Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

Better Password Practices

While you check the lock on the front door each night before bed, make sure your car alarm is set as you walk away and keep your wallet in a safe place – are you taking the same thought and energy into cyber security? Your passwords are the lock and key to information such as your social security number, bank account information, personal family photos and much more. By allowing yourself to lean on lazy passwords such as your favorite sports team or your dog’s name, not to mention using that password for multiple accounts, you are opening yourself up to a major security breach. Great Plains Communications has three tips to keep in mind to secure your personal information through better password practices.

  1. Use a password manager.

We have a lot of passwords. It can be daunting to think of remembering at least 8 characters for 8 different accounts. Whatever you do, DON’T USE THE SAME PASSWORD. We are all guilty of committing a few password sins, but this has to be the worst of all. Your Facebook gets hacked and what do you think that person is going to do next? BINGO: check your bank account, credit card, etc. with that handy password they just gained access to. By using a password manager programs such as 1Password or LastPass, you can create strong and unique passwords for all of your accounts and lose the risk of forgetting them.

  1. Use a passphrase.

We have entered the era of passphrases vs. passwords. Instead of throwing some numbers and symbols on the end of the month your first child was born, turn to random phrases to stay secure. By using a phrase, you add length and randomization. But don’t just string together a sentence about your life or a pop culture reference. Be creative! For example: “Plug Tricky Stapler.”

  1. Add two-factor verification.

Unfortunately, sometimes a password or passphrase just isn’t enough. You may notice accounts on social networks, banks, and even Google offering an added layer of protection called two-factor verification. What this means is you will need to put in your password but also a one-time code that is sent to your phone or email, or through an app like Google Authenticator. What this can also do is notify you if someone else is attempting to enter a password into one of your accounts.

2018 Halloween Cable Programming Schedule

It’s a spooky time of year and we aren’t talking about pumpkin carving or what costume you are picking out. Great Plains Communications has highlighted some of our favorite Halloween programming that we feel you just can’t miss this month. For starters, Freeform (previously ABC Family) is expanding their 13 Nights of Halloween to 31 Nights of October, because fans wanted more than just two weeks. It is filled with family-friendly movies such as The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Haunted Mansion, Hocus Pocus and The Addams Family. Other channels we included are AMC with their FearFest marathon, Disney Channel Monstober, Syfy 31 Days of Halloween and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) October Horror.

October 13, 2018

12:15pm – Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Freeform)

1:15pm – The Seventh Victim (TCM)

1:50pm – Hocus Pocus (Freeform)

6:25pm – Disney-Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. (Freeform)

7:00pm – Cucuy: The Boogeymen (Syfy)

8:30pm – Disney-Pixar’s Monsters University (Freeform)

11:00pm – The Addams Family (1991) (Freeform)

October 14, 2018

6:29am – Halloween II (AMC)

8:29am – Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (AMC)

10:29am – Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (AMC)

12:15pm – Hocus Pocus (Freeform)

4:29pm – Halloween (1978) (AMC)

7:00pm – Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (TCM)

7:00pm – Decorating Disney: Halloween Magic (Freeform)

8:00pm – Hotel Transylvania (Freeform)

October 15, 2018

9:30am – Poltergeist (1982) (AMC)

12:00pm – The Hills Have Eyes (AMC)

2:35pm – The Crazies (AMC)

3:00pm – ParaNorman (Freeform)

5:00pm – Hotel Transylvania (Freeform)

5:00pm – Trick R Treat (AMC)

7:00pm – The Exorcist (1973) (AMC)

October 16, 2018

10:20am – The Return of the Living Dead (AMC)

12:20pm – Day of the Dead (AMC)

2:20pm – Shaun of the Dead (AMC)

3:00pm – ZOMBIES (Disney Channel)

3:30pm – Monster House (Freeform)

4:25pm – 28 Days Later (AMC)

7:00pm – Army of Darkness (AMC)

9:00pm – Ghost Ship (AMC)

October 17, 2018

12:25pm – I, Frankenstein (AMC)

5:30pm – Hocus Pocus (Freeform)

7:00pm – Curse of Chucky (AMC)

7:00pm – The Old Dark House (TCM)

7:30pm – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) (Freeform)

9:30pm – The Walking Dead (1936) (TCM)

9:05pm – Cult of Chucky (AMC)

October 18, 2018

8:00am – Halloween (1978) (AMC)

10:00am – Halloween II (AMC)

