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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.

August 2012


From ACM TechNews

How Algorithms Rule the World

How Algorithms Rule the World

Christopher Steiner talks about his book, "Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World," which explores how the power of algorithms has spread far beyond Wall Street and now touches all aspects of modern life.


From ACM Opinion

Samsung Defeats Apple (In South Korea and Japan)

Samsung Defeats Apple (In South Korea and Japan)

Did Samsung really steal Apple’s innovations? It all depends on where you live.


From ACM News

From Smart to Genius: Will Design Define Future Gadgets?

From Smart to Genius: Will Design Define Future Gadgets?

In a pre-iPhone age, mobile phones came in all shapes and sizes. Remember the clamshell, candy bar, swivel, backflip, slider, dual-slider, lipstick, and, of course, the taco?


From ACM Opinion

How Steve Jobs' Love of Simplicity Fueled A Design Revolution

How Steve Jobs' Love of Simplicity Fueled A Design Revolution

Steve Jobs' interest in design began with his love for his childhood home.


From ACM Opinion

10 Things We'd Like to See Tim Cook Do in His Next Year at Apple

 10 Things We'd Like to See Tim Cook Do in His Next Year at Apple

It's officially the anniversary of the day Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple and let Tim Cook take the reins.


From ACM Opinion

Connoisseur of Chaos

Connoisseur of Chaos

As a high school student in a Detroit suburb in the 1990s, Russ Tedrake did not fit the standard profile of a future computer science professor.


From ACM Opinion

The 'Surround Computing' Era Is Just Around the Corner

The 'Surround Computing' Era Is Just Around the Corner

The 'surround computing' era is coming soon, according to Mark Papermaster, the chief technology officer of chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices.


From ACM Opinion

Why You Should Probably Disable Java on Your Browser Right Now

Why You Should Probably Disable Java on Your Browser Right Now

Hackers have found a flaw in Oracle's Java software that allows them to break into users' computers and install nasty malware, security experts report.


From ACM News

Massive Cyberattack: Act 1 of Israeli Strike on Iran?

Massive Cyberattack: Act 1 of Israeli Strike on Iran?

Talk in Israel of a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities has reached a fever pitch.


From ACM Opinion

Apple-Samsung Jury Foreman Recalls 'Aha! Moment'

Apple-Samsung Jury Foreman Recalls 'Aha! Moment'

According to Velvin Hogan, the 67-year-old foreman of the jury in the U.S. trial between the Apple and Samsung, one of the turning points in group's journey to a verdict came after some deep thinking at home.


From ACM Opinion

Todd Akin and the Anti-Science House Science Committee

Todd Akin and the Anti-Science House Science Committee

Aside from the sheer biological ludicrousness of Todd Akin's ideas on female physiology, one unsettling subplot to the debacle is his presence on the House of Committee on Science, Space and Technology.


From ACM Opinion

Apple's Big Win Over Samsung—What Does It Mean?

Apple's Big Win Over Samsung—What Does It Mean?

History buffs will note that Apple scored one of the most lopsided victories since Agincourt on Tim Cook's one-year anniversary as the company's CEO.


From ACM Opinion

Apple Case Muddies the Future of Innovations

Apple's victory on Friday in a patent lawsuit against Samsung could, if upheld, give its rivals a kick in the pants to create more original products.


From ACM Opinion

The Uncanny Valley of Internet Advertising

The Uncanny Valley of Internet Advertising

If you ask an Internet ad guy to defend himself—to explain why you, dear Web surfer, should feel comfortable letting him serve you ads based on everything you do online—you’ll likely hear two arguments.


From ACM Opinion

Giving In to the Surveillance State

Giving In to the Surveillance State

In March 2002, John M. Poindexter, a former national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan, sat down with Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the director of the National Security Agency. Mr. Poindexter sketched out a new Pentagon…


From ACM Opinion

Our Favorite 'Forgotten Tech'—from BeOS to Zip Drives

Our Favorite 'Forgotten Tech'—from BeOS to Zip Drives

We all know about the gadgets that get showered with constant praise—the icons, the segment leaders, and the game changers. Tech history will never forget the Altair 8800, the Walkman, the BlackBerry, and the iPhone.


