Wednesday, June 12, 2019

New property management company offers help with rentals

Blue Pine Property Management has opened at 1820 E. 17th Street, Suite 135, specializing in managing residential real estate in Idaho Falls and surrounding areas.

"The community is growing quickly and the rental market is very strong," said Tyson Luthy, who started the company in April after more than seven years in the property management business. "We have developed a very owner-friendly management system that includes a 'vacancy guarantee' and 'pet guarantee' at no additional cost. These guarantees protect a property owner against potential vacancies or pet damages."

Blue Pine also owns rental properties in Idaho Falls. "We can relate to the concerns that property owners sometimes have," he said. "We believe that good management is the key to minimizing risk in real estate, and our experience and knowledge of the local market has allowed us to consistently help investors grow their portfolios and reach their financial goals."

The company offers flexible terms and a month-to-month management agreement that can be cancelled at any time. "We stand behind our work and don't want anybody to stay with us just because they are stuck in a contract," Luthy said.

For more information, visit the company's website, www.bluepinepm.com, call (208) 243-9492 or email info@bluepinepm.com.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Who remembers the age of the switchboard?

Switchboard operators in New York City, courtesy of the New York Daily News photo archive.
Raise your hand if you can remember when your phone number began with JAckson. Hmmm ... not many of you, are there?

Hard to as it may be to believe, but there was a day when the prefix to every number began with a word, its first two letters capitalized. Idaho Falls was JA, for JAckson. "JAckson 3-7393" may sound like a Wilson Pickett song (dating myself again), but it's actually the number I had for more than 30 years.

According to the Telephone EXchange Name Project, Blackfoot was SUnset, Rexburg was either ELmwood or ELwood and Rigby was SHerwood. There is a database where you can go to look up any town or city in the U.S.A. This makes me so glad we have the Internet.

Here's the cherry on top: A chart of Ma Bell's officially recommended exchange names. According to it, my smart phone number, 821-1285, should begin with one of the following: TAlbot, TAlmadge, TAylor, VAlley or VAndyke. I think Taylor rolls off the tongue best, e.g. "Hey man, call me at TAylor 1-1285." Of course, now you have to dial the area code first, another sign our world is in decline.

The past has so much to give us that's fun and fascinating. Could we marry the conveniences of the present with everything from the past that makes us smile? Or does the past make us smile because it's the past? In 50 years, maybe people will think of selfies as fondly as I do of my old phone number, OLympia 5-9822. I doubt it, but who knows? I don't expect to be around to find out.

Monday, June 10, 2019

INL Resilience Optimization Center established to help federal agencies, private industry

With impacts from natural disasters and human-caused incidents on the rise, resiliency — the ability to withstand impacts and rapidly recover from different degrees of disruption — has become a top priority.
With impacts from natural disasters and human-caused incidents on the rise, resiliency – the ability to withstand impacts and rapidly recover from different degrees of disruption – has become a top priority in the first two decades of the 21st century. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, disaster declarations between 2005 and 2014 rose 35 percent compared to the previous decade, costing $106 billion in federal assistance. Cyberattacks — more than half of which are preventable — cost an estimated $400 billion annually worldwide.

Now Idaho National Laboratory has established the INL Resilience Optimization Center (IROC) as an innovation center for system resilience and risk management. The center draws from INL’s extensive track record as a world leader in critical infrastructure systems analysis and security, as well as its unique, large-scale test ranges.

“Our national defense, economic prosperity and quality of life have long depended on critical infrastructures such as energy, water, transportation and telecommunications,” said IROC director Ron Fisher. “The rapid proliferation of telecommunications and computer systems all connected to each other has created new dimensions of vulnerability and risk to every organization. INL has been focusing on this in unique ways for a long time, and the IROC is INL’s commitment to offer resilience solutions to the nation.”

The IROC can organize multidisciplinary teams and lab-wide lifeline-infrastructure capabilities that are scalable to any asset, system or network, regardless of function or geography. Its experts also can analyze the resilience impacts posed by cyber-physical relationships and infrastructure dependencies and interdependencies.

