I was surprised to see a familiar name yesterday while I was using the Associated Press. For those of you who might not know, I'm the managing editor of a small daily newspaper. Every morning, one of the first things I do is scan the AP for news briefs. Friday I stumbled across a little weirdness from Austin; apparently someone last Monday hacked the message on a temporary electronic roadside message sign. It displayed the following messages:
THE END IS NEAR!
CAUTION! ZOMBIES AHEAD!
RUN FOR COLD CLIMATES!
The AP story described the culprits as "slacker hackers with time to kill". Whoever did it apparently cut a padlock to get to the sign's electronics. The message only flashed for an hour or two.
The little story certainly made the rounds. I was watching the BBC World News Friday night and they included it in their weekly roundup of world wide weirdness (hey, that sounds like an anthology title: WWW: World Wide Weirdness).
What caught my eye is that the photo was contributed by Chris Nakashima-Brown, who I know from having once been a Turkey Citizen. Chris is an excellent writer and has published some fun neo-Cyberpunk stuff.
I didn't have an opportunity to run a photo on Friday, but I had a hole on the news briefs page for Sunday and I dropped a copy of the photo with the "Zombies ahead!" sign in there.
Gave Chris a photo credit, too. If I knew his address, I'd send him a clipping.
Anyway, I slugged the photo "Austin remains weird". Yep, the folks down there certainly are succeeding in Keeping Austin Weird. They're an interesting bunch.