites over large, expansive ones (Joblo.com before IGN.com). instaGrok, on the other hand, was almost completely useless in this search term, but if I was to be doing research on X-Men, for example, I would given segments to explore all kinds of terms related to the in-universe as well as the genre aspects of the term.

In all, DuckDuckGo would be a search engine I use for the Instant Answer function, instaGrok one which would start a research effort, and Google will ultimately be my friend for specific information.

Alex.

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I wonder if it even makes a difference to try?

[Makes Me Wonder – Maroon 5]

I went to see the final Harry Potter installment yesterday/day before, but I will write about the entire 2 day thing here before giving my judgement on the movie.

I got up at 7 am to meet up with Vinchi to go see X-Men First Class (we’d put it off for ages). She’d never been to Jam Factory, so it was one hell of a tram ride of her asking we were there yet. It was also REALLY windy and cold, and the girl was wearing a flannel shirt with a light jacket.

We were a bit late to the movie, and the theater was pretty much empty save for one other guy. The movie was pretty good, despite my having seen half of it through GIFs on Tumblr. It was a fun moment when Xavier reached out with his mind for the first time and we saw Little Storm on screen.

After the movie we went back into the CBD to have lunch, and Vinchi took me to a really small Chinese-run Japanese restaurant (which is pretty much every other Japanese restaurant in the city), and I had super salty Katsu-Don. That wasn’t really a highlight, but I just had to remember that the place sucked. I forgot the name of the restaurant but it’s on Russel St close to Crazy Wings.

We walked back to Gloria Jeans on Elizabeth for her to quench her Ice Chocolate thirst, and I soundly beat her Fruit Ninja Arcade best score. Before we knew it, it was time to meet Dani, so I picked up my things from Vinchi’s convenient city-based apartment (10 minutes’ walk to Uni, 2 minutes to work, 30 seconds to a 7/11), and headed off to an awesome night of not sleeping.

We went to Dani’s mom’s apartment to help babysit Lyshana. This, by the way, is little precious and very intelligent and great at dancing (even at such a young age) Lyshana:

We played around with Lysh’s Legos, which basically consisted of Dani and I making cars or ships, and Lyshana ripping it apart and us pretending that our fleet of warships have been destroyed. The kid finds amusement out of our cries of terror.

We also filmed our questions video deal, which was funny to start with but Lysh kept on interrupting. Halfway through my video you can hear “I need to go toilet”. After the videos are done, we realized that it was pretty late and dinner time, so we took Lyshana to Bel’s apartment where I was going to spend the rest of my night (bar the movie, of course).

When we were at Bel’s apartment, her older sister Anita was still there. We got out some paper for Lyshana to draw on, and she was of course talking loudly, and Anita emerged from her room saying “I hear a baby, who does she belong to?”

Sonam, Tiff and Julia were at the apartment already, and Bel had gone to get pizza. I told Lysh to show Sonam her drawings, so she went up to the jetlagged girl (having just touched down from Canada earlier that day) with her masterpiece, to be greeted with “Oh wow, that’s beautiful! …What is it?”

We spent most of dinner discussing how creepy kids’ cartoons are these days, as well as reminiscing the awesome ones we had as children. Bel put on X-Box Kinect, and Lyshana soundly beat 3 19-year-olds in rounds of Rally Ball. After Dani and Lysh left, Julia, Tiff and I played a few more rounds on Kinect, with Tiff providing, as usual, the most number of laughs. Bel brought this huge container of Red Vines.

We then put on Deathly Hallows Part 1 to get ready for the movie later that night, but the mood was somewhat tainted by all of us (mostly me) making comments about the movie, and Sonam falling asleep and dreaming that we were the 3 Brothers. Bel sat by and made her tiny ships in light bulbs. When Dobby died, everyone sort of went quiet and there was a lot of blinking.

A bit before we left, we got out all the trundle beds, and having failed to bring a sleeping bag, I was told I’d sleep on 2 sofa cushions on the floor, wedged between two trundles. I’ll just say now, without meaning to, I ended up getting the largest sleeping area on the couch.