12:00pm – Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (AMC)

2:00pm – Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (AMC)

4:00pm – Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (AMC)

5:30pm – Dark Shadows (2012) (Freeform)

6:00pm – Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (AMC)

8:00pm – Halloween (1978) (AMC)

8:00pm – Knock Knock (Syfy)

October 19, 2018

4:00pm – Halloween (2007) (AMC)

5:10pm – The Goonies (Freeform)

6:30pm – Halloween (1978) (AMC)

8:30pm – ZOMBIES (Disney Channel)

October 20, 2018

10:00am – Twitches (Disney Channel)

3:00pm – Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Freeform)

4:35pm – Hotel Transylvania (Freeform)

5:00pm – Silver Bullet (AMC)

6:40pm – Hocus Pocus (Freeform)

7:00pm – Christine (AMC)

8:50pm – The Addams Family (1991) (Freeform)

10:55pm – The Haunted Mansion (2003) (Freeform)

October 21, 2018

10:00am – Twitches Too (Disney Channel)

10:30am – The Quiet Ones (Syfy)

3:24pm – Friday the 13th (1980) (AMC)

7:00pm – The Mummy (1959) (TCM)

8:45pm – The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (TCM)

October 22, 2018

5:10pm – Hocus Pocus (Freeform)

7:20pm – The Witches of Eastwick (Freeform)

9:00pm – Eli Roth’s History of Horror (AMC)

10:00pm – Jeepers Creepers (AMC)

11:00pm – Warm Bodies (Freeform)

October 23, 2018

5:45pm – Insidious (Syfy)

7:00pm – Insidious: Chapter 2 (Syfy)

7:50pm – The Addams Family (1991) (Freeform)

October 24, 2018

7:00pm – White Zombie (1932) (TCM)

7:00pm – Insidious: Chapter 3 (Syfy)

8:15pm – Mark of the Vampire (TCM)

9:30pm – Night Monster (TCM)

 

Watch future blogs for the continuation of Halloween programming.

National Do Not Call Registry

Do you receive constant phone calls from unrecognizable phone numbers? Did you know telemarketers can legally call as late as 9 p.m.? Take action to stop these unwanted calls by registering your number with the National Do Not Call Registry.

This registry provides the opportunity to block telemarketing calls at home. Registering your phone number will stop most telemarketing calls but will not stop calls from certain non-profit and political organizations. Organizations with which you have established a business relationship will also be allowed.

You can register your residential and wireless phone numbers by phone or online at no cost to you. On the Internet you may register up to three numbers at one time. You can only register one number at a time via telephone and must call from the number you wish to register. Your phone number will appear on the Do Not Call list the following day. However, telemarketers have up to 31 days to remove the number from their calling lists. A telephone number will only be removed from the registry when it is disconnected, reassigned, or if you choose to remove it.

To register or to remove a number from the Do Not Call Registry, call 1.888.382.1222, for TTY call 1.866.290.4236 or log onto www.donotcall.gov.

Meet a Customer Service Rep – Jerome Hilton

Customer service representatives are often the first point of contact a person has with a company. They are the voice to a brand and Great Plains Communications (GPC) takes pride in having not only a knowledgeable and friendly Customer Response Center, but a uniquely local one right here in Nebraska.

Sometimes it can be hard to humanize the voice on the other end of the phone. But we want to do just that by highlighting one of our representatives, Jerome Hilton.

Jerome Hilton – Customer Response Representative

Q: Where are you from?

A: I am from South Sioux City NE, I moved to Blair in 2005 and have lived here since.

 

Q: How long have you worked at GPC?

A: I have worked here for 2 ½ years.

 

Q: What is your favorite part about working in customer service?

A: I ultimately enjoy the interaction with customers. It might be helping sign someone up for new services or turning a negative experience into a positive one. I strive to help provide whatever service they are looking for.

 

Q: On a typical day, how many calls would you estimate that you take?

A: On a typical day, I would say I answer between 30-40 calls.

 

Q: What is your favorite thing about working at GPC?

A: My favorite thing would have to be the culture and my co-workers, they make the days fun and enjoyable. We also have food days, so we can enjoy each other’s cooking.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: I have three children and two cats, so definitely doing things with them. But I am also a big sports fan! My teams are Nebraska Cornhuskers and Kansas City Chiefs for football and I enjoy watching the University of Syracuse Orange for college basketball. With the weather getting cold, I am also getting excited for ice fishing. I will either go out to Desoto National Wildlife Refuge or travel up to South Sioux City to fish for trout with my brother.

