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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.

September 2012


From ACM Opinion

What Makes Google's Maps So Good

What Makes Google's Maps So Good

Wow. Nothing makes you appreciate something like losing it.


From ACM Opinion

Apple Needs to Find Its Exit Strategy From China

Apple Needs to Find Its Exit Strategy From China

"IPhone5 Launch Causes Riots" You'd expect to see headlines like this when consumers beat down doors and trample each other, yet these riots were in China, among workers at Foxconn, a major supplier to Apple and other U.S. companies…


From ACM Opinion

Could the Internet Ever "Wake Up"?

Could the Internet Ever "Wake Up"?

In the world of sci-fi movie geekdom, Aug. 29, 1997, was a turning point for humanity: On that day, according to the Terminator films, the network of U.S. defense computers known as Skynet became self-aware—and soon launched…


From ACM Opinion

The Internet? We Built That

The Internet? We Built That

Who created the Internet and why should we care? These questions, so often raised during the Bush-Gore election in 2000, have found their way back into the political debate this season—starting with one of the most cited texts…


From ACM News

Apple-Google Maps Talks Crashed Over Voice-Guided Directions

Apple-Google Maps Talks Crashed Over Voice-Guided Directions

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt says Apple should have continued to use Google’s mapping application in iOS 6 instead of swapping it out for its poorly received home-brewed replacement, and given the sour reception Apple’s Maps…


From ACM Opinion

Interview With Eugene Kaspersky

Interview With Eugene Kaspersky

Eugene Kaspersky has had an interesting, varied life, with more than his share of adventures, successes and challenges. He's seen and done a lot, but when he learned that he was going to receive an honorary degree from Plymouth…


From ACM Opinion

Why Everyone (Not Just Geeks) Should Care About Big Data

Why Everyone (Not Just Geeks) Should Care About Big Data

Hugo Campos has a cardiac defibrillator implanted in his body. It sends data about his heart to his doctors and back to the manufacturer, but it takes days to get access to this data himself—if he can access it all.


From ACM Opinion

Meet Mira, the Supercomputer That Makes Universes

Meet Mira, the Supercomputer That Makes Universes

Cosmology is the most ambitious of sciences. Its goal, plainly stated, is to describe the origin, evolution, and structure of the entire universe, a universe that is as enormous as it is ancient.


From ACM Opinion

Who's Behind the Wheel? Nobody.

Who's Behind the Wheel? Nobody.

The Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca is a 2.2-mile asphalt roller coaster plunging and soaring across California's tawny Monterey highlands.


From ACM Opinion

Why Wi-Fi Is Often So Slow

Why Wi-Fi Is Often So Slow

A number of Internet service providers, including Comcast Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc., have recently upped the maximum speeds of broadband they offer residential customers to as much as 305 megabits per second.


From ACM Opinion

Disconnect Between Application Development and Security Getting Wider

There is a widening gulf between application developers and security decision makers inside the enterprise, and it’s starting to cost companies serious money.


From ACM Opinion

Google News at 10: How the Algorithm Won Over the News Industry

Google News at 10: How the Algorithm Won Over the News Industry

In April of 2010, Eric Schmidt delivered the keynote address at the conference of the American Society of News Editors in Washington, D.C. During the talk, the then-CEO of Google went out of his way to articulate—and then reiterate—his…


From ACM Opinion

When GPS Tracking Violates Privacy Rights

For the right to personal privacy to survive in America in this digital age, courts must be meticulous in applying longstanding privacy protections to new technology. This did not happen in an unfortunate ruling last month by…


From ACM Opinion

If Design's No Longer the Killer Differentiator, What Is?

If Design's No Longer the Killer Differentiator, What Is?

We already know that design matters. Product design. Industrial design. Experience design. Supply chain design. Witness the renewed fervor for the iPhone 5 today: It goes way beyond function to sheer desire.


From BLOG@CACM

Nomenclaturing: Let's Ture to the Max!

Nomenclaturing: Let's Ture to the Max!

