Technology

Learning to Code

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Sep, 2017 Issue

Nowadays, nearly everything has a software component. Your car is a mass of tiny computers controlling wheels and an engine, new refrigerators connect to the Internet, and farmers hack the software in their tractors. (Some, in fact, are presently suing John Deere Company for the right to do so.) You have dozens of software apps on that phone in your pocket. But as long as Quickbooks lets you pay your bills and invoice customers, how much more do you really need to understand about how it does it?

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Balancing Work & Health

Author: Stephanie Derammelaere
Aug, 2017 Issue

Once considered an added perk to offer employees to boost morale, reduce stress, and increase productivity, corporate wellness programs are evolving as the state of health in the American workforce continues to decrease significantly. Today, 86 million adult Americans have pre-diabetes and 34.6 percent are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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10 Breakthrough Technologies

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
May, 2017 Issue

For genetic disorders with a single cause, it's now entirely possible to cure them using a virus to deliver healthy copies of a gene to replace the ones responsible for the disorder. The smart people at the MIT Technology Review came up with a list of 10 breakthrough technologies for 2017. To quote the article, “[s]ome are unfolding now; others will take a decade or more to develop. But you should know about all of them right now.” Here’s a brief summary of each breakthrough technology.

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Homes of Future Past

Author: Judith Wilson
Apr, 2017 Issue

The movement to tear down and replace mid-century modern homes is often controversial, but Marin County preserves Eichler homes. The demand for new homes was on an upswing after World War II. The post-war Baby Boom was underway, and subdivisions with cookie-cutter tract houses were the trend, as developers raced to meet a growing need. But Joseph Eichler had a different idea. He’d lived in a house in Hillsborough designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and he envisioned building affordable, modern homes that made the most of opportunities for indoor-outdoor living.

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Home Smart Home

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Apr, 2017 Issue

Right now, you can buy smart devices to optimize one aspect of your home's operation, but your home isn't smart. Growing up, my folks would manually turn down the thermostat at night to save on heating bills during the winter. Now I have a programmable thermostat that lets me set the times when the heat is on or off.

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Are Screens Making Us Sick

Columnist: Kirk Pappas, M.D.
Apr, 2017 Issue

The average teen (and pre-teen) spends more than six hours per day looking at their cell phone, TV, iPad and computer. Last year, Kaiser Permanente in Santa Rosa hosted a physician wellness event at the recommendation of one of our family practice physicians. During this event, we watched “Screenagers,” a documentary created by Delaney Ruston, M.D.

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April 2017 Tech

Apr, 2017 Issue

Recent updates in the tech industry

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Talk Dirty To Me

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Mar, 2017 Issue

To make the experience more seamlessly human-like, these devices are listening to you all the time.   People have been wanting to talk to their computers for a long time. As humans, we’re wired for conversational interaction, so it’s not a giant leap to imagine talking to a computer as being easier (for the human at least) than typing at one. In 1966, there was the talking computer of the starship Enterprise in the original Star Trek television series, voiced by Majel Barrett. The fictional HAL 9000 was the calm-voiced villain of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968.  In 1983’s War Games, the primitive text-to-speech voice of the WOPR computer asked, “How about a nice game of chess?”

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The Robot Columnist

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Feb, 2017 Issue

Sure, there are many ways to describe how one team won or lost the game, but the list of descriptors is still finite. There are only so many ways to say the 49ers sucked this year.

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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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Losing Our Humanness

Author: Lawrence A. Kropp
Dec, 2016 Issue

Interpersonal skills, motivation, knowledge skills, analytical skills and organizational skills were cited as the top skills lacking in the incoming workforce.  

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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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Share the Air

Author: Karen Hart
Oct, 2016 Issue

Small unmanned aircraft are on the fly and finding ways into daily life.

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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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October 2016 Tech

Oct, 2016 Issue

New tech available in the North Bay

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The Key to Home

Author: William Rohrs
Sep, 2016 Issue

Realtors in the North Bay agree its a good time to buy a house—if you can afford it.

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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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Jill Techel

Author: Alexandra Russell
May, 2016 Issue

Jill Techel, mayor of Napa

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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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Ron Nersesian

Author: Alexandra Russell
Mar, 2016 Issue

Ron Nersesian, Agilent Technologies

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In Search of Work

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

As you may recall from last month’s column, I’m out of work and (at deadline for this column), I’ve yet to receive a job offer.

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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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Perspective 2016: Napa County

Author: Bonnie Durrance
Dec, 2015 Issue

The county comes together in rebuilding, disaster relief, ongoing success and progress.

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The Hydroponics Boom

Author: Juliet Porton
Nov, 2015 Issue

Once relegated to commercial or closet cultivators, hydroponics has blossomed into a booming local industry with a global reach.

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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 Title I Wrote Was Too Long

Author: Bill Meagher
Columnist: Bill Meagher
Oct, 2015 Issue

Commercial real estate goes nuts, Marin Econ Forum gets a new chief and Mount Tam Bio goes public.

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In the Cards

Author: Karen Hart
Oct, 2015 Issue

EMV technology and chip cards will bring consumers enhanced security when shopping.

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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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April 2015 Tech

Author:
Apr, 2015 Issue

Cutting-edge developments of interest

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March 2015 Tech

Author:
Mar, 2015 Issue

Cutting-edge developments of interest

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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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Career Ready

Author: Juliet Porton
Feb, 2015 Issue

Local educators are finding new strategies to help kids bridge the gap between high school and the high-growth careers of the future.

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Software Design

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Jan, 2015 Issue

When it comes to designing software, doing it right the first time makes things much easier in the long run.

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Perspective 2015: Napa County

Author: Bonnie Durrance
Dec, 2014 Issue

A year of challenge and accomplishment

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Perspective 2015: Marin County

Author: Judith M. Wilson
Dec, 2014 Issue

Fertile ground for great ideas

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Wolf Hunting

Columnist: Michael E. Duffy
Dec, 2014 Issue

A peek inside of the software you use.

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Perspective 2015: Sonoma County

Author: Karen Hart
Dec, 2014 Issue

NorthBay biz shines a spotlight on the economy and culture of Sonoma County.

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In this Issue

A Passion for Perfection

David Stare, founder of Dry Creek Vineyard, is sitting across from me at his vineyard garden. His demeanor is considerate and responsible, stable and kind. But, if it were not for his passion, this ...

Wine and Weather

There’s no argument that the wine in your glass showcases the skill of the winemaker. Yet it was Mother Nature who engineered the growing season that made it all possible. Rain at the right ti...

Napa vs. Sonoma

Napa and Sonoma counties are remarkably similar on paper. They appear as next-door neighbors sharing a mountain range on the map, and rivers, valleys and fertile agricultural areas define the topogr...

See all...