acm - an acm publication

Commentaries

  • P2P networks are inherently unstable

    The P2P technology underlying file-sharing systems like Gnutella and distributed autonomous organizations like blockchain are inherently unstable because of self-organizing processes akin to Gause's competitive exclusion principle, and preferential attachment. To maintain an egalitarian P2P organization it is necessary to conserve the original network's entropy, defined as the random structure of the network and actions among peers.

  • Resurrecting the bullet point: the return of an old and valued friend

    PowerPoint has come under attack in recent years. Well known figures such as Edward Tufte have castigated PowerPoint for corrupting minds and numbing thought. Some sociologists have condemned it for luring people away from listening to each other and communicating effectively. Scott Adams (author of Dilbert) often depicts PowerPoint as a facilitator of office dysfunction. From all this, you might think PowerPoint has badly wounded us and our society with its barrage of bullet points.

  • The New Ubiquity
    Ubiquity's new site will launch this month, marking a new editorial direction. Ubiquity is now a peer-reviewed online publication of ACM dedicated to the future of computing and the people who are creating it.
  • 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 that no one is interested in. Or the web pages, the blog posts, or the company brochures. Chances are, your failures are linked to an inability to connect with what your readers would be interested in reading. Our intrepid writer about writing, Phil Yaffe, offers some valuable insight into how to get people to read your stuff. He says you need to adopt the "expository writing challenge": that no one is interested in what you are inclined to write, therefore you must discover what they want to read. Only then you can get started, and only then you can succeed.
  • Is Design the Preeminent Protagonist in User Experience?
    We are gradually learning that "user experience" is a critical factor in customer satisfaction and loyalty. A positive experience means a happy customer who returns again. Designers of software systems and web services have been digging deeply into how they might generate a positive user experience. They are moving beyond anecdotes about excellent examples of user experiences and are developing design principles. Phillip Tobias gives us a fascinating account of the emerging design principles that will generate satisfied and loyal users.
  • 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 that can interfere with mental sharpness. Some of the challenges are familiar; others hide in the background. What are these challenges and what can we do about them? Goutam Saha has a very concise summary of everything contributing to mental hygiene, including the challenges and actions to meet them. He expresses this with mind maps, which themselves contribute to mental clarity.
  • 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. Our ability to speak clearly is as important as our ability to formulate our arguments concisely and clearly. Phil Yaffe, who has provided advice to Ubiquity readers on how to write clearly and concisely, offers advice on how to speak clearly.
  • 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 bother to squeeze a factor of 2 from an application's memory requirements? If the CPU will be twice as fast by then, why bother to shave some running time from a program? In other words, why bother to optimize programs? Isn't it better to just get them running and let Moore's Law take us off the hook when resources are constrained? Randall Hyde argues that optimization is important even when memory and processor double regularly. Trying to do the optimization too early can be a futile time-waster.
  • How Crafty Word Order Can Instantly Improve Your Writing
    I am usually very reticent about offering writing tips. Unless they are linked to the absolute, inescapable fundamental principles of good writing, such tips are too often poorly applied or misapplied. There is really only a handful of fundamental writing principles. Before this extraordinary tip can be properly revealed, we need to review three of them: 1) clarity, 2) conciseness, and 3) density.
  • 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 networks at their core and are proving to be much more popular and often more effective than traditional schooling. Science communities such as faulkes-telescope.com and labrats.org, and massive multiplayer games such as World of Warcraft, are in the vanguard. John Seely Brown and Doug Thomas make an important contribution to understanding what makes these networks so powerful. They use the term disposition to refer to an attitude or stance toward the world that inclines the person toward effective practice. They find that a "questing disposition", which has always been important for inquiry and learning, is encouraged and supported in these vanguard social learning networks. Their work will reward your time and attention. --Peter Denning, Editor
  • Presidential Politics and Internet Issues in the 2000 Election
    As with the US election of 2000, the US election of 2008 features two slates and four new faces running for the top offices. While many of the issues concerning the electorate are different in 2008 than in 2000, remarkably some issues are the same. We thought you might be amused at Doug Isenberg's resurrected reflections on the 2000 election. You can see what has changed and what has not.
  • 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. We may find many surprises about design and privacy. In 1892, the newspapers published a series of editorials of leading thinkers about what the world would be like in 1992. (See Dave Walter, TODAY THEN, Am Geographical Union, 1992.) Collectively, they were almost 100 percent wrong. Their reflections revealed more about how they saw themselves than about the future. This is exactly what Michael Schrage is warning us about.
  • 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 get everything done and that the situation only gets worse. Many explanations have been offered for this, but few seem to hit the target as well as Phil Yaffe's explanation. We hope you enjoy and find it provocative. Phil has been a writer and journalist for over four decades and is able to write eloquently about his personal experience with accelerating time.
  • 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. In today's interconnected world, what scientists do is of vital concern to the wider public. And vice versa. Just consider the controversies surrounding nuclear energy, genetic engineering, telephone antennas, global warming -- and even the effects of computers on education and individual liberty (surveillance society).
  • 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 would first have become a master craftsperson. We learned how to construct distinctive artifacts (and worlds of artifacts) and then we began to innovate in that tradition. To say one was a designer without that background would have been Harry Potteresque: ridiculous.
  • Information, DNA, and Change Through the Prism of a Great City
    After retiring from a career in academic/IT management at Carnegie-Mellon, Northeastern, and Washington and Lee Universities, John Stuckey is serving as Acting Chief Technology Officer at the American University in Cairo. This is the third of his reports to Ubiquity from Egypt.
  • 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 messages. The second part of this article contains a copy of the entire text that was thus translated.)
  • 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. 2, 1974, pp. 267-279.)
  • Can Learning Languages Help You Better Understand Science and Technology?
    "I was 24 years old when I first began thinking and speaking in a foreign language. It was like being released from prison. I saw my cell door swinging open and my mind flying free. That was over 40 years ago, but the picture is as fresh now as if it had just happened."
  • 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 complex interrelations of contemporary virtuality to the real and the political. In such a context, new media studies acquire a normative impetus.
  • Dimension of Philosophy of Technologies: Critical Theory and Democratization of Technologies
    Philosophy of technology promises the possibility of an understanding of technology that may be important not only to public policy but also in helping to conceptualise intellectual approaches to the study of technology and, indeed, to shaping new fields of knowledge and research. Philosophy of technology may also have a role to play in relation not only to structuring a largely disparate and inchoate field but also more directly in teaching and learning about technology (Peters, et. al 2008).
  • 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 the viewpoint of institutional structures, i.e., of living norms. On the other hand, the technological shaping of society, taking the character of power, oppression, verbosity and dogmatic belief, should be at the same time reconsidered under the viewpoint of a plurality of living forms, i.e., within a framework of deliberation and dissent. This paper presents briefly both issues, taking into account Michel Foucault's concept of "technologies of the self."
  • 21st Century Information Technology Revolution

