Thursday, March 26, 2009

Miracles can happen: CACM

So I've been a member of the ACM for many years. For a long time it was the only way to get at their Digital Library, which was the motherlode for research paper junkies like me. That made it worth putting up with their magazine, Communications of the ACM (CACM for short), which was really remarkable for how it never had anything worth reading. Pretty much all the lead articles it published were turgid studies about the sociological makeup of MIS departments, or the nature of collaboration in enterprises, or other strange bureaucratic stuff that only had a tenuous connection to programming as I knew it.

Last spring I got my current (unbelievably excellent) job at Microsoft, which has free corporate access to the Digital Library. Hmm, I thought, maybe I should drop my ACM membership.

They must have been snooping on me, because almost exactly then, they announced a complete editorial revamp of CACM. Refereed articles! Hardcore software / hardware research papers! Suddenly they were talking my language. And even better, they actually did it.

The new CACM is frankly the best computing magazine I've ever seen. Wide ranges of articles, high technical bar, many diverse subjects of great interest... it's really a winner. Puts the old Byte / Dr. Dobbs / etc. to shame. Of course, all those mags are dead, too... but the itch they used to scratch is scratched much better by CACM! Who would have thought?

And the new CACM web site is no slouch, either.

I guess sometimes miracles do happen. Thank you, ACM, for doing such a good job on this reboot!

(And yes, it's been a while... I've been sick, the whole family had the flu, the dog ate my homework, it's been awful dark outside, gimme a break here! At least I'm back! :-)