What Windows 10 Means for You

Windows 10 has been a buzzing topic since its public release one month ago. In just that short amount of time, Microsoft revealed that they have more than 75 million devices now running Windows 10, with 14 million of those downloads in the first 24 hours. These are big and shiny numbers, but what do they mean for you? Great Plains Communications wants to take a step back and explain just what Windows 10 is and what it could do for your PC or tablet.

What is Windows 10?

Windows 10 is a cross-platform operating system, and the updated version of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Microsoft has planned for Windows 10 to be their last version, and to proceed with routine updates. It provides things like a simple way to sync all your devices: desktop, phone, laptop or tablet. You can then expect to see the new consistent interface on all of them, reducing confusion and frustration in understanding separate tasks.

What does Windows 10 mean for you?

If you have Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 on your computer, the Windows 10 download is free and you have one year to upgrade your device. All desktop programs that run on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 should work with Windows 10, however some of your backup tools and antivirus software will require updates. Check with the software developer if you are not certain if they support Windows 10. Some of the fun new features of Windows 10 are a new Start menu, Cortana – the voice-powered personal assistant, an Action Center where you can find common system tasks more quickly, and a new tablet mode designed to make it easier to operate devices without a keyboard and mouse.

Extra Time for your #GPCSummerSelfie

School has started and the days are getting just a little bit shorter already, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of the little bit of summer that’s left. There’s still time to get one more camping trip in, roast one more marshmallow, or head to the lake to catch one more fish.

Great Plains Communications encourages you to extend your summer by extending the deadline on our #GPCSummerSelfie Contest to Friday, September 4. This is your last chance to show us how you summer by posting your best summer selfie. You could win a $250 Visa gift card and a selfie stick.

Here’s how to enter:

Follow us on Instagram @greatplains_comm

Allow @greatplains_comm to follow you on Instagram

Take a selfie showing what you enjoy most about summer

Tag @greatplains_comm in the photo and don’t forget #GPCSummerSelfie in your caption

OR post your selfie on our Facebook page

Extend your summer and show us your best selfie! There’s still time.

New Technology on the Web

The evolution of technology and the ways people are changing how it is integrated into daily routines is something to watch. The “Internet of Things” can be found in a multitude of gadgets now. Great Plains Communications has taken a look online and found some of our favorite new ways technology is being used.


The June Smart Oven

It looks like an oven, works like a computer and thinks like a chef. June, a computerized oven created by co-founders Matt Van Horn and Nikhil Bhogal can not only recognize what type of food it is cooking, but once you download the app on your phone, can text you when it is done. Bad cooks everywhere could become master chefs using suggested cooking instructions given for specific food types and a live feed sent to their cell phone, which allows users to view inside the oven while it cooks. Now watch how it works, below.

The BioLite CampStove Bundle

In basic terms, it is a wood-burning stove that generates electricity. That is no joke. With the little bit of summer left, grab the family and head camping, but don’t forget to bring the CampStove Bundle by BioLite. Just by putting twigs and pinecones inside the container section and starting a fire, you could:

  • Boil 1 liter of water in 4.5 minutes
  • Charge a cell phone for 20 minutes, producing 60 minutes of talk time
  • Brew coffee
  • Cook dinner over the top of the wood-fired grill

All of this and the device weighs just 2 lbs., so it won’t be a burden when hiking to your site. Watch how it works, below.

The Fogo Flashlight

Another gadget you won’t want to forget this camping season, the Fogo Flashlight is not only waterproof, but includes all of the following:

  • Flashlight
  • GPS
  • App Based Operating System
  • Built in Radio
  • Bluetooth
  • USB Backup Battery
  • Digital Walkie-Talkie Smartcap

It will keep you and your family safe in more ways than one. Watch how it works, below.


Technology Around the World

Technology is being used in innovative ways all around the world. Here is a video of Great Plains Communications’ pick for this month’s example of how technology is being used in other countries.

