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

December 2011


From ACM Opinion

Why Books Are Better than e-Books for Children

Do you read to your children from your iPad or other device, or encourage them to use an e-reader to read to you?


From ACM Opinion

2011 Was a Terrible Year for Tech

If you read tech criticism often, there’s a good chance that you’ve come upon a staple of the form that I like to call the "mommy dearest" review.


From ACM Opinion

The Man Who Saves Stephen Hawking's Voice

Sam Blackburn has been responsible for the technology which allows Stephen Hawking to communicate for the past five years. Now he's moving on. The challenge for his successor: to keep that well-known voice in working order…


From ACM Opinion

Smoke Screening

Smoke Screening

Not until I walked with Bruce Schneier toward the mass of people unloading their laptops did it occur to me that it might not be possible for us to hang around unnoticed near Reagan National Airport's security line.


From ACM Opinion

Why Windows 8 Tablets Will Surprise Everyone

Why Windows 8 Tablets Will Surprise Everyone

Windows-based tablets haven't been treated kindly by the test of time. Those released in the Windows XP era relied on wonky, stylus-based data entry, and even modern, touch-based tablets running Windows 7 are poor performers…


From ACM Opinion

The Year in Computing

2011 saw the personal computer continue to be marginalized. Although PCs are still the workhorse computing device in homes and offices, the most exciting innovations over the last 12 months were centered on very small-scale…


From ACM Opinion

The Emergence of a Digital Money Ecosystem

The Emergence of a Digital Money Ecosystem

At the beginning of this year I wrote that the transition to universal mobile digital money is likely to be among the most exciting, important and challenging projects the world will undertake in the coming decades. Everything…


From ACM Careers

Infosec Careers: The New Demands

Infosec Careers: The New Demands

A major goal for information security students and institutions should be developing a cultural way of learning, instead of simply studying for tests and doing projects, says Purdue University professor Eugene Spafford.


From ACM Opinion

A Few Simple Checks Would Transform Science Reporting

The U.K.'s Leveson inquiry is not just about illegally obtained tittle-tattle, it's a chance to curb sensationalist misreporting of science.


From ACM Opinion

5 Game Stories to Watch in 2012

Goodbye 2011, you tumultuous, fickle, lovely year—hello 2012, another 365-day stretch full of promises, disappointments, and with a little luck, a few pleasant surprises as well.


From ACM Opinion

The Future of Moral Machines

A robot walks into a bar and says, "I’ll have a screwdriver." A bad joke, indeed. But even less funny if the robot says "Give me what’s in your cash register."


From ACM Opinion

The Year on the Web

We've been living in the age of social media for a long time, but 2011 was the year that all the information we share online began to accrete into something greater than the sum of its parts.


From ACM Opinion

Technology and Business in 2012

Technology and Business in 2012

Although those of us following the Mayan long calendar may be heading into 2012 with some trepidation, for those taking a longer-term view here is our annual peek into what next year holds.


From ACM Opinion

The Benefits of Video Games

In addition to understanding the many real concerns that today's parents have with video games, it's also worth considering the benefits and positive aspects that contemporary interactive entertainment choices provide.


From ACM Opinion

Expanding Internet Domains

Come January, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers plans to allow businesses, nonprofits and others to apply for their own "top-level domain" with their own online suffix, like the familiar .com and .org suffixes…


From ACM Opinion

Marc Andreessen: Predictions for 2012 (and Beyond)

Marc Andreessen: Predictions for 2012 (and Beyond)

Marc Andreessen's view of the world boils down to software.


From ACM Opinion

I Want to Give Poor Children Computers and Walk Away

I Want to Give Poor Children Computers and Walk Away

Can tablet computers "parachuted" into remote areas transform childhood learning, asks Nicholas Negroponte, the man behind One Laptop per Child.


From ACM Opinion

Why Apple's Acquisition of Anobit Matters

Why Apple's Acquisition of Anobit Matters

Apple reportedly acquired the Israeli flash memory design firm Anobit in a deal that cost the company $500 million.


From ACM TechNews

FCC Commissioner Delivers Warning on Threat to 'Internet Freedom'

FCC Commissioner Delivers Warning on Threat to 'Internet Freedom'

The United States is not ready for the battle over whether the Internet will remain free from government regulations or fall under the control of emerging global powers, says the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's Robert…


From ACM Opinion

Don't Break the Internet

Two bills now pending in Congress—the PROTECT IP Act of 2011 (Protect IP) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House—represent the latest legislative attempts to address a serious global problem: large…


From ACM Opinion

Nokia's Stephen Elop Speaks

Nokia's Stephen Elop Speaks

A little more than a year ago, Microsoft veteran Stephen Elop agreed to become CEO of Nokia, the world's largest maker of mobile handsets. Elop's job at the Finnish cell-phone company was to stop a dangerous slide in mobile…


From ACM Opinion

The Top 10 Tech Trends for 2012

The Top 10 Tech Trends for 2012

A year is virtually a lifetime in the digital era. And yet we can at least make a guess at what will happen in the early part of next year simply by looking at the trends that are shaping the latter half of this year.


From ACM Careers

Five Questions with Astronaut Rex Walheim

Five Questions with Astronaut Rex Walheim

Rex Walheim is an astronaut. He's gone to space three times, including on the last flight of the space shuttle. He has spent an accumulated 36 hours outside the ISS on spacewalks. He has tweeted from 240 miles above sea level…


From ACM Opinion

Space Elevators and Smart Machines: Life in the Year 2100

Space Elevators and Smart Machines: Life in the Year 2100

In my book, Physics of the Future, I make scores of predictions for this century, based on interviews with over 300 of the world's top scientists, who are inventing the future in their labs.


From ACM Opinion

Xbox 720: What Microsoft Should And Shouldn't Do

Xbox 720: What Microsoft Should And Shouldn't Do

As whispers of a looming next generation Xbox announcement grow to a fever pitch, it's hard to open a browser window these days without encountering a screaming headline about the still unannounced system (which, more often…


From ACM Opinion

Patents and the Public Interest

Next week, in a case closely watched both by analysts and retailers, the International Trade Commission will decide whether the handset maker HTC should be allowed to import its products into the United States.


From ACM Opinion

An Open Letter from Internet Engineers to the U.S. Congress

Today, a group of 83 prominent Internet inventors and engineers sent an open letter to members of the United States Congress, stating their opposition to the SOPA and PIPA Internet blacklist bills that are under consideration…


From ACM Opinion

Carrier IQ Gets Transparent About Its Mobile Monitoring

Carrier IQ Gets Transparent About Its Mobile Monitoring

It's been a tumultuous few weeks for Carrier IQ, the mobile analytics outfit at the center of a continuing privacy brouhaha over what its diagnostic software does and does not do.


From ACM Opinion

Five Predictions for the Communications World in 2012

Five Predictions for the Communications World in 2012

In the coming year, mobile Internet devices and in particular smartphones will continue to bring the biggest changes to the way we communicate. For the first time, they will also change the way we do business.


From ACM Opinion

Apple: Five Predictions for 2012

Apple: Five Predictions for 2012

Expecting something from Apple can be a dangerous game, but that doesn't mean it's not fun to try and read the tea leaves every once in a while.

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