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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Crick in your neck? Move your tablet!

After hours of Hearthstone on your tablet computer, are you starting to feel a crick in your neck?

Researchers at Washington State University say tablet users experience neck muscle strain at levels up to 3 to 5 times greater than when sitting with the head in a neutral position, like glancing at a desktop computer monitor.

Anita Vasavada, associate professor of chemical engineering and bioengineering at WSU, published the results in the February issue of the journal Ergonomics. She and a research team studied the tablet use of 33 people, including students and faculty, at a laboratory in Pullman. They used x-rays to determine the curvature of the spine when users typed and read on tablets in several different positions, including allowing the user to pick how they held the tablet. 

Muscle strain was most severe when users typed on the tablet as it sat in their lap. It was least severe when the tablets were propped up to the highest angle using the Smart Cover stand produced by Apple, but researchers did not test multiple brands of tablet accessories. 

To the surprise of researchers, there was no noticeable difference in muscle strain between men and women in the group. Past research has shown women are at greater risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders, according to the WSU researchers.

Vasavada and the researchers note the sample size is small, but the laboratory findings could go a long way in introducing ergonomic guidelines for tablet use. A booming industry of ergonomic keyboards, desks, chairs and other accessories has already developed for desktop computers.

The Tech Deck's advice? It's probably best to take a break between hourlong card battle bouts, anyway.

Bing homepage features North Cascades Highway

PUBLIC LANDS — The North Cascades  Scenic Highway (SR 20) is featured today on the Bing homepage, which is displaying an interactive photograph of headlights coming down the stunning highway through the national park.
The highway travels through 9 different regions across the state, from the Cascade mountains to the Columbia River Valley.
Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, presents unique images from around the world each day.
Viewers can click on hotspots throughout the picture to learn more about the highway and the surrounding area.
Bing For Schools will help teachers create lesson plans about Washington, in conjunction with the homepage image – check it out here. 


Not much to explain, really. I actually remember this Sesame Street bit from when I was a wee little lad and computers were as mysterious to me as they were to the alien guys here. Yep.

30 years ago on the newsstand


Not everyone believed it in 1983.

Shari’s customers robbed of laptops

Two customers at Shari's restaurant in northwest Spokane had their laptops stolen out of their hands Sunday, police say.

The women were sitting in a booth about 4:50 p.m. when a man walked up, slammed a MacBook shut and grabbed it from one of them, then grabbed the other laptop that was nearby.

The thief, identified by police as Tyler C. Berens, 20, ran from the restaurant but was arrested minutes later at the McDonald's across the street. A McDonald's employee told police Berens walked into the store on a cellphone and said "I'm going to jail" before locking himself in the bathroom, according to court documents.

Police found Berens in the bathroom and recovered the laptops from a garbage can. Officers said Berens had two Xanex pills on him, which earned him drug possession charges in addition to second-degree robbery and second-degree theft charges for the laptop heists.

Berens already has a trial scheduled in May for property crimes charges related to a counterfeit check ring.

Citizen recognized fugitive from news

An alert citizen helped police arrest prolific theft suspect Wednesday after recognizing him from news reports.

Officers found Sean Alexander Blair, 31, outside Safeway, 3900 N. Market St., after a citizen called in about 6:30 p.m.

"Thank you Spokane for helping YOUR police department keep you safe!" Spokane police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said in a news release.

Blair already was facing felony theft and drug charges when police identified him as a suspect in Nov. 17 thefts at the Davenport Hotel, which occurred as the Tri-State Grain Growers convened at the upscale hotel in downtown Spokane. Read more here.

DeRuwe identified Blair Wednesday as one of four repeat offenders whose arrests “would have a positive impact on our crime trends.”

The others are Christopher C. McCracken, who was sentenced last month to 12 months in jail for violating a protection order and is wanted by the Department of Corrections; Christopher J. Searight, 29, who is wanted for not paying his fines on felony convictions from 2004, and Shaun P. Davis, 39, who is wanted by the DOC.

See their photos at the Spokane Police Department's Facebook page.

Man wanted for stealing from Davenport

UPDATE: Blair was booked into jail about 8 p.m. Jan. 11.

Police say a longtime felon dressed in casual business clothes to blend in while stealing laptops from a convention at the Davenport Hotel. 

Sean Alexander Blair, 31, already was facing felony theft and drug charges when police identified him as a suspect in the Nov. 17 thefts, which occurred as the Tri-State Grain Growers convened at the upscale hotel in downtown Spokane.

