Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

Category: High-Speed Internet (page 1 of 23)

2019 Back-to-School Social Giveaway Winner

Help us in congratulating Sheri Hink-Wagner of Imperial, NE on being our Back-to-School Social Giveaway winner! She shared that her favorite part of the season is, “getting the routine back. Plus picking out new school supplies. The return of jeans and sweater season is a plus too.” As our winner, she will receive a 16 GB Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet and a $100 Amazon gift card!

We want to thank everyone who entered our giveaway, and tell you there is still another way you can win this school year! Check out our Back-to-School promotion going on 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.

2019 Back-to-School Social Giveaway

 

Don’t miss our Back-to-School social giveaway going on right now! As part of our promotion, we want to help with the chaos of the season by giving away a 16 GB Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet and a $100 Amazon gift card. All you have to do is tell us your favorite part of this time of year! Maybe it is getting the family back into a routine, football games, or visiting the pumpkin patch.

How to Enter:

  1. Like our Facebook page
  2. Comment on the post, your favorite part of the Back-to-School season

The winner will be randomly selected Thursday, September 12 and we will announce the winner on our blog.

If you are looking for more ways to save this school year, check out our Back-to-School promotion!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Summer Story Giveaway

What’s YOUR summer story? Are you planning a vacation? Or maybe you will be living next to the pool all season? Is there a big camping trip coming up?

Let us add to the fun with some awesome giveaways and savings you won’t want to miss! Starting this week, through July 19, 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.

The excitement doesn’t stop there! We are doing weekly giveaways on our social sites throughout the entire promotion. This week we are giving away a camping package including:

  • Inflatable lounger air sofa hammock
  • 2-piece set cast iron skillet
  • 750 Lumen LED battery lantern
  • 3-pack Jiffy Pop popcorn
  • Stainless steel coffee mug

HOW TO ENTER:

  1. Like our Facebook page
  2. Like this post
  3. Post a picture or short video in the comments below, showing what you and your family are up to this summer

The camping giveaway will end Friday and you can also enter through Instagram. And don’t forget to check back next week for a new theme and giveaway!

If you are interested in signing up for our promotion or would like to learn more about the services we offer in your area, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Raspberry Pi Intro Activities for Kids

Have you heard of a Raspberry Pi? No, not the dessert that’s delicious with vanilla ice cream. A Raspberry Pi is a small customizable single-board computer that is capable of being the base to countless projects ranging in difficulty for not only adults, but teens and children. It is a great way to get your family and kids into the world of computer hardware and coding or programming. And did we mention they only cost around $30?

You’ve probably heard a lot about schools incorporating more STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) activities into their curriculum. Great Plains Communications wants to help continue that into summer activities you can enjoy with your kids using a Raspberry Pi.

Different Models and What They Mean

So, we have covered the very basics of what a Raspberry Pi is, but there are multiple model types and we want to make sure you are selecting the right one for your projects.

  • Raspberry Pi Zero: Internet of Things (IoT) applications, robotics
  • Raspberry Pi 3 A+: IoT applications, home automation projects
  • Raspberry Pi 3 B+: Low grade server projects, or possibly a full-blown daily computer

Each Raspberry Pi can be used for just about any project, but the main difference between the models is connectivity and price. The more you pay, the more you get for horsepower and connectivity like Ethernet and USB ports.

One of the biggest benefits of the Raspberry Pi is the large community of users and creators behind the small computer, meaning lots of tinkerers who know what they’re doing have done all sorts of projects with the Raspberry Pi. Some of these collections can be found at Instructables, PiMyLifeUp, and even the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s site.

Intro Projects and More

If you are just starting out with a Pi and want an introduction the whole family can understand, a good first project would be Setting up your Raspberry Pi from the Raspberry Pi foundation. This project will walk you through all cables and other hardware you will need to use your Raspberry Pi to start creating projects.

After you’re a bit more familiar with a Pi, you can take the next step and start programming with a program called Scratch, which is an interactive, point-and-click beginner’s introduction to programming. The Raspberry Pi Foundation also has a great project page for a Water use calculator – a fun interactive tool your kids can use to calculate how much water they are using each week.

After getting your kids’ feet wet with some conceptual programming, you open a whole world of opportunity. You can look all over the Internet for more advanced projects, from designing video games to creating a weather station. Instead of having kids looking at their screens all summer, help them learn what makes that screen work.

Internet Safety Topics to Discuss with Children this Summer

As the school year comes to an end, kids will have a lot more time on their hands. While there will be plenty of time spent outside, the Internet will also be a huge part of kids’ lives this summer. It is good to keep in mind some Internet safety topics to discuss with children to ensure their online experience is a positive one.

 

Internet usage guidelines

Rather than telling them all the things they can’t do, have a conversation with your child about how long they are allowed online and what type of sites are OK or not OK. While you make the ultimate decision, show that you are listening to their opinions. Also discuss how to behave towards others when chatting, gaming, emailing, or messaging.

 

The importance of privacy

While this depends on the age of the child, a simple rule for younger children could be that they should not give out their name, phone number or photo without a parent’s approval. Older children should be advised to be selective about what personal information they include on social networking and you should always know what social platforms your child is using. Snapchat for example has a location feature that can be set to show the user’s exact location on a map to any of their “friends.”

 

Meeting online “friends”

The Internet can be a positive place for children to interact with other young people and ultimately make new friends. By discussing it ahead of time, your child is more likely to recognize if they’re talking to someone they shouldn’t be. This is also a good way to keep the dialogue about Internet interaction between you and your children open.

 

Remember that the positive aspects of the Internet outweigh the negatives and that it is a wonderful educational and recreational resource. Let your child show you what they like to do online and discover it with them.

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