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

December 2013


From Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information From Alfred Thompson

The Price of Software

The Price of Software

This morning I was reading Robert Scoble’s Age of Context while waiting for my order to be ready at the fish market and came across mention of how inexpensive mobile apps have become. It brought me back to someone a profession…


From Daniel Lemire's Blog

On human intelligence… a perspective from computer science

On human intelligence… a perspective from computer science

Whenever I read social scientists, there is often, implicit in the background, the concept of “intelligence” as a well defined quantity. I have some amount of intelligence. Maybe you have a bit more. But what does computer science…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Mood Sensing Interfaces

Mood Sensing Interfaces

Affective computing, and a mention of Clippy.  we were there testing it.  Is it an essential part of AI?    " ... Nearly a decade after its retirement, the advice-spewing "Clippy" remains one of technology's most hated characters…


From Schneier on Security

Report on Syrian Malware

Report on Syrian Malware

Fascinating report from Citizen Lab on the use of malware in the current Syrian conflict (EFF summary and Wired article).


From The Eponymous Pickle

What Should be Done With Dark Data?

What Should be Done With Dark Data?

In CWorld:  This is always an issue, in the past we often reviewed data being gathered and either stopped gathering it or aggregated it.  Often aggregating to uselessness. Now do we know what we could use in the future?   That…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Inventing and Nurturing the Joke

Inventing and Nurturing the Joke

Who invented the joke? Famed classicist Mary Beard claims it was the Romans.  A joke is an explosive, minimal point making story connecting with our emotions in a memorable way.  It works in many advertisements. So it should…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Creating Reality Distortion Fields

Creating Reality Distortion Fields

My former boss Bob Herbold,  writing on leadership, talks about reality distortion fields.  A term new to me.   " ... In summary, when there are big opportunities, don’t shy away for all the usual mundane reasons — create a reality…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Death of the Tablet Magazine

Death of the Tablet Magazine

In GigaOM:  I don't follow this closely, but have experimented with methods like Flipboard.   Overall this surprises me.  With particular criticism of the Apple IOS7 newsstand.  " ... The death of the tablet magazine has been…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Tracking You Everywhere

Tracking You Everywhere

Google Is Testing A Program That Tracks You Everywhere You Go, in the Business Insider.    Pointing to a report in DigiDay.


From The Eponymous Pickle

Informs Conference on Business of Big Data

Informs Conference on Business of Big Data

I see that Bill Franks of Teradata will be the keynote speaker at the Informs conference on The Business of Big Data.  San Jose, June 22-24.  " ... Putting Big Data to Work ... At Teradata and throughout his career, Bill Franks…


From Daniel Lemire's Blog

Even faster bitmap decoding

Even faster bitmap decoding

Bitmaps are a simple data structure used to represent sets of integers. For example, you can represent all sets of integers in [0,64) using a single 64-bit integer. When they are applicable, bitmaps are very efficient compared…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Japanese Robot Dominates DARPA

Japanese Robot Dominates DARPA

Contrary to other reports.  In CWorld. " ... Japanese robot crushes rivals at DARPA challengeResearchers advance state of the art in humanoid robot competition ... "  The humanoid aspects intrigue me.  Is it necessary to have…


From Computational Complexity

Our Journal is 99 44/100 percent pure!!

Sometimes we are asked to evaluate how good a journal or conference  formally(Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Better-than-being-poked-by-a-stick,pass the stick). Sometimes we talk about these things informally (ICALP is the…


From Schneier on Security

NSA Spying: Who Do You Believe?

NSA Spying: Who Do You Believe?

On Friday, Reuters reported that RSA entered a secret contract to make DUAL_EC_PRNG the default random number generator in the BSAFE toolkit. DUA_EC_PRNG is now known to be back-doored by the NSA.

