Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman present Company town
Allison Levenson

"Company Town," a new documentary, airs on KRCB Monday October 23 at 9 p.m. Filmmakers Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman chronicle a Board of Supervisors race in San Francisco -– a race that became something of a last stand for those fighting gentrification in the city.

Kaufman and Snitow spoke with KRCB news director Steve Mencher about their film. 

Watch the trailer below:

Sonoma Vineyard Doubles as Renewable Energy Laboratory

Jul 3, 2017
Steve Mencher, KRCB

Micro-grids are scaled-down versions of the giant network that delivers electricity across huge distances to thousands of customers. They hold great promise for both utilizing renewable power and serving remote or isolated populations. And an important testing ground for this emerging technology is a local vineyard.

Stone Edge Farm is part of a group of related businesses that are each exploring ways to adapt renewable energy technologies to their operations. Ryan Stoltenberg runs through the various applications.

Reviewing A Multi-Faceted Life

Oct 19, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Eighty-five years in 400 pages—with plenty of pictures included. That’s what entrepreneur, philanthropist and music lover Don Green has packed into his newly published memoir. 

When Don Green elected to leave his position with the General post Office in London and venture into the business world, many of his then-associates were shocked, he recalls. But it was a pivotal and life-changing decision.

Students’ Engineering Creativity on Display at SSU

May 4, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Sonoma State is primarily a teaching campus, but many students also engage in research projects, including some innovative inventions, that were on display yesterday in the University's newly combined “Symposium of Research and Creativity."

 The possible applications of a mobile solar-powered generator are almost limitless, says co-developer Jarrett Baglietto, especially since their designed their unit with enough storage to drive even some big, power-hungry equipment.

  Are landline telephones going the way of the phone booth? It's a question the California legislature is examining, as Suzanne Potter reports.

An Online Map to Redirect Food Waste

Mar 26, 2016

When food goes to waste, there are usually other, better places it could go instead. A new map and social media tool, currently under construction, aims to reroute that food to more beneficial destinations.

    When the website is up and running, sometime between May and June, co-creator Nick Papadoupulous anticipates that it will be useful to a range of potential beneficiaries.

Co-Working Catches On In Sonoma County

Oct 5, 2015

  As the “gig economy” expands in Sonoma County, new co-working spaces are opening to serve those workers and meet a growing demand. 

  You can read the Economic Development Board's report on Coworking in Sonoma County here.

The first co-working space in the county opened in Penngrove back in 2008. WE profiled it in this archived North Bay Report.

The Growing “Gig Economy” in the North Bay

Oct 2, 2015

  Technology and social media are enabling freelancers and other one-person businesses to prosper and proliferate, empowering individuals and changing the nature of employment. 

  Innovative software and increased connectivity are fueling the growing Gig Economy, says analyst Steve King, but that can be a mixed blessing.

At the same time, adds Joshua Simmons, Community Manager for O'Reilly Media, social currents are driving entrepreneurial people of all ages to explore this individualized approach to work.

An Introduction to the Theremin

Sep 9, 2015

  The Occidental Arts & Ecology Center’s annual fall Chataqua revue features an eclectic array of local performers. This year, they include local actor, writer and mime Eliot Fintushul playing an unusual electronic instrument called a Theremin. He explains and demonstrates how it works in this archival North Bay Report from 2007.

Tickets for the current OAEC Chataqua performances can be purchased here, as long as any remain available.

Public Wi-Fi May Hold Risks

Aug 5, 2015
Joel Runyon/WikiMedia Commons

  Free wi-fi connections at businesses and other public spaces offer a welcome service, but one that may come with some hidden risks, as reporter Eric Galatas explains.

ModMath App Assists Dysgraphic Students

Apr 16, 2015


  Mod Math is an app that helps students with disabilities do their arithmetic homework. But it doesn’t add, subtract, multiply or divide.

  Mod Math works to set up any basic arithmetic problems, says co-creator Josh Denberg. But it can be especially helpful for teaching long division.

Almost as soon as they had a working beta version of Mod Math, the Denbergs went public with it. Now, Josh says, they’re trying to add increased functionality that has been frequently requested.

Critiquing the Internet's Economics

Mar 16, 2015

  Has the evolution of the Internet undone the democratic ideals of its founders? In economic terms, says digital industry critic Andrew Keen, the answer is distressingly clear.

Santa Rosa author Andrew Keen’s latest book is The Internet is Not The Answer. Peering into the not-too-distant future, he sees massive investments in new artificial intelligence technologies—not as dystopian robots, but more ominously, as smart tools that will displace jobs and expand the capture of our personal data even further.

Reimagining Sonoma County’s Libraries

Feb 27, 2015

  Public libraries everywhere are reflecting social and technical changes around them. So how can Sonoma County’s library’s plan for their future?

Flickr user Oran Viriyincy

Being green isn’t just about cutting down on the greenhouse gasses we emit. Many climate scientists believe we need to start taking carbon out of the atmosphere too. Plans to do this are called “Negative Emission Technologies” – and some of the first attempts are just getting off the ground. 

'Face Technology' Moves Online

Feb 2, 2015

  Even more than your handwriting, the geometry of your facial features can reveal aspects of your personality. A Santa Rosa start-up is digitizing that analysis, for fun and profit.

  Another business that could make good use of this data, suggests Face Affinity developer and co-founder Wayne Rowlands, is real estate.