    The computing power in the few micro processors that are now in a Ford Motor Car is much more than all the computing power that was put in the space vehicle that landed the first men on the moon and brought them back. In today's do-more-with-less business environment, with increasing demands from customers, shareholders, and regulators, the IT organization is not only asked to work harder and smarter, but is being asked to take on the role of assuring the business.

    Humanity has progressed from agricultural revolution to the industrial revolution and is now moving to an information revolution. It is this awesome computing power at continuously falling prices and the computers being networked over global telecom highways that is leading to the use of Information Technology in every sector of human activity be it communication, banking, trading, learning and teaching, entertainment, socializing, government, management and librarying. Just as machines have extended man's mechanical power and his convenience and comfort, Information Technology as commonly picturized by computers, is extending man's mind or brain or intellectual power. The term information technology has ballooned to encompass many aspects of computing and technology, and the term is more recognizable than ever before.

  • Mathematics by Jannat
    Arrgh!!! Well! If this is your reaction upon hearing the word MATH, you are not alone. You too are part of that ever increasing family which loves to hate it.
  • Technology based outsourcing K-12 mathematics and science teaching

    The author suggests that the teaching of mathematics and science in K-12 schools be outsourced to teachers in other countries whose students achieve better in mathematics and science. He outlines the advantages of using telecommunications technologies to outsource the teaching of mathematics and science.