Christos Papadimitriou's recently published reminiscences include the fascinating story of how he learned about Turing Machines: As a bored undergraduate in a Greek university, he happened to see the definition buried within…


From ACM Opinion

Lessons from an Iranian War Game

Perhaps it was the "fog of simulation." But the scariest aspect of a U.S.-Iran war game staged this week was the way each side miscalculated the other’s responses—and moved toward war even as the players thought they were choosing…


From ACM Opinion

Apple and the Specter of Decline

Apple and the Specter of Decline

Things look good for Apple right now.


From ACM Opinion

Air Force Video Compares Facebook, iPhone to Atom Bombs

The world of tomorrow is going to be a dark and sinister place, according to a group of Air Force futurists. One reason why it'll be so scary: Facebook.


From ACM Opinion

An Open Letter to Wikipedia

An Open Letter to Wikipedia

Dear Wikipedia, I am Philip Roth. I had reason recently to read for the first time the Wikipedia entry discussing my novel "The Human Stain."


From ACM Opinion

The iPhone 5's A6 Chip Could Be Apple's Sweetest Revenge Against Samsung

The iPhone 5's A6 Chip Could Be Apple's Sweetest Revenge Against Samsung

Four years ago, Apple set out on a dangerous path. It spent about $300 million on a struggling chip designer called PA Semi. The purchase signaled that Apple intended to design its own chips for devices like the iPhone.


From ACM Opinion

5 Ideas to Help Everyone Make the Most of Big Data

5 Ideas to Help Everyone Make the Most of Big Data

Big data is going mainstream, but there are still plenty of lessons to be learned from Silicon Valley data scientists whose businesses depend on data to survive.


From ACM Opinion

NASA-JPL Director Charles Elachi Talks About Latest Mars Mission

NASA-JPL Director Charles Elachi Talks About Latest Mars Mission

The car-sized Mars rover Curiosity, which landed on the Red Planet last month, is the biggest, most expensive and most ambitious planetary mission in many years.


From ACM Opinion

Arturo Bejar, Facebook Director of Engineering

Arturo Bejar, Facebook Director of Engineering

Facebook engineering director Arturo Bejar is a numbers guy by training. But he's also in charge of the giant social network's foray into what it calls "compassion research"—using advanced social science tools to help Facebook's…


From ACM Opinion

iPhone 6: 9 Most-Wanted Features

iPhone 6: 9 Most-Wanted Features

The iPhone 5 is here and millions of people will buy it and love it. But its arrival also starts the clock ticking on the next iPhone. 


From ACM News

It's Official: The Era of the Personal Computer Is Over

It's Official: The Era of the Personal Computer Is Over

As a signpost on the road to the so-called Post-PC Era we’ve been hearing about for so many years, this one is pretty hard to argue with: As of this year, personal computers no longer consume the majority of the world’s memory…


From ACM Opinion

Breaking Up the Echo

Breaking Up the Echo

It is well known that when like-minded people get together, they tend to end up thinking a more extreme version of what they thought before they started to talk.


From ACM Opinion

Investing in Our Future; Investing in Research

Investing in Our Future; Investing in Research

The future of the American university and of American innovation is in jeopardy, threatened by cuts in government-sponsored research funding, according to Caroline Whitacre, Vice President for Research at Ohio State University…


From ACM TechNews

Despite a Slowdown, Smartphone Advances Are Still Ahead

Despite a Slowdown, Smartphone Advances Are Still Ahead

Apple's new iPhone 5 has faster chips and a bigger screen, but these improvements lack the dramatic impact the first iPhone had in 2007. However, analysts say breakthroughs in smartphone materials, software, and batteries could…


From ACM TechNews

Intel Seeks to Eliminate Computer Passwords With Wave of Hand

Intel Seeks to Eliminate Computer Passwords With Wave of Hand

Intel researchers recently demonstrated a system that has the potential to do away with computer passwords.


From ACM Opinion

iPhone 5? Yawn. What Will the 'Phone' of 2022 Look Like?

iPhone 5? Yawn. What Will the 'Phone' of 2022 Look Like?

The near-term future of phones is fairly well-established. The iPhone 5 was released Wednesday and its similarity to every Apple phone since 2007 serves as a reminder that our current mobile devices have been sitting on the same…

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