But for now, the company is mainly promoting its FaceReflect smartphone app, as seen in the video below.

Trevi Systems: Out to Cut the Cost of Desalination

Jan 7, 2015

  The biggest obstacle to turning salt water into fresh water is the considerable energy that’s required. A new Petaluma- based company believes it has found a way to cut those costs by more than 80%, and is now out to prove it.

    Beyond the promise the new Trevi Systems technology holds for desalinating seawater, CEO John Webley says there may be even greater potential in cleaning up municipal wastewater.

LumiGrow brightens things up

Jan 7, 2015
images courtesy of LumiGrow

LumiGrow, Inc. in Novato, Calif., makes energy-saving lights for growing plants. The trick, they say, is to use LED lights which emit the colors plants need for photosynthesis. Their technology, they believe, is poised to change the face of agriculture.

Betting on Zinc in the Race for a Better Battery

Nov 12, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  A vital piece of our renewable energy future depends on better batteries.  A Marin-based company, working with the US Navy, is developing a new type of battery that uses an old material—zinc—in a new way.

There is a sense of urgency in the En-Zinc product development efforts, as Burz is well aware that many others, all over the globe, as seeking solutions to the better battery need.

Examining 'Techno-creep'

Oct 30, 2014

  New digital technologies are already listening in on your daily life and intruding into your wallet. What’s coming next may be even creepier.

   Some of what Thomas Keenan writes about in Technocreep may seem like science fiction. Yet his carefully annotated book abounds with concrete examples, such as the way one major retailer is already processing the customer purchase data it routinely collects to target those customers with special offers.

"Out on a Limb"

May 20, 2014

  Technological advances are rapidly changing the capabilities of artificial arms, legs, hands and feet. But their cost is growing even faster than the need for them.

  Many of the recent advances in prosthetics technology have focused on creating mechanical hands, devices that can not only simulate the many-jointed movements of a human hand, but can be controlled by the wearer’s nerves, and eventually their thoughts. Filmmaker Daria Price continues to monitor progress in the field she documented over the past seven years in Out on a Limb.

Spreading the Maker Movment

May 14, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  First there was MAKE magazine. Then there were the Maker Faires. And there’s still more making on the way.

Described as "The Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth," the 9th annual Bay Area Maker Faire will be held at the San Mateo Events Center May 17 & 18, 2014. Get more information here, or click here for tickets.

Net Neutrality At Risk

Apr 26, 2014

  The FCC is preparing new rules to govern Internet access, amidst worries that those changes will give industry giants an unfair competitive advantage.

"Evolution of the Comic Strip"

Mar 8, 2014
Tom Vano, 1969 / Schulz Museum

  From hand-drawn original art to full-page digital reproduction, the process of creating and delivering comic strips has gone through some dramatic technical changes in recent years.

From the Pen to the Comic Pages;  Evolution of the Comic Strip is currently displayed in the upstairs gallery at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa. Included are some rare metal plates used to print the strips from before the digital age. Below is an example, from February 25, 1976, along with the positive image it produced.

Drones Over Tomales Bay

Dec 16, 2013

There were government-sponsored drones in the air over Tomales Bay last week, but they were armed only with cameras to count wintering waterfowl.

The annual waterfowl surveys—usually conducted in early January—are used, in part to set the limits for duck hunting each year. But biologist Orein Richmond of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, says the information gathered has numerous other uses as well.

Switch Electric Cars

Dec 16, 2013
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  If high school shop classes can assemble bare-bones electric cars from a kit, why not work crews anywhere? Sebastopol’s Switch Vehicles is out to accelerate the future of low cost EVs. 

New App Aids Suicide Prevention

Dec 4, 2013

  It’s becoming a cliché, but there is increasingly a smart-phone app for just about everything—now, even suicide prevention. It’s called MY3, and on today’s Exchange we hear from one of the  people behind it.

The new suicide prevention app, My3, is now available for both iPhone and Android users.

Farmers turn to social media to prevent food waste

Oct 1, 2013

From uneaten leftovers to unsold produce at the farmers market -- food waste is everywhere. By some estimates, 40% of the food grown or raised in the U.S. isn't eaten. Some local groups are trying to change that. CropMobster, a new Sonoma County-based startup is turning to social media to find homes for food that would otherwise go to waste. 

The Magazine that 'Made' a Movement

May 11, 2013
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Dale Dougherty had a hunch he was onto something when he launched MAKE Magazine, but he had no idea what a responsive chord he’d be striking.

MAKE is now published in five foreign-language editions, all in Asia, with an English-for-Europe version in the pipeline. Maker Media also produces a digital edition, and has posted many how-to videos online. And CEO Dale Dougherty says they are also branching out into another once-popular area of merchandising.

Rescuing the Rio

May 2, 2013

  As only movie house for miles around, the Rio Theater has a devoted customer base. But they were only the starting point for the on-line fund-raising effort that succeeded this week in keeping the pictures moving at the Monte Rio meeting place.

Personal Security App

Apr 8, 2013
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Every second counts in an emergency, so a new cell phone app has been designed to expedite alerts to both emergency responders, and the people who most care about you. Bruce Robinson has details.

Initially created for personal use, variations on Guardian on the Go are now being developed for other applications, including retailers, explains Protego co-founder Ray Kryzek.