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Nazi zombies, plus raptors equal too much time

You have to be pretty bored to take the time to hack into an electronic road sign.

Lately, the media has been reporting stories of electronic road signs being hacked into, so the devices, which are normally used to warn drivers about construction projects, now proclaim that Nazi zombies and raptors are roaming the countryside.

Apparently, it's not safe to live in someone's made-up version of Austin, Texas, Hamilton County, Ind., or Collinsville, Ill.

Electronic road signs in all three communities have been altered to report zombie and raptor attacks.

Now, what fool would want to do that?

How much pleasure could a person possibly get from altering an electronic road sign? Maybe it's just me, but I don't see even the temporary humor in it.

But, then again, I never would have thought to do that to a sign in the first place. Admittedly, however, I don't always pay attention to those signs in the first place. Sure, I look over to see them, but usually by the time I'm close enough to read a sign, it seemingly always says "Caution Ahead" -- but I don't get to see what I should be cautious about.

It's my luck, I guess, but I can't watch the road and an electronic road sign at the same time.

The problem with altering these signs, of course, is that a driver may end up missing the real reason for caution, because someone wanted to have a little fun at the expense of others.

It's a disaster waiting to happen when drivers don't know a construction project lies ahead.

But, it's not just reprogramming electronic road signs that's a real problem. It's hacking in general.

In college, I had a roommate who claimed he could hack into the computer of anyone who lived in our apartment complex. He actually knew how computers worked, since he was studying computers. But, he claimed to have an attraction to hacking.

He claimed he once hacked into the computer of the ex-boyfriend of a girl my roommate was seeing at the time. Allegedly, my roommate attempted to fry the guy's motherboard, out of spite.

Now, this is just me talking here, but you must be someone with a lot of free time -- perhaps too much free time -- if you use it to reprogram electronic road signs, or try to fry someone's computer as part of a prank.

Let's be honest, those are not the first things the typical person may think of, while trying to figure out how to spend a Saturday night.

I wonder, are these now the types of things people go to right away when trying to pull a practical joke on someone?

I know I would be more likely to think of rolling someone's front yard, before I pulled electronic road sign reprogramming out of thin air.

Maybe that idea is too old school for a technologically savvy world.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.