  • 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, to a certain extent, storage, which up to a point is a substitute for processing) was the main scarce resource. Computers were expensive and weak, so you had to organize what you did with them to make as much out of the processing capacity as possible. Hence, with the early computers, much time was spent making sure the process was fully used, by meticulously allocating time for users on the machine - first with scheduled batch processing, then with time-sharing operating systems that rationed processing resources to users based on need and budget.
  • SC08 broader engagement offers mentoring and travel assistance grants
    Austin, TX Interested in understanding what supercomputing means? Want to learn how next-generation computing, networking and storage technologies help to solve our worlds challenges and problems? Do you want to be in a place that brings together scientists, engineers, researchers, educators, programmers, system administrators and managers to discuss, discover and innovate the path forward for computing? If so, the SC08 Broader Engagement initiative might just be for you.
  • The non-autonomy of the virtual: philosophical reflections on contemporary virtuality

    Much contemporary talk of virtual 'worlds' proceeds as if the virtual could somehow be considered as in competition with or as an alternative to the world of the 'nonvirtual' or the 'everyday'. This paper argues that such a contrast is fundamentally mistaken, and that the virtual is not autonomous with respect to the everyday, but is rather embedded within it, and an extension of it.

  • Preface by Arun Tripathi to Jeff Malpas' 'The Non-Autonomy of the Virtual'
    Australian philosopher Jeff Malpas, author of Place and Experience, argues in his Ubiquity paper The non-autonomy of the virtual: philosophical reflections on contemporary virtuality that the virtual is not autonomous with respect to the everyday, but is rather embedded within it, and an extension of it. Within philosophy, Professor Malpas is perhaps best known as one of a small number of philosophers who work across the analytic-continental divide, publishing one of the first books that drew attention to convergences in the thinking of the key twentieth century American philosopher Donald Davidson and the phenomenological and hermeneutic traditions, as exemplified in the work of Heidegger and Gadamer.
  • 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 for many reasons. Some leave for growth, some leave for some family problems but majority of people switchover jobs due to only one reason that is DISSATISFACTION. Undoubtedly satisfaction and dissatisfaction sort of things have different meaning for different people but having majority of people satisfied is pretty germane for sustainable growth and high level of productivity in any organization. A threadbare analysis of attrition brings some major concerns like not having objectivity in job allocation, employee recognition and fairness in career advancements for consideration. They are also important causes of dissatisfaction for employees in organizations. This dissatisfaction finally gets a vent in the form of changing the job. This subjectivity in the issues of employee handling is the key for dissatisfaction. Management Control System is fully capable of bringing objectivity in the organization and managing this dissatisfaction which would finally be translated into high employee retention, and better productivity and better organizations.

