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Communications of the ACM

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

December 2009


From The Eponymous Pickle

Challenging the Tipping Point

Challenging the Tipping Point

In Mind Hacks: Looking at the work of Duncan Watts. And by implication challenging the methodology of many kinds of simulations and predictive analytics in general. No, disagree ... Don't expect these methods to produce exact…


From Schneier on Security

Separating Explosives from the Detonator

Separating Explosives from the Detonator

Chechen terrorists did it in 2004. I said this in an interview with then TSA head Kip Hawley in 2007:

I don't want to even think about how much C4 I can strap to my legs and walk through your magnetometers.
And what sort of…


From The Noisy Channel

R.I.P. Modista

R.I.P. Modista

Long-time readers may recall my post about visual search startup Modista last November, or this guest post by one of its principals. Unfortunately, the story has a sad ending. I hope that both this technology and its developers…


From The Eponymous Pickle

When Data Does not Match Theory

When Data Does not Match Theory

Have seen this many times, especially in the realm of marketing, where people sometimes just search for data that matches the results they want. So its natural to look for methods that are at least apparently more objective. …


From Schneier on Security

Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Creche

Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Creche

Happy Squidmas, everybody.


From Schneier on Security

Friday Squid Blogging: Madonna and Squid

Friday Squid Blogging: Madonna and Squid

A painting.


From Putting People First

Designing for social innovation: an interview with Ezio Manzini

Designing for social innovation: an interview with Ezio Manzini

User experience strategist Steve Baty interviewed Ezio Manzini, Professor of Design at the Politecnico di Milano and one of the keynote speakers at Interaction 10, about designing for social innovation and his work with the DESIS…


From Putting People First

The Journal of Information Architecture

The Journal of Information Architecture

The Journal of Information Architecture, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal, is now at its second issue — and all the content can be downloaded: Issue 1 (Spring 2009)

Editorial: Shall We Dance? – by Dorte Madsen Connecting the…


From Putting People First

When professionals get culture shock

When professionals get culture shock

Nokia user researcher Jan Chipchase reflects on the issue of culture shock, a condition that can even affect professionals whose livelihood depends on being able to travel the globe and decode the nuances of what they experience…


From Putting People First

The fable of the user-centred designer

The fable of the user-centred designer

David Travis has written a fable that “follows a young man’s journey as he discovers the three secrets of user-centred design”. “Many years ago, I read a book by Kenneth Blanchard & Spencer Johnson called The One Minute Manager…


From Michael Nielsen

Biweekly links for 12/25/2009

Biweekly links for 12/25/2009

Let’s make language exams useful « Secret Blogging Seminar

David Speyer has what looks like a viable proposal for crowdsourcing translation of mathematical texts.

Median age of NIH grantholders

Stunning graph: the median age…


From The Noisy Channel

Recovering From Being Hacked

Recovering From Being Hacked

I discovered today that I’d been hacked earlier this week by a spam link injection attack. I’m still not sure how it happened, but I believe I’ve cleaned out all of the offending PHP from my WordPress installation. I’ve also…


From The Eponymous Pickle

On-Line Retailers and Neuromarketing

On-Line Retailers and Neuromarketing

An NYT article on the use of NM concepts in online retailing. Includes quotes from Martin Lindstrom:


From The Computing Community Consortium Blog

An end-of-year, end-of-decade article in the Xconomy tech blog by CCC’s Ed Lazowska.


From The Eponymous Pickle

On the Consumer Power of Price Checking

On the Consumer Power of Price Checking

Herb Sorensen in Retailwire writes about mobile price checking. Some further thoughts of my own: I saw a number of price checking devices installed at a local retailer. You just hold up the package to the device installed onI…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Lowering Your Information Standards

Lowering Your Information Standards

Tom Davenport makes an interesting point and expands on it: ' ... As information grows in quantity, consumers of it are willing to accept lower quality. I call this willingness satisficing


From The Female Perspective of Computer Science

Mini-Course: Round Three

Mini-Course: Round Three

I'm super excited to be doing round three of my week-long mini-course for grade eight girls 'Computer Science and Games: Just for Girls!' this May. I've been thinking about what I might change this time around to make it better…


From Wild WebMink

links for 2009-12-24

links for 2009-12-24

  • Great new video about OSFA, well worth passing on.
  • Another Leak, the worst…


    From Schneier on Security

    Intercepting Predator Video

    Intercepting Predator Video

    Sometimes mediocre encryption is better than strong encryption, and sometimes no encryption is better still.

    The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Iraqi, and possibly also Afghan, militants are using commercial software…


    From The Eponymous Pickle

    On the Future of Analytics

    On the Future of Analytics

    Eric Siegel on the future of analytics in the SAS COM Blog.-


    From My Biased Coin

    New Result : Tight Asymptotic Bounds for the Deletion Channel with Small Deletion Probabilities

    New Result : Tight Asymptotic Bounds for the Deletion Channel with Small Deletion Probabilities

    Posting will be light over winter break, in part because so little is going on, but more because I'm busy working on papers for upcoming deadlines. I'll describe a fun little nugget, which is being submitted to ISIT, joint work…


    From Computer Science Teachers Association

    Holiday Reading Corner

    Holiday Reading Corner

    Ah, the holiday break. Time to relax, catch up on sleep, and perhaps read a book or two. If you are looking for some interesting reading related to CS education, here are three books that I read over the summer and really enjoyed…


    From The Eponymous Pickle

    Global Networks

    Global Networks

    The value of understanding a dynamic system as a quantifiable network with a distinct architecture has always intrigued me. Very early on we constructed networks to understand supply chains of goods, services and even peopleare…


    From The Eponymous Pickle

    Being Honest with Yourself

    Being Honest with Yourself

    On the consequences of fooling yourself. With implications for private label purchasing decisions?


    From BLOG@CACM

    The Ghosts of Holiday Shopping: Past, Present and Future

    The Ghosts of Holiday Shopping: Past, Present and Future

    In many parts of the western world, the frenzy of holiday shopping has reached its crescendo.  With apologies to Charles Dickens, it is instructive to consider the ghosts of shopping past, present and future, albeit with a bit…


    From Schneier on Security

    Plant Security Countermeasures

    Plant Security Countermeasures

    The essay is about veganism and plant eating, but I found the descriptions of plant security countermeasures interesting:

    Plants can


    From Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information From Alfred Thompson

    Microsoft bliink Contest in the State of Illinois

    Microsoft bliink Contest in the State of Illinois

    I made mention of this announcement when it was first made in October. I hope that if you are at a high school in Illinois you know about this and are getting involved. Note that it doesn’t have to be a computer science teacher…


    From Wild WebMink

    links for 2009-12-23

    links for 2009-12-23

    Excellent and typically thorough treatment of copyright assignment from Michael Meeks. I'm not a huge fan of copyright assignment, as I believe it inhibits…


    From The Eponymous Pickle

    Reinvention of BI

    Reinvention of BI

    Good piece in Information Management by David M Raab: The Reinvention of BI as We Know itTotal cost of ownership analyses must be expanded to properly capture the savings of new analytical technologies ..... '


    From Schneier on Security

    Luggage Locator

    Luggage Locator

    Wow, is this a bad idea:

    The Luggage Locator is an innovative product that travellers or anyone can use to locate items. It has been specifically engineered to help people find their luggage quickly and can also be used around…