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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.

March 2013


From The Eponymous Pickle

Google Password Ring

Google Password Ring

A USB device meant to replace a password.  Simple idea to use the form of a ring.  We do need something new.  " ... As part of research into doing away with typed passwords, Google has built rings that not only adorn a finger…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Tableau Software

Tableau Software

I have had cause to take a look at the latest version of Tabeau Software's  approach to visualization.  In particular how it can be used with large columnar databases, and results displayed on tablets securely.  Its been a few…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Huxley vs Orwell

Huxley vs Orwell

Or 1984 vs Brave new World  and Amusing ourself to death.  I remember the hoopla when 1984 rolled  around, and we apparently had not driven ourselves to those lows.  So was Huxley ultimately more accurate in Brave New World?…


From Putting People First

How habits can impact user behavior

How habits can impact user behavior

In the book The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg explains how habits are formed and what it takes to break an ingrained habit. The book references a 2006 study from Duke University that found that 40% of the actions that…


From Putting People First

Five things about Ubiquitous Computing that make Anne Galloway nervous

Five things about Ubiquitous Computing that make Anne Galloway nervous

Dr Anne Galloway (@annegalloway) is Senior Lecturer, School of Design, and Deputy Head, School of Architecture, at Victoria University of Wellington. Trained in sociology and anthropology, Anne teaches courses in design and culture…


From Putting People First

Web privacy, and how consumers let down their guard

Web privacy, and how consumers let down their guard

Consumers insist that they treasure their online privacy. But their mouse clicks tell a far different tale, as the experiments of a behavioral economist show. In a series of provocative experiments, Alessandro Acquisti, a behavioral…


From Wild WebMink

A New Easter Tradition

A New Easter Tradition

When the children were small, Easter eggs were a repeat of the excitement of Christmas. But now they are adults, I’ve decided we need a new Easter tradition that’s safer than all that sugar. There are two data points I’ve considered…


From The Eponymous Pickle

On the New Analytic Stack

On the New Analytic Stack

In GigaOM:  Good thoughts, I am in the midst of scoping a 'big data' style poof of concept, so its useful thinking this way.    " ... Spurred by infrastructural innovations such as Hadoop and NoSQL, we’re seeing the beginning…


From The Eponymous Pickle

CSX Efficiency Statement

CSX Efficiency Statement

In a CSX advertising piece, they point our one of their trains can move a ton of freight nearly 500 miles on a gallon of gas.  Nice going.   More from CSX.


From The Eponymous Pickle

Toxic Workplaces

Toxic Workplaces

Good piece on the characteristics of a toxic workplace.  I have never worked in such a place, but have seen at times some of the characteristics emerge.  Good watchouts.


From The Eponymous Pickle

Science of Swarms

Science of Swarms

Lots of interesting examples of swarm complexity models.  In Wired.  Simulation of cancer and the prediction of the future.  An area we explored, but did not ultimately come up with a breakthrough example application.  I am optimistic…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Large Interactive Public Displays

Large Interactive Public Displays

In IEEE Computer:   An area we looked at for retail presence.  We worked with several companies that used novel light fiber approaches and installed them high on the walls of our retail lab.  The impact could be considerable.…


From Wild WebMink

Migration Needs A Plan

Migration Needs A Plan

Have you ever thought of migrating your company to an open source desktop productivity suite? While the saving on Microsoft license costs seems like the biggest motivation, actually the most important outcome is changing everyone’s…


From Schneier on Security

Friday Squid Blogging: Bomb Discovered in Squid at Market

Friday Squid Blogging: Bomb Discovered in Squid at Market

Really:

An unexploded bomb was found inside a squid when the fish was slaughtered at a fish market in Guangdong province.

Oddly enough, this doesn't seem to be the work of terrorists:

The stall owner, who has been selling …


From The Female Perspective of Computer Science

'Go Code Girl' Processing Workshop Registration is Open!

'Go Code Girl' Processing Workshop Registration is Open!