In short, the IROC is a highly collaborative center that employs tools and resources from across the federal government, along with commercially available resources. By leveraging existing expertise, tools, test infrastructures and other partner capabilities, the IROC can comprehensively analyze the state of stakeholder resilience and provide optimized solutions that will yield observable results.

Forming a plan to enhance the resilience of critical infrastructures requires owners/operators to determine the ability of the system to withstand specific threats and then return to normal operations following degradation. Thus, a resilience methodology requires comprehensive consideration of all parts of critical infrastructure systems—from threats to consequences. The methodology must generate reproducible results that can support decision-making in risk management, disaster response and business continuity.

With the ability to provide personal attention to individual challenges posed by resilience gaps, the IROC can optimize a broad range of solutions to fit distinctive situations for federal agencies and private companies.

For more information, visit https://resilience.inl.gov or email resilience@inl.gov.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

INL releases grid cybersecurity open source software

INL researchers Rita Foster and Jed Haile demonstrate the capabilities of INL's Structure Threat Intelligence Graph (STIG) software. The product helps electric utility operators visualize and share cyber threat intelligence information.
A revolutionary new cybersecurity tool that can help protect the electric power grid has been released to the public on the code-hosting website GitHub. Developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory, the Structured Threat Intelligence Graph (STIG) software allows utility owners and operators to easily visualize, share, create, and edit cyberthreat intelligence information.

The ability to share threat intelligence is essential for protecting critical infrastructure like the electric power grid, water treatment facilities, oil refineries, and manufacturing plants from cyber exploits. Prior to the development of this software, threat information was too complex and cumbersome to share, limiting its application in operational environments. The new software standardizes the collection via Structured Threat Information eXpression (STIX) and converts complex data on cybersecurity vulnerabilities into a visualization that is easy to understand and act on. With STIG, utility owners and operators have a common system for sharing threat intelligence information, thus increasing the chances of detecting and mitigating cyber exploits before they lead to a cyberattack. 

“We’ve been working on the development of this tool for quite a while and have had success testing it with a major utility,” said Jed Haile, INL cybersecurity researcher and tool developer. “This software helps analysts process new threat information rapidly and makes it easier for them to find or create relationships between pieces of information.”

By releasing the open-source code on GitHub, INL researchers hope other developers will take on the challenge of making the tool even better and ultimately helping to better protect the nation’s critical infrastructure systems. In addition to Haile, INL Infrastructure Security Strategic Adviser Rita Foster and cybersecurity researchers Justin Cox and Zach Priest were instrumental in the tool’s development.

The team has been working closely to test the software with Southern California Edison, a principal member of the California Energy Systems for the 21st Century (CES- 21) Program, and the primary electricity supply company for much of Southern California. The company provides 14 million people with electricity across a service territory of approximately 50,000 square miles. Southern California Edison sponsored the research that led to the development of the software. Seeing the potential for wider application of structured threat sharing, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a request to release the open-source code.

The tool is available for free download at: https://github.com/idaholab/STIG.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Google makes good in class action settlement

$26.49 means never having to say you're sorry ...
Years ago BizMojoIdaho got bounced as a Google AdSense account for alleged violations of fraudulently urging people to click on the ads. Appeals were fruitless, as were attempts to restore the account.

My only explanation was that the Internet giant had taken umbrage at a tongue-in-cheek post from 2012 in which I didn't encourage readers to indiscriminately click on the ads but didn't discourage them from exploring the possibility of becoming a 7-11 franchisee. I was just having some fun, but within months I was busted. "What a humorless bunch!" I thought. I even got to talk to an actual Google guy from Chicago at a Chamber of Commerce event and he told me, "Yeah, they take a dim view of that." But it turns out it was a bigger deal than just me -- something I kind of knew all along -- and when I got a letter or email (not sure which) about a class action lawsuit, I signed up. What did I have to lose, right?

Now it looks like my wrongs have been avenged, to the tune of $26.49. According to this story in MediaPost.com -- Google's $11 million AdSense Settlement Gains Final Approval Ad -- this represents a fraction of what I may have earned if my account had been left up and running. Also note the lawyers made $3 million off this circus, but what else do you expect? Anyone have any suggestions on how to spend my settlement? Or should I wait for my Lumber Liquidators class action check to arrive? I'm sure it will be equally handsome.