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

June 2011


From ACM Opinion

Doing the Math on News Corp.'s Disastrous MySpace Years

Once upon a time, MySpace was the king and pioneer of social networking. When Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. bought the company for $580 million, it looked like a steal.


From ACM TechNews

Cerf: Streaming Network Crunch Could Be Eliminated

Cerf: Streaming Network Crunch Could Be Eliminated

Google technology evangelist Vint Cerf recently suggested that increasing bandwidth capacity exponentially could lead to more efficient ways of streaming media services on the Internet. 


From ACM News

Minds, Machines Merge to Offer New Hope for Overcoming Impairments

Minds, Machines Merge to Offer New Hope for Overcoming Impairments

Scientists are creating a new generation of artificial body parts to help people with disabilities see, walk, swim, grip and run among other things. Miles O'Brien reports on the latest advances in prosthetics.


From ACM Opinion

Why Gadgets Flop

According to the old saying, you learn more from a failure than a success. Well, if that's the case, the consumer electronics industry ought to have a master's degree by now.


From ACM Opinion

Apple Multitouch Patent Is All About UX Lock-In

Apple notched a significant win last week when it was awarded a key patent related to basic multitouch functionality. The patent was first called "hugely problematic" for other smartphone makers, owing to its "incredibly broad"…


From ACM Opinion

Lady of the Rings: Saturn Surveyor Carolyn Porco

Lady of the Rings: Saturn Surveyor Carolyn Porco

When Carolyn Porco started exploring the outer solar system, it was all about the rings. Her 1983 doctoral thesis at Caltech focused on shifting spokes in Saturn’s rings discovered by the Voyager spacecraft. As Voyager sailed…


From ACM Opinion

The Cop on the Cyber Beat

The Cop on the Cyber Beat

Homeland Security's Bruce McConnell on the government's role in helping companies fight online attacks.


From ACM News

Protect Your Computer and Phone from Illegal Police Searches

Your computer, your phone, and your other digital devices hold vast amounts of personal information about you and your family. Can police officers enter your home to search your laptop? Do you have to give law enforcement…


From ACM Opinion

Why LulzSec Had No Choice but to Disband

Why LulzSec Had No Choice but to Disband

After just 50 days, the group said it was ceasing individual operations. Why, when you might have thought things were going so well?


From ACM Opinion

Applying Graph Analysis and Manipulation to Data Stores

Applying Graph Analysis and Manipulation to Data Stores

Marko Rodriguez and Peter Neubauer, the leaders of the TinkerPop open-source graph software initiative, discuss the project, its members, and its goals.


From ACM Opinion

Supporting Choice, Ensuring Economic Opportunity

At Google, we’ve always focused on putting the user first. We aim to provide relevant answers as quickly as possible—and our product innovation and engineering talent have delivered results that users seem to like, in a world…


From ACM News

Big Win for the Losers at D-Wave

Does D-Wave's first big sale disprove the quantum computing naysayers?


From ACM Opinion

EFF and Bitcoin

For several months, EFF has been following the movement around Bitcoin, an electronic payment system that touts itself as "the first decentralized digital currency." We helped inform our members about this unique project through…


From ACM Opinion

Free to Search and Seize

This spring was a rough season for the Fourth Amendment.


From ACM Opinion

Seven Questions for Iridium CEO Matthew Desch

Seven Questions for Iridium CEO Matthew Desch

More often than not, the Iridium satellite phone system is remembered as one of the great telecom flameouts of the 1990s. It almost became a literal one: At one point following a 1999 bankruptcy, the 70 or more satellites…


From ACM Opinion

Networks Are Not Always Revolutionary

Networks Are Not Always Revolutionary

"For most artists," as the famous Tim O'Reilly aphorism has it "the problem isn't piracy, it's obscurity." To me, this is inarguably true and self-evident—the staying power of this nugget has more to do with its admirable…


From ACM Opinion

In 'Cars 2,' John Lasseter Says Big Oil is the 'Uber Bad Guy'

In 'Cars 2,' John Lasseter Says Big Oil is the 'Uber Bad Guy'

"Cars 2" director John Lasseter talked with The Wall Street Journal in his office at the Emeryville headquarters of Pixar Animation Studios, where he is chief creative officer. The film takes the friendly automobiles of the…


From ACM Opinion

China's Cyberassault on America

In justifying U.S. involvement in Libya, the Obama administration cited the "responsibility to protect" citizens of other countries when their governments engage in widespread violence against them. But in the realm of cyberspace…


From ACM News

All Your Bitcoins Are Ours

Malware authors move fast. Following on from the previous blog post on Bitcoin botnet mining, we have seen a recent Trojan in the wild targeting Bitcoin wallets. The Trojan is Infostealer.Coinbit and it has one motive: to locate…


From ACM Opinion

Seven Questions for IBM Fellow Bernie Meyerson

Seven Questions for IBM Fellow Bernie Meyerson

There aren’t many technology companies around who can claim to be 100 years old. You're probably hearing that a lot as  media outlets report on the anniversary of the day in 1911 three companies came together to form the Computing…


From ACM Opinion

Seven Questions for Rackspace CTO John Engates

Seven Questions for Rackspace CTO John Engates

In a completely rational world, Rackspace would no longer be a independent company. The Web host that has in recent years veered into the cloud services business was held steady to its independent streak as several of its…


From ACM News

Has Facebook Peaked?

Has Facebook Peaked?

Facebook's active user base grew by only 1.7% in May. That's about half its usual growth rate, and it came after similarly slow growth in April. According to Inside Facebook, a blog and research firm that tracks the site's traffic…


From ACM News

Who Is Behind the Hacks?

Every day there's another report of a computer hack. Yesterday it was a video game company and a U.S. Senate database. And today it could be the Federal Reserve. There's no doubt that there's a wave of attacks going on right…


From ACM Opinion

How I Failed, Failed, and Finally Succeeded at Learning How to Code

When Colin Hughes was about 11 years old his parents brought home a rather strange toy. It wasn't colorful or cartoonish; it didn't seem to have any lasers or wheels or flashing lights; the box it came in was decorated, not…


From ACM Opinion

Palin Fans Trying to Edit Wikipedia Paul Revere Page

Man, you've gotta almost admire the sheer blind dedication of Sarah Palin's wingnut acolytes.


From ACM Opinion

Weiner's Law

The Web makes it easier than ever to cheat—and easier than ever for cheaters to get caught.


From ACM Opinion

Internet Piracy and How to Stop It

Online piracy is a huge business. A recent study found that Web sites offering pirated digital content or counterfeit goods, like illicit movie downloads or bootleg software, record 53 billion hits per year. That robs the…


From ACM News

Sony's Kaz Hirai on the PSN Hack

Sony's Kaz Hirai on the PSN Hack

Sony's deputy president about the PlayStation Network hack, PS Vita and PS3's enduring appeal.


From ACM Opinion

The Danger of E-books

The Danger of E-books

In an age where business dominates our governments and writes our laws, every technological advance offers business an opportunity to impose new restrictions on the public. Technologies that could have empowered us are used…


From ACM News

Watson's Lead Developer: 'Deep Analysis, Speed, and Results'

Watson's Lead Developer: 'Deep Analysis, Speed, and Results'

David Ferrucci’s official title is "IBM Fellow and Leader of the Semantic Analysis and Integration Department at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center." But to the world, he's the genius behind Watson, the question-answering…

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