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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 2013


From The Female Perspective of Computer Science

Encouraging Students to Make Mistakes and Learn How to Debug

Encouraging Students to Make Mistakes and Learn How to Debug

I've been slowly reading Papert's Mindstorms as I've had time (finally!).  This paragraph (pg 114) really jumped out at me:It is easy to empathize.  The ethic of school has rubbed off too well.  What we see as a good program.…


From Schneier on Security

Details on NSA/FBI Eavesdropping

Details on NSA/FBI Eavesdropping

We're starting to see Internet companies talk about the mechanics of how the US government spies on their users. Here, a Utah ISP owner describes his experiences with NSA eavesdropping:

We had to facilitate them to set up a…


From The Computing Community Consortium Blog

President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology discusses Big Data as it relates to Smart Cities

President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology discusses Big Data as it relates to Smart Cities

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) met on July 18, 2013 in a joint session with the Council for Science and Technology (CST) from the United Kingdom.  This was the first time the two similar…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Generating Infographics

Generating Infographics

Have had cause to look at how to effectively and cheaply generate infographics.   I have criticized the infographics form a number of times here, but do like the storytelling aspect of their use.   Once complex numerical values…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Georgia Tech MOOC

Georgia Tech MOOC

A good example of how universities are starting to integrate online courses with other offerings.   What is its implication more broadly to the University system?  Revolutionary changes are in progress.  


From The Eponymous Pickle

3D Mapping Interiors

3D Mapping Interiors

In Wired:  A camera that can map an interior space and digitize it.  An impressive ability that I can think of some retail uses for.    " ... This fall, MatterPort is releasing a camera that can scan, compile, and make cloud-ready…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Deriving Visual Structure

Deriving Visual Structure

Every line in the Novel: The Great Gatsby, as an infographic.  The future of writing?  Or a better understanding of structure in unstructured data?   Here mostly a time line.


From Schneier on Security

Poached Eggs

Poached Eggs

The story of people who poach and collect rare eggs, and the people who hunt them down.

Securing wildlife against poachers is a difficult problem, especially when the defenders are poor countries with not a lot of resources.…


From Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information From Alfred Thompson

CS Educator Interview: David Burkhart

CS Educator Interview: David Burkhart

Today’s interview is David Burkhart from rural Ohio. Dave is another teacher who has been very active in the CSTA and is a former board member. As you read though this interview you will see how helpful the CSTA has been for Where…


From Putting People First

Evgeny Morozov, solutionism and the politics of usability

Evgeny Morozov, solutionism and the politics of usability

Luke Fernandez, Manager of Program and Technology Development at Weber State University, has published a review of Evgeny Morozov’s To Save Everything Click Here that explores the intersection between UX and political theory.…


From Putting People First

Don Norman on the paradox of wearable technologies

Don Norman on the paradox of wearable technologies

Can wearable devices augment our activities without distracting us from the real world, asks Don Norman in an article just published in the MIT Technology Review. “In the end, wearable technologies will either be able to augment…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Wal-Mart to Speed its Site

Wal-Mart to Speed its Site

Wal-Mart labs has acquired a startup to speed its web site operation.   More serious site improvements are being integrated by Wal-Mart, emphasizing mobile platforms.  " ... Walmart’s Silicon Valley innovation lab dubbed @WalmartLabs…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Wolfram Creative Community

Wolfram Creative Community

 Of Interest ... Wolfram announces a crowdsourced community for their users:" ... Wolfram Community is the go-to place to discuss questions and issues relating to Mathematica and other Wolfram products in a crowdsourced communication…


From Schneier on Security

Michael Hayden on the Effects of Snowden's Whistleblowing

Michael Hayden on the Effects of Snowden's Whistleblowing

Former NSA director Michael Hayden lists three effects of the Snowden documents:

  • "...the undeniable operational effect of informing adversaries of American intelligence's tactics, techniques and procedures."

