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Thursday, October 8, 2015

In Our “Smart World” the Internet Touches all Aspects of Our Daily Lives

Is your thermostat putting your home network at risk? Things connected to the Internet –like smart thermostats, coffee pots, and refrigerators –need to be updated manually to protect the network to which they are connected.

In the future, our lives will become even more intertwined with technology. Our cars are quickly morphing into “computers on wheels,” the fully-connected home is nearly a reality and connected medical devices may offer tremendous benefits to our health and safety.

As technology continues to evolve and advance throughout all aspects of our life, securing a vast and complicated Internet ecosystem of smart devices including phones, wearables, cars, and more is critical to our safety and security.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) and

BIT is joining with the Department of Homeland Security and its partners across the country to highlight the importance of cybersecurity to individuals of all ages and all segments of the community.

Follow the simple tips below to secure any object or device that sends or receives data automatically:

  • Keep any device that connects to the Internet free from viruses and malware by updating the software regularly and securing them with strong passwords whenever possible
  • Have a solid understanding of how a device works, the nature of its connection to the Internet, and the type of information it stores and transmits
  • Properly secure the wireless network you use to connect Internet enabled devices
  • Make the required manual updates to protect Internet-enabled devices. 
For more information on NCSAM 2015, visit www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month.

To receive cyber security tips year round, visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect and become a friend of the Campaign. To help you start an online safety dialogue, the Stop.Think.Connect. online toolkit is filled with tips, facts, and shareable resources:



Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Please Welcome New Employee Morgan Schnell!

Morgan Schnell has recently joined BIT Development Team 1 as a Software Engineer I.

Morgan is a native to South Dakota, born in Aberdeen and raised in Watertown. After graduating from Watertown High School, he went on to attend college at Dakota State University where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Video Game Design with a 3.8 GPA.

His degree offered him insight into graphic design and narrative writing. Most importantly, a solid background in programming and the ability to work in a team-driven environment. These insights have provided a great transition into Morgan's interest in software development through the latter years of his schooling. Morgan decided to move to Pierre after hearing about BIT from a handful of friends at school! He looks forward to gaining insight and further developing his skills as a programmer here at BIT!

In his spare time, he loves to play video games (admittedly, more than the average person). His interest in developing video games has led him to break down each game he plays at a mechanical level allowing him to analyze and think about what he did and didn’t like about the game's internet working, and how he could improve it if given the opportunity. Aside from this he also enjoys watching comedy or action movies, collecting figures, and building model kits in his spare time.

Welcome to BIT, Morgan! We are happy to have you!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Please Welcome New Employee Richard Spalding!

Richard Spalding will be joining us as a Software Engineer III on Development Team 1.

Richard Spalding was born and raised in the state of Florida. His father was a teacher who eventually became a rocket scientist and his mother was a Jacksonville debutante who became a dental hygienist. Needless to say, academics, healthy teeth, and more academics were among the top priorities while growing up (and maybe "Star Trek"--but only the episode featuring the space program).

Richard attended Merritt Island High School until his graduation in 1983. He spent a semester at what was at the time known as Brevard Community College before enlisting in the United States Air Force where he served as a medic.

After the military, Richard returned to Brevard Community College, earning an Associate's Degree in Computer Programming and Applications in 1996, all while raising 2 children on his own. In 2004, he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Computer Information Systems and worked as a contractor from 2006-2015. His position allowed him to live in various places such as: Hawaii, Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia.

In addition to writing code, Richard enjoys working on his truck Hummer H3, American History (1804-1869), World History (1928-1948), IDPA combat shooting (pistol and semi-automatic rifle drills), and SCUBA diving.

Since moving to South Dakota, he has become very interested in the outdoors and outdoor activities, such as hunting and camping. He looks forward to taking advantage of everything South Dakota, and especially Pierre, has to offer!

Welcome to the team Richard! BIT is thrilled to have you!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) Photo Contest!

South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) Photo Contest

For seven days, October 1st-7th, SDPB invites you to submit photographs of where you work, live, and play in South Dakota.

What does being a South Dakotan mean to YOU? Share your images with SDPB!

A panel of distinguished judges will choose winners from the following categories:

Home: It’s a place. It’s a feeling. It’s where and how you live. It’s what you value, no matter where you are.

Work: A third of our life is spent earning a living. Show us how, where and why you work.

