Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Idaho Theme Park's Facebook Page Hacked

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 9:12 AM

Fans of Silverwood Theme Park knew something was up when they started seeing bizarre, and often inappropriate, posts on the northern Idaho amusement park's Facebook page.

"15 Horrible Methods of Capital Punishment," said one post. "Badass Exotic Animals You Wish You Owned," said another. "And "Best Boob Tatoos" read a third.

The odd Facebook posts continued through much of this past weekend; and in short order, Silverwood officials knew that their page had been hacked. That prompted them to create a new Facebook page to explain the situation to its visitors.

"We are so sorry for the confusion with the hacked account! All account admins had been deleted so we have no way of stopping the posts," wrote Silverwood officials on the second Facebook page.

And now, this morning's Coeur d'Alene Press reports that Silverwood has grabbed back control of its original Facebook page and deleted the hacked posts, but only after getting flooded with complaints, mostly from parents who were upset of what had been flowing into their children's news feeds.

"It is quite unfortunate as we have gained a significant amount of loyal followers based on worthwhile organic postings and engagement which took much effort," Mark Robitaille, Silverood director of marketing told the Press. "Silverwood is committed to being family-friendly and is in no way associated with these posts."
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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Fool! Switzerland's Spaghetti Harvest, Taco Bell Buys the Liberty Bell and the Game of Thrones Version of Clue

Posted By on Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 9:56 AM

There have been some classic April Fools' Day pranks, and more than a few of them have gotten some people fired or disciplined.

In 1905, the Berliner (Germany) Tagelatt ran a story that thieves had tunneled underneath the U.S. Treasury and stolen all of its gold and silver. The story was even picked up by newspapers across Europe and even some papers in the U.S. 

In 1992, National Public Radio had a story of how Richard Nixon had announced that he would run for president again later that year. 

In 1996, Taco Bell announced in an advertisement that it had purchased the Liberty Bell.

In 1957, the BBC reported on an "exceptionally heavy spaghetti crop" in Switzerland, including some footage of farmers harvesting noodles from trees. (Check out the video).

This year, Google has turned its maps into Pac Man maps, featuring the ever-hungry Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde.

And Think Geek has announced some great new faux toys, including a steam-powered gaming console, a Game of Thrones-themed version of Clue and the Do-It-Your-Selfie 360-degree Selfie Ring.
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Friday, March 27, 2015

Idaho Rep. Paul Shepherd's Awkward Invitation, His Website Makeover and His Bizarre Reference to LGBT Advocates as Slaveowners

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2015 at 11:17 AM

Riggins Republican Rep. Paul Shepherd is being asked to sit down with members of the LGBT community to discuss the issue of being gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender in Idaho. In fact, members of Better Idaho hand-delivered an invitation to Shepherd at the Idaho Statehouse on Thursday.

"We realize you have some very strong opinions regarding the LGBT community, and it would be helpful to us if we could more fully understand those opinions. We also think a forum may help alleviate some of your fears of the LGBT community," said the invitation.

Earlier this month, Shepherd introduced a resolution calling for the impeachment of any federal judge who sides with same-sex marriage.

"We would like to have a forum with LGBT citizens in Idaho to alleviate some of your concerns and some of theirs, just given all the vitriol that's happened recently," said Better Idaho's Jordan Brady when she handed the invitation to Shepherd. "Do you think you'll be able to attend?"

Shepherd responded, "I don't know yet, I just...I haven't gotten to read the whole thing." Shepherd asked for another copy of the invitation and took off, saying "I'll let you know."

Meanwhile, it turns out that Dylan Hailey, an Idaho college student, has purchased Shepherd's former website, and given it a makeover, including a rainbow flag behind Shepherd's photo and advocacy for LGBT protections.

"Several articies stated this site was hacked; it was not," said the website. "The domain went up for renewal and Paul Shepherd didn't pay the bill, so the domain went back on the market and we just had lucky timing and purchased it before he noticed his domain had expired. We legally own the website now."

