Category: Tech Talk

Join us for our first members presentation night!

Hosted by Rob Sheldon, No Problem


Steve’s scan converter card after debugging.

Steve Knapp has been working on a remote “call home” electronics project that works over the plain ol’ telephone service. There’s some more information about it at

Steve has a solid amount of electronics experience, including prototyping his own boards and surface-mounting ICs. He also came up with a creative solution for squeezing an 8-bit bidirectional IO bus out of a board with only 10 data pins. (Steve, is that right? I’m guessing you did some bitmasking magic?)

A good event to attend for those getting started in component electronics, and a chance to hear about a really neat home-brewed home automation setup. Social time from 6:30 to 7, then Steve’s the boss from there on out.

RSVP and meetup contact info here.

Knock out Background Projects and Meet other Devs at Sierra Commons

hackniteCome to Sierra Commons – bring a computer – and work on whatever project you’re excited about in a social and productive atmosphere.

Sponsored by No Problem, this no-charge monthly meetup is open to the community. Attendance is by donation.

For more information, and to RSVP, please click here.

Tech Talk

Wednesday, Mar. 13th, 6-8pm

Rich Javascript visualizations: D3 and Maps

Javascript and HTML5 have turned web browsers in to capable platforms for visualizing data. Join Nelson for a technical exploration of D3, a Javascript library that uses SVG to create powerful interactive visualizations. We'll explore various complex applications built using D3, then look in detail at Javascript source code for simpler examples to learn some of the basic concepts of using D3. Particular attention will be paid to d3.geo and integrating with Leaflet, two ways of working with map-based data.
To see examples of what D3 can do, please visit
Nelson MinarNelson Minar is a software engineer and recent newcomer to Nevada County. From the Santa Fe Institute to the MIT Media Lab to Google, Nelson's interest is complex and beautiful software systems. Recent themes include rich browser applications, geographic data, and presenting unexplored information in interesting ways. He keeps a weblog at
Attendance is by donation, public welcome.

Please RSVP here.

Tech Talks take place at Sierra Commons second Wednesday of every month, 6-8pm

This monthly series, moderated by Robert Trent, was created to inspire the Nevada County technology community and act as a catalyst for collaboration. Informal networking takes place at 6pm, followed by lecture at 7pm (with an incentive for early arrival).


Wednesday, Feb. 13th, 6-8pm

Applied Cryptography, with Martin Kosina

Today's computer security is based on years of complex mathematical research; however, strong ciphers themselves are not sufficient to protect information and – when applied naively –  can actually result in more damage due to misplaced expectations.  In this talk, we will explore how basic building blocks of digital cryptography are combined into digital equivalents of age-old trust mechanisms such as signatures, certificates, and secure envelopes. The oft-confused concepts of authentication vs. authorization, privacy, and non-repudiation will also be discussed. Hackers and security experts alike understand most attacks occur at this level, exploiting loose ends in general reasoning, rather than cracking ciphers with supercomputers.

Martin Kosina is a software engineer who has been working with distributed systems, industrial automation, and transaction processing for almost 20 years. His recent work at GridNet focuses on applying industry-standard encryption techniques to secure field provisioning of smart grid devices, as well as general scalability issues encountered in advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) deployments.

Attendance is by donation, public welcome.

Please RSVP here.

Tech Talks take place at Sierra Commons second Wednesday of every month, 6-8pm

This monthly series, moderated by Erika Kosina, was created to inspire the Nevada County technology community and act as a catalyst for collaboration. Informal networking takes place at 6pm, followed by lecture at 7pm (with an incentive for early arrival).

The Nevada City Hackaton team has been working hard to create the best event possible for its participants.  Their hard work is paying off.  Nevada County’s tech community has pulled together to showcase our local talent and highlight our technology oriented businesses. 