Yesterday, RSA denied it:


From Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information From Alfred Thompson

Interesting Links 23 December 2013

Interesting Links 23 December 2013

Christmas Break! I teach in a Catholic school so we call it that. I’m out of school until January 6th for a nice 16 day break. I have some grading to catch up and I will be doing my lesson planning for the final two weeks ofSome…


From Putting People First

Ethnographic research: Facebook is basically dead and buried with UK teenagers

Ethnographic research: Facebook is basically dead and buried with UK teenagers

As part of a European Union-funded study on social media (make sure to check also the UCL site and blog on the same project), the Department of Anthropology at University College London is running nine simultaneous 15-month ethnographic…


From The Eponymous Pickle

DARPA Robot Challenge Viewed

DARPA Robot Challenge Viewed

MIT Technology review provides a number of still shots from the DARPA robotics challenge.  Another note says that Google's Robot 'recruits' dominated the activity.   Not sure quite what this means for both innovation in the space…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Retailers Embrace Digital Coupons

Retailers Embrace Digital Coupons

Via Steve Frenda, Managing Director, The Path to Purchase Institute  in LinkedinWell done piece authored by Google's ZaversThe Tipping Point: Retailers Embrace Digital Couponing.Lots of interesting statistics and background in…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Collaboration for Process Improvement

Collaboration for Process Improvement

Part of my IXN Innovation Exchange Group, in the APQC Blog: by Holly Lyke-Ho-Gland  A good statement of what is often a big issue in the enterprise.  How do I improve complex processes?   " ... Organizations are steadily moving…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Decision Making Science

Decision Making Science

New and of interest:Thinking: the New Science of  Decision Making, Problem solving and Prediction.CONTRIBUTORS: Daniel C. Dennett, Philip Tetlock, Gerd Gigerenzer, Daniel Gilbert, Vilayanur Ramacahndran. Timothy D. Wilson, Sarah…


From The Eponymous Pickle

The Missing V in Big Data

The Missing V in Big Data

Often ignored after the 'volume' and  'variability' of big data, its velocity is becoming important. And it's not just about interacting in real time with customers. It is about how elements of the internet of things interact…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Battle of Basic Utilities

Battle of Basic Utilities

What utilities make a system complete for real work?  What turns a tablet or a phone into a PC?   I still have to drag around multiple systems and would prefer not to.  Competition is brewing between several selections.  …


From The Eponymous Pickle

Seeking Delivered Aroma on Demand

Seeking Delivered  Aroma on Demand

One of our longtime interests.  Can you deliver tailored aroma digitally?  On demand and mobile?   There have been a half dozen attempts, none very successful.  Here is another example, delivering popcorn scent to your smartphone…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Big Data and Robotics

Big Data and Robotics

In Smart Data Collective: Robotics and their sensors gather data,  real-time analytics aids their decisions, and AI can make them more autonomous.  All adds to the challenge." ... Put together robots with big data analytics and…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Disasters in Supply Chains

Disasters in Supply Chains

In Industry Week:  On disasters in supply chains.   We addressed this same question before and during Hurricane Katrina using supply chain architecture.  More broadly, this is about profiles of risk and how they are dealt with…


From Gödel's Lost Letter and P=NP

What Is Best Result Of The Year?

What do you think? Charles Lindbergh is famous for his solo non-stop flight that left Roosevelt Field in Long Island on May 20, 1927 and arrived the next day at Le Bourget Field in Paris. He covered a distance of almost miles…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Robots Create Jobs

Robots Create Jobs

A Video:  " ... Robots are at the core of manufacturing throughout the industrialized world. They are playing an even bigger role as robots enter service industries. What will this mean for jobs? What are the implications for…


From Schneier on Security

Friday Squid Blogging: "What Does the Squid Say?"

Friday Squid Blogging: "What Does the Squid Say?"

Minecraft parody.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven't covered.


From Schneier on Security

Yes, I'm Leaving BT

Yes, I'm Leaving BT

The Register reported that I am leaving BT at the end of the year. It quoted BT as saying:

We hired Bruce because of his thought leadership in security and as part of our acquisition of Counterpane. We have agreed to part ways…


From The Eponymous Pickle

IARPA: Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity

IARPA: Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity

Have been involved with DARPA in the past.  I just recently had cause to look at IARPA, a much newer agency.  Only since 2006. They describe themselves:" ... The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) invests…