Surveillance video shows Blair enter the hotel without a backpack about 8 p.m. without a backpack, according to court documents. It then shows him leave a half hour later carrying a backpack that was reported stolen from the convention. The backpack contained a Dell laptop. Another laptop also was reported stolen from a backpack at the convention.

Colfax farmer Randy Seuss, chairman of the U.S. Wheat Associates, said he saw a man matching Blair's description about 8:20 p.m. in the convention, according to court documents. He noticed the man did not have an event identification badge and was picking up handouts from display booths.

Detective Crystal Jolly was familiar with Blair from thefts of laptops at local hospitals and the Gonzaga University library. Blair always carries the stolen computers in backpacks, she said.

Blair was out of jail waiting trial on seven felony charges for those thefts and an unrelated methamphetamine charge when the heists at the Davenport occurred.

Now he faces a $20,000 warrant for two new counts of second-degree theft, and no-bond warrants for the previous cases because he violated his conditions of release by allegedly committing new crimes.

Spokane police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe identified Blair today as one of four repeat offenders whose arrests "would have a positive impact on our crime trends."

The others are Christopher C. McCracken, who was sentenced last month to 12 months in jail for violating a protection order and is wanted by the Department of Corrections; Christopher J. Searight, 29, who is wanted for not paying his fines on felony convictions from 2004, and Shaun P. Davis, 39, who is wanted by the DOC.

See their photos at the Spokane Police Department's Facebook page.

Stolen card leads to fuel theft suspect

A man believed to be responsible for gas thefts in the West Plains area was identified this week after he tried to return merchandise that had been purchased with a stolen credit card.

Gary Dale Hutt, 38, was arrested Tuesday after he went to the General Store on 2424 N. Division St. to return some of the $500 worth of items he'd purchased Monday with the stolen card, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office said today.

Detectives had already contacted the store of learning the card had been used there. The card was used 17 times on Monday, the same day it was stolen during a daytime burglary in the 6600 block of North Brooks Road. Three guns, two guns safes, two laptops and a camera also were stolen.

Property crimes detectives searched Hutt's home in the 5100 block of West Sunset Boulevard after his arrest and found one of the laptops and gun safes, as well as items purchased at the General Store with the stolen card, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Detectives noticed a van circling the area while they were searching Hutt's home, and its plates indicated it had been stolen. The driver, Hutt's live-in girlfriend, Courtny R. Jacobsen, 34, was arrested for driving while suspended.

The van was registered to Hutt but had switched /stolen license plates on it, according to the sheriff's office. Detectives found a large gas tank in the van and are continuing their investigation into the fuel thefts on the West Plains.

"Detectives expect to solve additional burglaries and recover more stolen property as they continue to look into this case," according to a news release by Cpl. Dave Thornburg.

"As you are all aware, our community has been hit hard with property crimes," Thornburg said in an email to media. "Sheriff's deputies and detectives are working very hard to do what they can to put the suspects in these crimes behind bars with the limited staff and resources we currently have."

Edit: Libraries Face Filter Mandate

Idaho legislators believe in local control — except when they don’t. Don’t take it from us. Ask your local librarian. Under a new state law, libraries have to install filtering on their computers, so children will not be exposed to indecent or obscene material over the Internet. It is just the kind of one-size-fits-all policy and potential unfunded mandate that legislators enjoy railing against — when they believe the state is on the receiving end of overreaching federal policy. Such sentiments were lost on the 2011 Legislature, which passed an amended version of the Internet filter bill without a single dissenting vote. … As Coeur d’Alene Public Library director Bette Ammon told the Spokane Spokesman-Review: “It’s ridiculous to hold adult use of materials to the same standard as children”/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you support the new filter law for Idaho libraries?

Video shows suspect in GU law caper

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Here's a news release from Sgt. Dave Reagan:

Detectives are seeking the public’s help to identify a woman who stole a laptop computer from the Gonzaga Law Library.

Security video shows the thief (in front) entering the library with a child and a female companion about 7 p.m. on June 21.  Detectives also want to identify the second female.

Witnesses saw the lead female near the laptop which had been left on a table top.  No one in the library at the time recognized the thief as a student, and when she quickly exited the library carrying a backpack, one witness followed her.

The witness saw her retrieve the child and leave in a maroon or burgundy “American-looking” four-door car, according to police.

Gonzaga security staff was able to locate video of the suspect, the child and companion as they entered the library.  The white female suspect is in the lead and was described as between 35 and 39 years old, 5’03” tall and 180 pounds..

