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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.

July 2012


From The Eponymous Pickle

Offshoring and Innovation

Offshoring and Innovation

In CIO: Can off shoring inhibit innovation?  Only if it is poorly integrated with other corporate missions.


From The Female Perspective of Computer Science

Playable Quests

Playable Quests

Quests in video games are a nice way to give players choices to make and offer a story line that seems a bit less linear.  Have you noticed, though, that most quests seem to follow the same pattern? Usually, they're all about…


From Gödel's Lost Letter and P=NP

Facts No One Really Checks

Basic theorems that rarely get proved in full detail Laura Smoller is not a theorist, but a historian at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She sports the middle name “Ackerman,” which is one “n” off of the famous mathematician…


From Computational Complexity

The Combinatorics of Batman

(I wrote this post about a year ago but waited until the new Batmanmovie came out to post it. I haven't seen the movie yet sothere may more possibilities to add to this.)There have been many versions of the BATMAN story:comic…


From The Computing Community Consortium Blog

NSF Announces Video Contest for Graduate Research Fellows

NSF Announces Video Contest for Graduate Research Fellows

To help mark the 60th anniversary of its Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), the National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced a new video contest — “Creating the Future” — that challenges Fellows to create short videos…


From The Eponymous Pickle

In Hospital Doctor Bedside Robotics

In Hospital Doctor Bedside Robotics

In Computerworld: A good overview of the development of telemedicine using robotics from iRobot.   Includes images of how this would be implemented.  I suggest again that the embedded intelligence, not the mechanical robot, will…


From Putting People First

Is UX strategy fundamentally incompatible with agile or lean UX?

Is UX strategy fundamentally incompatible with agile or lean UX?

The take of the author Paul Bryan: UX strategy and agile UX are neither compatible nor incompatible. In an agile shop, UX strategists have to get ahead of the curve and do their work before agile development starts. They need…


From Putting People First

UX for learning: design guidelines for the learner experience

UX for learning: design guidelines for the learner experience

With educational applications for kids, corporate eLearning, and online degree programs, more and more UX designers face design briefs for creating digital experiences with an educational purpose. In this article, Dorian Peters…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Less Groupthink

Less Groupthink

The broad concept of 'brainstorming', beloved by big business for many decades, has taken a hit recently as creating group think pablum that was not worth the effort expended.  An over reach criticism I thought.   Now in thebrainstorming…


From Schneier on Security

Making Handcuff Keys with 3D Printers

Making Handcuff Keys with 3D Printers

Handcuffs pose a particular key management problem. Officers need to be able to unlock handcuffs locked by another officer, so they're all designed to be opened by a standard set of keys. This system only works if the bad guys…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Making Wearable Tech Wearable

Making Wearable Tech Wearable

From Artefactgroup:   A good overview of the subject.  When we explored this we discovered that the devices were not very wearable in the context of performing maintenance tasks.  This takes a step further if we expect them to…


From Putting People First

Making wearable technology wearable

Making wearable technology wearable

This week at the San Francisco Wearable Technology Conference, Jennifer Darmour, UX designer at the Artefact Group, shared with other wearable technology experts her perspective and insights on the principles we must follow to…


From Putting People First

Experientia collaborating with UCLA Anderson School of Management

Experientia collaborating with UCLA Anderson School of Management

Experientia is one of 15 Italian companies and 53 companies worldwide participating in UCLA’s exclusive 2012 Global Access Program (GAP). GAP pairs Fully Employed MBA (FEMBA) students with existing international companies to…


From Wild WebMink

Portland Submarine tour

Portland Submarine tour

Portland Submarine tour, a set on Flickr. One enjoyable perk of being a speaker at OSCON and a new author at O’Reilly Media was an invitation to their “Friends” reception at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Fluid Catalogs

Fluid Catalogs

Are we ready for shopping in a post Pinterest world?  Fluid HTML5 layouts replace the simulated shelf layout in old online retail.   More here.   Better I think than walking avatars through simulated shelves.


