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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.

October 2011


From The Eponymous Pickle

Is College Worth the Investment?

Is College Worth the Investment?

Wharton discusses this.  Hardly an objective party, but the thoughts are interesting.   I have been confronted with this topic recently. I was brought up in a world where it was not doubted, where entrepreneurship was very uncommon…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Bored in Space

Bored in Space

You would not think it was possible.  To be bored while in space, with all the tasks to do and the stars and earth to look at.   But apparently it is, and games like the wildly popular 'Angry Birds' will be used to pass the time…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Hadoop and IBM do Big Data in the Cloud

Hadoop and IBM do Big Data in the Cloud

I have just started to look at Hadoop, which   " ... enables applications to work with thousands of nodes and petabytes of data. Hadoop was inspired byGoogle's MapReduce and Google File System (GFS) papers.... " IBM is starting…


From Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information From Alfred Thompson

Kinect-ing at the NJSBA Annual Workshop

Kinect-ing at the NJSBA Annual Workshop

Normally the conferences I attend are about educational technology or computer science education. Events like ISTE, MASSCue, TCEA, SIGCSE or CSTA


From My Biased Coin

Students are Awesome(ly Productive Right Now)

Students are Awesome(ly Productive Right Now)

What's the use of a blog if you can't brag about your students?  And my students have all been doing great stuff, so I'm excited to let others know about their work. In random order...Zhenming Liu's paper Information Dissemination…


From The Computing Community Consortium Blog

An interesting story


From The Eponymous Pickle

Launching Ketchup on Facebook

Launching Ketchup on Facebook

For their most avid fans, Heinz is launching some new flavors of Ketchup on Facebook.  An interesting example or relatively low involvement products.  But they already have the followers in place who are enthusiastic about their…


From Daniel Lemire's Blog

It Is Not Where You Work, But Who You Work With

It Is Not Where You Work, But Who You Work With

It is widely believed that intellectual productivity is tied to location. That is, if you work in a basement at Harvard like Walter Bishop in the TV show Fringe, you’ll be far more brilliant than if you do the same work in a…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Short History of the Web at Work

Short History of the Web at Work

How the web has powered work for 20 years. A brief view of the history and its implications.   It seems like it has been much longer.  What is next?


From The Computing Community Consortium Blog

International S&E Visualization Challenge: Vote Before Friday

International S&E Visualization Challenge: Vote Before Friday

Back in February, we noted that the National Science Foundation and Science


From Schneier on Security

Cracking the Copiale Cipher

Cracking the Copiale Cipher

I don't follow historical cryptography, so all of this comes as a surprise to me. But something called the Copiale Cipher from the 18th Century has been cracked.


From Putting People First

Energy consumption in the home

Energy consumption in the home

The Danish Alexandra Institute (see also previous post) published in 2009 an anthropological user study of needs, motivations and barriers in relation to energy consumption in the home. It was part of the MCHA project (Minimum…


From Schneier on Security

Demands from Law Enforcement for Google Data

Demands from Law Enforcement for Google Data

Google releases statistics:

Google received more than 15,600 requests in the January-June period, 10 percent more than the final six months of last year. The requests in the latest period spanned more than 25,400 individual[…


From Putting People First

The Internet of Things comic book

The Internet of Things comic book

The Danish Alexandra Institute has just released a comic book called “Inspiring the Internet of Things,” which explains the benefits of networking everyday objects – as well as the ethical issues – through 15 illustrated scenarios…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Changing How Doctors and Patients Interact

Changing How Doctors and Patients Interact

I have been examining exactly this question recently.  Is it as simple as SMS messages?  My doctor has a problem with the privacy issue.


From The Eponymous Pickle

Procter & Gamble's Pixel Visualization Room

Procter & Gamble's Pixel Visualization Room

From the SAS ComBlog:  A description of an effort at Procter & Gamble to provide data visualization and analytics support: "... P&G colleagues collaborate in what


From Putting People First

Audio of EPIC 2011 presentations

Audio of EPIC 2011 presentations

The organisers of the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry (EPIC 2011) conference have posted audio of the keynotes and most of the presentations. The conference took place in Boulder, Colorado on 18-21 September. Keynotes Opening…


From Schneier on Security

Twofish Mentioned in Thriller Novel

Twofish Mentioned in Thriller Novel

I've been told that the Twofish encryption algorithm is mentioned in the book Abuse of Power, in the first paragraph of Chapter 3. Did rhe terrorists use it? Did our hero break it? I am unlikely to read it; can someone scan…


From Putting People First

Want to create a great product? First, forget

Want to create a great product? First, forget

User-friendliness is the inevitable result of a smart design approach, not the starting point. Robert Hoekman, Jr lists three criteria to help you develop a useful design brief that will ultimately yield a great product. “User…


From Putting People First

Intentional environments: designing a culture of co-creation

Intentional environments: designing a culture of co-creation

Elements such as social dynamics, communication styles, and creative inspiration deeply affect our experience of work and what we create. While most of us don’t have the authority to change the architecture of our work places…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Predictive Analytics Resources

Predictive Analytics Resources

I attended an IBM seminar on predictive methods a few weeks ago.  I thought it was well constructed and worth while.  In reviewing some of their material I see that they are supporting work by Prediction Impact, a SF company.…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Future of Privacy in a GPS World

Future of Privacy in a GPS World

With GPS attached to phone and cars and even simpler devices, what is the future of locational privacy?   What are the privacy implications?  By Orin Kerr and others.  And also the more legal implications of a 4th amendment GPS…


From The Eponymous Pickle

IBM Free Big Data Tablet Tool

IBM Free Big Data Tablet Tool

IBM Offers Free Big Data Analysis Tool for iPads.     I have recently been looking at tools for tablets that make data easy to visualize quickly.  Will take a look at this.   The specific merchandising example is also interesting…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Zakta as a Social Curation Platform

Zakta as a Social Curation Platform

I have mentioned Zakta a number of times here, I have communicated with some of the founders of the idea from inside and outside the enterprise for years.  They are starting write some new and interesting things.   AboutZakta…


From The Computing Community Consortium Blog

Pushing the

Pushing the

An interesting example in today’s New York Times


From Computational Complexity

John McCarthy (1927-2011)

First Steve and then Dennis and now we have the death of a third computing pioneer this month. John McCarthy passed away earlier this week at the age of 84. McCarthy was one of the founders and early promoters of Artificial…


From Putting People First

Games, Life and Utopia conference

Games, Life and Utopia conference

Games, Life and Utopia is a half-day event in Pottsdam, Germany on 11 November, that is all about gamification, serious games, learning and play. It


From Schneier on Security

NSA Acronyms

NSA Acronyms

The second document in this file is the recently unclassified "Guide to Historical Cryptologic Acronyms and Abbreviations, 1940-1980," from the NSA

Note that there are still some redactions.


From Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information From Alfred Thompson

Mini-Grants for Collaborative Projects to Include Disabled Youth in CS

Mini-Grants for Collaborative Projects to Include Disabled Youth in CS

Passing along this announcement from the CSTA Blast announcement list. Computer science has a lot of opportunity to help differently abled people but to maximize the value need to think about including them in the process.

In…


From Wild WebMink

Nothing New

Nothing New

Watching an interesting TED Talk by Amber Case, I was reminded of a long-term guiding principle I have followed when faced with novelty. It’s an old idea that’s embedded deep in many traditions. The pithy summary says “there’s…