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Commentaries
2017
  • The three acid tests of persuasive writing

    Each Communication Corner essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, if you have not already done so, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay sequentially.

  • The glorious promise of the post-truth world
    "Post-truth"---an adjective designated the 2016 Word of the Year by the Oxford English Dictionaries, and the related term "truthiness," have received much public attention recently, and have inspired heated discussions ...
2016
  • How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan

    The thrust of the Communication Corner is to offer step-by-step advice to help you become a better writer and speaker. This first essay explains how Phillip Yaffe went from being a very poor writer and speaker to being a recognizably good one, almost despite himself.

  • Screwbots
    Have you ever thought of lying to your smartphone to protect your privacy? Everyday we face a dilemma about privacy: We take advantage of apps that are able to use ...
  • Automated Car Woes---Whoa There!
    With all the growing interest in automated cars and driverless cars and recent accidents involving them, we thought we would turn to Risks founder Peter G. ...
  • Science, Reason, and Robots
    Science depends on logical reasoning. However, the conclusions one comes to intimately depend on the explicit, or more often implicit, assumptions on which the reasoning is based. ...
2015
  • The Importance of Cross-layer Considerations in a Standardized WSN Protocol Stack Aiming for IoT: The Internet of Things (Ubiquity symposium)

    The Internet of Things (IoT) envisages expanding the current Internet with a huge number of intelligent communicating devices. Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) integrating IoT will rely on a set of the open standards striving to offer scalability and reliability in a variety of operating scenarios and conditions. Standardized protocols will tackle some of the major WSN challenges like energy efficiency, intrinsic impairments of low-power wireless medium, and self-organization. After more then a decade of tremendous standardization efforts, we can finally witness an integral IP-based WSN standardized protocol stack for IoT. Nevertheless, the current state of standards has redundancy issues and can benefit from further improvements. We would like to highlight some of the cross-layer aspects that need to be considered to bring further improvements to the standardized WSN protocol stack for the IoT.

2014
  • Beyond features: welcome to the age of intangibles
    This article looks at the constantly evolving landscape of digital devices, and analyzes the growing inefficiency of hardware specifications to properly represent the overall value perceived by the user. ...
2013 2012 2011
  • The 7% rule: fact, fiction, or misunderstanding

    In 1971, Albert Mehrabian published a book Silent Messages, in which he discussed his research on non-verbal communication. He concluded that prospects based their assessments of credibility on factors other than the words the salesperson spoke---the prospects studied assigned 55 percent of their weight to the speaker's body language and another 38 percent to the tone and music of their voice. They assigned only 7 percent of their credibility assessment to the salesperson's actual words. Over the years, this limited experiment evolved to a belief that movement and voice coaches would be more valuable to teaching successful communication than speechwriters. In fact, in 2007 Allen Weiner published So Smart But… discussing how to put this principle to work in organizations.

  • Steve Jobs and the user psyche
    Much has been said about Steve Jobs's ability to anticipate what users would want. No one quite knows how he did it. ...
  • Ubiquity symposium: Biological Computation
    In this thirteenth piece to the Ubiquity symposium discussing What is computation? Melanie Mitchell discusses the idea that biological computation is a process that occurs in nature, not merely in ...
  • Ubiquity symposium: Natural Computation
    In this twelfth piece to the Ubiquity symposium discussing What is computation? Erol Gelenbe reviews computation in natural systems, focusing mainly on biology and citing examples of the computation that ...
  • Ubiquity symposium: Computation, Uncertainty and Risk
    In this eleventh piece to the Ubiquity symposium discussing What is computation? Jeffrey P. Buzen develops a new computational model for representing computations that arise when deterministic algorithms process workloads ...
2010
  • The New Ubiquity
    Ubiquity's new site will launch this month, marking a new editorial direction. ...
  • Cheating in Computer Science
    Many computer science teachers are very concerned about students cheating in their courses. Surveys report that almost three-quarters of high school students admit to cheating within the past year. ...
2009
  • Virtualizing the Datacenter Without Compromising Server Performance
    Virtualization has become a hot topic. Cloud computing is the latest and most prominent application of this time-honored idea, which is almost as old as the computing field itself. The term "cloud" seems to have originated with someone's drawing of the Internet as a puffy cloud hiding many servers and connections. A user can receive a service from the cloud without ever knowing which machine (or machines) rendered the service, where it was located, or how many redundant copies of its data there are. One of the big concerns about the cloud is that it may assign many computational processes to one machine, thereby making that machine a bottleneck and giving poor response time. Faouzi Kamoun addresses this concern head on, and assures us that in most cases the virtualization used in the cloud and elsewhere improves performance. He also addresses a misconception made prominent in a Dilbert cartoon, when the boss said he wanted to virtualize the servers to save electricity.