Connections: Family, neighborhoods, and geography – many things connect us. Show us how you build community through culture, lifestyle, faith, and technology.

South Dakota: What makes South Dakota unique? Take a picture of a person, place or thing that says South Dakota to you.

Everyone will have a chance to vote for a People’s Choice winner, a chance at cash prizes, and the opportunity to have your photo appear in the 2016 Friends of SDPB Calendar!

The photo contest is open to anyone aged 18 years and older. Photos must have been taken in South Dakota between October 1 and October 7, 2015, and must be submitted online before midnight (Central Time) on Wednesday, October 7, 2015. Judging will take place and winners will be announced on Wednesday, October 14, 2015.

NEW THIS YEAR – an opportunity for young South Dakota photographers to enter. Any photographer in grade 12 or under may enter up to 5 photos in the youth photo contest. First, second and third place winners will be chosen from all eligible photos submitted. Click here for Youth Photo Contest Rules.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Greatest Fans In College Football Are Also Among The Most Well Connected

For all of you college football fans out there, let’s see how well you know your teams:

Which college football fans have the highest Wi-Fi usages rates?

The Nebraska Huskers.

According to Chad Chisea, I/T operations manager for the Huskers and Dan Floyd, Nebraska’s director of I/T for Athletics, fans at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska used 4.2 terabytes of Wi-Fi data during the Huskers’ September 12th victory over South Alabama.

The Huskers tweeted this stat by saying:

According to mobilesportsreport.com “the numbers that really jump out at us are the 34,439 unique connected devices and the 28,290 peak connections at a single time — those are numbers that rival anything we’ve seen in NFL stadiums, and are dwarfed only by Super Bowl or college playoff championship game numbers.”


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Two BIT Employees Now Have Royalty In Their Bloodlines

Typically the focus of our blog consists of relevant I/T news, tips-and-tricks, and our BIT employees. On this special occasion, we are going to take it one step further. As of recently, two BIT employees, Mary Word and Brent Dowling, now have royalty in their families… Or something of the sort!

Congratulations Murdoch Word and Cortney Dowling on being selected as the 2015 Pierre Homecoming Governor and Lady Governor!

Photo Cred: Grandpre Photography & KCCR Radio Station 

What do these parents think of their royal heirs?

Mary Word: “Murdoch is a genuinely kind person that smiles and talks to the other kids, regardless of who they are, what grade they are in, or what social group they come from. I believe it’s these qualities that have led him to be elected as Homecoming King and it’s these qualities that make me very proud of him!”

Brent Dowling: “Cortney is a very humble young lady grounded by her faith in Christ. She treats others with respect and encouragement. I feel that her humble persona is the quality that her peers were able to appreciate the most. Her mother and I are very proud of her accomplishments, but more importantly is the manner in which she accomplished them.”

Congratulations to the Word & Dowling families! 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Around The World with Kaitlyn Martinez: Part 2!

Since we last checked up on Kaitlyn, she has been settled into her new home for the next 9 months in Magdeburg, Germany.

What have she and her husband, Ozzy, been up to in the meantime? Making some new friends, cooking pizza on a stove, and going to a few local attractions!

Kaitlyn and Ozzy have been attending what is known as an “English Table” every week. Essentially, an English Table is a group of people who live in Germany that are able to come together and speak English with each other. Kaitlyn has met people from all over the world, including a lady from Brazil who is going for her PhD in Computer Science

Have they encountered any difficulties since being in Germany? Well… sort of. In the average household, a person would typically use an oven or maybe even a microwave to make a pizza...Kaitlyn had to be creative and use her stove! She explained, “I’m used to stoves[and]ovens coming together in one unit. Not until I went to cook the pizza, did I realize that we didn’t have an oven… just a stove. So I did a little google search and found out that you can put pizza in a pan with a cover on top and it will cook!”

For all of you doubters...

It can be done!

Other than that, the pair has visited the Dachau Concentration camp, one of the first Nazi concentration camps opened in Germany.

In addition they have also visited the English Garden in Munich and Wolfsburg, home of the biggest water show in the world! As Kaitlyn explained, “It was really impressive. There was music with videos behind the water, with all sorts of different colors and they even incorporated fire!”

Stay tuned, there will be more stories on Kaitlyn's exciting adventures to come!