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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.

May 2013


From The Computing Community Consortium Blog

The $33 Trillion Technology Payoff … All computer science, all the time …

The $33 Trillion Technology Payoff … All computer science, all the time …

Steve Lohr reports in the New York Times: “A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute, the research arm of the consulting firm … not only selects a dozen ‘disruptive’ technologies from a candidate list of 100, but also measures…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Use a Common Standard, If You Want to

Use a Common Standard, If You Want to

Wow,  this an old controversy.  The switch to the metric system.  I remember writing a piece about it in high school for a technical newsletter.  Still in the news.   The latest effort on next steps, which seem once again to Slashdot…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Telehealth and Coordinated Care Models

Telehealth and Coordinated Care Models

Based on a number of conversations about this with doctors, the overall model is not working, perhaps because who is attempting to management it.  This Ecommerce Times overview is instructive.


From U.S. Public Policy Committee of the ACM

Senate Hearing on Making Movies and Inflight Entertainment Accessible

Senate Hearing on Making Movies and Inflight Entertainment Accessible

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a legislative hearing last week on two bills that would address accessible entertainment in movie theaters and on airplanes. Witnesses included representatives from…


From Schneier on Security

Friday Squid Blogging: Eating Giant Squid

Friday Squid Blogging: Eating Giant Squid

How does he know this?

Chris Cosentino, the Bay Area’s "Offal Chef" at Incanto in San Francisco and PIGG at Umamicatessen in Los Angeles, opted for the most intimidating choice of all -- giant squid. "When it comes to underutilized…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Google Ready to Start Shipping Glass

Google Ready to Start Shipping Glass

In CW World.    Looks as though we are about to start another interesting socio-technical experiment.   I have my doubts that this will become common, or socially accepted, but I resisted the cell phone and smart phone emergence…


From The Female Perspective of Computer Science

Feynlabs Has the Right Idea: Start With CS Concepts

Feynlabs Has the Right Idea: Start With CS Concepts

I received an email from Lee Omar of UK-based Feynlabs this morning.  It opened with the following:Feynlabs believes that current IT teaching in schools which is aimed at children is not fit for purpose.  Current courses areAfter…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Google Innovation Possibilities

Google Innovation Possibilities

Google CEO Larry Page says they at 1% of what is possible.  I am concerned about wielding a number like that without some backing.


From The Eponymous Pickle

Eye Tracking as Privacy Invasion?

Eye Tracking as Privacy Invasion?

Is eye tracking a privacy invasion?  Similar arguments to the use of neuroanalysis while interacting with product or process.  In Mashable.


From Schneier on Security

Training Baggage Screeners

Training Baggage Screeners

The research in G. Giguère and B.C. Love, "Limits in decision making arise from limits in memory retrieval," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences v. 19 (2013) has applications in training airport baggage screeners.


From Putting People First

Free information, as great as it sounds, will enslave us all

Free information, as great as it sounds, will enslave us all

“While people are created equal, computers are not. When people share information freely, those who own the best computers benefit in extreme ways that are denied to everyone else. Those with the best computers can simply calculate…


From Wild WebMink

Can Ubuntu Phone Succeed?

Can Ubuntu Phone Succeed?

On FLOSS Weekly this week, Jono Bacon told us all about the Ubuntu Phone. I’ve summarised the most interesting points on InfoWorld today, but the key take-away for me was they are focussing on the carriers and handset vendors…


From Putting People First

The future of technology isn’t mobile, it’s contextual

The future of technology isn’t mobile, it’s contextual

In the coming years, there will be a shift toward contextual computing, writes Pete Mortensen of Jump Associates, defined in large part by Georgia Tech researchers Anind Dey and Gregory Abowd about a decade ago. “Always-present…


From Putting People First

Interview: “Hosting Todd Harple, INTEL Experience Engineer at ITC-ILO”.

Interview: “Hosting Todd Harple, INTEL Experience Engineer at ITC-ILO”.