  • How to Generate Reader Interest in What You Write
    Who has not discovered to their dismay that no one wants to read their most carefully crafted, meritorious, compelling, and passionate writings? Think of all the proposals you have written ...
  • Mind Hygiene for All: A Concept Map
    Maintaining mental sharpness and clarity is important to most everyone, and doing so is valuable for maintaining our professional edge. But we are under assault from many directions with challenges ...
  • How to Rapidly Improve Speaking Skills
    Even as written communication is important, spoken communication has been assuming an increasing role. We are called on to speak in such media as videos, teleconferences, and podcasts. ...
  • The Fallacy of Premature Optimization
    Moore's Law makes it seem as if resource limitations are always a minor consideration. If there will be twice as much memory for the same price in 18 months, why ...
2008
  • Long Live the .250 Hitter
    The dearth of women in computing is very much on everyone's mind. Elena Strange offers a new perspective on this. She observes that the solid, utility hitters (and players) are the backbone of every baseball team. In playing on her computing teams she has no aspirations for MVP awards and strives for personal excellence in the things she does. She asks her male colleagues to value her as a .250 hitter without holding her to the standard of a .314 hitter. This simple change could open the gates to a flood of women in computing. Elena holds Grace Hopper as the equivalent of the legendary .314 hitter in computing. Hopper told her friends that she was never aspiring to be a legendary leader, but only to do the best possible job with the tasks that were before her. Be personally excellent and interact with people from your heart, said Hopper, and all the rest will take care of itself. You can see in Elena's story the seeds that Grace Hopper planted.
  • The Power of Dispositions
    Many people have been trying to come to grips with the new ways of learning that are supported by networked tools in recent years. These new ways feature distributed social ...
  • Mirrorware
    As we use and design computing systems, Michael Schrage asks us to reflect on what these systems reveal of ourselves and not just what they reveal to others. ...
  • Why Does Time Go Faster As We Get Older?
    Persons in every age group wonder why time seems to move so much faster than it did in their pasts. It seems as if there is never enough time to ...
  • The Three Acid Tests of Persuasive Writing
    If there are still scientists toiling away with little regard for what others may think of their efforts, it's time to drag them kicking and screaming into the 21st century. ...
  • My Problem with Design
    I was reminded today of the things I find troubling about our modern notions of design and designing. Hundreds of years ago, if one wanted to become a designer, one ...
  • Content-Based Image Retrieval System
    The term CBIR seems to have originated in 1992, when it was describe experiments into automatic retrieval of images from a database, based on the colors and shapes present. ...
  • Emergence of the Academic Computing Clouds
    Computational grids are very large-scale aggregates of communication and computation resources enabling new types of applications and bringing several benefits of economy-of-scale. The first computational grids were established in academic ...
  • Wot do U think? (What Do You Think?)
    (NOTE TO READERS: Out of sheer curiosity I used a website that allowed me to translate text from English to the language used by those who send and receive text ...
  • Technological Transformation of Human Experience
    This article was inspired by Don Ihde's work on the experience of technology in human-machine relations. (See Don Ihde. " The Experience of Technology," Cultural Hermeneutics, Vol. ...
  • Thoughts on the Nature of the Virtual
    This article seeks to formulate some brief sociological and philosophical thoughts on the radically problematic nature and character of the virtual. These ultimately aim to critically challenge and reinvent the ...
  • Professor Andy Clark on Natural-born Cyborgs
    Bio of Dr. Clark: Dr. Andy Clark is a professor of philosophy and chair in logic and metaphysics at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Previously, he taught at Washington ...
  • Information technology as an ethical challenge
    Information technology has an ambiguous impact on society. This situation calls for a two-level ethical analysis. On the one hand the issues of power and control must be reconsidered under ...
  • Mathematics by Jannat
    Arrgh!!! Well! If this is your reaction upon hearing the word MATH, you are not alone. ...
  • Scarce resources in computing
    How we organize computing - and innovate with it - is shaped by what at any time is the most scarce resource. In the early days of computing, processing (and, ...
  • Elliptic curve cryptography
    This paper describes the Elliptic Curve Cryptography algorithm and its suitability for smart cards. ...
  • Triple layer data security
    The growth of high speed computer networks and that of Internet, in particular, has hiked the ease of Data Communication. But in the other hand this growth is also responsible ...
  • Employee retention: By way of management control systems
    Loyalty is passé in the modern time and professionalism is the buzzword in the contemporary corporate world. The reasons of employee attrition are also changing. Now-a-days employee leaves an organization ...