Sunspots this Fall

As you watch a thunderstorm, it’s hard to miss the immense power from a strike of lightening. Most people aren’t aware that the sun also has the ability to create a magnetic disturbance similar to lightening. When energy from the sun expands, solar flares are created, better known as sunspots. These disturbances have the potential to affect TV services twice a year during February/March and September/October. You might notice some channels periodically showing a fuzzy signal, sparkles, or even a total loss of the channel. Typically lasting 5 to 15 minutes, the sunspot activity should not cause any worry as it will pass.

So what exactly causes the disruption in your channels? As the satellites orbit, they eventually will align between the earth and sun. As a result of the mini-eclipse the satellite has formed, the sun’s rays overpower the transmission from the satellite. It is important to note that the effects brought on by sunspot activity is not a cable outage and there is really nothing Great Plains Communications, or any other cable provider, is able to do. The sun outages are often country-wide, and the only thing we can all do is wait for it to pass. Luckily, after 5 to 15 minutes, your program should air as normal.

If the problem has not subsided after 20 minutes, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and they will be sure to have our technicians look into the issue. For more information on sunspots, visit NASA’s website at http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/SunspotCycle.shtml.

Back-to-School Giveaway Winners

Help us in congratulating our two Back-to-School Social Giveaway winners, Kelly Throener of Dodge, NE and Chelse Brazel of Wausa, NE! Each were randomly selected after commenting on our Homework has Evolved Facebook post, sharing the name of their favorite teacher from school and why that teacher made an impact on them. Kelly commented, “Kathy Mahannah…she is the reason I became a teacher. She was the best!” and Chelse said, “Mrs. Worthington was my 5th grade teacher…all those years ago… and she was my absolute favorite! She had (still has) a heart of gold, always made sure we were taught in a fun way and always made everyone feel like they were her own children.” They both have won a 16GB Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition tablets with blue kid-proof cover.

Kelly Throener of Dodge, NE with her family.

Chelse Brazel of Wausa, NE with her two daughters.

Chelse Brazel of Wausa, NE with her two daughters.

The giveaway is part of our Back-to-School promotion that is available through October 5, 2018.

Sign up for high-speed Internet service and receive:

  • FREE Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa
  • FREE Month of Internet Service

Sign up for any new service and receive FREE Installation!

If you are currently a Great Plains Communications Internet customer but want to upgrade your speed to better fit your family, you will receive a $25 bill credit.

To learn about what speeds we offer in your area or would like to sign up for this great deal, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Business Appreciation – QC Supply

Great Plains Communications is proud to highlight another one of our business customers, QC Supply based in Schuyler, NE.

QC Supply had humble beginnings, selling livestock products to local producers out of a garage in 1982. The company has since grown into an international distributor of products for farms, businesses and resellers worldwide.

Diverse Products, Many Markets

“We cater to the swine and poultry markets but also supply cattle, sheep and equine operations. QC Supply offers an extremely diverse selection of products,” said Quentin Nelson, Marketing Manager. Categories include Farm & Livestock, Home & Outdoors, Commercial & Industrial, and Clothing & Footwear. QC Supply also provides turnkey facility construction.

The company’s headquarters is in Schuyler, Neb., and includes a call center, retail store and the largest QC Supply warehouse. Also in Nebraska is an Omaha office. There are currently 35 QC Supply locations in 14 states and that number continues to grow.

A Switch to Great Plains Communications

In 2015, QC Supply became a customer of Great Plains Communications in Nebraska after having an unsatisfactory experience with a national communications provider.

Nelson said, “Previously there was no fiber available to our Nebraska locations. We experienced Internet problems on a regular basis including frequent outages. The prices were painful as well. As QC Supply grew, our Internet requirements grew.

“We found out Great Plains Communications was coming to our area, and we wanted their dedicated and reliable fiber for our Internet service. So we switched to Great Plains Communications. They bore underground and into our Schuyler and Omaha buildings to connect us to their fiber network.”

Much Faster and More Reliable Internet

The change to DIA (Dedicated Internet Access) from Great Plains Communications resulted in substantial improvement in both Internet speed and reliability for QC Supply.

