Internet safety tips from local experts

Sgt. Dan Ritchie of the Bend Police Department, left, and Chris Akenson of Redhawk Security Solutions, two of the panelists at City Club of Central Oregon's recent forum on Internet security.

Sgt. Dan Ritchie of the Bend Police Department, left, and Chris Akenson of Redhawk Security Solutions, two of the panelists at City Club of Central Oregon’s recent forum on Internet security. Photo courtesy Cort Vaughan.

Sometimes it seems like every new day brings a new frontier in the murky world of online crime.

Your morning newspaper details the newest email scam going around town. The nightly newscast reports on the latest corporate data breach. Hackers and phishing over here. Identity theft over there.

It’s enough to make your head swim. Unfortunately, you can’t just ignore it and hope it goes away.

No, protecting your privacy and personal information on the Internet is a daily battle, which is why City Club of Central Oregon titled its June forum “You’ve Been Hacked! Privacy and Security, Obsolescent Values in the Digital Age.”

The event happened last week at St. Charles hospital in Bend and featured a panel discussion and lively Q&A session. The panelists were Sgt. Dan Ritchie, Administrative Patrol Sergeant with the Bend Police Department, Chris Akenson, Senior Security Analyst at Redhawk Security Solutions of Bend, and BendBroadband’s Director of Business to Business Marketing Stephanie Senner, who moderated the forum.

Early on, Senner offered a colorful way to think about the Internet: It’s both a “transcendent idea” and “something a squirrel could chew on,” she said.

“Everything about (the Internet) was built to share,” she added.

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Meet the Mariners Moose!


We here at BendBroadband are super-stoked to have the Seattle Mariners back on local TVs thanks to the return of ROOT SPORTS.

So stoked that we might just give the Seattle Mariners Moose a big ol’ moose hug on Friday, July 3 when he makes an appearance at that night’s Bend Elks game against the Medford Rogues.

BendBroadband and ROOT SPORTS are sponsoring the game, and the Mariners Moose will be on hand for a meet-and-greet with fans. BendBroadband will hand out ROOT water bottles, and there will be fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July.

The game starts at 6:30 p.m. at Vince Genna Stadium at 401 SE Roosevelt Ave., in Bend. Fireworks will happen after dusk.

See you there?

We are closing our lobby on Saturdays


As of July 1, the lobby of BendBroadband’s Bend office will be closed to walk-in traffic on Saturdays.

We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. Please note: The lobby will remain open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and our Customer Care team will still be available by phone (541-382-5551) on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Customer Care Manager Chrystal Lair answered a few questions about the move:

Why are you eliminating Saturday hours?
Our traffic volume on Saturdays is low and not sufficient to justify the cost of lobby personnel. Cutting those costs allows us to fund additional support during times where we have higher call or lobby volume.

Why don’t you offer later hours on weekdays? Do you have any plans to extend weekday hours to replace the Saturday hours?
We will continue to assess customer needs and traffic volume. One option would be to shift our weekday hours to open later and remain open longer.

If I can’t get to the BendBroadband lobby during weekday hours, what alternatives to I have to return or swap out equipment?
A home service visit to correct a BendBroadband technical issue or replace defective equipment is part of our ongoing service commitment. If you have a non-service related issue such as returning an extra set top, you can schedule a technician pickup for $25.

If you have any other questions about this move, call that same number to get them answered.

A roundup of this summer’s free live music in Central Oregon

A Summer Sunday concert at Les Schwab Amphitheater.

A Summer Sunday concert at Les Schwab Amphitheater.

You can’t wander aimlessly through a Central Oregon summer without stumbling on a free, outdoor concert series.

Years ago, there was the ever-popular Munch & Music series in Drake Park, and not much else. But the Munch’s model — free music in a public place, casual atmosphere, food vendors, stuff to do for kids, etc. — has exploded in recent years, filling spaces both big and small with live music throughout the sunny season. The tunes don’t stop at Bend city limits, either. Redmond has two of these kinds of events, and there’s one each in Prineville and Sunriver. (There may be more that we’ve missed in the list below. If you know of one, leave a comment and we’ll add it.)