  • On degree sequence
    I ndi got her BS in Computer Science from Cal Poly and began her master's at Colorado State. She then worked as a software engineer, later managing Web applications that ...
  • Knowledge mechanics and its temporal nature
    Wordnet defines knowledge as the psychological result of perception, learning and reasoning [1]. Like mechanics is the study of the way matter and force interact with each other, knowledge mechanics ...
  • A fuzzy modeling approach to evaluate faculty performance
    Performance of a teacher is vital both for students and institution and must be measured and evaluated for positive reinforcement to teaching. This paper presents a mathematical model to evaluate ...
  • Smart phones: A tutorial
    1. INTRODUCTION Pervasive Computing integrates computation in the environment rather than computers which are distinct objects. Other terms for pervasive computing ubiquitous computing, calm technology, things that think and everyware. ...
  • The rise and fall of a good programmer
    Of all the sayings I dislike, the most vapid is one I have heard as long as I have been working with IT: We will have the paperless toilet before ...
  • Anticipating and resolving resource overloads
    The Concept of a Project Resource In the context of project management, a resource is any entity that contributes to the accomplishment of project activities. Most project resources perform work ...
  • Avoiding disaster when your hard drive fails
    No one really expects a disk crash, but they do happen, usually at the most unconvenient times. Having a quick and easy-to-restore backup can eliminate both the distress and expense ...
  • Why visual aids need to be less visual
    I was recently invited to a presentation by an accomplished speaker. Needless to say, his speech was well structured, his manner relaxed and confident, his eye contact and body language ...
  • Use of genetic algorithms for Indian music mixing
    Music has changed and evolved through time and time tells that it has always been for the better. In our study, we have implemented Genetic Algorithms for the generation of ...
  • Hermeneutics facing the
    The origin of this paper goes back to the International Conference "Phenomenology and Technology" held at the Philosophy and Technology Studies Center, Polytechnic University (New York), October 2- 4, 1986 ...
  • ERP system replacement criteria
    An ERP system is our information backbone and reaches into all areas of our business and value-chain. Replacing it can open unlimited business opportunities. The cornerstone of this effort is ...
  • Whatever happened to cybernetics?
    Has the discipline of cybernetics been unable to recognize and respond to appropriate "midcourse corrections" and in the process had its destiny imposed by external "turning points"? ...
  • Understanding software testing concepts
    Software testing concepts have been briefly described in this article. Readers would find it easier to understand fundamental concepts of software testing by going through a concept map thereof. ...
  • End laptop serfdom
    Time to end personal technology serfdom! I hate company-specific technology standards, at least those that specify technology in terms other than file formats, access protocols and application programming interfaces. ...
  • About english: On the other hand
    I read Philip Yaffe's two recent Ubiquity pieces with interest, all the more so because I myself have plunged back into an international experience after sampling the delights of retirement ...
  • Is the GMO controversy relevant to computer ethics?
    Computing and information technology professionals have exhibited high standards of engagement with ethical issues relating to privacy, information security and abuse of the technical capabilities they have been responsible for ...
2007
  • Unleashing Web 2.0: From concepts to creativity
    Vossen is both an IS & CS Professor at the University of Muenster, and also served as European Editor-in-Chief for Elseviers international information systems journal. ...
  • Understanding dependable computing concepts
    This work aims to visually describe the important concepts of a dependable computing system and the relationships between the concepts. The concept map here for dependable computing system concepts would ...
  • Economic recognition of innovation
    Globalization has benefited the economies of member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) by helping their businesses stay profitable through cost-effective outsourcing of mostly garden-variety tasks ...
  • When it comes to E-learning
    E-learning is fast becoming a major learning and skills delivery method within larger companies as a staff development tool. Survey shows that among American colleges and universities in 2002, 11% ...
  • RKPianGraphSort: a graph based sorting algorithm
    Sorting is a well-known problem frequently used in many aspects of the world of computational applications. Sorting means arranging a set of records (or a list of keys) in some ...
  • Computational foundations of image interpolation algorithms
    Image interpolation is an important image processing operation applied in diverse areas ranging from computer graphics, rendering, editing, medical image reconstruction, to online image viewing. Image interpolation techniques are referred ...
  • Business decision making, management and information technology
    "Information technology is no longer a business resource; it is the business environment." His statement is not far from truth. Ongoing advances in information technology (IT), along with increasing global ...
2006
  • Mobile IP: enabling user mobility
    This review paper gives a brief insight about Mobile IP, its features and entities constituting Mobile IP environment. The paper explores the working and routing mechanism of Mobile IP with a deep insight about triangle routing in Mobile IP Version 4(MIPv4) and route optimization in Mobile IP Version 6(MIPv6). This paper discusses several security issues regarding Mobile IP implementation. This paper also highlights route optimization problems and focuses on the solution of those problems.
