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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.

September 2013


From ACM Opinion

Privacy Entrepreneur Turns NSA Snooping Into Profit (Q&A)

Privacy Entrepreneur Turns NSA Snooping Into Profit (Q&A)

In a double dose of irony, the National Security Agency's prying has given a big helping hand to Phil Zimmermann's business, Silent Circle.


From ACM Opinion

In Search of Planetary Intelligence

In Search of Planetary Intelligence

It is said that Mahatma Gandhi, when asked about Western civilization, remarked, "I think it would be a good idea."


From ACM Opinion

NSA Chief Defends Collecting Americans' Data

NSA Chief Defends Collecting Americans' Data

The head of the National Security Agency delivered a vigorous defense Wednesday of his agency's collection of Americans' phone records for counterterrorism purposes, asserting that the program was helpful in investigations of…


From ACM Opinion

Forget Foreign Languages and Music. Teach Our Kids to Code

Forget Foreign Languages and Music. Teach Our Kids to Code

J. Paul Gibson began to teach programming classes for teens out of frustration.


From ACM Opinion

At 15, Google's Ambitions Remain Unbridled

At 15, Google's Ambitions Remain Unbridled

Google turned 15 on Friday, smack in the middle of its adolescence.


From ACM Opinion

Design Thinker Don Norman on His Stealth Startup, Apple vs. Android vs. Microsoft, and Experience Design

Design Thinker Don Norman on His Stealth Startup, Apple vs. Android vs. Microsoft, and Experience Design

Don Norman's The Design of Everyday Things is the bible for design thinking and technology.


From ACM Opinion

Finally: Bill Gates Admits Control-Alt-Delete Was a Mistake

Finally: Bill Gates Admits Control-Alt-Delete Was a Mistake

Bill Gates made many exceptional decisions while he was leading Microsoft to immense success. He did, however, make a few errors.


From ACM Opinion

Why I'll Never Ditch My BlackBerry

Why I'll Never Ditch My BlackBerry

My BlackBerry is my lifeline.


From ACM TechNews

Ella Gale: Building a Neuromorphic (Brainlike) Computer

Ella Gale: Building a Neuromorphic (Brainlike) Computer

Ella Gale, one of the young researchers attending the 1st Heidelberg Laureate Forum in Germany, says her interest is unconventional computing. 


From ACM Opinion

Large Patent Holders Hate This Reform Proposal. That’s a Good Sign.

Large Patent Holders Hate This Reform Proposal. That’s a Good Sign.

The fight over patent reform has turned into a two-front war.


From ACM Opinion

The Fatal Mistake That Doomed BlackBerry

The Fatal Mistake That Doomed BlackBerry

Beleaguered gadgetmaker BlackBerry said on Monday that it's signed a tentative agreement to be purchased by a group led by Canadian holding company Fairfax Financial in a $4.7 billion deal.


From ACM Opinion

Why We're Shutting Off Our Comments

Why We're Shutting Off Our Comments

Comments can be bad for science. That's why, here at PopularScience.com, we're shutting them off.


From ACM Opinion

Many Questions for Michael Dell on Going Private, and What's Next

Many Questions for Michael Dell on Going Private, and What's Next

Michael Dell is feeling aggressive.


From ACM Opinion

Lost to the Ages

Lost to the Ages

You are standing on a dock beside the jutting masts and crow's nest of a sunken ship, water lapping calmly under your feet.


From ACM Opinion

How iOS 7 Will Spark a Boom in App Design

How iOS 7 Will Spark a Boom in App Design

You probably feel strongly about iOS 7.


From ACM Opinion

Does Digital Age Overcomplicate Design?

Does Digital Age Overcomplicate Design?

There is a scene in the television series "Boss" in which the mayor of Chicago, played by Kelsey Grammer, is discovered by his wife washing bed sheets by hand at three o'clock in the morning. "Why don’t you use the washing machine…


From ACM Opinion

Life on Mars: Down But Not Out Says Mars Society Founder

Life on Mars: Down But Not Out Says Mars Society Founder

Hopes of alien life on Mars were dashed Thursday when a paper published in the journal Scienceconcluded that the Curiosity rover has yet to find any methane gas, a strong indicator of microbial life. But Robert Zubrin, cofounder…


From ACM Opinion

Bruce Schneier: NSA Spying Is Making Us Less Safe

Bruce Schneier: NSA Spying Is Making Us Less Safe

Bruce Schneier, a cryptographer and author on security topics, provides perspective on the revelations from documents purloined from the U.S. National Security Agency by contractor Edward Snowden, and hints that more are coming…


From ACM News

Apple: The 64-Bit Question

Apple: The 64-Bit Question

There's been an interesting sideshow in tech land since Apple unveiled the iPhone 5S last week: Does having the first 64-bitmicroprocessor in a phone mean anything?


From ACM Opinion

Apple Chiefs Discuss Strategy, Market Share—and the New iPhones

Apple Chiefs Discuss Strategy, Market Share—and the New iPhones

Apple's doomed.


From ACM Opinion

Why Today's Inventors Need to Read More Science Fiction

Why Today's Inventors Need to Read More Science Fiction

How will police use a gun that immobilizes its target but does not kill? What would people do with a device that could provide them with any mood they desire? What are the consequences of a massive, instant global communications…


From ACM Opinion

Civics for a Digital Age

Civics for a Digital Age

Over half of the world’s population lives in urban environments, and that number is rapidly growing according to the World Health Organization.


From ACM Opinion

To Boldly Go Nowhere, for Now

To Boldly Go Nowhere, for Now

On Aug. 20, NASA's administrator formally welcomed the newest candidates of the astronaut corpsand released a space exploration roadmap that includes robotic and human missions to destinations that include near-Earth asteroids…


From ACM Opinion

The New National Identity Is What Smartphone You Prefer, and Nobody's Quite Sure Why

The New National Identity Is What Smartphone You Prefer, and Nobody's Quite Sure Why

In a fascinating note at Asymco, mobile analyst and ex-Nokian Horace Dediu details how people's taste in smartphones varies from place to place:


From ACM Opinion

Behold! Jonathan Ive's Apple

Behold! Jonathan Ive's Apple

Apple is today releasing the much-anticipated iOS 7, and with it, the biggest overhaul of its mobile operating system since it debuted in 2007 with the original iPhone.


From ACM Opinion

The 'Legalization' of China’s Internet Crackdown

The 'Legalization' of China’s Internet Crackdown

Internet usageespecially microblogging on Sina Weibo, China’s largest Twitter-like social media site—is presenting new challenges and new attempts to meet them from a government determined to maintain control.


From ACM Opinion

iOS 7, Thoroughly Reviewed

iOS 7, Thoroughly Reviewed

When we reviewed iOS 6 a year ago, we called it a "spit-and-polish" release and stand by that assessment today.


From ACM Opinion

Neal Stephenson on Tall Towers and NSA Cyber-Spies

Neal Stephenson on Tall Towers and NSA Cyber-Spies

Neal Stephenson is thinking big—20km (12.4 miles) big, to be precise.


From ACM Opinion

Forget MOOCs

Forget MOOCs

For a year or two there, free online classes seemed like they just might be the future of higher education.


From ACM Opinion

Cryptographers Have an Ethics Problem

Cryptographers Have an Ethics Problem

Last week, I visited the MIT computer science department looking for a very famous cryptographer.

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