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Is This The Real Life

Columnist: Mike E. Duffy
Jan, 2019 Issue

I was at TEDxSonomaCounty a few weeks ago, and one of the afternoon’s presentations was a short play built on the notion that we are merely part of a computer simulation, much like Neo in The Matrix film series. The play posed the question, “What parameters might be changed to make our (simulated) world a better place to live?”

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A Visit to the Future at Amazon Go

Columnist: Mike E. Duffy
Dec, 2018 Issue

I visited the future last week—twice, in fact. And it was definitely a little weird. My time machine was the newly-opened Amazon Go storefront in San Francisco’s Financial District, at the corner of California and Battery. It’s a couple of blocks from my office, and one of only six such stores in the country (three in Seattle, and two more in Chicago). In case you haven’t heard about Amazon Go, it sells food and drink and necessities, much like Target, CVS, and 7-11. What’s the big difference? Aside from a more attractive space, there are no cashiers or checkout stands. You walk in, get what you need and walk out.

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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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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

Lagunitas: A Brewery With Heart

There aren’t many charitable events, fundraisers, volunteer recognition events, and other benefits in the North Bay that don’t feature Lagunitas beer. The company, while known for being no...

Building A Better Path

Gangs were a given in the Santa Rosa community of Roseland, when Vicente Tlatilpa was growing up. It would have been easy for him to fall in with the wrong crowd, but instead, he found Conservation Co...

Catholic Charities

Since last year’s wildfires, Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa has been instrumental in helping displaced residents find secure housing in Sonoma and Napa Counties. The nonprofit has adopted a mo...

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