  • Evolutionary biclustering of gene expressions
    With the advent of microarray technology it has been possible to measure thousands of expression values of genes in a single experiment. Biclustering or simultaneous clustering of both genes and ...
  • AI re-emerging as research in complex systems
    The history and the future of Artificial Intelligence could be summarized into three distinctive phases: embryonic, embedded and embodied. We briefly describe early efforts in AI aiming to mimic intelligent ...
  • Secure delivery of handwritten signature
    A number of researchers have proposed using digital marks to provide ownership (watermarking) identification for the property. One way of data hiding is digital signature, copyright label or digital watermark ...
  • VLSI Algorithms and architectures for JPEG2000
    In this paper, we presented VLSI algorithms and architectures for JPEG2000. JPEG2000 is the new standard for image compression. We briefly described the core algorithms for JPEG2000 standard and its ...
  • Mosquito attack optimization
    Ant Colony Optimization and Swarm Optimization are the classical areas of researches in the field of Computer Science. Computer Scientists are trying to map the Biological and Natural Solution with ...
  • New approach to designing GPRS location update function
    Wireless IP network has attracted significant interest due to their ability to support both voice and data transfer in mobile communication. One of the main issues concerning such network is ...
  • The waning importance of categorization
    The mobile phone has caused us to plan less and communicate more. The Internet causes us to categorize less and search more - and media's increasing Internet nervousness is driven ...
  • 802.16 2001 MAC layer QoS
    This paper reviews 802.16 2001's MAC layer QoS metric. It explains the importance of QoS and its parameter set; defines types of services supported by this standard; explores the main ...
  • Corporate renewal engines
    The great, long-living companies are able to adapt to tectonic market shifts and historical changes while crossing different technological epochs. ...
  • Fault tolerance in web services
    This paper demonstrates how to design a fault tolerant web application that relies on an affordable redundancy in data and function using Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). ...
  • Information security
    Nowadays, information is one of the very important assets in almost all organizations. Once the internal networks of those organizations are connected to the Internet, it becomes a potential target ...
2005
  • Artificial and Biological Intelligence
    Subhash Kak of Louisiana State University says that "humans will eventually create silicon machines with minds that will slowly spread all over the world, and the entire universe will eventually ...
  • Software-Based Fault Tolerant Computing
    This paper describes how to design a software-based fault tolerant application using microprocessor (MP), in order to tolerate the burst errors in memory. This approach may be called a single ...
  • Mailbag
    In his article 'Artificial and Biological Intelligence,' Subhash Kak of Louisiana State University asks if 'humans will eventually create silicon machines with minds that will slowly spread all over the ...
  • The E2B machine translation: a new approach to HLT
    This article describes a new approach to machine translator that translates English text into Bangla text with disambiguation. The translated Bengali text in English scripts is also useful for learning ...
  • IT job outsourcing
    Bhumika Ghimire, who is from Nepal, is a graduate of Schiller University, where he studied IT Management and where outsourcing was his special field of interest. ...
  • Intrusion prevention systems
    Intrusion Prevention Systems are an important component of IT systems defense, and without this technology our data and our networks are much more susceptible to malicious activities. ...
  • A software fix towards fault-tolerant computing
    This article describes a low cost software technique for transient fault detection and fault tolerance in a processing system. The random errors caused by potential transients, Electrical Fast Transients (EFT) ...
  • PCs in the classroom & open book exams
    What are the motivations behind giving an open-book/open-notes exam? Does giving free access to all of the resources of the Internet conflict with these motivations? ...
  • Taking Information Technology to the Heart of India
    'Today we truly live in a global village, but it is a village with elite information 'haves' and many information 'have-nots.' With the new technologies available to us we have ...
2004
  • Technologically Mediated Lifeworld
    Understanding the connection between science and technology is an essential step toward creating a more humane technoscience in the future.
  • Computing or Humanities?
    The application of computing to research problems in the humanities is not new ...
  • Review of Activity-Centered Design
    With new insights to a well-documented topic, this book offers an excellent incentive and useful tools for system designers to pursue activity-centered design. ...
  • Technology footnotes: international time line
    In the days of hot type, magazine content was set in film. This writer offered "intriguing" suggestions for making publications more appealing to international audiences. ...
  • Ergonomic soft mouse and armrest mouse pad
    In this paper, it is shown that a teddy bear skin spongy mouse is a better option than a conventional plastic mouse design and that a portable arm rest mouse ...
