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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.

July 2011


From ACM Opinion

Art That Interacts If You Interface

Art That Interacts If You Interface

The Museum of Modern Art’s "Talk to Me: Design and the Communication Between People and Objects" is one of the smartest design shows in years—by which I mean it's intelligent but also that it’s made for the texting, tweeting…


From ACM Opinion

The Edison of Silicon Valley

The Edison of Silicon Valley

Steve Perlman, Silicon Valley’s self-styled Thomas Edison, has found a way to increase wireless capacity by a factor of 1,000.


From ACM News

When Patents Attack

When Patents Attack

Nathan Myhrvold is a genius and a polymath. He made hundreds of millions of dollars as Microsoft's chief technology officer, he's discovered dinosaur fossils, and he recently co-authored a six-volume cookbook that "reveals…


From ACM Opinion

Why Cloud Computing Must Evolve

Why Cloud Computing Must Evolve

The marked increase in the use of the Internet for accessing computing resources will necessitate an evolution in the cloud computing network.


From ACM Opinion

Bob Young on Collaboration, Innovation, and Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Bob Young on Collaboration, Innovation, and Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Bob Young knows about open source and innovation. He's co-founder and former CEO of Red Hat. Founder and CEO of Lulu. Here are the lessons he's learned from open source and community building.


From ACM Opinion

Could Google Have Caught the Norway Killer?

Could Google Have Caught the Norway Killer?

The Norway killer allegedly spent 200 hours searching the Internet for 'how to make a bomb.' Could Google have traced him?


From ACM Opinion

Existence: Am I a Hologram?

Existence: Am I a Hologram?

Take a look around you. The walls, the chair you're sitting in, your own body—they all seem real and solid. Yet there is a possibility that everything we see in the universe—including you and me—may be nothing more than a…


From ACM Opinion

Nature's Hidden Prime Number Code

Nature's Hidden Prime Number Code

Ever since humans evolved on this planet we have been trying to make sense of the world around us. We have attempted to explain why the world looks and behaves the way it does, to predict what the future holds.


From ACM Opinion

How a Hashtag Changed My Philosophy on Life

How a Hashtag Changed My Philosophy on Life

Twitter users have a way of self-identifying gratuitous complaints they make. They use the hashtag first-world problems. As in, "I can't believe Netflix is doubling what they charge for their service! The gall! #firstworldproblems…


From ACM Opinion

Why People Phone Hack; a Look Into the Psyche of Wrongdoing

Why People Phone Hack; a Look Into the Psyche of Wrongdoing

University of Alabama at Birmingham social psychologist Rex A. Wright explains why some people do not view phone hacking as unethical and why those that see it as unethical go along with the practice.


From ACM News

Can We Make Machines Listen More Carefully?

You probably use voice recognition technology already, if in a limited capacity. Maybe you use Google's voice-activated search, or take advantage of its (somewhat wonky) voice-mail transcriptions in Google Voice. At the office…


From ACM Opinion

'I Fear the Net Will Soon Become a War Zone'

'I Fear the Net Will Soon Become a War Zone'

Evgeny Kaspersky is one of Russia's top Internet virus hunters. In an interview, he discusses a raft of recent hacker attacks on multinationals, the "total professionals" behind the Stuxnet virus and his fear of personal and…


From ACM News

Decoding Your Email Personality

Imagine, if you will, a young Mark Zuckerberg circa 2003, tapping out mail messages from his Harvard dorm room. It's a safe bet he never would have guessed that eight years later a multibillion-dollar lawsuit might hinge on…


From ACM News

Living in the Digital Ecosystem

Living in the Digital Ecosystem

LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman talks data mash-ups, entrepreneurship, and how his site keeps people honest.