Some time ago, we suggested to Todd Harple, an anthropologist at Intel, to consider doing his 10 week sabbatical here in Turin at the International Training Center of the International Labor Organization (a United Nations structure)…


From Putting People First

Big Data needs Thick Data

Big Data needs Thick Data

In the wake of Big Data, ethnographers can offer thick data, says Tricia Wang. In the face of the derisive mention of “anecdotes”, we ought to stand up to defend the value of stories. “Lacking the conceptual words to quickly…


From Schneier on Security

New Report on Teens, Social Media, and Privacy

New Report on Teens, Social Media, and Privacy

Interesting report from the From the Pew Internet and American Life Project:

Teens are sharing more information about themselves on their social media profiles than they did when we last surveyed in 2006: 91% post a photo of…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Snubbing Apps vs Desktop

Snubbing Apps vs Desktop

In CW World:  It seems most MS WIN 8 users just try to find their way back to the classic desktop, avoiding the 'modern' App tile interface.  Only touch tablet users of Win 8 find much use for Apps.  I had to quickly learn both…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Intelligent Bar Code Scanning

Intelligent Bar Code Scanning

A piece by the standards group GS1:   GS1 and Open Mobile Alliance team up to bring intelligent bar code scanning to mobile devices ... GS1 and Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) are collaborating to enable bar code scanning features…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Ethernet and the Cloud

Ethernet and the Cloud

Have noted a number of anniversaries in the last few weeks.  The Web is 20 years old.  And now the basic infrastructure that created the Internet, the Ethernet, is 40.  I recall hearing about this mysterious capability as part…


From Computational Complexity

Quantum Computing Fast and Slow

I just read two very different science books, Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow and Scott Aaronson's Quantum Computing since Democritus. Not much to connect the two except both deal to some extent about probability and…


From Schneier on Security

One-Shot vs. Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma

One-Shot vs. Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma

This post by Aleatha Parker-Wood is very applicable to the things I wrote in Liars & Outliers:

A lot of fundamental social problems can be modeled as a disconnection between people who believe (correctly or incorrectly) that…


From Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information From Alfred Thompson

Some Thoughts About MOOCs

Some Thoughts About MOOCs

Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) seem to be a major topic of conversation in higher education these days. Online courses for high school students tend to be neither massive or open where open means that anyone can take …


From The Eponymous Pickle

Artificial Intelligence Getting Smart

Artificial Intelligence Getting Smart

In Technology Review:   More on the increasing abilities of AI.  Immensely interesting to me as I had several encounters with the application of these methods in the enterprise.


From The Eponymous Pickle

Data Visualization Expertise

Data Visualization Expertise

Short CW Piece on the topic of data visualization.  How specialists are emerging.   I repeat that I consider data visualization an essential  element of analytics.  Of course there can be specialists in this space,  but every…


From [email protected]

On the Pleasures of Teaching Computer Science Students

On the Pleasures of Teaching Computer Science Students

A short reflection on the rewarding experience of teaching students at the time of year when students' degrees are awarded.


From The Female Perspective of Computer Science

Review / Python for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming

Review / Python for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming

There are many resources out there for Python, but I've recently had the opportunity to enjoy a fully colour printed book on the topic.  Sure, it's called Python for Kids, but that doesn't mean the young at heart can't benefit…


From Computer Science Teachers Association

This is My Dream Job

This is My Dream Job

Long ago in a land far away (well, actually only about 2.5 hours east of here -- but definitely a very different day and time), I started teaching high school math (in a very progressive school system), and I thought, "This …


From Putting People First

Smart citizens make smart cities, a talk by Dan Hill

Smart citizens make smart cities, a talk by Dan Hill

“We have the technology to do anything. To make things happen you need to turn to design and redesign the context, the decision making and the question.” – Dan Hill, CEO of Fabrica, figured out that smart citizens are necessary…


From Schneier on Security

"The Global Cyber Game"

"The Global Cyber Game"

This 127-page report was just published by the UK Defence Academy. I have not read it yet, but it looks really interesting.

Executive Summary: This report presents a systematic way of thinking about cyberpower and its useCyberpower…


From Putting People First

The future of tablets in education: potential vs. reality of consuming media

The future of tablets in education: potential vs. reality of consuming media

Justin Reich of MindShift has launched a four-part series to explore four dimensions of using tablets, such as the iPad, in educational settings, examining how teachers can take students on a journey from (1) consumption of media…