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Communications of the ACM

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

September 2012


From ACM Opinion

Should Google Be Censoring Videos Just Because They Are Linked to Violence?

Should Google Be Censoring Videos Just Because They Are Linked to Violence?

After violent attacks on Americans in both Egypt and Libya—including an attack in Libya on Tuesday that killed the American ambassador to that country—Google said on Wednesday that it has restricted access to a controversial…


From ACM Opinion

The Iphone Stimulus

Are you, or is someone you know, a gadget freak? If so, you doubtless know that Wednesday was iPhone 5 day, the day Apple unveiled its latest way for people to avoid actually speaking to or even looking at whoever they're with…


From ACM Opinion

Why Hewlett-Packard May Be Beyond Saving

Why Hewlett-Packard May Be Beyond Saving

Almost one year into Meg Whitman's tenure as CEO, it is hard to escape the feeling that once-mighty Hewlett-Packard is slipping into a downward spiral.


From ACM Opinion

Why '­ser Friendly' Is So Friendly: A Tribute to Bill Moggridge

Why '­ser Friendly' Is So Friendly: A Tribute to Bill Moggridge

Some considered it an inspired choice, others simply surprising, when Bill Moggridge was appointed director of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in 2010.


From ACM News

Difference Engine: The Pc All Over Again?

Difference Engine: The Pc All Over Again?

What could well be the next great technological disruption is fermenting away, out of sight, in small workshops, college labs, garages, and basements. Tinkerers with machines that turn binary digits into molecules are pioneering…


From ACM Opinion

William Gibson on Why Sci-Fi Writers Are (thankfully) Almost Always Wrong

William Gibson on Why Sci-Fi Writers Are (thankfully) Almost Always Wrong

William Gibson, one of science fiction's most visionary and distinctive voices, maintains that he and his fellow writers don't possess some mystical ability to peer into the future.


From ACM News

How Apple Really Invented the Iphone

How Apple Really Invented the Iphone

Like many of Apple's inventions, the iPhone began not with a vision, but with a problem.


From ACM Opinion

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Says Mobile Efforts Will 'Make a Lot More Money' than Website

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Says Mobile Efforts Will 'Make a Lot More Money' than Website

In his first public appearance since Facebook's trouble-plagued Wall Street debut, CEO Mark Zuckerberg conceded Tuesday the company's stock performance "has obviously been disappointing," but vowed Facebook's fledgling mobile…


From ACM Opinion

Curious About Life: Interview with Danny Glavin

Curious About Life: Interview with Danny Glavin

The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover has 10 science instruments, and each will be used in the coming weeks and months to help characterize the environment of Mars and determine if the planet ever had the potential for…


From ACM TechNews

Mind Control Will Shape Future of Gaming and Cell Phones

Mind Control Will Shape Future of Gaming and Cell Phones

In an interview, University of Alabama at Huntsville professor Jason T. Cassibry shares his thoughts about the new technological advances on the horizon.  


From ACM Opinion

Top Tech Hurdles Facing Next President, Congress

Top Tech Hurdles Facing Next President, Congress

With the U.S. in high political season, partisan rhetoric is in no short supply. But one area of agreement stands out: both parties have put solid endorsements of Internet freedom in their political platforms.


From ACM Opinion

Sometimes, One Little Phone Can Have a Big Impact on the Economy

The next iPhone, which Apple Inc. AAPL plans to unveil this week, could do something the White House, Congress, and Federal Reserve have struggled to do: boost the U.S. economy.


From ACM Opinion

Facebook's China Problem

Facebook's China Problem

Last May when Mark Zuckerberg wed his Chinese-American girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, a joke began to make the rounds on China's version of Twitter, a microblog—or weibo—run by the Internet portal Sina. It went something like this…


From ACM Opinion

Seven Questions For Tom Leighton, Chief Scientist of Akamai

Seven Questions For Tom Leighton, Chief Scientist of Akamai

You probably never think much about it, but there's a pretty good chance that in the course of doing your routine business on the Internet every day, you're also doing business with Akamai, though it's probably invisible to you…


From ACM Opinion

How Smartphones Make ­S Superhuman

How Smartphones Make ­S Superhuman

Both men lit themselves on fire in protest. But only one of them is credited with starting a revolution.