  • "...the undeniable…


    From The Eponymous Pickle

    Predictive Analytics Watch Outs

    Predictive Analytics Watch Outs

     In the article they say these are 'screw ups',  and I agree.  I think they are more broadly applicable than just to what is called 'predictive analytics' today. So consider scanning these as general watch outs.  Most of these…


    From The Eponymous Pickle

    CFOs Thinking Fast

    CFOs Thinking Fast

    Brought to my attention by a collaborator.  I am a believer in quantitative analytic thinking and a critic of intuitive flash thinking, so obviously agree,  In the WSJ:  " ... Daniel Kahneman, in his best-selling book, "Thinking…


    From The Eponymous Pickle

    Expectation Gaps Between IT and Business Leaders

    Expectation Gaps Between IT and Business Leaders

    In the Forrester Blog by Dan Bieler.   More in the article:  " ... new Forrester survey data indicates several gaps in opinion about network infrastructure aspects between business and IT leaders. We see a risk that IT will purchase…


    From The Eponymous Pickle

    Tablet Market

    Tablet Market

    A look at the current tablet market.  Tablets continue to replace laptops for personal computing and information access  power.  Apples share drops among other contenders.


    From Schneier on Security

    NSA Implements Two-Man Control for Sysadmins

    NSA Implements Two-Man Control for Sysadmins

    In an effort to lock the barn door after the horse has escaped, the NSA is implementing two-man control for sysadmins:

    NSA chief Keith Alexander said his agency had implemented a "two-man rule," under which any system administrator…


    From Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information From Alfred Thompson

    5 Programming Mistakes To Warn Students About

    5 Programming Mistakes To Warn Students About

    I like posts like 5 Programming Mistakes You Should Stop Making by Rahul Singh because they help me focus my thoughts. Through the summer I am working on planning out my teaching for the new school year and this post remindsCopy…


    From Putting People First

    Ph.D thesis: Design with Intent

    Ph.D thesis: Design with Intent

    Brunel University London has posted the Ph.D dissertation of Daniel Lockton, entitled “Design with Intent – A design pattern toolkit for environmental & social behaviour change” (download link). “This thesis describes a systematic…


    From Putting People First

    User-centred design on Gov.uk

    User-centred design on Gov.uk

    The Design Manual of Gov.uk, the UK Government services and information portal, has a section on user-centred design, whereas the service manual home page describes in more detail how designers can build a gov.uk service: from…


    From Computational Complexity

    I gave a poster session at Erdos 100- so how did it go?

    In a a prior post I suggested that STOC perhaps have people give posters instead of talks. While I doubt this will ever happen I think its worth thinking about, especially for future conferences that may be founded. I also noted…


    From updated sporadically at best

    Travel Meets Technology: A Weekend in Portland, Oregon.

    Travel Meets Technology: A Weekend in Portland, Oregon.

    When Facebook Graph Search came out, skeptics bemoaned the end of personal privacy. Now that people can perform targeted queries over your social media history, there are few places to left hide. Facebook Graph Search will make…


    From The Eponymous Pickle

    Privacy and Compliance Expertise from P&G

    Privacy and Compliance Expertise from P&G

    Once again I point to Sandra Hughes' Web site.    She was previously chief privacy officer at Procter & Gamble.   We were colleagues in those years.  We met again today to discuss privacy issues caused by the recent NSA revelations…


    From The Eponymous Pickle

    Computing Table Tops

    Computing Table Tops

    We saw demonstrations of tabletop computing nearly a decade ago at several labs.  Yet the format has not taken hold, though a few systems are still available.  At the time I did think that this would be the future of the interface…


    From The Eponymous Pickle

    Income Mobility in the US

    Income Mobility in the US

    MJ Perry writes and provides an informative map.  Shale oil is a big  driver.


    From The Eponymous Pickle

    Retail and Big Data

    Retail and Big Data

    A case of retailer A&P using a big Data Portal.  " ... This cloud-based portal enables retailers to share their proprietary data – including point of sale (POS), inventory, loyalty and more – with their supplier partners. It…


    From Schneier on Security

    How the FISA Court Undermines Trust

    How the FISA Court Undermines Trust

    This is a succinct explanation of how the secrecy of the FISA court undermines trust.

    Surveillance types make a distinction between secrecy of laws, secrecy of procedures and secrecy of operations. The expectation is that the…


    From The Eponymous Pickle

    Crowdsourced AI Includes Everyday Knowedge

    Crowdsourced AI Includes Everyday Knowedge

    In New Scientist:  An AI that is apparently equivalent to a 4 year old in a verbal test.   A big part of intelligence is our ability to manage our knowledge of the world and apply it to decisions. " ... Step forward ConceptNet…