October 2005 - Vol. 48 No. 10

October 2005 issue cover image


Opinion Editorial pointers

Editorial Pointers

Advanced information technology has tapped our imaginations to the core; its effects on our lives and livelihoods simply too profound to even digest. Indeed, the social effects of computerization resonate worldwide, influencing entire cultures, democracies, and economies at the most basic level. Chronicling even the most critical effects of IT on society over the past […]
News News track

News Track

Medical professionals have long agreed that electronic patient records are the future, but the vast majority continue to balk at making the financial and time commitment to get there. Now Medicare, the U.S. program that reimburses hospitals and physicians for medical care to qualifying people over age 65 years, has stepped in with an unprecedented […]
Opinion Forum


Peter J. Denning’s "The Profession of IT" column ("The Locality Principle," July 2005) invoked an anthropomorphic explanation for the prevalence of the locality principle in computational systems, observing that humans gather the most useful objects close around them to minimize the time and work required for their use, and that we’ve transferred these behaviors into […]
Opinion Hot links

Top 10 Downloads from ACM’s Digital Library

Communications of the ACM Volume 48, Number 10 (2005), Pages 17-18 Hot links: Top 10 downloads from ACM’s digital library Diane Crawford Table of Contents Tables Back to Top Tables Table. The Top 10 Most Popular Papers from ACM’s Refereed Journals and Conference Proceedings Downloaded in July 2005 Table. The 10 Most Popular Courses at […]
Research and Advances The digital society


This special section presents views of a society changing under the influence of advanced information technology. Computers have been around for about half a century and their social effects have been described under many headings. The title "Digital Society" chosen for this collection of articles is intended to call attention to fundamental IT-based transformations in social organization and structure.
Research and Advances The digital society

Digital Aids For an Aging Society

As a result of 20th-century advances in medicine and standard of living there is a dramatic increase in the number of older people in the U.S. and most developed countries of world. Currently, people aged 65 years and older represent approximately 13% of the population and this number is expected to increase to 22% by 2030. Moreover, the fastest-growing subgroup within the older cohort is the "oldest old" (85 years and older) [4].
Research and Advances The digital society

Community: From Neighborhood to Network

Communities are networks of interpersonal ties that provide sociability, support, information, a sense of belonging, and social identity. Well into the 20th century, communities were equated with neighborhoods---bounded groups of people living near each other. This neighborhood-centered view of community made only partial sense because people have always had long-distance community ties either by traveling themselves or through connections with soldiers, artisans, peddlers, traders, marriage partners, shepherds, and the rich.
Research and Advances The digital society

Why the Internet Is Bad For Democracy

The Internet is not simply a set of interconnected links and protocols---it is also a construct of the imagination, an inkblot test into which everyone projects their desires, fears, and fantasies. Some see enlightenment and education. Others see pornography and gambling. Some see sharing and collaboration. Others see spam and viruses. Yet when it comes to the impact on the democratic process, the answer seems unanimous. The Internet is good for democracy. It creates digital citizens active in the teledemocracy [1] of the Electronic Republic [2] in the e-nation [3]. But this bubble, too, needs to be pricked.
Research and Advances The digital society

-niversal Access to Information

In 2003, the world produced about 800MB of information for each man, woman, and child on earth [2]. Much of this information, such as supermarket scanner data and the like, is pretty dull. But some of it, such as the material contained in books, magazines, newspapers, movies, music, and family photos, is potentially of great interest to people.
Opinion Inside risks

The Best-Laid Plans: A Cautionary Tale For Developers

Once upon a time, Sony Computer Entertainment planned a new handheld device for gaming, music, and movies. Sony’s powerful new "PSP" (PlayStation Portable) is based on the MIPS R4000 CPU, with elaborate graphics capabilities, a gorgeous color LCD display, USB and WiFi interfaces, and a special "UMD" read-only optical disc system. Sony’s engineers didn’t shortcut […]

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