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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.

February 2010


From ACM Opinion

Why Can

All of the gloss and glitter doesn’t hide the fact that both Mac and Windows operating systems are still pretty geeky and difficult for many computer users to navigate. I frequently get calls from family members asking why the…


From ACM Opinion

Less Is More in Google's OS

Less Is More in Google's OS

"Chromium OS" is the open-source version of the new Chrome OS that Google is developing for netbooks, tablets, and other lightweight machines.

It's built from the source code that Google is making widely available, but it runs…


From ACM Opinion

China Cyber Attacks Against Google Pure Fabrication

The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and some other newspapers have published articles indicating that cyber attacks targeting Google and several other U.S. companies were from China. Such allegations …


From ACM Opinion

What Will Be Hot at RSA 2010?

The show is one week away -- here's a prediction on which technologies will be buzzing. 

In the midst of the global recession, I found the RSA 2009 Conference to be a big snooze. Not much was new and the show lacked any focus…


From ACM Opinion

NHTSA Has No Software Engineers or EEs To Analyze Toyotas

NHTSA Has No Software Engineers or EEs To Analyze Toyotas

A report in The Washington Post on the Congressional investigation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's response to multiple reports of Toyota safety problems says that "NHTSA officials told investigators that…


From ACM TechNews

Making Computer Science More Enticing

Employment at the top 10 Silicon Valley companies declined for Hispanics, blacks, and women for the decade ending in 2005, according to a San Jose Mercury News review of federal data. 


From ACM TechNews

PARC Works on Content-Centric Networking

PARC Works on Content-Centric Networking

Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) CEO Mark Bernstein says its researchers are currently working on developing content-centric networking technology. The goal is to be able to have content available in the network with a unique…


From ACM Opinion

Toyota

Whenever an airplane crashes, investigators focus on the black-box data, which may explain why the plane went down. Though most drivers don't realize it, two-thirds of new U.S. automobiles have black boxes, too. They're called…


From ACM TechNews

Robots Will Replace All Workers in 25 Years: Futurist

Cisco Systems futurist Dave Evans says the future of computing includes robots replacing all workers in 25 years. Evans also predicts that in five years people will create the equivalent of 92 million Libraries of Congress worth…


From ACM Opinion

Humobots in Space

Humobots in Space

Despite the cancellation of NASA's back-to-the-moon program, the next steps on the moon will likely be taken sometime in the next decade under human control. It's just that the humans will be using a robot to take them. The space…


From ACM Opinion

Google's Diplomatic Alliance with U.S. Carries Risks

Google's Diplomatic Alliance with U.S. Carries Risks

Google Inc.'s mastery of Internet search technology is unrivaled, but the high-tech pioneer is in uncharted territory as it finds itself embroiled in U.S. diplomatic spats with China and Iran.

Google and the Obama administration…


From ACM Opinion

Being Safe in Cyber World

Being Safe in Cyber World

Themis Papageorge, director of Northeastern University's information assurance program, assesses the real risk associated with cyber threats, and offers advice on how to make our virtual journeys a little safer and more secure…


From ACM Opinion

Gary Reback: Why the Technology Sector Should Care About Google Books

Gary Reback: Why the Technology Sector Should Care About Google Books

This Thursday (February 18) leaders of the international publishing industry will watch with bated breath as a federal judge in New York hears arguments over whether to approve the Google Book Settlement.

More a complicated…


From ACM Opinion

Can Silicon Valley Write Software for the 'Normal'?

Can Silicon Valley Write Software for the 'Normal'?

Apple gets a fair amount of criticism for its supposed elitism, but Apple products reveal the opposite: they're made for normal people who generally don't obsess about technology. For all the beauty of its designs, the real reason…


From ACM Opinion

Scientists Should Be on Tap, Not on Top

Scientists Should Be on Tap, Not on Top

Should scientists have a special voice when it comes to deciding government policy? On Tuesday (February 16) Robert May, the U.K. government's former chief scientific adviser, set out his views. The answer? No.


From ACM Opinion

Why Google Wants a Faster Internet

There was no lack of, well, buzz about Google's new Buzz social-media platform last week, but more important were a series of moves that suggest the search giant is ready to take a tentative step toward fixing one of its longest…


From ACM Opinion

A Mission Statement for Science Educators

A Mission Statement for Science Educators

"Perspectives in Science Education" a new book by Marvin Druger, professor emeritus at Syracuse University, includes over 20 essays on the mission of teaching science.


From ACM Opinion

I'm Sorry, Dave, I'm Afraid I Can't Make a U-Turn

When Toyota Prius owners take their cars to the dealer under the company's latest recall, they'll likely be out of the shop in about 30 minutes. Even though the recall has to do with a problem with the Prius' brakes, mechanics…


From ACM Opinion

Lost in #Haiti

If Iran's post-election uprising last summer was the world's first "Twitter revolution," the massive Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti was the first "Twitter disaster."

In a sign of how much the media landscape has changed since …


From ACM Opinion

Estimating Programming Time

Accurately estimating programming time is, in part, a process of defining limitations—experience, domain knowledge, speed vs. quality. It is also about thinking of future needs and constant efforts to have code that is maintainable…


From ACM Opinion

Don Syme: Geek of the Week

It came as a surprise to many when Microsoft pulled from its hat a rabbit in the form of an exciting, radical, language that offers an effective alternative to the object-oriented orthodoxy. The creative force behind this language—F…


From ACM Opinion

How Movies Activate Your Neural G-Spot

Here’s a typical “date night” with me and Hollywood: I don’t know what I want to see. Neither does Hollywood. But it bangs on my eyeballs and eardrums like Stanley Kowalski anyway. Sometimes I come away from the multiplex reasonably…


From ACM Opinion

The Best Web Browser on the Planet

I like to think of myself as the Dick Cheney of the Browser Wars—an unyielding proponent of greater and greater hostilities between the developers working on Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Opera. As all these…


From ACM Opinion

'Don't Be Evil,' Meet 'Spy on Everyone': How the NSA Deal Could Kill Google

The company once known for its "don't be evil" motto is now in bed with the spy agency known for the mass surveillance of American citizens.

The National Security Agency is widely understood to have the government’s biggestturn…


From ACM Opinion

Can You Trust Chinese Computer Equipment?

As you surely know, Google has accused China of hacking into its systems and is considering pulling out of China altogether. The U.S. government is taking this seriously, and Google has partnered with the National Security Agency…


From ACM Opinion

Microsoft

Microsoft

As they marvel at Apple’s new iPad tablet computer, the technorati seem to be focusing on where this leaves Amazon’s popular e-book business. But the much more important question is why Microsoft, America’s most famous and prosperous…


From ACM Opinion

Dark Clouds Gather Over Online Security

Dark Clouds Gather Over Online Security

Google may have threatened to leave China in order to keep us all from concluding that "the cloud" can't be secured. But isn't that precisely what we should conclude based on the fact that Google chose to leave China?

Why didn't…


From ACM Opinion

Steve Jobs and the Economics of Elitism

Steve Jobs and the Economics of Elitism

The more, the better. That’s the fashionable recipe for nurturing new ideas these days. It emphasizes a kind of Internet-era egalitarianism that celebrates the “wisdom of the crowd” and “open innovation.” Assemble all the contributions…


From Communications of the ACM

Open Access to Scientific Publications

Open Access to Scientific Publications

In his July 2009 Communications editor's letter "Open, Closed, or Clopen Access?", editor-in-chief Moshe Vardi addressed the question of open access to this magazine and to…


From Communications of the ACM

Why an Informatics Degree?

Why an Informatics Degree?

Isn't computer science enough?

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