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Communications of the ACM

Opinion Archive


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

July 2010


From ACM Opinion

Protecting Privacy

On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog but advertisers may infer that you own one. The flow of information from users of the internet both to social networks such as Facebook and to advertisers and advertising networks has…


From ACM Opinion

The WikiLeaks Paradox

Is radical transparency compatible with total anonymity?


From ACM Opinion

Cyberwar Is Hell

While we obsessed over Russian spies, top diplomats were working to stop a greater espionage problem: the threat of cyberwarfare.


From ACM Opinion

Apple, Trackpads, and the Long Death of the Mouse

Another day, another envelope-pushing design from Apple intended to make us rethink the way we interact with our computers. Welcome to the Magic Trackpad.


From ACM Opinion

Killed by Code: Software Transparency in Implantable Medical Devices

Software is an integral component of a range of devices that perform critical, lifesaving functions and basic daily tasks. As patients grow more reliant on computerized devices, the dependability of software is a life-or-death…


From ACM Opinion

How Often Does Your Phone Drop Calls?

How Often Does Your Phone Drop Calls?

Apple, Research in Motion, and the rest of the cell phone industry don't want you to know.


From ACM Opinion

How HTML5 Will Shake Up the Web

How HTML5 Will Shake Up the Web

HTML5, the next version of the markup language used to build Web pages, has attracted attention for its ability to show video inside a Web browser without using plug-ins, such as Adobe's Flash. But lesser-known features could…


From ACM Opinion

Five Things that Could Topple Facebook's Empire

Five Things that Could Topple Facebook's Empire

Facebook is primed to announce this week that it's amassed a half billion active friends, a milestone reinforcing its status as the king of social networks—a company to be regarded with the seriousness and power (if not revenue)…


From ACM Opinion

Protecting the Data You Don't Even Know You Have

Let's assume for a moment that Google's collection of Wi-Fi "payload" data really was unintentional. And that Google never used the data, didn't even know it was there and stored it securely. Is it actually a privacy leak …


From ACM Opinion

Search Top Secret America's Database of Private Spooks

Search Top Secret America's Database of Private Spooks

Figuring out exactly who's cashing in on the post-9/11 boom in secret programs just got a whole lot easier.


From ACM Opinion

Lithium: Why It Makes Such Great Batteries

Lithium: Why It Makes Such Great Batteries

One theme I ran into over and over while writing about the periodic table was the future of energy and the question of which element or elements will replace carbon as king.


From ACM Opinion

The Google Algorithm

Google handles nearly two-thirds of Internet search queries worldwide. Analysts reckon that most Web sites rely on the search engine for half of their traffic. When Google engineers tweak its supersecret algorithm—as they do…


From ACM Opinion

What Apple Must Do to Stop the iPhone 4 Bleeding

What Apple Must Do to Stop the iPhone 4 Bleeding

It'd be an understatement to say that this has been a terrible week for Apple, and we haven't even reached the halfway point.


From ACM Opinion

Cutting and Pasting: A Senior Thesis by (Insert Name)

A friend who teaches at a well-known eastern university told me recently that plagiarism was turning him into a cop.


From ACM TechNews

A to Z of Programming Languages: Smalltalk-80

A to Z of Programming Languages: Smalltalk-80

Much of modern-day programming is based on the Smalltalk-80 programming language, which was co-developed by Alan Kay, widely considered the father of the concept of object-oriented programming (OOP). "I think 'real [OOP] design'…


From ACM Opinion

China May Displace Oak Ridge for Fastest Computer

China May Displace Oak Ridge for Fastest Computer

China is expected to dethrone Tennessee as the home of the world's fastest computer by November, a top U.S. Energy Department official said Monday (July 12).


From ACM Opinion

The Medium Is the Medium

The Medium Is the Medium

Recently, book publishers got some good news. Researchers gave 852 disadvantaged students 12 books (of their own choosing) to take home at the end of the school year. They did this for three successive years.


From ACM Opinion

Google Should Answer Some Searching Questions

Google woos people with its "don't be evil" slogan and assures us that everything it does is meant to enhance our online experience. But a new study by U.S. advocacy group Consumer Watchdog—of which I am part—has found evidence…


From ACM TechNews

Q&A: Intel CEO Paul Otellini

Q&A: Intel CEO Paul Otellini

Intel CEO Paul Otellini is concerned that U.S. technological and economic competitiveness is eroding due to long-term neglect of support for education, research, and digital infrastructure. "As a country the issue is: Are…


From ACM Opinion

Five Reasons Why China Will Rule Tech

China's focus on science and technology is relentless, and is occurring at all levels of its society. Recent development points to growing concern in Washington about China's tech moves, but here's why it may be unstoppable.


From ACM Opinion

Threat of 'Cyberwar' Has Been Hugely Hyped

Threat of 'Cyberwar' Has Been Hugely Hyped

There's a power struggle going on in the U.S. government right now. It's about who is in charge of cyber security, and how much control the government will exert over civilian networks. And by beating the drums of war, the military…


From ACM TechNews

Enlist IT Tools

Throwing more teams of specialists at intelligence gaps that allowed terror suspects to slip through the net will not solve the problem, write Rensselaer Polytechnic University professor James Hendler and University of Maryland…


From ACM Opinion

How E-Maps Curtail Our Freedom

Electronic maps are arguably the quintessential innovation of 20th-century cartography. Although a few academic cartographers accord the map mystical powers, it is merely a tool, useful for good, evil or both, which citizens…


From ACM Opinion

Joel Adams Discusses the Career Outlook for CS Students

Joel Adams Discusses the Career Outlook for CS Students

If you’re ambivalent about a career in computer science, you should read Joel Adams’ The Market For Computing Careers.


From Communications of the ACM

Outsourcing Versus Shared Services

Outsourcing Versus Shared Services

Choosing between outsourcing and shared services has significant implications for long-term corporate strategy.


From Communications of the ACM

Should the Google Book Settlement be Approved?

Should the Google Book Settlement be Approved?

Considering the precedent that could be established by approval of the controversial Google book settlement.


From Communications of the ACM

Cultivating Cultural Diversity in Information Technology

Cultivating Cultural Diversity in Information Technology

Introducing CMD-IT, a new center focused on synergistic activities related to ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.


From Communications of the ACM

Is Computer Science Truly Scientific?

Is Computer Science Truly Scientific?

Reflections on the (experimental) scientific method in computer science.


From Communications of the ACM

Advice to Members Seeking ACM Distinction

Advice to Members Seeking ACM Distinction

ACM's Distinguished Member Recognition Program recognizes members in three categories: Educator, Engineer, and Scientist. Each category comes with a unique set of criteria.


From Communications of the ACM

Work Life in the Robotic Age

Work Life in the Robotic Age

Technological change results in changes in expectations, in this case affecting the workplace.

Blog at CACM
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