Japan’s Robot Hotel

Now open to the public, Japan has opened a five-star hotel that is completely run by robots. From the first greeting at the front desk, to transporting your luggage to your room, technology is engaged throughout the entire experience. Take a virtual tour of the hotel, by The Wall Street Journal:

Back-to-School Ideas by Food Network & HGTV

One box of colored pencils

Two pink bevel erasers

Four boxes of crayons

Eight glue sticks

These are just a few of the supplies on the list sent home with your kids as they start school. This time of the year is full of new routines and many new things. Great Plains Communications has teamed up with a couple of our cable television channels, the Food Network and HGTV, to bring you a few creative ideas on things like school lunches and organizers for all the new art supplies.


Giada’s School Lunch Ideas


Back-to-School Supply and Craft Storage with Dan Faires


We haven’t forgotten about the college students! Moving into a dorm room can be exciting and a little scary. With this video by HGTV, it could also be beautiful.

3 Totally Removable Dorm Décor DIYs with Tanner Bell


As you are checking off that supply list this month, remember that Great Plains Communications has some exciting Back-to-School promotions going on. To find out what is available in your area, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and a representative would be happy to assist you.

2015 Knox County Bull-A-Rama and Chase County Fair


This week is a full of exciting events that Great Plains Communications is honored to be a part of. Tonight, August 13, we will be sponsoring the Knox County Bull-A-Rama starting at 7:00 P.M. in Bloomfield, NE. So, if you are in the area, come on out for the thrill of each bull ride, laughs from the clowns and the chance to get a free #GPCSummerSelfie shirt! Here’s a clip to show some of the fun from last year:

The other event Great Plains Communications is gearing up for is the Chase County Fair in Imperial, NE. Look for us Friday night at the Jerrod Niemann concert for a chance to receive a free #GPCSummerSelfie shirt. Then don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Great Plains Communications float in the parade on Saturday! Chatty the Great Plains Communications squirrel will be there to take selfies and hand out some goodies.

Great Plains Communications is so excited to be a part of these events and looks forward to interacting with our communities. Watch next week for pictures from both the Knox County Bull-A-Rama and Chase County Fair on all of our social sites. If you take a selfie at any of these events or with Chatty, don’t forget to post it and tag Great Plains Communications with #GPCSummerSelfie in the caption, for a chance to win a $250 gift card and a selfie stick.

#GPCSummerSelfie Contest Reminder

The summer isn’t over yet, and neither is our #GPCSummerSelfie Contest! Great Plains Communications wants to see how you summer, if that is in the pool, on vacation or relaxing on the couch with a cool drink. Enter our contest for a chance to win a $250 Visa gift card and a selfie stick! Here’s how to enter:

  1. Follow us on Instagram @greatplains_comm
  2. Allow @greatplains_comm to follow you on Instagram
  3. Take a selfie showing what you enjoy most about summer
  4. Tag @greatplains_comm in the photo and don’t forget #GPCSummerSelfie in your caption
  5. OR post your selfie on our Facebook page

Help us make this summer even better, and show us how you summer!

Back to School Throwback

The Internet has not only become an essential tool at home and work, but in schools as well. Great Plains Communications has some exciting Back-to-School promotions, but first we would like to throw it back to what college was like before Wi-Fi, online classes and having the web at our finger tips.


There was no such thing as online registration. You had a slip of paper with your desired classes and stood in line at the registrar’s office. While waiting in that line, you could think about the line you had to wait in later when getting your books.


Before tablets and laptops, taking notes meant throwing penmanship out the door and writing as fast as you could. You got a hand cramp? That was just part of it; no pain, no gain.



Do you have a question on an assignment? Professors didn’t send out weekly emails or assign online chats. You either tried to catch them in the classroom or signed up for office hours.


When a computer was needed for an assignment, there were no personal laptops to work in your dorm or wherever was comfortable. There was a sign-up list for the computer lab to write papers and use the printer.



Before eBooks and online searching, looking up a book in the library took time and patience with the Dewey Decimal System and many, many card catalogs.


It is fun to think back to how things used to be, but kids today are growing up in a very different world. Internet is not a luxury in college anymore, it is a necessity. From checking grades to having a class only offered online, Great Plains Communications understands the need for fast and reliable Internet service. Monday, August 10, Great Plains Communications starts Back-to-School promotions on high-speed Internet that you won’t want to miss. To find out what is being offered in your community, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and a representative would be happy to assist you.