  • How to use presentation slides to best effect
    How often have you attended a presentation where great attention apparently went into designing the slides - and apparently none into how they were used? Or the speaker played with the slides as if to entertain rather than edify?
  • 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 we have a paperless office. Normally uttered with a dry cackle and a finger pointed towards my office, which does not lack for paper.
  • Time to get serious about the paperless office
    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 we have a paperless office. Normally uttered with a dry cackle and a finger pointed towards my office, which does not lack for paper.
  • 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 and include such entities as personnel, equipment and contractors. However, the concept of a resource (and the techniques of resource management presented in this paper) can also be applied to entities that do not perform work, but which must be available in order for work to be performed. Examples include materials, cash, and workspace. This paper focuses on the resource that is of greatest concern to most organizations personnel. In a project management system, personnel resources may be identified as individuals by name or as functional groups, such as computer programmers.
  • 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 excellent, etc. He normally spoke without slides, but this time he felt they would reinforce and illuminate his message. They didnt. In fact, they were more of a hindrance than a help.
  • Out sourcing-off shoring: how will you derive the value?
    The equations of global economies are changing fast due to Industry consolidation, merging, acquisitions and on account of industries hunger for global hunt and race of scaling-up higher and higher there by creating stiff competition among their rivals. The business houses are deeply evolved in looking at techno commercially viable IT solutions to grow at faster speed, support the business effectively and provide competitive advantage by using the latest emerging technologies.
  • Arrogance or efficiency? a discussion of the Microsoft office fluent user interface
    1 Introduction I was writing an e-mail message the other day using Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 and clicked on the button for adding one of my signature blocks. Presto! Most of my message disappeared! Investigation and testing showed that the behavior was unpredictable; sometimes, only the existing default signature was replaced by the new signature but occasionally the program became confused and wiped out portions of the text as well.
  • Is a worldwide common language just over the horizon?
    I am an American living in Belgium since 1974. Ever since arriving here, I have been hearing the mantra To be a good European, you should learn several languages. Almost from the very beginning, I suggested going the other way: To be a good European, everyone should learn a single common language.
  • Why track actual costs and resource usage on projects?
    The importance of tracking actual costs and resource usage in projects depends upon the project situation. For some projects, tracking actuals is unnecessary or is not worth the effort required. In other cases, however, tracking actual costs and resource usage is an essential aspect of the project control function. In such cases, a system must be put into place to support the tracking process, and the collection/recording of the potentially voluminous quantity of data requires strong organizational discipline. Why then is tracking actual costs and resource usage on a project ever worth the effort required to accomplish it?
  • 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 which was organized by Wolfgang Schirmacher and Carl Mitcham. After thirteen years, obviously, things have changed and I have done some further work too. My book Hermeneutik der Fachinformation was published in 1986 and since then I have written some articles on this subject as well as another book Leben im Informationszeitalter (Capurro 1995). Some of the articles as well as a list of publications can be found in my homepage (http://www.capurro.de). The present text is an enriched version of the original one. I have added some later insights without changing the basic ideas which I still think are valuable and can also be of help when reflecting, for instance, about the nature of communicating and searching for information in the Internet.
  • 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 finding the right partner and specialist. Our long-term business strategy will form the basis of the criteria for our selection of an ERP system replacement. Our ERP provider must be part of our vision. It is the duty of a software provider to help us to get there by doing their part to make sure our next system will be our last ERP system replacement. Some of the criteria that allow us to identify and select the solution that will meet these expectations.

  • Collective intelligence: include the disabled for success
    Are you looking for new ideas to leverage your IT to allow your workforce to collectively be more efficient at solving complex problems? Want to transform your corporation so that it can reach new heights?
  • 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"? (A mid-course correction is an endogenously determined action as in the classical "sense-processact" sequence, whereas a turning point is simply a reaction to that which is exogenously imposed; i.e., "being overcome by events."
  • 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. In most companies I am in touch with, employees get a laptop and a cell phone and are required to use a set of standard capabilities of some sort. More often than not these are unnecessarily complicated, old-fashioned, expensive and singularly uninspiring. This is often for good reasons: The IT department wants to make things manageable for themselves and for the organization, and employees need to have a standard frame of reference and a compatible set of tools for work. The helpdesk can figure out which keys to press and the employees can see the same screens. Well and good, but the users are beginning to rebel at the lack of options especially those they have on their own or former computers.
  • 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 for a year.
  • How many Americans does it take to change a light bulb?
    I changed a light bulb yesterday. Or, rather, I had the thing changed. I told an Egyptian friend I had a couple of bulbs burnt out and was assuming I could pick some up at one of the larger new supermarkets. He looked at me with barely concealed pity for my ignorance. No, he said. They don't carry light bulbs in a market. Later, in e-mail, he would spell it "light pulp," which is an image I find quite intriguing. Where's Einstein when you need him? Might light pulp be what glows inside the glass, I wonder?
  • 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 developing. But one can argue that computing capability is implicated in ethical controversies that receive relatively little discussion within the IT community. Stem cell research, nanotechnologies and other controversial areas of science would be impossible without the computational capacity of information processing. In many instances, the downstream applications of computer technology are deeply involved in the issues surrounding contested technologies.
  • An approach for conducting enterprise resource planning assessment

    The failure to plan will lead to results that fall short of expectations. The same thing can be said of companies and their search for a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. All companies undertake the search for a new system because they believe there is an opportunity to improve the organization, either by improving the revenue, decreasing costs or both.

    But far too often, companies undertake this effort without having a plan on how to select a new ERP system. They fall victim selecting the product with the best sales presentation or the best cost proposal. There is not quantitative evidence that this new system will actually achieve the goals of improving the revenue or decreasing the cost.