  • Interfaces for staying in the flow
    Psychologists have studied "optimal human experience" for many years, often called "being in the flow". Through years of study, the basic characteristics of flow have been identified. ...
  • OakUT - C++ unit test framework
    The OakUT framework helps users approach tests in a uniform way and provides a neat structure for the whole test suite of a system. ...
  • Calm technologies in a multimedia world
    In an ideal world, computers will blend into the landscape, will inform but not overburden you with information, and make you aware of them only when you need them. ...
  • Technology benefiting humanity
    Memo to the new generation of tech philanthropists: Apply the same intellect and discipline to your philanthropy as you employ in business. ...
  • 2004, The turning point
    An overview of some of the issues that will change the way we use the Internet ...
  • Emotional design
    Beauty and brains, pleasure and usability go hand-in-hand in good design. ...
2003
  • The university of DVD
    Universities and training organizations increasingly use technology to record and distribute original material, bringing on a new class of technological and legal issues. ...
  • The aeffability of knowledge management
    The Aeffability of Knowledge Management [1] The challenge of knowledge management, and hence of online learning, is to make it work with the complexity and richness of actual human communication. ...
  • The digital aid framework
    Technology enables humanitarian relief organizations to come closer to achieving Dunant's dream. ...
  • Fault management in mobile computing
    Business people on the go need portability and mobility in their computing environments. However, such mobile environments often suffer from transient faults. ...
  • Port wars
    In the not-too-distant-future, firewalls spark a battle over port regulation and ownership ...
  • Lowering the cost of computation
    Efficient support for sophisticated interactions between entities in distributed brokering systems ...
  • Commercial computational grids: a road map
    A consideration of the state of computational grids with respect to standards, current uses, and a road map for commercial benefit beyond their common applications ...
  • Running a virtual enterprise
    The story of a software division that managed to survive in spite of the downturn in the industry. ...
  • Hacking primes
    Visualization of prime numbers may further the understanding and safeguarding of encryption techniques. ...
  • Predicting context aware computing performance
    Computer systems will increasingly need to be sensitive to their context to serve their users better.In this paper we forecast the capabilities of context aware computing and relating it to ...
  • Learning by redoing
    The availability of components that do a myriad of tasks could lead programmer complacency ...
2002
  • Teaching the history of computer science
    Students who are truly interested in computer science would enjoy learning about those programmers who went before them, and how they overcame their difficulties. ...
  • Digital promises
    The prospect of living our lives online may not be so attractive after all ...
  • The future of internet security
    Should common security technologies be blended with biometrics for accuracy and reliability? ...
  • Channeling innovation
    Despite its importance to business, innovation can be a confusing distraction. ...
  • Stamp out technology virginity
    Technology virginity and technology virgins are everywhere -- and more influential than you might like. Time to go on the offensive. ...
  • Beyond numbers
    Martha Amram on the current economics of technology investment. ...
  • The somatic engineer
    Engineers trained in value skills will be superior professionals and designers. ...
  • Intel's inside track
    Annabelle Gawer on the surprising sources of leadership in interdependent environments. ...
  • Nowhere to hide
    Companies will need to make themselves components of their customers' lives rather than trying to make customers a component of their organizations. ...
  • The privacy paradox
    A national biometric database in place of our current flawed identification systems could prevent the loss of liberty and autonomy. ...
  • Freedom to think and speak
    Under Microsoft's Digital Rights Management operating system, the ability to use information freely will be policed at the most intricate level. ...
2001
  • Optimizing bandwidth
    An approach to high performance distributed Web brokering. ...
  • What is software engineering?
    The name implies scientific rigor, and opens software engineering to the charge that it is a pseudo-science flying under false colors. ...
2000
  • Tomorrow's news
    What will the news be like in the continuing evolving age of information? Ifra, an international association of newspaper organizations, has created a 10-minute video to provide a peek into the future of the newsroom while highlighting issues that present-day newsrooms must face in making the transition to the new publishing industry. Although early prototypes of the Daily Me have proven disappointing, "it cannot be ignored that the news industry, like most industries, is moving from a product-based business model to a service model under pressure of the Information Economy," writes Ifra's Kerry Northrup. "And good service requires some degree of personalization. The publisher of Tomorrow's News has profiled its readers, listeners, viewers and users sufficiently that it knows their collective interests and even individually where they work." Northrup, who plays a prominent role in Ifra's work as a worldwide leader in publishing strategies and technology, here provides Ubiquity a summary description of what lies ahead for the newspaper industry in the 21st Century.
  • Guide to the internet
    No matter where on earth, it isn't hard to find creative individuals who see the advantages that technology can confer. ...