The site has since been linked to Reddit.

"Yes, we do need to take a stand, against bigots who discriminate against people they disagree with or don't like, just like what Paul Shepherd is doing to the LGBT community," wrote Hailey on the website.

Meanwhile, Shepherd offered a bizarre reference to slavery when asked about the website takeover by Idaho Reports.

“Slave owners were very good Christians and good people,” Shepherd told Idaho Reports. "They [slave owners] weren't terrible, horrible, rotten people—just people who made terrible decisions. And that's how I see gay people."

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Northwest Winery Says Its Website Was Hacked by ISIS

Posted By on Sun, Mar 22, 2015 at 8:35 AM

The so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, aka ISIS, has claimed responsibility for the cyber attack of North American credit unions, websites of municipalities and, just this morning, U.S. military servers leading to the publishing of names and personal details of U.S. service members as part of an ISIS hit-list.

But a Northwest winery now says it was a target of ISIS as well. KXLY-TV reports that Latah Creek Winery in Spokane, Wash., says it was hacked by "Team System DZ," locking up the company's website and pushing an ISIS screenshot to anyone who accessed the website.

The winery's website displayed the message: "I love Muslim & I love Jihad. I love ISIS <3."

Mike Conway, owner of Latah Creek Winery, told KXLY that he's working with the FBI on the incident.

Conway says the winery's ad agency, BHW1, was also hacked.

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Friday, January 30, 2015

City of Ammon, Idaho Joins National Effort for Local Internet Independence

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 at 11:29 AM

The small Bonneville County community of Ammon is joining 37 other U.S. cities in asking the Federal Communications Commission to allow the communities to control their own Internet infrastructure. Ammon is the only Idaho city on a letter to the FCC. The national effort is dubbed, "Next Century Cities."

Ammon officials say they want to find their own ways to improve high-speed Internet service.

"On the federal level, no one has an answer to fix what is happening on a local level," Ammon technology director Bruce Patterson told KIDK-TV. "We want to see if we can drive a model that makes sense and then offer that to residents and see if they are interested in coming on board where they can have a choice between multiple providers."

By signing the public letter to the FCC, Ammon Mayor Dana Kirkham said her city began work in 2010 to own and operate its own fiber optic system to provide broadband access not only to city departments but to businesses and residents.
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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Have You Heard of Skiplagged and 'Hidden City' Travel?

Posted By on Tue, Dec 30, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Picture this: you save up enough money for a vacation, you turn to the Internet to find the best deals on airfares and you find a fabulous deal. But you don't know where you're going.

That's the concept behind, which seeks out gangbuster airfares to "hidden cities." It's the brainchild of 22-year-old Aktarer Zaman, and here's how it works: It zeroes in on flights that have a stopover. For example, a flight from the East Coast to the West Coast might have a stopover in Lake Tahoe. Assuming a traveler wanted to go to Lake Tahoe, Zaman says they could save significant amounts—up to 40 percent—by booking the full flight rather than a direct flight to the stopover city. The problem is that your ticket says you're heading to a West Coast destination and you can't check any luggage.

Among this mornings deals: promises to fly from Spokane, Wash. to Salt Lake City for 28 percent less and San Diego to Seattle for 23 percent less.

That's reason enough for United Airlines and to sue Aman, calling his website "unfair competition."  According to CNN, United and Orbitz want $75,000 from Aman in what they call lost revenue.

"If [Skiplagged is] shut down, undoubtedly there will be other people to come along to scrape fares and make them available," Robert Mann, president of R.W. Mann & Company, an airline consulting firm told CNN.

Meanwhile, Aman said he's not making any money on Skiplagged. It's not even his main interest. He works at a technology startup firm in New York.
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Police: 'Whisper' Triggers Huge Safety Concern at Mountain Home Schools

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Police in Mountain Home are looking for the public's help in their investigation of a "Whisper" incident that set off a minor firestorm on social media. Mountain Home law enforcement said an anonymous message was posted Nov. 19 on the social media site called "Whisper," indicating that the writer heard two people talking on a Mountain Home school bus about "shooting up the school." Investigators say they're talking with the social media site in an attempt to identify the person that posted the message.