From The Eponymous Pickle

Digitizing Historical Maps

Digitizing Historical Maps

An interesting example of the digitization of some 200,000 historical maps,  which will ultimately give them much larger distribution and preserve them for the future.


From The Computing Community Consortium Blog

“Continuing Innovation in Information Technology”:New NRC Report Links Government Research Investments to Nation’s Leadership

“Continuing Innovation in Information Technology”:New NRC Report Links Government Research Investments to Nation’s Leadership

At the Computing Research Association’s (CRA) biennial Snowbird Conference today, the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) will roll out a new report — “Continuing Innovation in Information Technology” — updating…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Sociologically Inspired Technology

Sociologically Inspired Technology

In the Edge:   Looking at how people and animals socially interact and applying that organization more broadly.  Akin to agent-based simulation methods we applied in marketing.   Still being used today by companies likeThinkvine…


From Putting People First

Silicon Valley worries about addiction to devices

Silicon Valley worries about addiction to devices

Computers, smartphones and other gadgets have made life easier, but now tech firms are worried that they may be harming people. Huh? Tech firms worried about addiction to devices? As also the author of the New York Times piece…


From Schneier on Security

Implicit Passwords

Implicit Passwords

This is a really interesting research paper (article here) on implicit passwords: something your unconscious mind remembers but your conscious mind doesn't know. The Slashdot post is a nice summary:

A cross-disciplinary team…


From Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information From Alfred Thompson

Virtual Windows 8 Hands-on-Labs

Virtual Windows 8 Hands-on-Labs

Ready to learn how to develop for Windows 8? Well perhaps not quite ready for a dedicated machine or concerned about complicated set-up? Well in those cases the new Virtual Windows 8 hands-on-labs may be just what you need!


From Putting People First

Make your users do the work

Make your users do the work

“Make your users do the work< ” is the not very people-centred title of a guest piece by Nir Eyal on Techcrunch. He argues that putting users to work is critical in creating products people love, and he has a point. Some excerpts…


From Putting People First

Awesome experiences make us nicer

Awesome experiences make us nicer

New research by published in the journal Psychological Science shows that awe-inspiring moments can literally make time seem to stand still, or at least slow down. That feeling improves our mental health since many people often…


From Putting People First

Making sense of the cross channel experience

Making sense of the cross channel experience

In this short essay, Jon Fisher of UK consultancy Nomensa presents some introductory thoughts about Nomensa’s framework for ”sense making in cross channel design”. In particular, he demonstrates a potential method for visualising…


From Putting People First

mHealth: the next frontier or too much hype?

mHealth: the next frontier or too much hype?

mHealth: The Next Frontier For Mobile Service Growth By Scott Wilson and Phil Asmundson of Deloitte Advances in wireless remote patient monitoring (RPM) are expected to have a big impact across targeted disease areas where chronic…


From Putting People First

Debate on the UXPA name change

Debate on the UXPA name change

At the beginning of June, the Usability Professionals Association (UPA) announced that from now on it would be known as the User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA). This didn’t go unnoticed, and UX publisher Louis Rosenfeld…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Walgreen's Mobile Store Map

Walgreen's Mobile Store Map

Walgreen's maps every store with a mobile application, but does not communicate it very well, writes  Storefrontbacktalk.  We worked extensively with store mapping applications, which show product via a search, route to their…


From Putting People First

Our Frugal Future: Lessons from India’s innovation system

Our Frugal Future: Lessons from India’s innovation system

Drawing on the latest data and over 130 interviews with Indian policymakers, entrepreneurs and academics, this report by NESTA, the UK innovation agency, explores the policies, institutions and industries that are driving research…


From [email protected]

Quantum Gaming

Quantum Gaming

Scientific discovery games are an exciting new approach to solving thorny scientific problems using contributions from a distributed group of non-expert humans. The approach has been successful in the domain of biochemistry,…


From Putting People First

Co-design in innovation

Co-design in innovation

In a short post on the Huffington Post blog, author Soren Petersen describes how co-design – when firms and non-design users jointly design business and product offerings – is seen as a potential new avenue for breakthrough innovation…