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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.

November 2012


From ACM TechNews

The Future of Computer Science: An Interview With Ken Calvert and Jim Griffioen

The Future of Computer Science: An Interview With Ken Calvert and Jim Griffioen

Ken Calvert, chair of the University of Kentucky Computer Science Department, and Jim Griffioen, director of the Laboratory for Advanced Networking, say the greatest opportunities for computer science over the next several years…


From ACM Opinion

'Your Criticisms Are Completely Wrong': Stallman on Software Patents, 20 Years In

'Your Criticisms Are Completely Wrong': Stallman on Software Patents, 20 Years In

The large, bearded man bounded to the front of the room last Friday, hand thrust into the air, fingers shaking.


From ACM Opinion

Security Guru Pledges to Strengthen Critical Computers

Security Guru Pledges to Strengthen Critical Computers

Stuxnet, a piece of malicious software discovered in 2010, targeted industrial software controlling Iran’s uranium-enrichment centrifuges. But the code got loose—and it continues to spread: Chevron, for example, said last week…


From ACM Opinion

Can Schools Survive in the Age of the Web?

Can Schools Survive in the Age of the Web?

If you fancy a top-class education but can't afford the fee or the time, there is now an alternative.


From ACM Careers

In Silicon Valley, Technology Talent Gap Threatens G.O.P. Campaigns

In Silicon Valley, Technology Talent Gap Threatens G.O.P. Campaigns

I live in Brooklyn, where President Obama won 81 percent of the vote this month. It's hard to find anywhere in the country that is more Democratic-leaning.


From ACM Opinion

The Real Threat to Internet Freedom Isn't the United Nations

The Real Threat to Internet Freedom Isn't the United Nations

The Internet is often seen as a place of chaos and disorder, a borderless world in which anonymous trolls roam free and vigilante hackers wreak havoc.


From ACM Opinion

Silicon Valley Must Stop U.N. from Regulating the Internet

Silicon Valley Must Stop U.N. from Regulating the Internet

The notion of the United Nations making the rules and governing the Internet should send shivers down the spine of anyone who uses a cell phone, laptop or search engine%mdash;not to mention anyone who earns a living in the tech…


From ACM Opinion

The Future of the Internet Is Intelligent Machines

The Future of the Internet Is Intelligent Machines

As we know it today, the Internet has been largely about connecting people to information, people to people, and people to business.


From ACM Opinion

FCC Chief's Painstaking Approach Earns Mixed Reviews in Turbulent Times for Telecom Industry

FCC Chief's Painstaking Approach Earns Mixed Reviews in Turbulent Times for Telecom Industry

When he isn't chairing the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski enjoys a seat at a poker table.


From ACM Opinion

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

In China, 25 Million People Use 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, I found exceptionally gratifying.


From ACM Opinion

Moral Machines

Moral Machines

Google's driver-less cars are already street-legal in three states, California, Florida, and Nevada, and some day similar devices may not just be possible but mandatory.


From ACM Opinion

Jeff Bezos Wants Amazon in Every Pocket

Jeff Bezos Wants Amazon in Every Pocket

"People don't want gadgets, they want services," Jeff Bezos has declared.


From ACM Opinion

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

The Giant Underground 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 across the city in loops.


From ACM Opinion

What Sinofsky's Departure Suggests about the Current State, and Likely Future, of Microsoft

What Sinofsky's Departure Suggests about the Current State, and Likely Future, of Microsoft

Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft's Windows division, abruptly left the company on November 12, shortly after introducing the latest version of the company's flagship operating system, Windows 8.


From ACM Opinion

How Far Away Is Mind-Machine Integration?

How Far Away Is Mind-Machine Integration?

Okay, great: we can control our phones with speech recognition and our television sets with gesture recognition.


From ACM Opinion

A Touch Literate World: The Global Tablet Craze

A Touch Literate World: The Global Tablet Craze

I haven't been shy about expressing my belief that tablets represent the reinvention of the personal computer.


From ACM Opinion

U.S. Science Could Face Fiscal Cliff Doom

U.S. Science Could Face Fiscal Cliff Doom

Scientific R&D stands to lose 31,000 jobs and face a starvation diet of reduced funding if politicians fail to halt march towards the fiscal cliff's sequestration of federal funds.


From ACM News

A Short To-Do List for Intel's Next CEO

A Short To-Do List for Intel's Next CEO

With Paul Otellini heading in May to the nearest 18-hole course, speculation is rampant about who will replace him.


From ACM Opinion

Smartphone Patent Wars Show the System Works, Patent Chief Says

Smartphone Patent Wars Show the System Works, Patent Chief Says

David J. Kappos, director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, is thoughtful, patient, even genial in interviews. But he was showing some pique in a speech on Tuesday morning in Washington that addressed the smartphone…


From ACM Opinion

Why Jakob Nielsen's Windows 8 Critique Is Old-School Thinking

Why Jakob Nielsen's Windows 8 Critique Is Old-School Thinking

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was once asked what market research went into the creation of the iPad. 


From ACM Opinion

Windows 8—Disappointing Usability for Both Novice and Power Users

Windows 8—Disappointing Usability for Both Novice and Power Users

With the recent launch of Windows 8 and the Surface tablets, Microsoft has reversed its user interface strategy.


From ACM Opinion

Siri versus Google Voice Search: Fight!

Siri versus Google Voice Search: Fight!

Voice-controlled smartphone searches are slowly becoming all the rage, thanks to tools like Apple's Siri and Google's "enhanced" voice search.


From ACM News

Blue Waters Opts Out of TOP500

Blue Waters Opts Out of TOP500

The NCSA Blue Waters system is one of the fastest supercomputers in the world, but it won't appear on the TOP500 list—nor will it be taking part in the HPC Challenge awards.


From ACM Opinion

Clear Need to Define Cyberweapons and Cyberwar

The term cyberwar has become a catch-all used by politicians, talking heads and others to encompass just about any online threat, regardless of the attacker or the target.


From ACM Opinion

China's Innovation Success Depends on Political Changes

China's Innovation Success Depends on Political Changes

Since 1978, the Chinese economy has seen phenomenal growth. While that’s not in dispute, the reason why China has managed to grow so fast and whether it can maintain that growth is far less clear.


From ACM Opinion

This Is Your Brain on Neural Implants

This Is Your Brain on Neural Implants

You are in the future with technologies more advanced than today's.


From ACM Opinion

How James Dyson Makes the Ordinary Extraordinary

How James Dyson Makes the Ordinary Extraordinary

James Dyson leaps out of his chair like a restless child and picks up a big yellow-and-gray vacuum—one of several Dyson contraptions congregated around the podium at the Wired Business Conference last May.


From ACM Opinion

Otellini's Legacy of Intel Profit Marred by ARM Competition

Otellini's Legacy of Intel Profit Marred by ARM Competition

When Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini retires in May, he'll leave a mixed record.


From ACM Opinion

Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can't Protect Us Anymore

Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can't Protect Us Anymore

You have a secret that can ruin your life.


From ACM Opinion

Was Petraeus Borked?

In 1987, when Judge Robert Bork was enmeshed in a partisan struggle over his Supreme Court nomination, a reporter for an alternative weekly in Washington, D.C., got a tip that the judge was a patron of a local video store.

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