    So put an evaluation plan in place. No two plans will be the same but all should have the same basic concepts.

  • Techniques of persuasive communication: old wisdom in a new package
    What you are about to read will probably sound familiar. Indeed, it has been said many times before. However, I believe this formulation is original and may help you better apply it in your marketing communication. I immodestly call it Yaffes Law.
  • Technology transfer and modernization: what can philosophers of technology contribute?

    Technique- or technology-transfer is based in many ways on technological and economic paths that were often created by European colonization and have been intensified by Industrialization and Globalization. On the one hand, the modern age is a constantly developing planetary truth, a truth that impacts every society in the world. On the other hand, societies in third world countries have not produced this condition themselves because modernity is an external imposition. This means the modern age turns to be an unavoidable destiny for them. Traditional modernization and technology transfer abstract from almost all contextual factors. That is why technological development and modernization are being compared across continents and assessed with more or less value, not considering the cultural and social contextual circumstances. This supposes on one hand that the western way into the modern age has a model character, is normative and there are no alternatives to it. Also, it is supposed that the modern age is a desirable objective and that compensation leads to equal final situations.

    A requirement for technological standards and for technology transfer are innovations which constantly promise new development paths and stable institutional settings that can be monitored over a long period. These setting have to be ensured by the cultural system, especially by their social-economical dimensions. Also, the religious dimension is a part of this setting, and in Africa and South-east Asia is closely connected to the form and style of life and to culture. Secularization comparable to the western world only takes place in major cities, as they are islands of modernization. For thousands of years, technological process innovations such as technology transfer have been digested by cultural embedding and not through modernization. This might vary from place to place but in general it shows the same development. Heteronomous transfers meet culturally motivated resistance or are ignored, whereas the circumstances of technology transfer are a bit different. It is not being identified with culture transfer and does not automatically lead to a broad modernization but to a form of development with a speed of cultural adjustment - for sure slower than required by modernization. But this development can mostly be digested with the help of the embedding-paradigm. It is our task to generate forms of modernization with consideration for cultural embedding and traditions.

  • 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 help us for easier and meaningful understanding of this emerging important research topic of computer science and engineering. Readers here won't feel tired of reading long text horizontally lines after lines for conceptualizing this much research and interesting topic.

  • 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 and some knowledge-based activities. With time, the latter will account for the lion's share of work outsourced and emerging export houses will also tend to cater more to their own domestic markets because of their expanding infrastructure and growing manpower possessing advanced skills. This will result in a leveled playing field coaxing developed countries to adopt widespread innovations to maintain their high perch in the economic pecking order. Such large-scale creativity can be managed better if it could be gauged with an appropriate measure. This work propounds a new economic measure called the Gross Domestic Innovation (GDI) to quantify innovations in OECD countries. It will supplement universal measures such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), productivity and numbers concerning employment. Apart from the methodology for its estimation, the impact of GDI on the various facets of a vibrant economy is discussed and inter alia, the role of GDI in fighting inflation and alleviating the negative influences of globalization is stressed. Also, a tentative analysis on the economies of U.S., Japan, Germany and China is presented to illustrate the concept.

