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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.

January 2012


From ACM Opinion

David Karp, Founder of Tumblr, on Realizing His Dream

David Karp, the founder of the blogging platform Tumblr, was 17 when he decided to cut the apron strings and move to Tokyo. With a smattering of Japanese and a sharp eye for computer code, the impatient Manhattan teenager embarked…


From ACM Opinion

Beyond SOPA

Beyond SOPA

We welcomed the collapse this month of two flawed bills to prevent online piracy, bills that could have stifled speech and undermined Internet safety. But piracy by Web sites in countries like Russia and China, which offer high…


From ACM Opinion

How to Tackle Cybersecurity

There is a right way and a wrong way to address cybersecurity.


From ACM Opinion

Can Apple Become the World's First Trillion-Dollar Company?

Can Apple Become the World's First Trillion-Dollar Company?

Almost certainly, Apple will soon hit $500bn in market capitalization—half a trillion dollars. So, based on its current growth, it's fair to wonder if it will become the world's first trillion-dollar company.


From ACM Opinion

Confessions of an iPhone Data Hog

I'm not on the run yet. But I've been warned. AT&T doesn't like what I'm doing.


From ACM Opinion

It's Time to Stop Talking About the Apple Cult

Thirty-seven million iPhones. Fifteen million iPads. Fifteen million iPods. Five million Macs. A million Apple TVs. No matter how you do the math, that's a boatload of gadgets—and it’s how many Apple sold in the final three months…


From ACM Opinion

Yes We Scan

Locked in our federal vaults is a tremendous storehouse of information that if digitized would form a core for our digital public libraries in America with huge benefit for our country: cutting costs in the Federal government…


From ACM Opinion

How Can the U.S. Seize a 'Hong Kong Site' Like Megaupload?

How Can the U.S. Seize a 'Hong Kong Site' Like Megaupload?

The Megaupload takedown, and the arrest of its key employees, might seem to vindicate late 1990s worries about the Internet and jurisdiction. Does putting a site on the 'Net, though it might be hosted anywhere in the world, subject…


From ACM Opinion

Time for Robots to Get Real

From robotic slug-killers to dancing humanoids, there's a lot of media buzz around robots.


From ACM Opinion

How to Make Science and Tech Jobs More Enticing to Undergrads

How to Make Science and Tech Jobs More Enticing to Undergrads

The number of U.S. undergraduate degrees being awarded in most STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and math) has risen steadily in recent years. Yet some American employers say they are having trouble finding…


From ACM TechNews

NASA's Sean Herron and William Eshagh on Code.nasa.gov

NASA's Sean Herron and William Eshagh on Code.nasa.gov

In an interview, the U.S. NASA's William Eshagh and Sean Herron discuss the open.nasa initiative, a response to President Obama's Open Government Directive, which challenges federal agencies to be more transparent, participatory…


From ACM Opinion

Coding for Success

Hoxton, we have a problem. Much has been written about how we need to improve the way we educate our children about technology. This is all great, but it's not enough.


From ACM Opinion

Warning: This Site Contains Conspiracy Theories

In its early days, the Web was often imagined as a global clearinghouse—a new type of library, with the sum total of human knowledge always at our fingertips. 


From ACM News

Sebastian Thrun Resigns from Stanford to Launch Udacity

Professor Sebastian Thrun has given up his Stanford position to start Udacity—an online educational venture. Udacity's first two free courses are Building a Search Engine and Programming a Robotic Car.


From ACM Opinion

Android Design Chief Details Google's Mobile Future

By most measures, the Android platform is an enormous success. It dominates the smartphone space in terms of market share, with over a quarter of a billion currently activated devices. It’s on phones and tablets made by four…


From ACM Opinion

Why 2012, Despite Privacy Fears, Isn't Like Orwell's 1984

Last week was a remarkable one for the Web: A week that proved George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" incredibly prescient yet woefully incorrect.


From ACM Opinion

The Great and Powerful Reddit

Of all the sites that went dark on Wednesday to protest Congress's misguided anti-piracy legislation, Reddit was the one I missed most.


From ACM Opinion

Smith: Facts Will Overcome Fears

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas)  issued a statement in response to reports that some members have dropped their support of the Stop Online Piracy Act under pressure from critics of the bill. Chairman…


From ACM Opinion

Did It Work? 'Day After' Results of the SOPA, PIPA Blackout

Google dropped its logo-shroud, Wikipedia returned from limbo, normal service in general has been resumed, and all's right with the world… except that SOPA and PIPA are still looming on Capitol Hill. So did yesterday's blackout…


From ACM Opinion

Why The 'Check Engine' Light Must Be Banned

It's pretty easy to dismiss the "check engine" light as just stupid, because, well, it is. 


From ACM Careers

KidsRuby 1.0 Released

So, you have a son or daughter who is showing some interest in computer programming, but you're not really sure where to start.


From ACM Opinion

Even Woz Thinks the Android Bests the iPhone

Apple CEO Steve Jobs hated the Android smartphone operating system so much that he vowed he would spend his last dying breath and every penny Apple had in the bank trying to destroy it.


From ACM Opinion

Why We've Censored Wired.com

We've blacked out the headlines on our Website homepage today as part of a global internet protest against two radical anti-piracy bills pending in Congress—legislation that threatens to usher in a chilling internet censorship…


From ACM Opinion

It's Time to Start 3D Scanning the World

When Microsoft was developing its Kinect 3D sensor, a critical task was to calibrate its algorithms to rapidly and accurately recognize parts of the human body, especially hands, to make sure the device would work in any home…


From ACM Opinion

The Rise of the New Groupthink

Solitude is out of fashion. Our companies, our schools and our culture are in thrall to an idea I call the New Groupthink, which holds that creativity and achievement come from an oddly gregarious place.


From ACM News

Google's Data Center Engineer Shares Secrets of 'Warehouse' Computing

 Luiz André Barroso doesn't see Google's data centers as data centers. He sees them as computers the size of warehouses.


From ACM Opinion

Looking Backward to Put New Technologies in Focus

More than most of us, the science historian George Dyson spends his days thinking about technologies, old and very new.


From ACM Opinion

I'm Not Here To Make Friends

I'm Not Here To Make Friends

Google just broke its search engine.


From ACM TechNews

How Siri Makes Computers (and Coders) More Human

How Siri Makes Computers (and Coders) More Human

Siri, a program in the latest Apple iPhone that can carry out a wide spectrum of vocal commands without requiring training or special syntax from the user, stands out from similar applications by being imbued with the semblance…


From ACM TechNews

Should Computers Have Their Own Web sites?

Should Computers Have Their Own Web sites?

Organizations could use a new top-level domain, .data, to share data in a standard form, writes Stephen Wolfram, creator of the computational knowledge engine Wolfram Alpha, in a blog post. 

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