acm - an acm publication

Innovators

2009

  • An Interview with Chris Gunderson: Are Militaries Lagging Their Non-State Enemies in Use of Internet?
    The increasing number of cyber attacks on military networks and servers has raised the question of what the global defense community is doing to safeguard military systems and protect the larger global Internet. Ubiquity's editor interviewed Chris Gunderson, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1973 to 2004 and became an expert in "network centric" warfare, on this question and in particular on how military philosophy must change to adapt to the rise of information networks.
  • An Interview with David Alderson: In Search of the Real Network Science
    David Alderson has become a leading advocate for formulating the foundations of network science so that its predictions can be applied to real networks. He is an assistant professor in the Operations Research Department at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., where he conducts research with military officer-students on the operation, attack, and defense of network infrastructure systems. Ubiquity interviewed him to find out what is going on.
  • 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.
  • An Interview with Peter Huber: Why 99.9 Percent Is Not Good Enough
    In the opening days of 2009, people are looking for the new President Obama to restore domestic and international confidence and help us find our way out of a dark recession. Electric power generation and distribution is a key part of a new direction. Can we produce enough of it to reduce our oil usage? Can electric cars become reliable and cover enough distance on a single charge? Can its availability be increased, especially since critical services in transportation, banking, computing and many other sectors can be shut down by power grid failures? In April 2000, Ubiquity Editor John Gehl spoke with energy expert Peter Huber about these issues. Huber's comments about the needs of the power grid were prophetic. We gladly bring them to you now in the hope that they will help you understand the power challenges ahead. --Peter Denning, Ubiquity Editor