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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.

March 2013


From ACM News

Bitcoin May Be the Global Economy's Last Safe Haven

Bitcoin May Be the Global Economy's Last Safe Haven

One of the oddest bits of news to emerge from the economic collapse of Cyprus is a corresponding rise in the value of Bitcoin, the Internet’s favorite, media-friendly, anarchist crypto-currency.


From ACM Opinion

The Chilling Effects of the DMCA

The Chilling Effects of the DMCA

It was hard to believe, but the student insisted it was true.


From ACM Opinion

Nolan Bushnell: 'Steve Was Difficult,' Says Man Who First Hired Steve Jobs

Nolan Bushnell: 'Steve Was Difficult,' Says Man Who First Hired Steve Jobs

Somehow even when he's sitting still, Nolan Bushnell seems to be in constant motion.


From ACM Opinion

What Next for the 'Quantified Self'?

What Next for the 'Quantified Self'?

The quantified self movement—the idea that tracking metrics about yourself can lead to self-improvement—appears to be gathering steam.


From ACM Opinion

Google's Self-Driving Robot Cars Are Ruining My Commute

Google's Self-Driving Robot Cars Are Ruining My Commute

My hometown, Mountain View, Calif., has become the unofficial capital of the robotic car revolution.


From ACM Opinion

Yahoo Buys News App from British Teenager for a Reported $30 Million

Yahoo Buys News App from British Teenager for a Reported $30 Million

When Yahoo was founded in 1995, Nick D'Aloisio wasn't even born yet. He says he taught himself to program computers using books and video tutorials.


From ACM Opinion

The Great Smartphone Conundrum

The Great Smartphone Conundrum

Smartphones keep getting faster.


From ACM Opinion

The Promise and Perils of a Datafied World

The Promise and Perils of a Datafied World

In a former life I was a research assistant. After painstaking weeks spent gathering data, I was tasked with putting the numbers into a statistics application that would help us deduce our trends.


From ACM Opinion

Stop Pagination Now

This weekend’s New York Times Magazine features a fascinating, 7,200-word epic profile of Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb. Like most NYT Magazine cover stories (and most long Slate pieces), the story is broken into…


From ACM Opinion

How Relying on Algorithms and Bots Can Be Really, Really Dangerous

How Relying on Algorithms and Bots Can Be Really, Really Dangerous

So you can’t wait for a self-driving car to take away the drudgery of driving? Me neither! But consider this scenario, recently posed by neuroscientist Gary Marcus: Your car is on a narrow bridge when a school bus veers into …


From ACM Opinion

Why All Reporters (Not Just J-School Students) Should Learn to Fly Drones

Why All Reporters (Not Just J-School Students) Should Learn to Fly Drones

These days the future of journalism may look cloudy. But one thing about the future of the business is clear, according to ABC News. It will be full of drones.


From ACM Opinion

Ken Levine: BioShock Infinite Is Very Much a BioShock Game

Ken Levine: BioShock Infinite Is Very Much a BioShock Game

Ken Levine is running. No really! I’m assuming on a treadmill.


From ACM Opinion

Arthur C. Clarke Predicts the Internet, 1974

Arthur C. Clarke Predicts the Internet, 1974

The year is 1974, and Arthur C. Clarke is standing inside one of those cavernous computer centers that held the massive machines of the day.


From ACM Opinion

Brogrammers Making Sex Jokes and Other Reasons Startups Need HR Departments

Brogrammers Making Sex Jokes and Other Reasons Startups Need HR Departments

When I worked at a startup, we jokingly referred to our "HR department"—a cardboard box that held resumes, NDAs, tax forms, whatever.


From ACM Opinion

The Future of Twitter Is Robots Tweeting at Each Other

The Future of Twitter Is Robots Tweeting at Each Other

Twitter is full of weird stuff none of us ever notice because it mostly just looks like spam or nonsense.


From ACM Opinion

Why It's Time for Our Devices to Understand What We Mean, Not Just What We Say

Why It's Time for Our Devices to Understand What We Mean, Not Just What We Say

It wasn’t just cost and Moore’s law. The graphical user interface—now known as the GUI ("gooey")—is what really made computing widespread, personal and ubiquitous.