With support from IT companies such as No Problem and Clientworks, to growing tech startups qatab, and Studio B Flat, the hackathon is creating a flashpoint for a new wave of technology-based activity in our region.  ForeclosureRadar, a growing Truckee startup, is currently looking to fill two local job openings and is the hackathon’s newest sponsor. All of this activity has attracted the attention of Microsoft, who is now onboard and providing a great speaker and Xbox 360 for a prize.

With over 20 registrations to date, the event promises to be robust and exciting.  Discussions on the Meetup site Nevada County Hackers is focusing on the types of projects people will be working on, including new applications for local deals and offers and working with public datasets. Others are hoping to meet developers to work on projects that already have funding and waiting customers.

The hackathon opens on Saturday morning, Dec. 1st, with a series of short talks, starting with living as an independent game developer and ending with a presentation from Matt Harrington of Microsoft on developing applications for Windows 8.

In addition to the Nevada City Hackathon, the local tech community is invited to attend the monthly TechTalk series at Sierra Commons.  On November 14th, Benji Brown, local iOS Developer and owner of Studio B Flat Games, will be giving a tech talk on the current mobile app development ecosystem, how it has evolved and what it takes to build an idea into a great app that can take advantage of the current online marketplaces and possibly be profitable


Dates:        Saturday December 1st, 8am-late and Sunday, December 2nd, 8am-6pm

Location:   Sierra Commons, 107 Sacramento Street, Suite 300, Nevada City, CA 95959

Cost:            Suggested donation $15-$30



Register: Http:// The event is open to people of all skill levels.

TechTalks:Visit Sierra Commons focus group page to keep posted on other TechTalk events coming in 2013.

Putting Your Best Site Forward: Tools & Techniques to Improve the Quality of your Website

Matt Vanderpol, Founder qatab

Your website is the public face of your company online. We’ll look at common problems and how you can make your website look and perform better, both to site visitors and search engines. Bring your laptop to setup some of the tools and get hand’s on experience with them.

Lunch & Learn Series

EVERY TUESDAY 12 to 1:15pm @ Sierra Commons

To help Nevada County’s businesses thrive and survive during this challenging economy, Sierra Commons is hosting a Lunch & Learn  series that includes a presentation or roundtable discussion by some of our area’s leading business professionals.

There will be plenty of time for questions, networking and socialization. The series includes topics relevant to small business owners, entrepreneurs and working professionals and are available to all Nevada County residents.

Bring a brown bag filled with your favorite midday meal and learn something to move your business forward.

A $10 donation is requested.

The Art and Science of Creating a Mutant Vehicle

Thursday, July 14th. 6 – 8pm with rides to benefit Sierra Commons after 8pm.


Chris with the Now-A-Saurus

Sierra Commons will host a special bonus Tech Talk on Thursday, July 14, featuring the art and science of creating a mutant vehicle or “art car”. Tech Talks are forums for Nevada County residents to share new ideas, ongoing projects, and interesting work in the fields of science, engineering, and technology.

What does it take to create a mutant vehicle for burning man? What materials make sense for construction? What kinds of power and electrical sources will I need? How can I make sure any extraneous construction elements are strong enough? What is a good theme? How do I transport it on the highway? This presentation will answer all of these questions and more, from the perspective of how one mutant vehicle called Now-A-Saurus came to be. A blend of dinosaur, vehicle, and sacred geometry, molded into an artistic and engineering marvel, Now-A-Saurus is one builder’s journey to the moment of now.  more

On June 9, the 6-part “Tech Talk” lecture and networking series at Sierra Commons will showcase a presentation from Tony Osladil on mechatronics in the context of technical education. Tech Talks are forums for Nevada County residents to share new ideas, ongoing projects, and interesting work in the fields of science, engineering, and technology.

