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

December 2009


From Computational Complexity

What is an Explicit Construction?

What is an Explicit Construction?

The Prob method (usually credited to Erdos) was once considered quite novel: You show something exists but you don't show how to construct it! An early example was lower bounds on the Ramsey Numbers: You can prove that theren


From The Eponymous Pickle

Google Tool Predicts Browser View

Google Tool Predicts Browser View

A new Google tool predicts how much of a page will be visible to visitors on entering a site, before they scroll. This would be useful to understand the operational interaction of a site. The comments point out some limitations…


From CERIAS Blog

Drone

Drone

"The U.S. government has known about the flaw since the U.S. campaign in Bosnia in the 1990s, current and former officials said. But the Pentagon assumed local adversaries wouldn't know how to exploit it, the officials said."


From Putting People First

How

How

The banking industry is missing out on a huge opportunity to transform itself from a transactional model to an engagement model, writes social media strategist Jay Deragon on AlwaysOn. “Think about what lies within the system…


From Putting People First

The future of collaboration begins with visualising human capital

The future of collaboration begins with visualising human capital

Venessa Miemis, a Master’s degree candidate in Media Studies at the New School in New York City, contributed a user idea to Nokia’s Ideas Project website, anticipating a system whereby collaboration facilitated by social networks…


From Wild WebMink

? Changes, one thoughtful

? Changes, one thoughtful

Jane is fantastic, so I've no fears arising from this transition, just best wishes for both Mark and Jane.
(tags: Canonical Ubuntu Shuttleworth…


From Schneier on Security

MagnePrint Technology for Credit/Debit Cards

MagnePrint Technology for Credit/Debit Cards

This seems like a solution in search of a problem:

MagTek discovered that no two magnetic strips are identical. This is due to the manufacturing process. Similar to DNA, the structure of every magnetic stripe is different and…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Corkboard Database

Corkboard Database

A really simple idea, Spaaze.com, resting almost entirely on its metaphor, an infinite corkboard display. More about it.


From The Eponymous Pickle

Mirrors in the Brain

Mirrors in the Brain

In the midst of reading Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Interconnect With Others, by Marco Iacoboni. A non-technical book about mirror neurons, which at least in the Rhesus monkey, and possibly in the great apes and…


From Computer Science Teachers Association

Fall 2009 issue of Journal for Computing Teachers

Fall 2009 issue of Journal for Computing Teachers

The fall 2009 issue of Journal for Computing Teachers is available at

http://iste.org/jct (direct link is http://tinyurl.com/yfq9qjz).

JCT is a K-12 oriented online periodical where the emphasis is teaching about computing…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Google Pushes 2D Barcodes

Google Pushes 2D Barcodes

From Storefrontbacktalk: ' ... This week, Google said it was trying to breathe life into these barcodes by mailing 200,000 2D barcode stickers to small businesses throughout the country. Such a move could allow these mom-and…


From Schneier on Security

Australia Restores Some Sanity to Airport Screening

Australia Restores Some Sanity to Airport Screening

Welcome news:

Carry-on baggage rules will be relaxed under a shake-up of aviation security announced by the Federal Government today. The changes will see passengers again allowed to carry some sharp implements, such as nail…


From Putting People First

The challenge of co-production

The challenge of co-production

A new discussion paper by NESTA, the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, argues that the key to reforming public services is to encourage users to design and deliver services in equal partnership with…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Kroger Links Loyalty to Wireless Minutes

Kroger Links Loyalty to Wireless Minutes

Retailers are starting to do more clever things with loyalty programs: ' ... The Kroger Co. is rolling out what it says is a first-of-its-kind loyalty program that rewards frequent shoppers with free wireless service using its…


From Schneier on Security

The Politics of Power in Cyberspace

The Politics of Power in Cyberspace

Thoughful blog post by The Atlantic's Marc Ainbinder:

We allow Google, Amazon.com, credit companies and all manner of private corporations to collect intimate information about our lives, but we reflexively recoil when the government…


From Computational Complexity

A hard problem inspired by an easy problem

The following problem was problem 1 (the easy one) on the Maryland Math Competition 2009 (I will later report on how the students did on it).

Show that for every set of three integers we can find two of them whose average Show…


From Daniel Lemire's Blog

Entropy-efficient Computing

Entropy-efficient Computing

Microprocessors and storage devices are subject to the second law of thermodynamics: using them turn usable energy (oil, hydrogen) into unusable energy (heat).


From Wild WebMink

? Settled but not cured

? Settled but not cured

Well worth reading to understand Microsoft's world-view. Sadly Smith wasn't asked about the "patent promise" I mention below, …


From BLOG@CACM

Progress on the New AP CS

Progress on the New AP CS

Progress on the new Advanced Placement exam in Computer Science is progressing, but it's still early to see how it's going to end up and whether it will achieve its goals.


From Putting People First

Mag+, a concept video on the future of digital magazines

Mag+, a concept video on the future of digital magazines

Bonnier R&D, the research unit of Bonnier, the publisher of Popular Science, invited the designers from BERG London on a corporate collaborative research project into the experience of reading magazines on handheld digital devices…


From Putting People First

Ubiquitous computing bridges devices and services

Ubiquitous computing bridges devices and services

Mike Kuniavsky of ThingM was a speaker at XD Forum, Intuit’s internal user experience design conference, last week. His half-hour talk focused on the relationship between ubicomp devices and services. The talking points and slides…


From The Eponymous Pickle

New at Junaio

New at Junaio

I recently mentioned Junaio and its IPhone App. A good example of the current state of 'augmented reality', as the term suggests its a means of adding useful information to your real environment via computer databases and interfaces…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Ray Kurzweil's Future

Ray Kurzweil's Future

Ray Kurzweil, noted technologist and futurist, predicts how technology will change us by 2020.-


From Computer Science Teachers Association

Programming Challenge 4 Girls (PC4G) Event in New Zealand

Programming Challenge 4 Girls (PC4G) Event in New Zealand

In November this year, a series of challenges using Alice was held at 4 venues around New Zealand. The events were staggered as the days were planned so that a visiting speaker could attend each event. The venues varied enormously…


From My Biased Coin

Avoiding Travel

Avoiding Travel

I'm spending the morning as part of the committee for a thesis defense over in Europe. I'm watching the talk over Skype; we're using a conference call for sound (and as a backup); I have copies of the slides on my laptop.Is…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Coupon Chief

Coupon Chief

I recently got a note from Couponchief.com, which lets you search for coupons for online purchase. They write: ' ... Coupon Chief is one of the fastest growing coupon sites, with over 250k visitors/month. We have over 50k coupons…


From Schneier on Security

Facial Recognition Door Lock

Facial Recognition Door Lock

Only $456.


From U.S. Public Policy Committee of the ACM

Technical Guidelines Development Committee Meets After Two Year Hiatus

Technical Guidelines Development Committee Meets After Two Year Hiatus

The Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC), responsible to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) for the drafting guidance for voting system standards, met last week for the first time since 2007. Since the last…


From Computational Complexity

Guest Post- Women in Theory Workshop

Guest Post- Women in Theory Workshop

(Tal Rabin requested to post this so I am doing so. This post is essentially her email, so call it a guest post.)

 

There will be a Women In Theory workshop for female graduate students in theoretical computer science in Princeton…


From The Female Perspective of Computer Science

Strategies for Lighting the Fire for Learning

Strategies for Lighting the Fire for Learning

On December 4, I attended a public presentation that was put on for the Seminar in University Teaching, a graduate course at Carleton. Popular psychology professor Tim Pychyl gave the talk, even though he is currently on sabbatical…