From ACM Opinion

It's Time To Cut Back On 'Hack'

It's Time To Cut Back On 'Hack'

It's time to re-examine how we use, or overuse, the words "hack" and "hacker." They're relied on far too often to describe all kinds of activities that don't qualify as hacks or hacking. They've become so common they've lost…


From ACM Opinion

Why Twitter Should Double Its Character Limit

Why Twitter Should Double Its Character Limit

Five years ago this month, Twitter opened itself up to the public. The new service, initially called Twttr, was born out of software engineer Jack Dorsey's fascination with an overlooked corner of the modern metropolis—the…


From ACM News

Welcome to the Age of the Splinternet

Openness is the Internet's great strength—and weakness. With powerful forces carving it up, is its golden age coming to an end?


From ACM News

IBM CEO Candidate Talks About His Rise

IBM CEO Candidate Talks About His Rise

Rodney C. Adkins oversees 50,000 employees and is responsible for $18 billion in revenue as senior vice president and group executive for systems and technology at IBM, one of the world's largest and most durable technology…


From ACM Opinion

The Internet of Things (Infographic)

When we think of being connected to the Internet, our minds immediately shift to our computers, phones, and most recently tablets. This week at Cisco live, I shared that in 2008, the number of devices connected to the Internet…


From ACM Opinion

Leadership of Cyber Warriors

Leadership is a core competency of the officers, warrant officers, and non-commissioned officers across the military services. A principle tenant of leadership is competence in the domain of operations. However, until recently…


From ACM Opinion

TED's Chris Anderson: The Man Who Made YouTube Clever

TED's Chris Anderson: The Man Who Made YouTube Clever

With his TED Talks series, the former magazine mogul Chris Anderson has racked up 500 million web video views for speeches by academics and technological experts. But that, he says, is only the start of an educational revolution…


From ACM News

Who Needs Humans?

Who Needs Humans?

Amid all the job losses of the Great Recession, there is one category of worker that the economic disruption has been good for: nonhumans.


From ACM Opinion

The Campaign to Terrify You About EMP

The Campaign to Terrify You About EMP

From Newt Gingrich to a Congressional "EMP Caucus," some conservatives warn the electronics-frying blast could pose gravely underestimated dangers to the U.S.


From ACM Opinion

Could What Happened to MySpace Happen to Facebook?

Could What Happened to MySpace Happen to Facebook?

MySpace fell from grace for several reasons. First, they sacrificed the service's integrity in pursuit of monetization. For those who remember, the user experience declined drastically once the service hit a critical mass.


From ACM Opinion

How to Design a Hot Product

When Cisco killed the beloved Flip camcorder a few months ago, a lot of people were shocked and upset—including me. It just seemed like such a ham-handed, thoughtless way to terminate an iconic, very popular gadget.


From ACM News

U.S. Cyber Approach 'Too Predictable' for One Top General

The nation’s second-ranking military official said Thursday that the U.S. approach to protecting its computer systems was "too predictable" and failed to penalize attackers, comments that preceded the release of a Pentagon…


From ACM Opinion

IT Operations in Flux as Cloud Computing Adoption Increases, Survey Finds

IT Operations in Flux as Cloud Computing Adoption Increases, Survey Finds

A recent survey finds that with increasing reliance on cloud computing, IT executives are uncertain about the role of IT operations but also plan to invest in the internal staff and tools needed to manage service delivery…


From ACM Opinion

South Korea's School Tablets a Test for Other Countries

South Korea's School Tablets a Test for Other Countries

South Korea will ban school paper textbooks and replace them with electronic tablets by 2014, which should alarm other nations.  South Korea's students ranked No. 2 in the latest worldwide student tests; the U.S. ranked 17th.…


From ACM Opinion

Why Facebook Can't Match Ravelry, the Social Network for Knitters

Why Facebook Can't Match Ravelry, the Social Network for Knitters

The best social network you've (probably) never heard of is one-five-hundredth the size of Facebook. It has no video chat feature, it doesn't let you check in to your favorite restaurant, and there are no games.


From ACM News

The Race to Zero: Speech by Andrew Haldane

In a speech at the International Economic Association 16th World Congress in Beijing, Andrew Haldane, Executive Director for Financial Stability and member of the interim Financial Policy Committee, outlines how dramatic shifts…

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