BendBroadband is proud to sponsor three free concert series: Summer Sundays at Les Schwab Amphitheater, Music on the Green in Redmond and Turf Tunes in Sunriver. It’s all part of our desire to support a strong, connected community that offers a variety of cultural opportunities to people of all walks of life.

But there’s more out there than just the events we sponsor! Below, find the upcoming schedules for all the free, outdoor concert series in Central Oregon that we could think of, all in one convenient place. Several of these start soon — Summer Sundays this weekend, Music on the Green next Wednesday, for example — so bookmark this list or print it out to make sure you know when it’s time to get outside and soak up some sound and sun!

Summer Sunday Concerts at Les Schwab Amphitheater

June 21 — Broken Down Guitars (rock)
June 28 — Tubaluba (funk)
July 5 — Cloverdayle (country)
July 19 — Chiringa! (Latin dance music)
July 26 — Okaidja + Shokoto (African music)
Aug. 2 — Wilderness (rock)

Music on the Green at Sam Johnson Park in Redmond

June 24 — Out of the Blue (dance-rock)
July 8 — Carrie Cunningham and the Six Shooters (country)
July 22 — Off the Record (rock)
Aug. 5 — Derek Michael Marc & Double AA (blues)
Aug. 19 — TKO (country and rock)
Sept. 2 — Hokulea Dancers (Hawaiian dance)

Turf Tunes at SHARC in Sunriver

July 5 — Calico the Band (roots-pop)
July 12 — The Strange Tones (blues)
July 19 — The Rock Bottom Boys (comedy/roots)
July 26 — Code Red (rock)
Aug. 2 — Moondog Matinee (folk-rock)
Aug. 9 — Tommy Hogan (blues)
Aug. 16 — Briana Renea (country)

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This weekend: Free preview of HBO and Cinemax

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The highly anticipated second season of HBO’s neo-noir drama “True Detective” premieres Sunday at 9 p.m., and all BendBroadband customers will be able to watch it thanks to a four-day free preview of HBO and Cinemax that begins Friday and runs through Monday.

The preview includes not only the main HBO and Cinemax channels, but also their associated Plex and On Demand services.

The first season of “True Detective,” starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, made a big splash in 2014, driving up demand for the second season, which stars Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams and Vince Vaughn. In season two, a bizarre murder brings together three law enforcement officers and a career criminal, each of whom must navigate a web of conspiracy and betrayal in the scorched California landscape.

The “True Detective” premiere will be followed immediately by the 10 p.m. series premiere of a new comedy called “Ballers” about the lives of former and current football players that stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Then at 10:30 p.m. comes the series premiere of “The Brink,” a dark comedy focused on a geopolitical crisis and its effect on three men who must save the planet from World War III. Jack Black and Tim Robbins star.

Tune in to HBO during the free preview and you can also catch popular shows like “Last Week with John Oliver” and replays of the “Game of Thrones” finale, as well as movies such as “Gone Girl” and “Edge of Tomorrow.” On Cinemax, you’ll find film faves like “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Man of Steel,” “Blended,” “Thelma & Louise” and “Lost in Translation.”

City Club to cover Internet privacy and security Thursday


Did you know that Oregon rose to third in the United States in identify theft complaints last year?

It’s true. And that fact, among others, is why City Club of Central Oregon will host a forum on protecting your personal information from digital dangers on Thursday at St. Charles hospital in Bend.

“You’ve Been Hacked! Privacy and Security, Obsolescent Values in the Digital Age” is set for 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday at the St. Charles Center for Health and Learning (2500 NE Neff Road, Bend). Registration costs $20 for City Club members and $35 for nonmembers; buffet lunch is included in the cost. Registration closes at 5 p.m. Monday, and you can register here.