Anyone with information about either woman’s identity is asked to contact Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

CdA man, 25, gets 5 years for child porn

A Coeur d'Alene man who downloaded child pornography and shared it with other Internet users has been sentenced to five years in federal prison.

 Scott Tyler Aresvik, 25, also is to pay $1,750 in restitution to a child identified in one of the nine pornographic images and 91 videos found on his computer after investigators searched his home in Coeur d'Alene on Dec. 15, 2009, according to a sentence imposed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Coeur d'Alene.

The investigation began when the Shoshone County Sheriff's Office learned Aresvik's computer was making child pornography available for download on the Internet.

Aresvik pleaded guilty to possessing sexually explicit images of minors in March after a grand jury indicted him in January. His plea requires him to forfeit his computer and electronic storage equipment.

Aresvik told FBI agents he'd been downloading child pornography for about one year, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. In addition to 60 months in prison, he'll be on probation for 10 years.

“Individuals who use the Internet to access, view and share child pornography mistakenly believe their anonymity will protect them,” Wendy Olson, U.S. Attorney for Idaho, said in a prepared statement. “Federal, state and local law enforcement are committed to working together with prosecutors to identify and prosecute these individuals. We will continue to use every available tool to apprehend and convict them.”

More information is available at  www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Scheme promised to harness lightning

A Spokane man who claimed to have invented a computer chip that could capture energy from lightning strikes is set to ask for his relese from jail today on federal charges that he defrauded investors of more than $2.5 million.

Robert B. Hiatt, 65, presented himself to investors for a decade as a successful inventor and businessman, according to the indictment on three counts of wire fraud returned Wednesday by a grand jury.

Hiatt pleaded not guilty Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Imbrogno. Hiatt claimed to have inside tracks to contracts with major companies and solicited investors using front companies that looked real, according to the indictment.  A bail hearing is set today before Imbrogno.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Electronics stolen from Valley church

Here's a news release from Sgt. Dave Reagan:  

A thief broke into a Spokane Valley church sometime between Wednesday night and 5 p.m. Saturday and stole several thousand dollars worth of electronic equipment.

The pastor at Valley Landmark Mission, 9021 E. Boone, told Officer Mark Benner that the congregation held a service Wednesday night and that all of the stolen property was stored in the electronic storage room that night.

When a cleaning crew arrived about 5 p.m. Saturday, they discovered the room pillaged and several items missing.  The stolen property included a Canon HD camcorder, an Acer laptop computer and two Phillips portable DVD players.

Benner found that the point of entry appeared to be a narrow window.  Anyone with information regarding the break-in is encouraged to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Child porn suspect jailed without bail

A suspect in a child pornography case previously allowed to leave jail on his own recognizance has been ordered held without bail after a federal indictment.

Darrel W. Monzingo, 44, faces up to 30 years in prison for five charges that include two counts of production of child pornography.

U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno ruled Monday that the charges were too serious to allow Monzingo out of custody. He does not have a stable address and he has not undergone a mental health assessment, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.

Monzigno was arrested Dec. 16 after Spokane police found child pornography during a search of his home at 3403 E. Fairview.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael Price released Monzingo from jail on his own recognizance the next day; the suspect was arrested on the federal charges last week. He has pleaded not guilty.

Feds: CdA man had child porn on laptop

A 24-year-old Coeur d'Alene man has been charged in federal court with possession child pornography.

Scott Tyler Aresvik faces up to 10 years and prison and lifetime probation for one count of possession of sexually explicit images of minors.

The charge alleges he possessed the images on a Gateway laptop computer on Dec. 15. He would be forced to give up the computer under a forfeiture charge also filed last week in U.S. District Court.

Aresvik waived a grand jury indictment and is not in custody.

He was booked into jail on a probation violation Dec. 15 and has a previous domestic violence case in Kootenai County. He is not currently in custody.

Man charged w/ producing child porn

A Spokane man arrested on child pornography charges in December has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Darrel W. Monzingo, 44, pleaded not guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to two counts of production of child pornography, two counts of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. He faces up to 30 years in prison.

The charges allege Monzingo filmed the sexual abuse of a minor on two occasions in July and August, then distributed child pornography through his computer on Oct. 28 and Nov. 30.

Police found explicit materials during a search of his home at 3403 E. Fairview Ave. on Dec. 16.  The home is about a block from an elementary school.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael Price released Monzingo from jail on his own recognizance after his arrest, but he was taken into custody on the federal indictment Thursday and remains in jail. A hearing to decide if he should be allowed bail is set for Jan. 24.

