Tech Talk

The Blockchain Gang

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Dec, 2017 Issue

There’s a lot of hype around blockchains these days. It all started with Bitcoin—a form of digital currency, which doesn’t require a central bank to operate. Bitcoin is like cash: it’s anonymous, and using it carries no transaction fees (unlike credit cards). Bitcoin (and to a lesser extent other digital currencies) has grown in popularity since that time, and increased in value. If you had bought a single Bitcoin in June of 2013, you would’ve paid $128.10. On October 1 of this year, that same, single bitcoin was worth $4,280.11, a 3,300 percent increase. (Bitcoin has been around since early 2009. In late 2009, the first exchange of real dollars for Bitcoins valued a Bitcoin at about 10 cents.) 


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Security Breach!

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Nov, 2017 Issue

Last month, the names, addresses, birthdates, and Social Security numbers (SSNs) of 143 million Americans were revealed in a security breach at Equifax, one of the “big three’” credit bureaus (along with Experian and TransUnion). Since this personal information is essentially your identity in the modern world, the breach is a Very Big Deal, and opens those affected to identity theft, especially as it relates to applying for credit.


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Celestial Mechanics

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Oct, 2017 Issue

The Great American Eclipse of 2017 has come and gone, and I was fortunate enough to see it. Although total eclipses are fairly common (one takes place somewhere here on earth every 18 months or so), they’re the result of an amazing cosmic coincidence: viewed from earth’s surface, the discs of the sun and the moon are almost exactly the same size. This is due to the fact that the moon—while 400 times smaller than the sun—is also 400 times closer to earth, allowing the moon’s disc to completely obscure the blindingly-bright disc of the sun without hiding the sun’s outermost atmosphere, the corona. It’s the corona that gives a total eclipse its otherworldly quality and scientific value.


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Trump and Tech

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Jan, 2017 Issue

In his 1997 book The Art of the Deal he [Trump] wrote "I don't even know how to turn on a computer."


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The Quick and the Dead

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Dec, 2016 Issue

While we may be deeply complex individuals, our expression of that complexity is sometimes markedly less apparent.


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A World Without Work

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Nov, 2016 Issue

When the cost of a robot is less than the cost of an employee (considering benefits and turnover), companies will increasingly turn to an automaton.


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Eye in the Sky

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Oct, 2016 Issue

PSS has made it possible to follow someone who commits a crime forward and backward(!) in time to see where they came from and where they go.


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Summer Doldrums

Author: Michael E. Duffy
Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Sep, 2016 Issue

It's nice to see an application that takes people outdoors and gets them walking.


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Debugging

Author: Micael E. Duffy
Columnist: Micael E. Duffy
Jul, 2016 Issue

It is nearly impossible to write bug-free software of any significance.


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Neural Networks

Author: Michael E. Duffy
Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Jun, 2016 Issue

Whether it’s a real brain or an artificial one, the trick is to train the damn thing.


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What's Next?

Author: Michael E. Duffy
Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
May, 2016 Issue

Google has talked about 2020 as a target for fully functioning self-driving cars, and that’s probably a realistic expectation.


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Back to Work

Author: Michael E. Duffy
Apr, 2016 Issue

My number-one complaint with the online job process is that rarely do you hear much from the companies you apply to.


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RIFfed

Author: Micael E. Duffy
Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Feb, 2016 Issue

I'm fortune I have a skill set that (I think) remains in demand.


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The Internet of Things

Author: Micael E. Duffy
Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Jan, 2016 Issue

What does the IoT mean for you and your business? I think it represents a huge opportunity.


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The Dark Web, Part 2 of 2

Author: Micael E. Duffy
Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Dec, 2015 Issue

A peek inside the elusive world of the Dark Web.


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The Dark Web, Part 1 of 2

Author: Micael E. Duffy
Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Nov, 2015 Issue

A peek inside the elusive world of the Dark Web.


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The Cautionary Tale of Ashley Madison

Author: Micael E. Duffy
Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Oct, 2015 Issue

Is your business safe from hackers?


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Everything's Amazing

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Sep, 2015 Issue

As technology advances, are we starting to take it all for granted?


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A Little More Uber

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Aug, 2015 Issue

A closer peek under the hood at Uber


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Uber for Everything

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Jul, 2015 Issue

Service providers, like Uber, are cashing in on convenience.


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Trending Now

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Jun, 2015 Issue

The robot army is coming.


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Reusable Software

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
May, 2015 Issue

Why is software so expensive and time-consuming to build?


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Managing Engineers

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Apr, 2015 Issue

Honesty is the best policy.


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Programming, Then and Now

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Mar, 2015 Issue

Some things change, but others (like programming languages) remain the same.


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Kiss Me, I'm Neanderthal

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Feb, 2015 Issue

Mike finds out detailed ancestry information with low-cost, high-tech DNA testing.


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In this Issue

24 Hours

On October 8, Loren Davis, fire chief at Mountain Volunteer Fire Department in Sonoma County, was sitting at a poker table at Graton Casino in Rohnert Park at around 9:30 p.m. when his pager went off....

After the Fire

Recovery is only the beginning as Sonoma County and the North Bay looks towards a long period of hazard removal and rebuilding....

Leaders of Tomorrow: Noah Block

 Noah Block knows what it’s like to feel helpless and disconnected. A victim of bullying that began when he was in fourth grade, Block, 18, developed emotional problems that left him a...

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