Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

Author: GreatPlainsComm (page 1 of 83)

Staying Secure with Tech Home this School Year

The school year has started, and kids are coming home with tablets rather than books. That is another device to keep track of around the house. Our lives have become a constant stream of information through news feeds, search engines, emails, and reviews – all accessible through our multitude of devices. Great Plains Communications wants to make sure you understand just where those connections are going and ensure they are all protected with our Tech Home service.
The program provides world-class security for all your devices, home and on the go, with web security and antivirus systems. Gone away is the worry of lost files when your device crashes or gets damaged. With Tech Home you will be able to sync and back up all your files, photos, contacts and additional important information. No matter where you are, or which Wi-Fi you connect to, Tech Home will have you covered with a cloud-based protection keeping your personal information secure and convenient.
With round-the-clock technicians, you will always be provided with help to setup, test, fix and enjoy your network.
With Tech Home, you’ll have the support you are looking for and the protection you need. To learn more about the different plans available, visit our website at https://www.gpcom.com/residential/internet/tech-home-device-protection. If you have any questions, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

2019 Back-to-School Promotion

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 younger grades as well. While you have checked off a backpack and notebooks from the supply list, don’t forget high-speed Internet. Let us not only help with making sure your family has the tools they need with a fast and reliable Internet speed at home, but we want to throw in the bonus of covering other back-to-school expenses!

From now through September 27, sign up for new or upgraded Internet speeds and receive up to a $100 Amazon gift card!

Head back to school with high-speed Internet from Great Plains Communications! To find out more or to sign up for this promotion, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Join Our Team!

Ready to reach your full potential? Join the Great Plains Communications team. We employ over 240 people across Nebraska, with half of our employees living and working in the towns where we provide service. Our employees proudly represent our commitment to providing homes and businesses with fast, reliable, and scalable technology solutions.

We aim to hire candidates who are not only qualified but have the drive to succeed within our strong organizational culture. In keeping with our mission of customer satisfaction, all jobs carry an overriding responsibility of superior customer service in terms of quality, timeliness, and assistance.

To check what positions we currently have open, visit our careers page at https://www.gpcom.com/careers.

Tips on Spotting a Phishing Email

It is Shark Week on Discovery! But don’t think the only threats are in the water, there could be phishing going on right in your inbox.

Countless phishing or spam emails are sent every day all over the world. They might congratulate you on winning a great sum of cash or threaten you by claiming to represent your bank or credit card company. While unfortunately there is no one trick to telling a scam from a legitimate message, Great Plains Communications has put together some steps to take when trying to tell the difference.

Identify the Sender

Often phishing emails will come across as a company or person you know, appearing to be perfectly valid. But beware, URLs can be faked. By hovering the mouse over a URL in an email, you will see a hyperlinked address in most email clients. If the actual address appears to be different from the URL in the text, the link is probably not legitimate and most likely a scam.

Another tactic often used is taking a familiar domain and changing it slightly. We have included some examples below:

Don’t fall for the spoof. If you aren’t sure if the email is truly coming from Microsoft, for example, go to the website through your browser and find tech support through there rather than the email.

Screen the Links

Just because you have screened the sender does NOT mean you should freely click links included in the email. Emails can contain links to malicious websites while appearing to be websites you frequent daily. Like we mentioned with the sender URL, hover over a link or button (ex. Track package), and it will show you where it will take you. Sometimes it will pop up in a box next to your cursor and sometimes it will pop up in the corner of your screen. If you don’t recognize a linked website, it is best not to visit it.

Don’t Trust Attachments

While you can get some insight into the links included in an email, this isn’t the case with attachments and by blindly opening these files, you run the risk of malware disguised as documents.

Malware: an umbrella term for things such as viruses, ransomware and spyware.

Some familiar file extensions you may see are:

Other file extensions could be:

These extensions are called executables, which can make your computer perform specific actions or control your computer. If you receive an executable in an email from an unknown or lesser known source, it is best to assume it is unsafe.

Rely on Common Sense

It can be confusing when you are caught off-guard while skimming through your emails. If the email reads poorly with extreme lack of spelling and grammar, put your guard up. If an email is asking for personal information such as your password or a bank account number (something your bank already has), keep your guard up. Trust your gut and if something doesn’t look right, something is probably off.

Regarding emails including Great Plains Communications, please know that we will never ask for customer passwords via email. If you ever receive an email which includes our name and you feel it may be a scam, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and do NOT reply, open attachments, or click any links embedded in the message.

What to Expect From Discovery’s Shark Week

Discovery Channel’s Shark Week starts this Sunday, July 28. You can get ready for shark trivia, stories of true-life near-death experiences and much more shocking entertainment. Great Plains Communications has included some highlights of the 20 hours of shark programming that is scheduled to air on Discovery and Discovery Go.