  • 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 behavior, evolving later into a set of the useful, embedded and practical technologies. We project the possible future of embodied intelligent systems, able to model and understand the environment and learn from interactions, while learning and evolving in constantly changing circumstances. We conclude with the (heretical) thought that in the future, AI should re-emerge as research in complex systems. One particular embodiment of a complex system is the Intelligent Enterprise.
  • Reflections on the philosophy of technology culture of technological reflection
    "Philosophers point out the liabilities, what happens when technology moves beyond lifting genuine burdens and starts freeing us from burdens that we should not want to be rid of." (Albert Borgmann)"The unintended consequences and dangers of technologization are real, and they deserve reflections and replies. Meanwhile the deeper danger of cultural and moral devastation goes unnoticed and is to some extent eclipsed by attention to the overt dangers (which, to repeat, need to be addressed forthwith)." (Albert Borgmann)
  • 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 not just by fear of diminishing revenues but from the fear of a loss of importance of categorization. When everybody can find everything and networked computers determine what is relevant, media companies lose their ability to create agendas. To maintain their influence, they will need to let the Internet shape their main products, not desperately try to keep the world as it is.
  • 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 world, and the entire universe will eventually become a conscious machine?' These are some comments on his paper.
  • 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 become a conscious machine."
  • A Three-Dimensional Model for Evaluating Software Development Projects
    In this model created by Dr. K.V.K.K. Prasad, software development is viewed in two dimensions (despite the title), based on the answer to the questions: 1) Is it inspired by considerations of utility and value? 2) Does it advance software technology?
  • INDUS: A New Platform for Ubiquitous Computing
    Kallol Borah began development of the Indus project at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in 2002. Indus demonstrates how general purpose object oriented programming languages can be extended to enable ubiquitous computing applications.
  • 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. Here, he asks, "How do we define outsourcing?"
  • Reflections on challenges to the goal of invisible computing
    "Technology becomes subordinate to values through economics, government, or the professions. Our biggest problem is learning to recognize that we do have options, albeit often limited ones. Our tendency is to just create more technology rather than ask why." (Carl Mitcham, as he articulates the thesis of Albert Borgmann on the relationship between contemporary technologies and human values)
  • Science and Engineering of Large-Scale Complex Systems
    The world's economy can be seen as a an excellent playing field for the multiple, multi-faceted scientific disciplines and scientists. But for various reasons and causes, they are or disregarded or sometimes even carefully avoided. Kemal Delic, a lab scientist with Hewlett-Packard's R&D operations and a senior enterprise architect, explains.
  • 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?
  • A Concise Guide to the Major Internet Bodies
    The bodies responsible for the Internet's protocols and parameters can be said to steer the Internet in a significant sense. This document, by Alex Simonelis of Dawson College in Montreal, is a summary of those bodies and their most important characteristics.
  • What makes users unhappy: share-point team services web server security
    Computer & Internet Security is very important but sometimes it is so confusing and frustrating that it makes users very unhappy to a point where the system is so secure that it cannot be used by its most legitimate users, like system administrators
  • Reflections on the Limits of Artificial Intelligence
    Nature is very simple and efficient in everything she makes, and is extremely obvious. We humans like to simulate in an extremely complicated manner what exists quite simply in nature, and what we succeed in simulating falls in the category of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence has limits of scope, but they fade away when compared with the performances of natural intelligence. In this study, we undertake to outline some limits of artificial intelligence compared to natural intelligence and some clear-cut differences that exist between the two.
  • Computing or Humanities?
    The application of computing to research problems in the humanities is not new...
  • 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.
  • 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. This paper reviews the literature, and interprets the characteristics of flow within the context of interface design with the goal of understanding what kinds of interfaces are most conducive to supporting users being in the flow. Several examples to demonstrate the connection to flow are given.
  • Protecting intellectual property rights through information policy
    In today's electronic world, an organization's intellectual property is sometimes its biggest asset. Much time and money can be saved, and frustration and litigation avoided if company policy dictates ownership and use of intellectual property.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Emotional design
    Beauty and brains, pleasure and usability go hand-in-hand in good design.
  • 2004, The turning point
    An overview of some of the issues that will change the way we use the Internet
  • 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.
  • Port wars
    In the not-too-distant-future, firewalls spark a battle over port regulation and ownership
  • Is child internet access a questionable risk?
    The unlimited and pervasive use of the Internet by young people raises many concerns about child safety. What solutions are available and why aren't they being used?
  • 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
  • Learning by redoing
    The availability of components that do a myriad of tasks could lead programmer complacency
  • 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.
  • The rise of the intelligent enterprise
    Mother Nature knows best -- How engineered organizations of the future will resemble natural-born systems.
  • Digital promises
    The prospect of living our lives online may not be so attractive after all
  • Channeling innovation
    Despite its importance to business, innovation can be a confusing distraction. An effective process for managing innovation allows organizations to respond to markets while remaining focused on business objectives.
  • The future of internet security
    Should common security technologies be blended with biometrics for accuracy and reliability?
  • 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.
  • 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. To do this, they need to stop kidding themselves when it comes to electronic integration.
  • Intel's inside track
    Annabelle Gawer on the surprising sources of leadership in interdependent environments.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.