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Fast, Cheap, or Good—Pick Two

Columnist: Mike E. Duffy
Nov, 2018 Issue

Whether you’re developing software or painting a house, a project always seems to have two questions attached to it: How long will it take? How much will it cost? Those are necessary questions that determine the viability of the result. A project that takes too long may yield a less useful result. A project that costs more than the benefits it generates doesn’t make economic sense. I’ve heard these two questions a lot during my career.

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Robotic Process Automation

Columnist: Mike E. Duffy
Oct, 2018 Issue

An ongoing concern of our society is the replacement of employees by robots. It’s already happening in retail with self-checkout lanes at grocery stores, kiosks at McDonald’s, and robot baristas like the one at CafeX, just down the block from my office in San Francisco. And we’re on the verge of replacing thousands of people who drive for a living with autonomous vehicles, in the form of taxis and long-haul trucks.

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Virtual Private Networks

Columnist: Mike E. Duffy
Sep, 2018 Issue

Everyone is concerned, to various degrees, with online privacy and security. You’d like to be sure that personal information—like your home address or what you buy from Amazon—is kept private, and that your online banking information is secure from thieves. Making purchases and handling electronic accounts over a public network (the Internet), which we access through our Internet Service Provider (ISP) means you don’t control who touches the data on its way from your computer to Amazon or Wells Fargo.

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Living in the JS World

Columnist: Mike E. Duffy
Aug, 2018 Issue

It’s August, and there’s nothing new in tech. Lots of concern over privacy and security: not new. Facebook and Google know too much about us: not new. Smartphones are the dominant lifeform in the universe: not new. Small businesses (for good reasons) are reluctant to embrace new technology: not new. Life may seem boring for a tech columnist.

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A World without Facebook

Columnist: Mike E. Duffy
Jun, 2018 Issue

Since my last column, Facebook has admitted that the data of its 2 billion users has probably been taken by unscrupulous applications, for whatever reason. There’s been a lot of lamenting about how a service, which so many people use, took such poor care of their privacy. But the truth remains, most people willingly give Facebook access to information about them in return for a free service, which lets them post words and pictures, and stay in touch with people and organizations doing the same.

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The Facebook Scandal & Your Business Presence

Columnist: Mike E. Duffy
May, 2018 Issue

The news has been buzzing about Facebook and the ways in which it accumulates and reveals information about its users. There have been calls for people to #DeleteFacebook, and chances are that by the time you read this, Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer, will have testified before Congress. The proverbial feces hit the fan this month when it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm mined data on about 50 million Facebook users and provided that to the Trump campaign during the 2016 U.S. election. It’s also important to note that this was not a “hack” of Facebook’s computers. The data—at the time the exploit occurred—was accessible to anyone writing a Facebook App.

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Advice and Consent

Columnist: Mike E. Duffy
Apr, 2018 Issue

When you stop to look closely, there are lots of technologies in use at your business. There’s a computer, your Internet connection, maybe a computer network and various types of servers. There are also printers and copiers as well as your phone system. For retail operations, there are point-of-sales systems. There’s credit card processing, word processing and spreadsheets. There’s accounting software, scanners, document storage and retrieval, computer security. The list goes on and on. (In all the excitement, I forgot to mention email, text messaging and social media.) Frankly, it’s overwhelming.

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Driving Your Business with Technology

Columnist: Mike E. Duffy
Mar, 2018 Issue

I just looked at the “10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018” from Gartner (formerly the less-impressive-sounding Gartner Group), who makes their money by being smart about technology for big companies who can afford their subscriptions and consulting services.

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In this Issue

Conscious Capitalism

B Corps certification is a badge of honor for a groundbreaking group of North Bay businesses. They share a fervent belief that business has the power to be a force for good and the ability to make t...

KSRO News Talk

On the night of October 8, 2017, Pat Kerrigan of KSRO News Talk awoke at her home in Kenwood. Outside, the wind howled. Across the street 30-foot high flames threatened. A fireman told her to get ou...

Employee Owned

Thirty years ago on a November day, Steve Maass opened the first Oliver’s Market in Sonoma County, in Cotati. Like most successful companies, it started small, with only 13 employees. Growth w...

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