Sunday, July 28

Expedition Unknown: Megalodon – 7 p.m. CT

Take at a look into the mystery of the mighty Megalodon, a 60-ton mega-shark that was known to swim the oceans for nearly 20 million years. But where is it now? That is what marine biologists have been wondering and you get a look into their findings.

Monday, July 29

Sharks of the Badlands – 7 p.m. CT

With a record 150 white sharks recorded off the coast of Cape Cod, Greg Skomal has teamed up with Andy Casagrande and shark expert Kina Scollay are looking to test cutting-edge technology for shark detection.

Legend of Deep Blue – 8 p.m. CT

Watch as Brandon McMillan and Jimi Partington head to Guadalupe Island in search of Deep Blue. Deep Blue measures around 21 feet long and over 2 and a half tons, believed to be the largest great white shark in the world.

Tuesday, July 30

Sharkwrecked: Crash Landing – 7 p.m. CT

Imagine crash landing into shark infested waters, that is exactly what you can watch when Paul de Gelder and James Glancy jump from an aircraft at 3,500 feet into Palau in the Pacific, known for a rich shark life and multiple plane wrecks.

Watch these, as well as many other heart-pounding shows as the Discovery Channel takes a very real look at the fascinating life of sharks. If you are not currently a Great Plains Communications cable customer and would like to learn about the services we offer in your area, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Streaming Services Continue to Rise in Emmy Nominations

The 2019 Emmy nominations have been released and while much buzz is around Game of Thrones, another conversation is happening – the growth of streaming services in the award rankings. The past few years, HBO and Netflix have fought it out to top the Emmy nomination chart, but this year shows that it isn’t only Netflix representing streaming. We have included a breakdown of nominations that major networks received in 2018 and 2019, according to The Hollywood Reporter:

HBO 137 (108 in 2018)

Netflix 117 (112 in 2018)

NBC 58 (78 in 2018)

Amazon Prime Video 47 (22 in 2018)

CBS 43 (35 in 2018)

So what networks are your favorite shows on? Do you have the Internet speeds to support the rise of streaming services?

Great Plains Communications (GPC) has a promotion going on now that can provide the speeds necessary and save you some money!

If you add any new service now, you will receive FREE installation. If you are currently a GPC Internet customer and would like to upgrade your speed to better fit your family’s needs, you can receive a $25 bill credit. To sign up or learn more about this promotion, call 1-855-853-1483.

The 71st Emmy Awards will air on Fox on Sunday, September 22 at 7p.m. CT.

Tips to Keeping Devices Safe on Summer Trips

Summer vacations are something we all look forward to at every age. Soaking up some rays by the lake, experiencing a new place or just relaxing with the family. While the car ride used to be filled with yelling out states as you spotted them on passing license plates and the anticipation of winning I Spy, it has turned into a quiet murmur from headphones and clicking from a new game the kids downloaded. As you take technology along this summer, Great Plains Communications would like you to keep these cyber security tips in mind to ensure all your information stays safe and secure.

 

  1. Limit the Social Media Vacation Posts Until You Get Back

Turn off check-ins and location tracking. People are always sharing the hottest new restaurants they visited and what hotels their staying at. While that tells us where they are, it also tells scammers and criminals where they aren’t – at home. Limit vacation posts until you return from your trip. Broadcasting that you are states away from your home opens a window of opportunity for criminals to climb through.

 

  1. Lock Up Your Gadgets

Make sure to password protect everything, from tablets to cellphones. Another way to lock up your devices is by using the safe in the hotel room when leaving them unattended. Like your wallet, the information on your computer is private and important, so be sure to keep them locked up if you leave them in the room during an outing.

 

  1. Be Cautious When Using Public Wi-Fi

Check with a source before connecting. Wi-Fi network names are manually created, which means scammers could easily create theirs to mimic a nearby airport or hotel. Once connected to a scammer’s network, your data is in their hands.

 

  1. Stick to the Basics

Bring what you need and leave the rest at home. Just like you don’t bring every pair of shoes on your trip, you don’t need to bring every device you own. Don’t forget to look up this summer and enjoy all the excitement and relaxation a vacation provides.

 

Another way to enjoy this summer vacation is by taking advantage of our Summer Story promotion going on through the end of the week. Let us add to the fun with these awesome savings:

  • Add any new service and receive FREE installation.
  • Upgrade your Internet speed and receive a $25 bill credit.

