For a vast number of netizens, the great attraction of the Internet is not in the discovery, but in being discovered. The Net provides a worldwide audience to each and every usera truth as seductive as it is powerful and plentiful. Certainly the phenomenon of Weblogs, or blogging, reflects this fact.
The ability the Net offers to self-publish has profoundly changed the face of mainstream journalism and news distribution. Yes, blogging often clouds fact from fiction. It is also personal; often too personal. But it makes full use of what the Internet is built to bea global network for sharing, linking, and communicating. Indeed, blogging has grown from a self-centered fad to a form of self-expression that combines knowledge sharing, scholarly research, and commentary; yet welcomes pure storytelling as easily as it promises social reform. Communications Senior Editor Andy Rosenbloom coordinated this month's special section exploring the blogosphere, with noted authors and bloggers who discuss the technologies being employed, as well as the various forms blogging takes and the dangers of living in a world that exclusively reflects personal convictions but misses the big picture.
Also this month, Seffah and Metzker offer methods for improving user-centered design techniques and software engineering approaches. And Steve Sawyer weighs three archetypes of software development teams and what each brings to the table.
A trio of articles focuses on how to build stronger business opportunities via a corporate Web presence. Bharati and Chaudhury explain how choiceboards offer empowering benefits for users and businesses alike, but only if this self-service technology is customized to customer needs. Malhotra and Galletta point out that even the best-designed interfaces go neglected or misused if users lack the motivation to use them. And Eleanor Loiacono argues that corporate America is still woefully inattentive of the vast marketplace of people living with disabilities.
Our columnists take on issues of security and liabilities. In "Digital Village," Hal Berghel offers three scenarios to illustrate the vulnerabilities of WiFi technology. In "Security Watch," Rebecca Mercuri points out the gray areas that still exist in the colorful array of systems and services that proclaim multimedia security. And Kenneth P. Birman takes the "Viewpoint" that Web services developers must open their eyes to the way the majority of their customers are likely to use what they've built.
Also, let me point you to ACM's Annual Report for FY04, which covers the Association's growth in membership, leadership, and professional initiatives. And David Patterson's "President's Letter," which suggests new ways paper submissions to ACM's research conferences can be handled.
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