“The Internet speeds at our Schuyler headquarters went from 10 Mbps with our previous provider to 200 Mbps with Great Plains Communications. This enabled us to expand and grow our company in other states. Our other locations connect to our headquarters, which keeps things centralized and provides for efficient communication with our remote locations. We can also now use cloud-based programs including a robust backup system,” said Nelson.

Regarding reliability, Nelson added, “In the three years we’ve been customers of Great Plains Communications, we’ve had only two Internet outages that each lasted a total of 15 minutes. Their technicians responded immediately to address the issues. I’d describe the Internet service as even better than we expected.”

Future Growth Propelled by Today’s Service

Nelson believes there’s tremendous value in working with a local provider like Great Plains Communications.

He explained, “Great Plains Communications gives us fantastic support. We can call their network department and talk directly to someone in charge who understands our business. We don’t have to wait around for answers. By contrast, with our previous provider, our Internet service once went down at noon, and it took us until the next morning to even get them to understand the problem.”

What’s ahead for QC Supply? Nelson answered, “QC Supply likes to lead the industry in technology in order to support our customers across the country and grow our business. We’re currently in a growth acquisition mode across our many divisions including e-commerce, brick-and-mortar stores and construction services. Great Plains Communications is assisting us with this growth by supplying the fast and reliable Internet service we need. We appreciate that.”

Back-to-School Promotion and Social Giveaway

Back2School

Education has evolved into a digital learning platform. Kids are being sent home with URLs to visit rather than books to read. And it isn’t just high school and college, but the younger grades as well. As education has evolved, homework has evolved and that is just the point Great Plains Communications wants to highlight with our Back-to-School promotion.

Sign up for high-speed Internet service and receive:

  • FREE Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa
  • FREE Month of Internet Service
  • Sign up for any new service and receive FREE Installation!

 

And don’t miss our social media giveaway going on this week! While we understand that tech might be replacing books, teachers are still the ones guiding our children each day. To highlight those teachers, and for a chance to win an Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet with a blue kid-proof case, follow the instructions below:

  • Like our Facebook page
  • Find and like the post including the graphic above on our Facebook page
  • Comment on the post: The name of your favorite teacher from school and why they made an impact on you

The giveaway ends Wednesday, September 26 and we will announce our two winners here on our blog Thursday, September 27.

If you have any questions over our Back-to-School promotion or would like to sign up now, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Stop Searching for the Game

As we dive deeper into football season, you might be diving deeper into your couch more often, to catch the action from all your teams. With so many games to cover, and so many networks – it can get hard to navigate and find what you are looking for. Great Plains Communications has found a tool to help you out. The website 506sports.com is a resource to bring you a list of what teams are playing on what channels fast, so all you have to worry about is putting the number into your remote and grabbing a drink. The site lists the time, network and sometimes even the announcers for every FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) game each week. If the game is only available through streaming, it provides that information as well.

It isn’t just college football that 506sports.com covers, they also include NFL and MLB. Pro football is broadcast differently than most national college games. On Sundays, NFL airs regionally. To explain the different regions and what to expect for the coming week, 506sports.com publishes a map illustrating what games each network is airing in each market area. You can find the maps here.

Hopefully this information saves time and frustration when planning your weekend viewing schedule. As you can see from the college football schedule, the Huskers take on Troy this Saturday at 11 AM CT, airing on the Big Ten Network.

Call Before You Dig This Fall

Nightly temperatures are starting to steady into the 50s and the Pumpkin Spice Latte is officially back at Starbucks – fall is coming. Soon multicolored leaves will sprinkle the yards and it will be time for fall cleanup before the cold embrace of winter. Great Plains Communications would like to take a moment to remind you of the Digger’s Hotline and calling before you dig.

Keep in mind, this isn’t needed for planting mums or other Callautumn flowers along the front of the house. However, if you are planning to dig more than 6 inches into the ground, you should start off by calling 811. These projects could include installing a new fence or digging up a dying tree or shrub.

The Digger’s Hotline keeps track of the many electrical wires, Internet cable, sewer lines and other wires that run underneath your city. Pipes and wires can run below streets, businesses, parks and your home without your knowledge. While we here at Great Plains Communications traditionally bury our Internet, Cable and Phone wires at least 6 ft. underground, some wires may be buried as shallow as 6 in.

In addition to the 811-phone number, the Digger’s Hotline also has a website you can visit at http://www.ne1call.com/.

Remember that it is your duty to call before starting a project, and if you do damage to any pipes or wires, you may be liable. Protect yourself and your neighbors and call 811 first!

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