Find your summer story with savings from Great Plains Communications! To sign up or learn more about the promotion, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Tips to Keeping Your Electronics Safe in the Summer Heat

We are in the middle of summer and the temperatures are staying hot and steady. Are you keeping your electronics cool through the heat? Extreme heat can be potentially detrimental to your expensive gadgets. Great Plains Communications has some tips on keeping not only your portable devices cool, but your home computer as well.

 

  1. Be mindful of where you leave your devices. It may sound like common sense, but maybe you needed to run into the store or class for an hour or two and you left your laptop on the back seat of your car. This kind of heat can cause major damage to the battery and other sensitive electronics. And if temperatures got high enough, it could even affect the connections between different components of your device.
  2. Consider your case. Just as black clothing attracts more sun, a black case on your phone or tablet could do the same. Instead of buying a whole new case, consider getting a foamed neoprene sleeve or cover for summer months. The foam (which is used for wetsuits) will not only add extra protection from clumsiness, but the material will also keep it cooler than most plastics.
  3. Watch your screen. It’s true that many e-readers are glare-free and can be used in the sun. However, when it isn’t in use, don’t let it sit out. Too much contact with sunlight can cause the LCDs in your screen to deteriorate and shorten the lifespan of your device.
  4. Don’t forget your home electronics. Just because your desktop computer is inside your home, doesn’t mean it isn’t at risk from heat damage. Make sure to keep electronics out of direct sunlight. Also, always leave room for airflow around your equipment and never cover any vents or fans. Most computers, routers, and other devices have vents in the back or on the side. If they are placed in tight areas, the air pumped through the vents will gradually become hotter and hotter, which could ultimately overheat your machine.

Our Favorite Apps for Summer

Have you been trying to find ways to make the most out of summer? There are tons of apps to keep in mind that can assist in travel, connecting with the community, connecting with nature and getting your kids engaged. Great Plains Communications has found a few of our favorite apps that will help you take advantage of all summer has to offer.

 

Project Noah

Want to get kids more engaged in nature? Check out Project Noah, a free app (iOS & Android) that provides an interactive field guide for kids to go on missions discovering local plants and animals. They can then upload their photos to learn more about what they found.

 

Sky Guide

Take a boring summer night and turn it into a beautiful learning moment the whole family will enjoy with the Sky Guide app. For just $1.99 (iOS only) you can hold your iPad or iPhone to the sky and discover new constellations.

 

Bandsintown Concerts

No matter if you are looking for something to do around town or if you are traveling and looking for things to fill your itinerary, Bandsintown Concerts is a free app for iOS and Android that helps you discover concerts based on your music tastes. You just sign up, build a list of your favorite bands or genres and start getting automatic updates whenever there are shows in your area.

 

GasBuddy

Headed out on a road trip? Download the free app, GasBuddy to track where all the gas stations are along the way and even get detailed gas prices for potential to save some money.

Fourth of July Side Dishes and Food Safety

Soon coolers will be packed, smoke bombs will be used as bug repellent and family gatherings will be color-coded with red, white and blue. As you prepare to celebrate Fourth of July with family and friends, don’t stress about what dish to take to the party. Great Plains Communications has looked to our cable channel, Food Network for some of our favorite portable side dishes that will be a great addition to any grilled feast.

Ree’s Picnic Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is “kid friendly” as Ree says, with big pieces of bacon and cheese, accompanied by a very mild dressing to not overpower any of the flavors.

 

Ina’s Crunchy Noodle Salad

Want to mix things up a little? Try this Asian inspired noodle salad that provides richness from the peanut butter and sesame oil but still has freshness from the peppers, rice wine vinegar and chopped herbs at the end.

 

Trisha’s Avocado Salsa

Instead of the tomatoes being the main component in this salsa, the avocado steps up and makes this a fun mix between salsa and guacamole. The tropical pineapple will have your friends delightfully surprised by the combination of flavors.

 

Aarti’s Quinoa Tabbouleh

Looking for a little heavier side dish but still want to keep it on the healthy side? This tabbouleh is a party of fresh flavors, from the abundance of herbs mixed throughout to the tomato and cucumber.

 

With the high temperatures, here are a few tips on keeping food safe from the USDA.

  • If you plan to have a burger or hot dog toppings bar with items like mayo, sliced tomatoes or avocado, be sure to keep them cold by placing them on a tray of ice. Be sure to replenish the ice as needed!
  • Perishable food items should not be left outside for more than two hours if the temperature is at or below 90°F, and only one hour if the temperature is at or above 90⁰F.
  • Any leftovers should be refrigerated within 2 hours (1 hour if temperatures are at or above 90⁰F) of being placed outside. If you are not sure how long food has been sitting out, throw it out immediately.
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