Encompassing robotics, industrial automation and electro-mechanical systems, “mechatronics” is the term used to describe any system that involves electronics, mechanics and computer control. From ATMs to medical lab equipment, automated package handling, ski lifts, industrial robots, and more, mechatronics describes the automated systems that are more a part of our lives every day. Tony will talk about mechatronics as part of the changing nature of technical education, highlighting the nationally-recognized Mechatronics program at Sierra College, which was developed specifically to meet the needs of the modern technical workforce. The program is one of fewer than ten of its kind in the country. more

Tech Talk Returns May 12th

On May 12, In Part Five of Sierra Commons’ Six-part “Tech Talk” lecture and networking series, Ray Darby will explore the nitty gritty of how solar energy can save home owners energy AND money. Tech Talks are forums for Nevada County residents to share new ideas, ongoing projects, and interesting work in the fields of science, engineering, and technology.

Sierra Commons Logo

Ray’s talk will focus on the solar and energy efficiency options that homeowners need to be aware of in order to reduce their energy costs cost-effectively. He’ll cover the costs and benefits, explain why sustainable energy is so important today, and use his own household as an example of what other households can do to earn a very high return on their investment.

Ray Darby, a licensed mechanical engineer specializing in solar and energy efficiency since 1977, has worked extensively with the California Energy Commission, California Utilities and the U.S. Department of Energy. His company, Sustainable Energy Group, is a general contracting firm that is licensed to provide electrical and plumbing contracting services. Their mission is to help building owners identify and implement their most cost-effective energy options and to educate the community on sustainable energy. more

Transformation in the Clinical Setting
A two-day seminar for: Acupuncturists, Naturopaths, Body Workers, Physicians and Healers

April 30 – May 1, 2011

Click to view PDF

Learn a new clinical model based on  traditional Asian systems, quantum  physics, and modern bio- and neuroscience that works with the deeper  influences guiding illness and health. The details of this union present a multilayered picture of the true origin of suffering and offer a practical and clinical map for personal and spiritual development. Utilizing acupuncture and oriental medical protocols, subtle diagnostic awareness, and specific therapeutic techniques, you can enhance your ability to work with emotions, mood, behavior and the unfolding of human development in the journey of awakening.

“I have spent over 35 years as an acupuncturist in field and clinical study observing the relationship of consciousness to the physiology of Eastern medical and spiritual systems and their interface with what we currently know of the brain and neurobiology. From this unique perspective I have developed and refined treatment protocols based on the concept of biology as an expression of universal quantum intelligence.”

Informative, fun and never boring, this hands-on course builds on what you already know. Start using course material immediately!

Hours: Saturday & Sunday 8:30am – 5:30pm
Cost: $345 / $295 pre-registered
Students: $195 / $150 pre-registered
Pre-registration deadline: 7 days priorto event. Retake Level-1 for $150.
Refund policy: paid amount minus $50 if canceled 7 business days prior to event. Financial situations considered.

16 CEUs (CA)

For registration and more info:
415.377.0862, or
Visit website for complete schedule and Level-2 information:

Topics covered include:
• Theoretical overview of the AMB system, and its ten-step clinical protocol
• Clinical significance of quantum reality
• Pulse diagnostics for deeper human development (easy to learn!)
• East-West physiology of the spiritual Heart
• Shao Yin: the energetic and physiological union of Heaven and Earth
• Ren-Du polarity shifts in bonding deficits and personality patterns
• Advanced exploration of Five Element energetics
• Energetic pathogens: karmic, parental and traumatic influences
• Seasonal prognosis and treatment development
• Qigong and meditation practices for practitioner and patient … and much more

Peter Fairfield, L.Ac., acupuncturist and medical intuitive, spent many years with Tibetan yogis, Taoists adepts, Qigong masters and physicians from Tibet, Nepal, China, Thailand,Taiwan, and the U.S. He has researched Asian medical and spiritual systems and their relationship to modern scientific, psychological, and biomedical paradigms for over 35 years. He lectures nationally on the clinical and practical applications of these systems. In his practice he uses acupuncture and other modalities for emotional and spiritual development, as well as teaches Qigong and meditation to connect to our innate awareness.