The forum will cover the many facets of online crime, your exposure to it, and how to better guard your privacy. The panel will include experts on the Internet, communications and law enforcement:

Stephanie Senner, Director of Business to Business Marketing at BendBroadband (moderator)
Sgt. Dan Ritchie, Administrative Patrol Sergeant with the Bend Police Department
Chris Akenson, Senior Security Analyst at Redhawk Security Solutions of Bend

For more from BendBroadband about protecting your privacy and personal information, click here.

A&E, History and more moving to West Coast feeds

Effective today, the following channels are moving to their West Coast feeds within BendBroadband’s coverage area:

A&E HD (channel 730)
History Channel HD (755)
Lifetime Movies SD and HD (120 and 720)
FYI Network SD and HD (71 and 671)
H2 SD (163)

For Central Oregon viewers, this means programming will shift three hours earlier, so if you usually watch a show at, say, 9 p.m., it will now air at 6 p.m. The change was mandated by A+E Networks.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup starts Saturday

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The sports calendar is busy, busy, busy right now, with the NBA and NHL playoffs down to their final two teams each, the UEFA Champions League Final on Saturday, the French Open drawing to a close and Major League Baseball settling into a groove.

And this year, the Belmont Stakes horse race gets a little extra shine, as Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner American Pharoah attempts to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 37 years. Catch the coverage Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on NBC.

But one event that always seems to capture the attention of our country is coming up quickly: the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which begins Saturday. Every four years, nations from around the globe send their finest female soccer players to compete for this coveted trophy. And unlike the men’s World Cup, the United States women are strongly competitive, having won the contest in 1991 and 1999.

This year’s Women’s World Cup will be hosted by our neighbors to the north, Canada, with games scheduled from Saturday through July 5 in cities across the country, including Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, Moncton and relatively nearby Vancouver. The competition will air on the Fox Sports family of networks, which recently announced the schedule for the U.S. Women’s National Team, who begin play June 8 in Winnipeg.

The U.S. team’s past success has turned some of its players — Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe — into stars, but there are a bunch of women on the team who you might want to get to know before the action begins. Toward that end, the team has begun a campaign called “One Nation. One Team. 23 Stories.” that takes a look at the stories behind the women behind the big-time skills.

It looks awesome, quite frankly, and you should check it out. Here’s the trailer!

A conversation with Mittens

IMG_0010If you’ve seen BendBroadband’s new commercial for Alpha, our multi-faceted home entertainment solution, you know that Mittens the cat steals the show right at the end.

A supporting character throughout much of the spot, Mittens ultimately plays a pivotal role in his household’s TV tug-of-war when he must choose between snuggling in with Mom for a long viewing of a favorite show versus That Other Guy Who Feeds Me Sometimes But Is Not Here Right Now.

Mittens’ handling of this moral dilemma is as cold and calculated as his belly is soft and scratchable. We caught up with him to try to find out more about Mittens and what makes this cool cat tick.

BendBroadband: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, where you’re from and so on?

Mittens: I grew up — survived, really — in the streets and alleys of Bend’s west side. I had a home early on, but my owners were always out living it up at the local festivals — beer festivals, music festivals, “hey, it’s the weekend, let’s have a festival” festivals … stuff like that. They were never around. So I struck out on my own.

BendBroadband: Wow. Sounds like a tough life. Where’d you sleep when you were on the streets?

Mittens: Most nights I’d tuck myself into the cushy seat of a kayak hanging on the side of a garage or whatever. If those were all taken, I’d try to find a spot under a warm Subaru Outback. One night I had to sleep behind the old Players Bar & Grill. *shudder*

BendBroadband: So how did you end up with the couple in the Alpha commercial? And how’s life with them?

Mittens: Well, one Fourth of July a couple years ago, I was kicking around downtown Bend (looking to lap up someone’s spilled latte, to be honest) when all of a sudden this whole herd of animals — no cats, but just about everything else — came walking down the street, along with a bunch of humans doting on them. (Editor’s note: Must’ve been this.) The animals were all dressed up and some were riding in, like, wagons and stuff. One dog was tied to a bunch of balloons! (He looked scared, but the humans seemed to love it.) Anyway, it looked like the life to me, hanging with all these happy pet owners. So, you know, I’m a resourceful kitty; I picked out a good-looking couple of humans and ran out there, cranked up the charm and started snuggling their legs. Eventually the female picked me up and zipped me into her hoodie. And now I’m here, chillin’ on the couch. That’s basically it. That’s what I do.


