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Communications of the ACM

Opinion Archive


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The opinion archive provides access to past opinion stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.

April 2014


From ACM Opinion

CAPTCHAs Are Becoming Security Theater

CAPTCHAs Are Becoming Security Theater

CAPTCHAs are a time-worn way for humans to tell computers that we are human.


From ACM Opinion

Why the Web Needs Perfect Forward Secrecy More Than Ever

Why the Web Needs Perfect Forward Secrecy More Than Ever

EFF has long advocated for websites to support HTTPS instead of plain HTTP to encrypt and authenticate data transmitted on the Internet.


From ACM Opinion

Google Wants to Make 'Science Fiction' a Reality—And That's Limiting Their Imagination

Google Wants to Make 'Science Fiction' a Reality—And That's Limiting Their Imagination

Self-driving cars, extreme life extension, and global wifi provided by weather balloons: Google makes projects that sound like science fiction into reality at its secretive research lab, Google X.


From ACM Opinion

Can We Really Upload Johnny Depp's Brain?

Can We Really Upload Johnny Depp's Brain?

When Wally Pfister's Transcendence is released on April 17, millions of moviegoers will be asking themselves, "Could we really upload Johnny Depp into a computer one day?"


From ACM Careers

The New Academic Celebrity

The New Academic Celebrity

Back in 1991, a New York Times Magazine writer, Anne Matthews, described Andrew Ross, a doyen of American studies, strolling through the Modern Language Association conference in his "pale mango wool-and-silk Commes des Garcons


From ACM Opinion

4 Amazing Things NASA Invented, and 4 You Think It Did

4 Amazing Things NASA Invented, and 4 You Think It Did

NASA is everywhere.


From ACM Opinion

Heartbleed: Developer Who Introduced the Error Regrets 'Oversight'

Heartbleed: Developer Who Introduced the Error Regrets 'Oversight'

The developer who introduced the "Heartbleed" vulnerability to the open-source code used by thousands of websites has told the Guardian it was an "oversight"—but that its discovery validates the methods used.


From ACM Opinion

900 Years of Tree Diagrams, the Most Important Data Viz Tool in History

900 Years of Tree Diagrams, the Most Important Data Viz Tool in History

You'd be excused for thinking infographics are a modern invention.


From ACM Opinion

Three Questions for Eugene Kaspersky

Three Questions for Eugene Kaspersky

The Moscow-based computer security firm Kaspersky Lab has analyzed major new kinds of malware, including Stuxnet, which four years ago was revealed to have damaged centrifuges in Iran's uranium-enrichment facilities.


From ACM Opinion

Bruce Schneier: Technology Magnifies Power in Survellance Era

Bruce Schneier: Technology Magnifies Power in Survellance Era

History is not entirely kind to those responsible for the Industrial Age in the 19th century.


From ACM Opinion

The Internet's Telltale Heartbleed

The Internet's Telltale Heartbleed

The cryptography expert Bruce Schneier, who has been writing about computer security for more than fifteen years, is not given to panic or hyperbole.


From ACM Opinion

Steve Matteson: Fonts in the Time of Wearables

Steve Matteson: Fonts in the Time of Wearables

As gadgets get smaller, and mobile manufacturers find new ways to shrink their devices to fit on a user's wrist, people like Steve Matteson are focused on keeping said devices as usable and readable as possible.


From ACM Opinion

The Lewis Effect

The Lewis Effect

Michael Lewis couldn't have timed it better if he'd tried.


From ACM Opinion

The Complexonaut

The Complexonaut

When he was in elementary school, Scott Aaronson, like many mathematically precocious kids of his generation, dreamed of making his own video games.


From ACM Opinion

A Veteran Programmer Explains How the Stock Market Became "Rigged"

A Veteran Programmer Explains How the Stock Market Became "Rigged"

A small group of financial firms are using their technological superiority to skim the top off the market, Michael Lewis claims in his new book "Flash Boys."


From ACM Opinion

If You Like Immersion, You'll Love This Reality

If You Like Immersion, You'll Love This Reality

The news that Facebook paid $2 billion for a virtual reality start-up, Oculus VR, might strike you as a bit zany.


From ACM Opinion

The Story of Cortana, Microsoft's Siri Killer

The Story of Cortana, Microsoft's Siri Killer

Technically, Cortana isn't supposed to exist for at least another 500 years, but that's not stopping Microsoft from bringing her to life this week.


From ACM Opinion

While Warning of Chinese Cyberthreat, U.S. Launches Its Own Attack

While Warning of Chinese Cyberthreat, U.S. Launches Its Own Attack

The U.S. government has long complained about Chinese hacking and cyberattacks, but new documents show that the National Security Agency managed to penetrate the networks of Huawei, a large Chinese telecommunications firm, gathering


From ACM Opinion

Vint Cerf: CS Changes Needed To Address IoT Security, Privacy

Vint Cerf: CS Changes Needed To Address IoT Security, Privacy

The Internet of Things has tremendous potential but also poses a tremendous risk if the underlying security of Internet of Things devices is not taken into account, according to Vint Cerf, Google’s Internet Evangelist.


From ACM Opinion

How a Secret iOS Feature Could Change the Internet

How a Secret iOS Feature Could Change the Internet

A few weeks ago, a messaging app called FireChat launched.


From ACM Opinion

Why the Black Box on Airplanes Needs to Go Away

Why the Black Box on Airplanes Needs to Go Away

In another 10 years, the very idea of a "black box" flight data recorder on an airliner will seem as naive and outdated as a smoking section.


From ACM Opinion

3 Ways to Make Software Patents Suck Less (Without Abolishing Them Altogether)

3 Ways to Make Software Patents Suck Less (Without Abolishing Them Altogether)

This week, the Supreme Court tackled one of the thorniest problems in tech policy: software patents.


From ACM Opinion

Bots on the Beat

Bots on the Beat

On March 24 at 2:36 p.m., the New York Post reported that the body of former Nets basketball player Quinton Ross had been found in a shallow grave on Long Island.


From ACM Opinion

Hey, Robot: Which Cat Is Cuter?

Hey, Robot: Which Cat Is Cuter?

One recent morning, while contemplating writing this column, I scrolled through thousands and thousands of listings for mundane microgigs on Mechanical Turk, or Mturk, a decade-old platform created by Amazon.


From ACM Opinion

10 Years On, Gmail Has Transformed the Web as We Know It

10 Years On, Gmail Has Transformed the Web as We Know It

Google loves to unveil a good gag product on April Fool's Day.


From Communications of the ACM

Thinking Outside the Continent

Thinking Outside the Continent

Encouraging the opportunities for digital innovation and invention to flourish in a variety of social environments.


From Communications of the ACM

Is Multicore Hardware for General-Purpose Parallel Processing Broken?

Is Multicore Hardware for General-Purpose Parallel Processing Broken?

The current generation of general-purpose multicore hardware must be fixed to support more application domains and to allow cost-effective parallel programming.


From Communications of the ACM

small data, where n = me

small data, where n = me

Seeking personalized data-derived insights from analysis of our digital traces.


From Communications of the ACM

MOOCs Revisited, With Some Policy Suggestions

MOOCs Revisited, With Some Policy Suggestions

Assessing the rapidly evolving realm of massive open online courses.


From Communications of the ACM

This Is the Foo Field

This Is the Foo Field

The meaning of bits and avoiding upgrade bogdowns.

Blog at CACM
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Those Who Say Code Does Not Matter
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