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I’m surprised I didn’t know about this till recently, but Google Blog Search is something that no blogger should ignore. (Here are some other, albeit somewhat old, first impressions.) Apparently, Google believes in blogs — “Google is a strong believer in the self-publishing phenomenon represented by blogging…” — and extends their search prowess to the world of blogs. It looks and feels just like the standard Google search, but one must ask the question: why bother searching blogs? After all, aren’t blogs (like this one), just filled with the immature rants of wannabe writers who just wouldn’t cut it in the real world of journalism?

No, I don’t believe it’s true in general. Sure, the quality of blogs does vary quite a bit — but they all serve some kind of a purpose. Whether it’s a professional blogger contributing in his or her field of expertise, or a university student writing about life, the universe and crap like that, it’s all because they have something to say. The ability to link between blogs and comment on blogs creates a kind of dynamic that encourages people to think — instead of merely being passive consumers. That is a great thing to see. I suppose Andrew Keen wouldn’t agree, but just because he’s published in dead tree form doesn’t amount to much: see the Wikipedia Signpost review. By being able to search exclusively in blogs, you too can participate in this part of the Internet — participate in free speech. You can find out things that traditional media will not cover — how-to’s in obscure topics, political rants that match your persuasion. The results you get are pretty good — see this description of how it all works. Yes, Google’s thorough.

For bloggers, it is important that you are indexed by search engines, even if you are a small time blogger like me. What’s the point of writing publicly if you don’t actually intend on anyone reading it? I had known of Technorati before this, but Technorati has many irritations that other bloggers have covered and I won’t cover here; anyway, Google’s overtaken it. To ping Google Blog Search, just add to your list of servers to ping.

In other news, Google Maps features content for the 2007 federal election. Click on the “My Maps” tab and it’s under the “Featured content” part. Overlay the party colours onto the map of Australia, and you’d be surprised about the land area that the Liberals/Nationals represent!

On a final note, Google Blog Search and these special maps rather emblematic of the problem that Google has so many fantastic services written by so many fantastic engineers that just aren’t seeing much of the light of day because… there are just so many of them.

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The singing, dancing extravaganza that is the SULS Law Revue is back in town, and judging from previous years, this was one revue that I couldn’t miss. (I’ve also been missing my daily dose of law while doing honours, so I just had to go!) I still recall last year’s French Hakka, and the oh-so-wrong Kirby sing-and-dance – and both of these left me with high expectations about what my peers can do (while dressed and undressed).

Shred – the greatest story in litigation ever told – started with the cast telling us about Australian values in lyrical fashion. I had hoped for something about Shrek, or even something about Shred, but no, we didn’t get anything related to the title this year apart from a malfunctioning fax machine that happens to eat documents later on. The first half of the revue was a bit flat I thought. As many commented, the ideas behind the skits and the jokes were fantastic, but the execution was lacking: the jokes climaxed at the start or in the middle, the punch-lines often lacking. The songs were premised on what could’ve been really great ideas, but the words in them just didn’t carry the amusement throughout. Law students are said to be left while at uni, and right when they start working, but the Liberal horse was flogged well beyond death during the show.

I guess they saved the best till last, for the second half almost made up for what was lacking in the first. The anti-piracy video (a parody of the ones you see before movies) was so hilarious (“copyright is… a chose in action”), but according to Daniel, the idea was copied from the UQ law revue. We heard a song about the snail in the ginger beer bottle from Donoghue v Stevenson, and the Facebook prayer (“deliver us from MySpace”). Backyard Blitzkrieg transformed backyards and Hitler’s words to great effect. Oh, and the nude scene… a tradition, but the best I can say about it is that it has potential to be worked a little deeper. The ending was a saving grace though: the APEC song (to the tune of YMCA) was well written and carried the joke throughout.

I’d have to say that this year’s wasn’t the best Law Revue I’ve seen, but as the Director noted in the official programme, this year saw the departure of much of the talent from last year. I expect the lame, tacky or tactless joke or two in a revue, but as with all jokes, timing is of the essence. If the better skits are anything to go by, we should have plenty to laugh ourselves silly in coming years. Still, the law revue is a quality production, and a night well spent – I’d recommended seeing it.

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