PCI Compliance – Changes to Bill Pay Options

In accordance with new PCI Compliance regulations and to further ensure the security of customer financial information, beginning on August 3, 2015, Great Plains Communications has implemented a secure payment portal that must be used to make phone payments. The following video tutorial shows the process of setting up a secure portal account. Please follow the prompts below to set up a pin number and enter payment information.

To pay your bill, check your account status, or to set up automatic bill payments, please start by dialing 1-888-343-8014 and select Option 2.

Be sure to have your account and PIN numbers available. Your PIN number is a unique identifier which is required to access your account through our secure payment portal. It can be found on the front of your statement, as seen in the video, and will be printed after August 5, 2015. If you have trouble locating your PIN number or have any questions over the new changes, please contact the Great Plains Communications Customer Response Center at 1-888-343-8014, Option 3 and we will be happy to assist you.

We Wish Tim Armstrong a Relaxing Retirement


After 44 years, 7 positions and 4 communities, we are wishing Tim Armstrong well on his retirement from Great Plains Communications (GPC). Meeting people from when he was a local manager, to when he was the head of Economic Development and Community Relations, Tim has made connections wherever he’s gone and proved to be a true asset to the company. As District Manager, Kevin Poppe put it, “Tim’s special involvement with Economic Development and maintaining statewide contacts paved the way for GPC to expand their network and services in new markets.“

Tim is a motivator, people person, hard worker, morning person, father, grandfather and much more. Not only has he been a great employee to work with, but many call him a great friend. “Tim has always been very passionate about customers and rural communities across Nebraska and started many economic development groups. Tim has given 44 years of service to GPC and during this time I have not only gotten to know him as a co-worker but also a friend,” stated Sr. Director of Operations, Engineering, Gregg Ptacnik. “One of his favorite lines was ‘let’s just get her done’, normally at a pace which nobody else could keep up with. He is very involved with his three children and nine grandchildren. I wish him the very best in retirement because he deserves it!”

Great Plains Communications would like to say, “Thank you” to Tim for his dedication and loyalty, as well as the hard work he has put into so many aspects of what makes this company successful. We want to wish him well in his future plans and will have to find another way to “just get her done” as he enjoys the much deserved relaxation of retirement.

Take a Stand Against Cyberbullying

7th grade bullying project – Words Hurt, Holliston Middle School, Robert H. Adams Middle School

These girls are real seventh grade students who have seen and experienced the painful effects of cyber bullying. It is not something that can be categorized as only a problem in big cities or in specific schools or communities. Cyber bullying is everywhere and it is real. According to No Bullying Cyber Bullying 2014 Statistics, “25% of teenagers reported having experienced repeated bullying via their cell phone or online; 52% of young people reported being cyber bullied; 95% of teenagers who witnessed bullying on social media reported that others, like them, ignored the behavior.” These statistics are frightening and need to be changed, so Great Plains Communications asks you to stand up with us in the fight against cyber bullying. Stand up with us in the fight to keep our children and communities safe.

Below we have listed a few things stopbullying.gov has suggested to keep in mind to help in the fight against cyber bullying:

  • Be Aware of What Your Kids are Doing Online
    • Just like a physical place, ask your kids where they are going online and who they are going on there with.
    • Install parental control filtering software or monitoring programs, but do not rely solely on these tools.
    • Encourage your kids to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know is being cyberbullied.
  • Establish Rules about Technology Use
    • Talk with your children about which sites are permitted when they are online and which ones are not. Show them how to be safe online.
    • Help them understand what is smart to share online and what isn’t, and explain how words can be hurtful.
    • Explain to them that once something is posted, it is out of their hands who sees or shares it even if they try to take it down.
  • Understand School Rules
    • Most schools have developed policies on uses of technology that could affect the child’s online behavior in and out of the classroom. Ask the school about their policies.

Children today are growing up in a different world than their parents. Their pain could be stemming from much more than a scraped knee from falling off their bike. It is time we took a stand and started asking the right questions to bring those statistics down.

If you have questions about your Internet service with Great Plains Communications, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and a representative will be happy to assist you.