At around quarter past eleven, Annie and I had to leave for Hoyts, because we thought it would take us a long time. We got there perhaps 20 minutes early, and stood around feeling out of place, being the only ones in normal clothes. We saw a few what we thought were owls, a lot of slutty female Harrys, the treats trolley on the Hogwarts Express, a few Death Eaters, and a lot of just really random scars drawn on.

The movie itself disappointed me slightly. I suppose on its own it would have been pretty well done, but after the hype and the first part which I still deemed to be better, it felt rushed like the 5th and the 6th ones were. The Snape parts were good, but not as emotionally hitting as I wanted it to be, and the whole story of young Dumbledore and Grindelwald were COMPLETELY omitted. The movie aimed for many jokes, some of which were great, some of which kind of felt lame. It was definitely good to see it with an enthusiastic crowd, though, because everyone applauded and whooped when Ron and Hermione finally kissed – which, even after the eye-popping Hermione/Harry kiss, still managed to be an amazing moment.

After the movie, Annie and I walked the long walk back to Bel’s. We did our film-students analysis, and kept warm by practically jogging. When we got back, the others, of course, had already been back, and we did our washing up and Sonam and Tiff somehow had an argument over brushing their teeth. We sat around for a while because we found out Bel actually had to get up in 2 hours to take a friend to the airport, so we all stayed up talking and listening to Annie play Kpop on her iPod.

At around 4 or 5, everyone simultaneously decided to all just go to sleep. It was initially very hard because Tiffany was still wide awake and laughing, to the point where Julia told her to just close her mouth, and forget about closing her eyes. I myself prepared to try to sleep in the city apartment – having gotten used to theย suburbiaย quiet – when Annie’s blocked sinus started announcing its existence in funny but very distinct little snores. When Bel’s friend called to be let in, it was nearly 6, and I had given up on sleep, instead opting to lie on my back and watch the light filter through the blinds like a weird zebra trip.

At around 6:30, 7, Sonam rolled over and pushed Annie off the trundle, making her fall on top of Tiff who took my little sofa-cushion bed, and so Tiff and Annie both became awake. Tiff was feeling sick from lack of sleep and how hot it was under the blanket, so after some rather noisy packing, she slipped out to go home for a quick nap.

Annie went back to exercising her sinus, and I sat awake, playing with my ring. I suppose my sleep deprived brain shut down temporarily, and I found myself waking up at around 8, then at around 8:30. At around 9, everyone got up, and Annie, Sonam and I got ready to meet Dani and April for breakfast at 10. We said goodbye to Julia who was waiting for Bel to come back to take her home, and left the apartment to…

Rain. Somehow we forgot which city we lived in, and were even slightly surprised that it was raining. We met up with Dani and April, the latter of which seemed to have stolen Timberlake’s sexy. We had breakfast at The Quarter on DeGraves, and I dropped my bacon. It was not shaping up to be a good day. To cheer me up, Dani took pictures of me on Instagram. Unfortunately, I was so tired that I came out looking super Asian – tiny small eyes.

After breakfast, April, Dani and I met up with Maggie at Flinders Station. We went to Chapel Street to shop – or rather, they shopped while I tagged along and dozed infrequently on husband chairs. I think at some point I just turned off all smart retorts and just told Dani her face was [insert adjective here]. Carmaine joined us a small while later, and they went to a lot of stores and got a lot of discount goodies at Op shops.

We went to Dani’s South Melb apartment in the afternoon (my God I missed being there. It felt so familiar climbing those deadly flights again), and I took a quick nap in Dani’s new makeshift mattress bed – it was strange to be in her room without her walls being covered by posters.

Went home, and had a lot of Tumblr catching up to do, so despite being at nearly 30 hours with no proper sleep, I stayed up. I slept at 11, and ended up gaining consciousness at 5 pm the next day. Oops.

It was a darn good day/night/day.

Alex.

P.S. Sorry for the very late posting. The original date of writing was 14th of July, which was timely. I forgot I’d saved a draft, so I posted it on the 26th.