Spokane police began investigating Monzingo after undercover Colorado detectives said they’d received pornographic files from him over the Internet.

Poll: Computers Are Indispensible

  • Wednesday Poll: Easily, Hucks Online readers dubbed their laptops and personal computers as their most indispensible electronics gadgets. 71 of 151 respondents (47%) said laptops and PCs were indispensible for them. 44 of 151 (29.1%) put cell phones/smart phones in that category. 21 of 151 (13.9%) said they couldn't do without their entertainment center (TV, DVD, stereo, video game). 3 respondents each favored their Kindle/electronic reader or GPS. 9 favored "other."
  • Today's Question: Would a boat launch on NIC Education Corridor property be a good alternative to the one now at 3rd Street?

Spokane Valley will get the area’s first Friendly Computers shop

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The usual choice when hunting for computer repair is Google "PC repair" and see what pops up. You might expect to see a high listing for Best Buy's well-marketed Geek Squad. In fact, it doesn't even show up on the first page of results.

Notably, most of the results are for Spokane independent PC repair operations. To us, that's kind of remarkable, and a great thing.

So now what effect will another computer repair business have in this already-crowded service niche.

In the next several weeks, Spokane resident Jim Dixson will launch Spokane's first Friendly Computers franchise.

Like Geek Squad, Friendly Computers offers in-house or at-the-shop repairs. It's considered one of the faster-growing nationwide franchises in the country. More details on the company at Friendlycomputers.com.

Dixson plans to open his first location at 328 N. Sullivan, Suite 3, in Spokane Valley.

HBO Poll: PCs Preferred Over Macs

  • Thursday Poll: Mac users may be fanatical about their computer, but most in Hucks Nation prefers PCs. 99 of 134 respondents (73.88%) said they prefer PCs to Macs. Only 27 of 134 (20.15%) choose Macs. 5 of 134 (3.73%) said they like both types of computers. 3 were undecided.
  • Weekend Poll: Will Raul Labrador serve more than one term in the U.S. House of Representatives?

Child porn probe leads to Spokane man

A 44-year-old man was arrested Thursday after police connected him to hundred of images of child pornography.

Darrel W. Monzingo was taken into custody at his home at 3403 E. Fairview Ave., after detectives served a search warrant there about 9 a.m.

Spokane police Detective Jan Pofacher developed Monzingo as a suspect after Colorado detectives said they'd shared files with a Spokane man, according to a news release.

Investigators found pornographic videos and photos on Monzingo’s computers. His home is about a block from an elementary school.

Now he’s in jail on one count of possession of child pornography. Police say more charges are expected.

Tips sought on credit card thieves

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help arrest thieves who used stolen credit cards to buy $18,000 in computer equipment and other items.

The credit cards were stolen from a 64-year-old woman who was shopping at Rosauers, 9414 N. Division St., then used to buy merchandise that same day. More than $7,000 was spent at the Target store at 13724 E. Sprague Ave. in Spokane Valley.

The theft occurred July 29, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office announced today. Detectives have not been able to identify the man and woman pictured on surveillance cameras using the stolen cards.

Anyone with tips on their identities is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Icon War!

Ha ha ha. :D My piano teacher sent me this link. Its hilarious! Most of us forget to shut off our computers at night, right? (I do.) Well…

…while we are away, the icons will play…

Virus Shuts Down NIC Computers

Item: NIC combatting stubborn virus: Ninety percent of faculty, staff computers infected/Alison Boggs, SR

More Info: Teams of computer technology specialists are cleaning North Idaho College’s 1,200 faculty and staff computers – one by one – to eradicate a pervasive and destructive virus that hit campus a week ago. On Friday, information technology staff realized the virus wasn’t responding to the most recent anti-virus software. That’s when the college ordered faculty and staff computers shut down until they could be confirmed safe.

Question: Has your workplace but shut down by a computer virus?

The future of the newspaper industry: the view from 1981…

Fascinating and depressing, here’s a 1981 look at a quirky new technology: reading your newspaper on your “home computer” via signals transmitted over phone lines.

The news report has Tomorrowland feel to it, fat monitors with tiny screens, clunky keyboards, a guy setting a phone handset into a modem. Most outdated of all: the observation at the end that online news is unlikely to pose much of a challenge to the dominance of the 20-cent printed paper.

Hat tip: Horse’s Ass.