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Communications of the ACM

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

March 2010


From ACM Opinion

Undergraduate Computer Science Education in China

Professional computing education for undergraduate majors and fundamental computer education for non-majors has evolved in China over the past decade as the nation moved from an elite computer education model to a "mass education"…


From ACM Opinion

Not Creating Content. Just Protecting It.

Should we be surprised that the biggest fight over freedom of expression in years involves Google, a company that produces algorithms rather than articles?

Probably not.

Google executives struck a blow for free speech in China…


From ACM Opinion

Google Is Definitely No "God"

Google announced at 3:00 a.m. Tuesday, March 23rd (Beijing Time) its decision to move most of its China-based search functions from the Chinese mainland to Hong Kong, and thus opened a new phase in a two-month-long fracas, or…


From ACM Opinion

Does the U.S. Census Need a 21st-Century Makeover?

Does the U.S. Census Need a 21st-Century Makeover?

The Internet Age is upon us. But rather than circulating online, the 23rd Decennial Census stuck with the tried-and-true, and flooded the U.S. Postal Service March 16 through 18 with surveys en route to more than 120 million …


From ACM Opinion

Is Motion Control Patent a Powder Keg for Mobile?

Is Motion Control Patent a Powder Keg for Mobile?

Here's a potentially noteworthy development in the patent litigation-riddled mobile device market.

The patent is No. 7,679,604, "Method and apparatus for controlling a computer system," and it describes motion control as a means…


From ACM Opinion

Interview: Sergey Brin on Google

Interview: Sergey Brin on Google

China's censorship of the Internet may be blunt, but Google has found negotiations with the Chinese government in recent weeks to be subtle and uncertain.

That was the message from a brief interview with Sergey Brin, Google's…


From ACM Opinion

Google Loss Won't Hamper Business Gains in China

When Google made its threat to pull out of China on January 12, it titled its online announcement "A new approach to China," indicating its high expectations for rallying more foreign companies in China to its "noble" cause. 


From ACM Opinion

Beware the NSA

Early this year, the big brains at Google admitted that they had been outsmarted. Along with 33 other companies, the search giant had been the victim of a major hack—an infiltration of international computer networks that even…


From ACM Opinion

Toyota Hardware Defects/Software Bugs

Toyota Hardware Defects/Software Bugs

Is embedded automotive software as buggy as a desktop operating system?


From ACM Opinion

Current E-Waste Policies Not Working

E-waste created from discarded personal computers is a fast growing source of environmental damage, threatening the health of populations in developing nations. And the efforts by first-world nations to stop it are not working…


From ACM Opinion

Four Consequences of Google's China Exit

Four Consequences of Google's China Exit

In a defiant move, Google has officially shut down its Chinese search site. In many ways the company's exit is unprecedented and gives rise to a myriad of consequences. Here's what technology writers are focusing on.


From ACM Opinion

A New Approach to China: An Update

Earlier today we stopped censoring our search services—Google Search, Google News, and Google Images—on Google.cn. Users visiting Google.cn are now being redirected to Google.com.hk, where we are offering uncensored search in…


From ACM Opinion

A Tale of 20 Interns, One Project and One Fiery Debate

A Tale of 20 Interns, One Project and One Fiery Debate

Few geeks are unfamiliar with the concept of the "Mythical Man-Month" from Fred Brooks' classic software engineering tome by the same name. It's a classic for good reason, which is probably why the debate has been so intense…


From ACM Opinion

Google, Don't Politicalize Yourself

 From groundlessly accusing the Chinese government of supporting hacker attack against it to pushing China abandon the legal regulations on the Internet by threatening to withdraw from the Chinese market, many facts have shown…


From ACM Opinion

The FCC's Visible Hand

 By the Federal Communications Commission's own account, broadband use in the United States has exploded over the past decade: "Fueled primarily by private sector investment and innovation, the American broadband ecosystem has…


From ACM TechNews

Frank Moss: Tech to Help Those Who Can't Help Themselves

Frank Moss: Tech to Help Those Who Can't Help Themselves

Frank Moss, head of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says there are real opportunities in developing technology for disabled or disadvantaged people, and believes they will translate into great commercial…


From ACM Opinion

Cisco's New Router: Trouble for Hollywood

Cisco's CRS-3 router made a bit of a splash when it was announced on March 9, but the power of this new device hasn't yet sunk in. Consider: The CRS-3, a network routing system, is able to stream every film ever made, from Hollywood…


From ACM Opinion

National Broadband Plan: What's in it for Businesses?