BendBroadband: How do you feel about your role in BendBroadband’s new commercial? You seem like you were destined for small-screen stardom.

Mittens: Yeah, I mean, it’s cool. They told me to act natural, so I did. I sat there like a cat. Next thing I know, Mom’s making me the bad guy in her little time-shifting TV tussle! Not cool! Although, I have to agree with her: If those games were so important, why was he out golfing? Anyway … I don’t really understand DVRs and Alpha and all that stuff. Because I’m a cat. But I do know that Mom and Dad are happier now that they have a way to record all their shows without conflict. And that means more treats and belly-rubs for me, so I’m in. As for stardom, I will say this: Ever since the commercial started airing, I can’t go anywhere in Bend without getting noticed by someone. Or at least that’s how I assume it would be if I ever left the house.

BendBroadband: OK, well, I think our time here is up. Anything else you want to say to your new fans?

Mittens: Yeah, I just want to say hi and I love you all! Shout out to #TeamMittens! I want everyone to know I’m not stopping with this commercial. I’ve got big things on the horizon, including but not limited to a fiendish feline plan to overthrow BendBroadband’s social media channels soon, so send me your favorite funny cat memes. Today, this blog. Tomorrow … Facebook and Twitter!

Review: Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters in Bend

Robert Plant performs Monday night in Bend. Photo courtesy Mike Albright Photography /

Robert Plant performs Monday night in Bend.
Photo courtesy Mike Albright Photography /

For a guy who long ago achieved global domination via rock ‘n’ roll, Robert Plant’s obsession with American roots music is sort of sweetly adorable.

During his show Monday night at Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend, Plant’s between-song banter included multiple references to his home country “over there” (i.e. England), to music that came to America on ships, to murder ballads and Mississippi Delta blues, plus Charlie Patton, Howlin’ Wolf, black culture moving north to Chicago and more. Before diving into “Little Maggie,” the first song on his 2014 album “Lullaby… and The Ceaseless Roar,” he acknowledged its deep roots in traditional Appalachian music. Introducing a bluesy song later in the show, he offered this disclaimer: “Here’s a song I have no responsibility for.” Then he played “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” a song Led Zeppelin adapted from early 20th century bluesman Blind Willie Johnson on its 1976 album “Presence.”

Courtesy Ed Miles

Courtesy Ed Miles

But it was the songs that Plant is undeniably responsible for — songs he is intrinsically connected to, forever and beyond — that made Monday’s show special. “Lullaby” is a good record and Plant has been touring with his current band the Sensational Space Shifters for three years, but a quick scan around the Schwab showed folks were there primarily to hear Led Zeppelin songs, and Plant did not disappoint them. He sprinkled his 90ish-minute set with both folksy deep cuts (“Black Country Woman,” the banjo-powered “Going to California”) and some of his old band’s most popular, muscular songs, like “Black Dog” and “Whole Lotta Love,” whose iconic guitar riff roared to life under a gorgeous High Desert dusk sky. It was one of the highlights of the night.

Otherwise, Plant and his band played a few songs from his post-Zep career, including the beautiful, gospel-tinged “Rainbow,” complete with a fleet of African hand drums; “Turn It Up,” which stomps along to a thunderous drumbeat; and a cover of Willie Dixon’s blues staple “Spoonful,” which Plant retrofitted with a glitchy, bloopy synthesizer part that showcased just how musically omnivorous a 66-year-old rock ‘n’ roll god can be.

Still, when you go see Robert Plant perform in 2015, you must know that you’re going to be surrounded by folks in Led Zeppelin T-shirts who are going to stand and cheer and dance at the first sign of a song embedded in the soundtrack of their lives. That was the scene Monday night in Bend, where Plant and his band gave the people a healthy dose of nostalgia, while sneaking in a bit of his current interests as well.