I'm pumped that registration is open for a workshop I'll be leading April 20 at the University of Ottawa.  It's called Go Code Girl and it's going to be a programming workshop for high school girls.  I'll be basing the day off…


From Schneier on Security

The Dangers of Surveillance

The Dangers of Surveillance

Interesting article, "The Dangers of Surveillance," by Neil M. Richards, Harvard Law Review, 2013. From the abstract:

....We need a better account of the dangers of surveillance. This article offers such an account. Drawing…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Neuroscience and Innovation

Neuroscience and Innovation

In Forbes:  " ... Our brains naturally look for patterns in the world around us, according to Janet Crawford, principal of Cascadance who is working to apply neuroscience to business performance. That's often a good thing, but…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Is Big Data about Big?

Is Big Data about Big?

A nice short piece about the reality of the value of data.   The most important watchout of all in this space.  Should be the most obvious, but is often forgotten.  Just because your data is 'big' does not mean it is valuable…


From U.S. Public Policy Committee of the ACM

President Establishes Voting Commission; Focus Will Include Voting Technology

President Establishes Voting Commission; Focus Will Include Voting Technology

As Renee mentioned, President Obama issued an Executive Order establishing the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. The Commission was a promise made in the President’s State of the Union address this year, and…


From The Eponymous Pickle

The Alleged Spontaneity of Viral and Tremor

The Alleged Spontaneity of Viral and Tremor

My former colleague Kevin Ashton writes about the 'Harlem Shake', which I admit I just noticed a few weeks ago.  My connectedness is more about the technical than the social.  He suggests that the swift movement of the meme was…


From U.S. Public Policy Committee of the ACM

Accessible Voting Technology Research Workshop, April 1-2

Accessible Voting Technology Research Workshop, April 1-2

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the National Institute of Standards and Technology will be holding a two-day workshop on April 1-2 to explore current and future research in accessible voting technology. The two-day…


From Schneier on Security

New RC4 Attack

New RC4 Attack

This is a really clever attack on the RC4 encryption algorithm as used in TLS.

We have found a new attack against TLS that allows an attacker to recover a limited amount of plaintext from a TLS connection when RC4 encryption…


From Putting People First

Debate in Milan: The Long View of Interaction Design

Debate in Milan: The Long View of Interaction Design

The people behind the upcoming Interaction14 conference invite you to attend a panel discussion in Milan on the “Long View of Interaction Design”. On Monday 8 April at 6pm (on the eve of the Salone del Mobile), Claudio Moderini…


From Putting People First

The next Big UI Idea: gadgets that adapt to your skill

The next Big UI Idea: gadgets that adapt to your skill

As gadgets get more complicated, UI’s must be able to teach their users over time. Philip Battin shows how flow can be used to improve the user experience in interactive electronic consumer products in an article for FastCo.Design…


From Gödel's Lost Letter and P=NP

Happy 100th Birthday, Paul Erdős

Fixing our own Erdős discrepancy By permission of Fan Chung Graham,  artist. Paul Erdős—Erdős Pál in Hungarian—would have been 100 this past Tuesday. He was a force of nature, a world stimulant. He popularized his colleague Alfred…


From The Computing Community Consortium Blog

The National Science Foundation Launches Two Supercomputers

The National Science Foundation Launches Two Supercomputers

This week, the National Science Foundation launched two new supercomputers.  Here’s what Farnam Jahanian, head of NSF’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering has to say about the launch: Dear Colleagues…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Wal-Mart Outsourcing Delivery

Wal-Mart Outsourcing Delivery

Not a new idea.  Delivery is expensive, yet there are many people who would welcome the ability t deliver items in their spare time for a small patment.  Here, an indication that Walmart is thinking of doing this to deliver their…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Aimia Helping Kellogg for Loyalty Data

Aimia Helping Kellogg for Loyalty Data

Aimia, mentioned here previously working with Kellogg.  Interesting in particular because it is a work with a CPG manufacturer rather than a retailer:    " ... Aimia's development of the platform for the Kellogg's Family Rewards…


From The Eponymous Pickle

Mobile Employees Driving Cloud

Mobile Employees Driving Cloud

Makes sense.   Which also increases the need to make sure that the connections are secure and reliable.


From Computational Complexity

Counting Descriptions- a ``new'' complexity class

Let nσ(w) is the number of σ's in w. We often ask our students about languages like { w | na(w) = 2nb(w) } (CFL but not REG). Lets formally define languages that are like that. A COUNTING DESCRIPTION is a boolean combination…

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