Meanwhile, the message has reportedly triggered a series of social media rumors that have "created a huge safety concern by students and parents," according to a Mountain Home Police Department spokeswoman. "Currently, there is a large police presence in and around all the schools."

Investigators are hoping that the public can help them with any information regarding the message or the identity of the person responsible for the post. The public is urged to contact police at 208-587-2101 with information.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Amazon's Netflix-Like Subscription: Unlimited Access to 600,000 Titles

Posted By on Sat, Jul 19, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Borrowing a page from Netflix, Amazon says it's launching an unlimited subscription service for e-books, but don't expect to see a lot of popular titles on the electronic shelves.

Amazon announced July 18 that a $9.99 per month fee will give Kindle users access to more than 600,000 titles and about 2,000 audiobooks on its Whispersync platform, which allows users to switch between reading and listening to books.

Amazon is offering a free 30-day trial service.

But Amazon's publishing perils continue to mount in its ongoing squabble with Hachette over e-book prices. Earlier this summer Amazon began slowing down, and, in many instances, cut off book sales from Hachette, which includes many of the world's popular authors including J.K. Rowling and James Patterson.

So far, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon and Schuster have said that their titles won't be a part of the new Amazon service.

Amazon is the biggest, but not the first company to offer the subscription service. Scribd charges $8.99 a month for access to 400,000 titles and Oyster charges $9.95 a month for its unlimited service.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Idaho Supreme Court Boots Appeal by Buhl Nurse Fired For Facebook Post

Posted By on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 10:41 AM

The Idaho Supreme Court has rejected an appeal made by a Buhl nursing home nurse who was fired for posting on Facebook that he'd like to "slap the ever loving bat snot out of a patient," the Twin Falls Times-News reports. 

Joseph Talbot, a former nurse at Desert View Care Center, posted the status in January 2013. In that same status, he also wrote that when patients insulted him on the job it made him less motivated to "make sure your call light gets answered every time." After being fired for making the post, Talbot applied for unemployment benefits through the Idaho Department of Labor, but the Idaho Industrial Commission blocked the disbursement of benefits, saying that Talbot's post constituted employment-related misconduct by violating Desert View's social media policy.

Talbot's appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court argued that he had not been made aware of Desert View's social media policy and had been unjustly fired. The Idaho Supreme Court rejected his appeal June 20.

Social media policies in Idaho have been making headlines lately. In October 2013, Laraine Cook,  a Pocatello High School basketball coach, was fired over a Facebook post in which her fiance, Tom Harrison, touched her right breast. In the wake of that controversy, which concluded with Cook being reinstated as a substitute teacher and being rehired as the school's basketball coach in 2014, the Pocatello School Board met June 17 to discuss a new social media policy "to improve awareness of the employee engaging in conduct which could result in negative consequences to employment and licensure status."
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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Facebook: 'Something Went Wrong'

Posted By on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 9:06 AM


"Sorry, something went wrong."

That's the message that Facebook's global user base saw early today when the planet's most popular social networking platform went dark.

"We're working on getting this fixed as soon as we can," read the error screen. The problem crashed Facebook's website and app, but company officials are mum on what exactly caused the problem. Facebook has had temporary outages before, but this morning's half-hour disruption was the longest in nearly four years.

Facebook boasts more than 1.2 billion monthly active users—nearly 1 billion on mobile devices.

This morning's outage came just a few days after Facebook unveiled Slingshot, it's online answer to Snapchat.

The Nation reports that Facebook's outage had some political repercussions in Afghanistan. "Most of the people had thought that the site was banned due to improper and irresponsible comments regarding the election," Afghan Khaama press reported. "Several tweet messages were exchanged among users in Afghanistan saying that the site has been blocked due to improper election discussions."

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