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Communications of the ACM

Opinion Archive


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

July 2012


From ACM Opinion

Why Our Innovators Traffic in Trifles

Why Our Innovators Traffic in Trifles

When Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg announced in April that his company would pay $1 billion in cash and stock to buy Instagram, the deal put an exclamation mark on the shrinking ambitions of our inventors and entrepreneurs.


From ACM Opinion

How Google Is Becoming an Extension of Your Mind

How Google Is Becoming an Extension of Your Mind

It's time to think of Google as much more than just a search engine, and that should both excite and spook you.


From ACM Opinion

The End of Privacy?

Cellphones, email, and online social networking have come to rule daily life, but Congress has done nothing to update federal privacy laws to better protect digital communication.


From ACM Opinion

Why There Are Too Many Patents in America

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 of smartphones.


From ACM Opinion

Why We Need a Standard for the Internet of Things

Why We Need a Standard for the Internet of Things

The Internet of things is supposed to connect every aspect of our lives from our homes and cars to the objects we wear and the goods we consume. It's even connecting ice machines. But one thing the Internet of things lacks is…


From ACM Opinion

With Apple

With Apple

Late last summer, I was introduced to a new special someone. I wasn’t looking to meet this new muse; it all just kind of happened.


From ACM TechNews

Interview With Alan Kay

Interview With Alan Kay

A.M. Turing Award winner Alan Kay says many programmers who code for money have a lack of awareness of the roots of their culture. He contends that "the Web . . . was done by people who had no imagination. They were just trying…


From ACM Opinion

Talking To Your Mac: The Coolest Feature of Mountain Lion, and the Future of Computers

Talking To Your Mac: The Coolest Feature of Mountain Lion, and the Future of Computers

Mountain Lion, the next big software cat for your Mac, has a gazillion new features. Too many to name, and frankly, to care about. But there's one you should pay attention to, because it might change all of computing.


From ACM Opinion

The Sun Shines on 'the Cloud'

The Sun Shines on 'the Cloud'

What's the real lesson to be learned from Amazon's cloud computing failure two weeks ago, the one that knocked Netflix and other Websites offline?


From ACM Opinion

Why the Days Are Numbered For Hadoop As We Know It

Why the Days Are Numbered For Hadoop As We Know It

Hadoop is everywhere. For better or worse, it has become synonymous with big data. In just a few years it has gone from a fringe technology to the de facto standard. Want to be big bata or enterprise analytics or BI-compliant…


From ACM Opinion

How to Fly the ­.s.'s Trillion-Dollar Stealth Fighter Jet

How to Fly the ­.s.'s Trillion-Dollar Stealth Fighter Jet

The first rule of flying the world's most advanced fighter jet: Do not push the red button until you absolutely mean to.


From ACM Opinion

Future Planetary Rovers May Make Their Own Decisions

Future Planetary Rovers May Make Their Own Decisions

It's a hot summer day, and your eyes spot an ice cream cart up ahead. Without even really thinking, you start walking that direction. Planetary scientists would like to give robots that kind of visual recognition—not for getting…


From ACM Opinion

We Already ­se Wi-Fi More Than Cellular; Why Not Continue the Trend?

We Already ­se Wi-Fi More Than Cellular; Why Not Continue the Trend?

We think of our mobile phones as connecting to mobile networks, but that’s really not the case. When it comes to mobile data, our smartphones are far more reliant on Wi-Fi.


From ACM News

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

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 a hundred-mile crater—a dent large enough to withstand three billion…


From ACM Opinion

Steve Jobs on Programming, Craftsmanship, Software, and the Web

Steve Jobs on Programming, Craftsmanship, Software, and the Web

In 1995, Steve Jobs gave a rare interview to Robert Cringely for a PBS special called Triumph of the Nerds to talk about the genesis of the personal computer.


From ACM Opinion

Why Google Glass Is the Next Frontier For Developers

Why Google Glass Is the Next Frontier For Developers

When Google co-founder Sergey Brin demoed Google Glass, the search giant's attempt to build a next-generation wearable computer, with skydivers live streaming their descent, it became very clear that Glass wasn't some side project—it…


From ACM Opinion

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

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 who used the handle "Philcat" logged in one night in a panic: his…


From ACM Careers

Automate or Perish

Automate or Perish

In Automate This, a book due out next month, author and entrepreneur Christopher Steiner tells the story of stockbroker Thomas Peterffy, the creator of the first automated Wall Street trading system.


From ACM TechNews

Breaking the Brogrammer Code: Margo Seltzer's Views on Women in Computer Science

Breaking the Brogrammer Code: Margo Seltzer's Views on Women in Computer Science

In an interview with Txchnologist, Harvard University professor and ACM Fellow Margo Seltzer discussed the role of women in computer science.


From ACM News

Google Shaman Explains Mysteries of 'compute Engine'

Google Shaman Explains Mysteries of 'compute Engine'

Google started work on the Google Compute Engine over a year and a half ago, and it was all Peter Magnusson could do to keep his mouth shut.


From ACM Opinion

How Atomic Scale Devices Are Transforming Electronics

How Atomic Scale Devices Are Transforming Electronics

After more than a decade of advances in nanoscale electronics, we are learning to measure and manipulate matter to create fundamentally different electronic devices. Three experts discuss how nanotechnology is likely to affect…


From ACM News

Is ­.s. Government Reading Email Without a Warrant?

Is ­.s. Government Reading Email Without a Warrant?

Does the U.S. government read your email? It's a simple question, but apparently there's no simple answer. And the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service are reluctant to say anything on the topic.


From ACM Opinion

Google Glass Team: 'wearable Computing Will Be the Norm'

Google Glass Team: 'wearable Computing Will Be the Norm'

Even though I followed Google's I/O Conference from across the country, the event made it obvious that a company created with a strict focus on search has become an omnivorous factory of tech products both hard and soft.


From ACM Opinion

Would Apple Iglass Be Better Than Google's Glasses?

Would Apple Iglass Be Better Than Google's Glasses?

Apple just got awarded a new patent that may become the wearable version of the iPad one day: eyeglasses that would display apps, video, images, and overlay information on the world around you in realtime—something like Schwarzenegger's…


From ACM Opinion

Are Guidelines Issued By Drone Industry an Attempt to Avoid Government Regulation?

The growing use of drones in the United States is facing firm opposition from civil liberties groups and some legislators, like Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga. But in what could be a bid to stave off restrictive…


From ACM News

Jobs vs. Gates, Redux

Jobs vs. Gates, Redux

It’s difficult to find two people who have had a greater influence on people’s lives than Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. 


From ACM Opinion

Battle Plan: Apple vs. Microsoft vs. Google

Battle Plan: Apple vs. Microsoft vs. Google

In the past few weeks, the tech industry's biggest players have shown off their newest software and hardware, all aiming to make big moves before the end of the year.


From ACM Careers

How to Break Into Security, Schneier Edition

How to Break Into Security, Schneier Edition

I asked noted cryptographer, author and security rock star Bruce Schneier for his thoughts. Schneier: I regularly receive email from people who want advice on how to learn more about computer security, either as a course of study…


From Communications of the ACM

Business Models For Strategy and Innovation

Business Models For Strategy and Innovation

While often ambiguously defined, business models are central to innovation.


From Communications of the ACM

Google's Hybrid Approach to Research

Google's Hybrid Approach to Research

By closely connecting research and development Google is able to conduct experiments on an unprecedented scale, often resulting in new capabilities for the company.

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