From ACM Opinion

The Touch-Screen Generation

The Touch-Screen Generation

On a chilly day last spring, a few dozen developers of children’s apps for phones and tablets gathered at an old beach resort in Monterey, California, to show off their games.


From ACM Opinion

Google's Eric Schmidt Warns on China's Attempts to Control the Internet

Google's Eric Schmidt Warns on China's Attempts to Control the Internet

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, has described China as "the most egregious" example of a nation attempting to control the Internet, as he issued a stark warning about the safety of dissidents in the communist…


From ACM Opinion

The Era of Deep Archiving Begins

The Era of Deep Archiving Begins

As a Dartmouth student in the early 1970s, William McDonough went, somewhat casually, to hear a lecture by a visiting celebrity. Mr. McDonough had little idea beforehand who Buckminster Fullerwas, but listening to the designer…


From ACM TechNews

Smartphones Can Help Us Keep Stress at Bay

Smartphones Can Help Us Keep Stress at Bay

University of Cambridge researcher Dirk Trossen has created the AIRS app, which uses all of the sensors built into mobile devices to measure physical changes in the user. There are more than 60 values AIRS can record.


From ACM Opinion

The District Court's Remarkable Order Striking Down the NSL Statute

The District Court's Remarkable Order Striking Down the NSL Statute

On Friday, EFF received the long-awaiting ruling on its 2011 petition to set aside a National Security Letter (NSL) issued to a telecommunications company. The petition challenged the constitutionality of one of five national…


From ACM Opinion

Jaron Lanier: The Digital Pioneer Who Became a Web Rebel

Jaron Lanier: The Digital Pioneer Who Became a Web Rebel

Jaron Lanier is that rarest of rare birds—an uber-geek who is highly critical of the world created by the technology he helped to create.


From ACM Opinion

Googling You

The settlement last week between a group of state attorneys general and Google over the company’s improper data collection from home wireless networks shows the need to overhaul a 27-year-old federal law that is not up to the…


From ACM Opinion

Q&A with Samsung's Mobile Chief

Q&A with Samsung's Mobile Chief

Samsung Electronics Co. is coming off its strongest year ever, reporting record earnings, and leapfrogging Apple Inc. to become the world's biggest smartphone maker.


From ACM Careers

10 Companies Chasing Innovations That Really Matter

10 Companies Chasing Innovations That Really Matter

PayPal co-founder Max Levchin faced some flak recently when he announced he was starting a new company in the already crowded field of digital payments.


From ACM Opinion

Qwerty Keyboards: Time for a Rethink?

Qwerty Keyboards: Time for a Rethink?

Q-W-E-R-T-Y. Six letters that define so much of our waking lives.


From ACM Opinion

Why We'll Never Make an Unpickable Lock

Why We'll Never Make an Unpickable Lock

It would be roughly accurate to say that there have been locks as long as there have been things humans wanted to guard.


From ACM Opinion

Peter G. Neumann: Top Cop on the Hair-Raising Cybersecurity Beat

Peter G. Neumann: Top Cop on the Hair-Raising Cybersecurity Beat

The threat is always there—in your car, at the office, on the table next to where you sleep at night: a near-biblical plague of worms, phisher kings, identity thieves, even cyberterrorists.


From ACM Opinion

From 'WarGames' to Aaron Swartz: How U.S. Anti-Hacking Law Went Astray

From 'WarGames' to Aaron Swartz: How U.S. Anti-Hacking Law Went Astray

Aaron Swartz, the Internet activist who committed suicide while facing the possibility of a felony criminal conviction, was prosecuted under a law that was never intended to cover what he was accused of doing.


From ACM Opinion

Google's 10 Rules for Designing Data Centers

Google's 10 Rules for Designing Data Centers

Google has long pushed the envelope of data center infrastructure design, particularly when it comes to renewable energy, efficient cooling, new power electronics, and innovative building layouts.

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