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Time and Navigation: How We Found Our Way in the World
From ACM Opinion

Time and Navigation: How We Found Our Way in the World

Type an address into your phone, and up will pop a step-by-step route from where you are to where you want to be. This is, in its way, magic—magic that has, at...

Bitcoin Is No Longer a Currency
From ACM Opinion

Bitcoin Is No Longer a Currency

Bitcoin might be a bubble or it might be THE FUTURE, but there's one thing it's not: a currency. It's a tech stock. The question is whether it's Pets.com or Paypal...

The Touch-Screen Generation
From ACM Opinion

The Touch-Screen Generation

On a chilly day last spring, a few dozen developers of children’s apps for phones and tablets gathered at an old beach resort in Monterey, California, to show off...

How Augmented-Reality Content Might Actually Work
From ACM Opinion

How Augmented-Reality Content Might Actually Work

Augmented reality is very exciting. The promise of it is this: all the information on the Internet overlaid on the real world exactly where and when you need it...

The Definitive Story of Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Phone Phreaking
From ACM Opinion

The Definitive Story of Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Phone Phreaking

Like the flap of a butterfly's wings causing a hurricane half a world away, the ripples of unintended consequences from Ron Rosenbaum's "Secrets of the Little Blue...

Why Google Maps Is Better Than Apple Maps
From ACM Opinion

Why Google Maps Is Better Than Apple Maps

There's a simple answer: people.

In China, 25 Million People ­se Only Their Cell Phones to Read Books
From ACM Opinion

In China, 25 Million People ­se Only Their Cell Phones to Read Books

On vacation in China earlier this month, I stopped by Shanghai's seven-story downtown "Book City," bustling with activity on a weekday afternoon that, as a publisher...

The Giant ­nderground Machinery That Runs San Francisco's Famous Cable Cars
From ACM Opinion

The Giant ­nderground Machinery That Runs San Francisco's Famous Cable Cars

Every day and night, beneath the streets of San Francisco, huge wheels turn, pulling cable cars to their far-flung destinations and back again, as if weaving them...

The Consequences of Machine Intelligence
From ACM Opinion

The Consequences of Machine Intelligence

The question of what happens when machines get to be as intelligent as and even more intelligent than people seems to occupy many science-fiction writers.

The Extremely Personal Computer: The Digital Future of Mental Health
From ACM Opinion

The Extremely Personal Computer: The Digital Future of Mental Health

It's 2018, and you're not feeling your best.

Iphone 5? Yawn. What Will the 'phone' of 2022 Look Like?
From ACM Opinion

Iphone 5? Yawn. What Will the 'phone' of 2022 Look Like?

The near-term future of phones is fairly well-established. The iPhone 5 was released Wednesday and its similarity to every Apple phone since 2007 serves as a reminder...

The Jet Propulsion Lab Is Way Weirder (and Awesomer) Than You Even Imagined
From ACM Opinion

The Jet Propulsion Lab Is Way Weirder (and Awesomer) Than You Even Imagined

For a center of cutting-edge scientific research, Caltech's Jet Propulsion Lab seems to be a pretty wacky place. Luke Johnson, a graphic designer at the lab, set...

E-Reading: A Midterm Progress Report
From ACM Opinion

E-Reading: A Midterm Progress Report

E-readers have been around long enough now that the novelty has largely worn off.

Why There Are Too Many Patents in America
From ACM Opinion

Why There Are Too Many Patents in America

Recently, while sitting as a trial judge, I dismissed a case in which Apple and Motorola had sued each other for alleged infringement of patents for components...

The Robot of the Future That's About to Explore the Deep Past of Mars
From ACM News

The Robot of the Future That's About to Explore the Deep Past of Mars

I want to tell you about a special place on the surface of Mars. Back in the solar system's early days, a large object slammed into the red planet, leaving behind...

What the Well's Rise and Fall Tell ­S About Online Community
From ACM Opinion

What the Well's Rise and Fall Tell ­S About Online Community

In the late 1980s, decades before the term "social media" existed, in a now legendary and miraculously still living virtual community called "The WELL," a fellow...

The Measured Man
From ACM Opinion

The Measured Man

Like many people who are careful about their weight, Larry Smarr once spent two weeks measuring everything he put in his mouth. He charted each serving of food...

Inside Google's Plan to Build a Catalog of Every Single Thing, Ever
From ACM Opinion

Inside Google's Plan to Build a Catalog of Every Single Thing, Ever

The ugly truth is that computers don't know anything. They have no common sense.

Is It Possible to Wage a Just Cyberwar?
From ACM Opinion

Is It Possible to Wage a Just Cyberwar?

In the last week or so, cyberwarfare has made front-page news: the United States may have been behind the Stuxnet cyberattack on Iran; Iran may have suffered another...

The Remote Control as Subversive Technology
From ACM Opinion

The Remote Control as Subversive Technology

Television began as a box.
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