Social Search

When someone says "social search", I think of two things. One is the ability to search social sites and media. Two would be search that is coupled with a social aspect.

Greplin deals with the former and allows you to search for things in your online social life. When you put in a search term, it searches your personal accounts including Gmail, Google Apps, Facebook, LinkedIn, Evernote, Dropbox, and Yammer.(It requires registration so that it can get to those accounts.) You can add indexes of your favorite websites and search all your data in one place.

You need to set up an account which is free for 200MB of storage. They offers a premium account with 500MB of storage for $4.99/month and Premium Plus is $14.99/month for even more storage and services. They have an extensive privacy policy page which is a good idea because users are entrusting their account information.

But I think that our traditional search engines like Google and Bing will be adding social search capabilities. Google Plus connected to your email and other Google apps would make that possible to a degree already. Facebook will probably open its search capabilities in the other direction - out from their social world to other places (social or not) that you allow them to connect to.

And I suspect that those big players will add those tools for free in order to get a deeper bite of the data in your social graph for their own marketing purposes.

So, is Greplin a good idea? Yes?  Will people be willing to pay for it? Probably not. Unless the competition doesn't offer it - or they convince us that they are a safer keeper of our privacy than the others. Will people be willing to pay for privacy? Maybe.


Squeezing Out Liberal Arts

I'm sure that my post this month that said that the value of a college degree is going to fade over the next few decades, and that this will be especially true
of liberal arts degrees and programs, undergraduate and graduate, did not win me any fans in those academic areas.

All my own student work was in the humanities. I still teach in the humanities. And I still believe in a liberal arts education. But that appreciation can't change what is happening in education.

Especially now as the federal government and states (who typically provide two-thirds of the aid) tighten their allocations to public universities, the humanities is often the first area hit with budget cuts. In a speech this year, Florida Gov. Rick Scott made an argument that is heard more and more. The world outside academia sees STEM fields (science, technology, engineering & math) and medical fields as ones that offer career prospects, and the humanities fields are seen as more of an indulgence.

It is even sadder that those more desirable career-specific majors are viewed as offering a better high-tech payback. They offer returns for states,
universities and businesses because of the patent royalties, grants, and products. Research on the authorship of Shakespeare's plays doesn't have those possibilities.

This is hardly a new trend. Humanities studies peaked in U.S. colleges in the 1960s and started dropping in enrollments in the 1970s when business, technology and the other computer-related fields took off. Today, the humanities accounts for only about 8 percent of graduates (in comparison, business is 20%). Even the liberal arts colleges are disappearing.  Of 212 liberal arts colleges identified in 1990, a study published in 2009 by Inside Higher Ed shows that only 137 were still operating.


Where's Santa?



At Serendipity35, we still believe that Santa Claus is alive and well in the hearts of people throughout the world. And what more evidence do you need than the fact that NORAD is using its super-high-tech equipment to track his Christmas deliveries. Santa's sleigh and reindeer show up quite clearly on their radar.

Every year, we follow the Countdown to Christmas Eve which started on December 1st and will continue throughout Christmas Eve.

You and any other kids in the room can track Santa live as he makes his journey around the world. You can also watch videos from NORAD Santa Cams of Santa and his reindeer.

I know what you academics are thinking. If Santa's list gets bigger each year (check out the world’s population right now) and Santa has to deliver more toys in the same amount of time, according to NORAD's calculations, he would have to limit each of his stops at homes to two to three ten-thousandths of a second per home.

And yet, for 16 centuries he has been getting the job done.

There's only one logical explanation: Santa's 24 hours are not the 24 hour day we operate within. Santa functions within a different time-space continuum than the rest of us.


Follow the action on Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter too.




Where's Santa?


At Serendipity35, we still believe that Santa Claus is alive and well in the hearts of people throughout the world. And what more evidence do you need than the fact that NORAD is using its super-high-tech equipment to track his Christmas deliveries. Santa's sleigh and reindeer show up quite clearly on their radar.

Every year, we follow the Countdown to Christmas Eve which started on December 1st and will continue throughout Christmas Eve.

You and any other kids in the room can track Santa live as he makes his journey around the world. You can also watch videos from NORAD Santa Cams of Santa and his reindeer.

I know what you academics are thinking. If Santa's list gets bigger each year (check out the world’s population right now) and Santa has to deliver more toys in the same amount of time, according to NORAD's calculations, he would have to limit each of his stops at homes to two to three ten-thousandths of a second per home.

And yet, for 16 centuries he has been getting the job done.

There's only one logical explanation: Santa's 24 hours are not the 24 hour day we operate within. Santa functions within a different time-space continuum than the rest of us.




Follow the action on Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter too.