From ACM Careers

Mow Yard. Drop Off Kids. Take a Drive on Mars.

Mow Yard. Drop Off Kids. Take a Drive on Mars.

Matt Heverly, 36, started a recent workday as any young father might: up at 5:30, gulping coffee, fixing a bottle for the baby. 


From ACM Opinion

Amazon's Bezos: Maybe the Most Second-Guessed Genius in Tech

Amazon's Bezos: Maybe the Most Second-Guessed Genius in Tech

Jeff Bezos is fond of a line that he wrote in a note to Amazon's shareholders in 1997: "We will make bold rather than timid investment decisions where we see a sufficient probability of gaining market leadership advantages."


From ACM Opinion

A New Kind of Warfare

Cybersecurity efforts in the United States have largely centered on defending computer networks against attacks by hackers, criminals, and foreign governments, mainly China. Increasingly, however, the focus is on developing offensive…


From ACM Opinion

Rumor Review: What to Expect from Apple's September 12 Media Event

Rumor Review: What to Expect from Apple's September 12 Media Event

Six years since its debut, the iPhone shows no signs of slowing in popularity.


From ACM Opinion

Nasa Sparks Its Imagination

Nasa Sparks Its Imagination

It's been a month since Curiosity’s remarkable soft landing on the surface of Mars. Remember the massive, supersonic parachute that slowed the spacecraft’s descent from 1,000 down to 200 miles per hour, and the sky crane that…


From ACM Opinion

Why Your Cellphone Could Be Called a 'tracker'

Why Your Cellphone Could Be Called a 'tracker'

Your cellphone is a tracking device collecting a lot more information about you than you may think, says ProPublica investigative reporter Peter Maass.


From ACM Opinion

Review: Raspberry Pi

Review: Raspberry Pi

You can get a lot for $35 these days. It bought me what looks like a credit card-size James Bond gadget prototype but is actually a fully functional computer.


From ACM Opinion

Big Data and Dna: What Business Can Learn from Junk Genes

Big Data and Dna: What Business Can Learn from Junk Genes

The science world was rocked Wednesday by the discovery that the 80 percent of the human genethat scientists throught was "junk" actually contains genetic regulators that can lead to diseases and certain genetic traits.


From ACM Opinion

A Handy Way to Foil Atm Skimmer Scams

I spent several hours this past week watching video footage from hidden cameras that skimmer thieves placed at ATMs to surreptitiously record customers entering their PINs. I was surprised to see that out of the dozens of customers…


From ACM Opinion

Meet the Man Who's Rewiring Google From the Inside Out

Meet the Man Who's Rewiring Google From the Inside Out

It was a tweet that fired the imagination like few others. On May 10, 2011, at 1:35 in the afternoon, Eric Brewer told the world he was redesigning the most important operation on the Internet.


From ACM Opinion

10 Questions for Sir Tim-Berners Lee

10 Questions for Sir Tim-Berners Lee

What do you do after you make that thing that changes the world? If you’re Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and you breathed life into the World Wide Web, you make sure it gets used properly. Hence the Web Index, a massive list of statistics…


From ACM Opinion

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

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 out to explore and map the campus on a dare, which became a much…


From ACM Opinion

Death to Powerpoint!

Death to Powerpoint!

No matter what your line of work, it's only getting harder to avoid death by PowerPoint.


From ACM Opinion

Architecture and the Lost Art of Drawing

Architecture and the Lost Art of Drawing

It has become fashionable in many architectural circles to declare the death of drawing. What has happened to our profession, and our art, to cause the supposed end of our most powerful means of conceptualizing and representing…


From Communications of the ACM

Automated Prediction: Perception, Law, and Policy

Automated Prediction: Perception, Law, and Policy

A few predictions about predictions.

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