We've heard a lot about how the Federal Communications Commission's national broadband plan aims to provide 100 million U.S. households with 100Mbps broadband connections so far, but precious little on how it could affect …


From ACM Opinion

After Google Dustup, Should the U.S. Ban Chinese Computers?

Should the Google/China spat over censorship start a trade war that puts an end to Chinese-made computers? One international trade lawyer argues that it should: "If China shuts out our Internet companies, we need to shut out…


From ACM Opinion

The iPad Paradox: Less is More

The introduction of Apple's iPad predictably divided gadget fans into "love it" and "hate it" camps.

The haters say iPad lacks multitasking, a Webcam, Flash support, a USB port, massive storage, a removable battery, CD and…


From ACM Opinion

Broadbandits

Broadbandits

Most of the buildings in Dupree, S.D., population 434, do not have street addresses. The volunteer fire department is listed at P.O. Box 461, and you have to dial seven digits to reach it since there's no 911 emergency line. …


From ACM Opinion

To Stop Crime, Share Your Genes

To Stop Crime, Share Your Genes

Perhaps the only thing more surprising than President Obama’s decision to give an interview for "America’s Most Wanted" last weekend was his apparent agreement with the program's host, John Walsh, that there should be a national…


From ACM Opinion

Why Congress Should Pass the Startup Visa Bill

 Those in Silicon Valley looking to have a bigger impact on the policymaking machinery of Washington, D.C., should take a close look at the genesis of the legislation behind the "Startup Visa."

The bipartisan bill, which would…


From ACM Opinion

Braking Bad

 The Obama administration has said that it may require automakers to install “smart pedals” on all new cars. This kind of system—already used in BMWs, Chryslers, Volkswagens and some of the newest Toyotas—deactivates the car’s…


From ACM Opinion

Interview with Charles Thacker, PC Pioneer and 2009 ACM A.M. Turing Award Winner

Interview with Charles Thacker, PC Pioneer and 2009 ACM A.M. Turing Award Winner

In an interview, Microsoft researcher Charles P. Thacker, who received ACM's 2009 A.M. Turing Award, says the computer industry's journey toward a new programming model to tap multicore processing is only just beginning. "You…


From ACM Opinion

Driving by the Numbers

In the wake of the U.S. Congressional hearings on the Toyota recalls, we have heard various proposals for countering unintended acceleration in automobiles.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently said the U.S. federal…


From ACM Opinion

Virtual Reality War

My battalion commander, Lt. Col. Michael Kurilla, gave the directive that my squad leaders, platoon sergeant, and myself had heard countless times: my platoon was to cordon and search a neighborhood that intelligence had indicated…


From ACM Opinion

Newspapers Must Learn the Value of the Link

In the coverage of New York Times writer Zachary Kouwe, who resigned recently amid accusations of plagiarism, much has been said about the demands of writing for the always-on Web, and how this might have contributed to Kouwe's…


From ACM TechNews

Assessing the State of U.S. Science and Engineering

Assessing the State of U.S. Science and Engineering

Physicist Louis Lanzerotti, chairman of the National Science Board's Science and Engineering Indicators committee, says the board's recent report to the White House on the state of science and engineering is generally positive…


From ACM Opinion

Cars That Modify Driver Behavior

Cars That Modify Driver Behavior

On-board diagnostics know how the car is being driven, for the sake of the driver's (and society's) own good.

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