From ACM Opinion

Christopher Soghoian

Christopher Soghoian

Christopher Soghoian sniffs out security holes and privacy shortcomings on the Web. Then he urges companies that are responsible—Google, AT&T, and Dropbox have been among them—to halt practices that put consumers' personal information…


From ACM Opinion

One Year In: What We've Learned About CEO Tim Cook

One Year In: What We've Learned About CEO Tim Cook

When Tim Cook was named permanent chief executive of Apple a year ago Friday, most discussion centered on what Jobsian qualities and trademark values Cook didn't possess: He's not a product visionary, or "crazy" or charismatic…


From ACM Opinion

New Guide from EFF: Keeping Your Site Alive

New Guide from EFF: Keeping Your Site Alive

Denial of service attacks—flooding Web sites with traffic in order to make them unavailable to the public—have become an increasingly popular way to take down or block Internet content.


From ACM Opinion

Neal Stephenson on Kickstarter, Swordfighting, and the Big Novel's Staying Power

Neal Stephenson on Kickstarter, Swordfighting, and the Big Novel's Staying Power

The first line in any story about Neal Stephenson will reference his massive, massively complicated, and massively successful novels.


From ACM TechNews

The Big Apple's Big Data Advantage

The Big Apple's Big Data Advantage

Microsoft's new research lab in Manhattan will focus on big data analysis, examining massive amounts of information created by the world's digital users, says lab director Jennifer Chayes.  


From ACM Opinion

Bring It: A Call for Candidates to Debate Science Policy

Bring It: A Call for Candidates to Debate Science Policy

Innovation, economic growth, and climate change are just a few of the challenges and opportunities that face the U.S. They are also firmly linked to science.


From ACM Opinion

Why Apple Might be Better Off Losing Its Patent Lawsuit

Why Apple Might be Better Off Losing Its Patent Lawsuit

Could it be in Apple’s self-interest to lose its bitter court battle with Samsung?


From ACM Opinion

Forget the Desktop

Forget the Desktop

Every morning I wake up too early, reach for my iPad, and scan the morning's tech headlines. This is a pathetic enough existence, but the Web sites I frequent aren't helping.


From ACM Opinion

Plagiarism, Defamation, and the Power of Hyperlinks

Plagiarism, Defamation, and the Power of Hyperlinks

What do Fareed Zakaria, Jonah Lehrer, and Gawker Media have in common? In different ways, the incidents that have thrust all three into the news recently help to show the power of the simple hyperlink, which Sir Tim Berners-Lee …


From ACM Opinion

Will the Next Election Be Hacked?

Will the Next Election Be Hacked?

Two years ago, hackers gained access to an online voting system created by the District of Columbia and altered every ballot on behalf of their own preferred candidates.


From ACM Opinion

Kentucky Lawmakers Shocked to Find Evolution in Biology Tests

Kentucky Lawmakers Shocked to Find Evolution in Biology Tests

A report surfaced this week that suggests Kentucky legislators may be experiencing a sort of cognitive dissonance that is likely to be a preview of things we can expect elsewhere.


From ACM Opinion

Five Things I've Learned from 20 Years of Email

Five Things I've Learned from 20 Years of Email

It's been 20 years since I got my first-ever email address. Back then, I read email with a 2,400 bps modem. Today, emails reach me instantaneously on my phone whereever I am.


From ACM Opinion

Epic Mickey Creator Wants to 'Shame' Doom and Unreal Makers: Why He's Not Wrong

Epic Mickey Creator Wants to 'Shame' Doom and Unreal Makers: Why He's Not Wrong

I never got around to playing Epic Mickey, and that’s a shame, because I’ve played nearly everything else by game design luminary Warren Spector.


From ACM TechNews

Climate Science Triggers Torrent of Big Data Challenges

Climate Science Triggers Torrent of Big Data Challenges

ORNL supercomputers running models to assess climate change ramifications and mitigation tactics are rapidly generating a wide variety of big data in vast volumes. 

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