Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

Category: High-Speed Internet (page 1 of 22)

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.

Congratulations to our Pick Your Prize Giveaway Winner!

Pictured: Shelley Mitchell of Imperial, NE with her husband, Doug Mitchell and their grandson, Karson.

Pictured: Shelley Mitchell of Imperial, NE with her husband, Doug Mitchell and their grandson, Karson.

Help us in congratulating our Pick Your Prize Social Media Giveaway winner, Shelley Mitchell of Imperial, NE! By sharing a gif showing her favorite thing about spring on our Facebook page, she was given the option to choose between a $200 Visa gift card or a 5-Burner Open Cart LP Gas Grill in Stainless Steel and Black with Side Burner. Shelley has chosen to receive the grill as her prize!

The Pick Your Prize Giveaway is part of our Pick Your Spring Savings promotion that is currently going on through May 17. While we were only able to have one winner for our social media giveaway, you can still receive up to a $100 bill credit by taking advantage of this promotion! Here is how to do it:

  • Sign up for NEW Internet service or upgrade your current speed and receive up to a $100 bill credit!
  • Bundle with TV, Phone or both and receive an ADDITIONAL $25 bill credit!
  • + FREE installation on all new services

To sign up for this great deal or to learn more, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483. And again, help us in congratulating Shelley Mitchell on winning our Pick Your Prize Giveaway!

Pick Your Prize Social Giveaway

Out with the old and in with the new Internet speeds this spring! Great Plains Communications understands that the Internet isn’t just for entertainment but is a necessity in the home, and different households have different and changing bandwidth needs. That is why we are customizing our spring promotion to your family.

Pick your spring savings!

  • Sign up for NEW Internet service or upgrade your current speed and receive up to a $100 bill credit!
  • Bundle with TV, Phone or both and receive an ADDITIONAL $25 bill credit!
  • + FREE installation on all new services

We want you to pick the speed and deal that best fits your family’s needs. If you aren’t sure what speed your family needs, check out our speed tool. And don’t miss our social media Pick Your Prize giveaway on our Facebook page. The winner will get to choose between a $200 Visa Gift Card or a 5-Burner Open Cart LP Gas Grill in Stainless Steel and Black with Side Burner!

How to Enter:

  • Like our Facebook Page
  • Like the post with the “Pick Your Prize Giveaway” graphic
  • In the comment section of the post, leave a gif or emoji that shows your favorite thing about spring

The giveaway will end Monday, May 13 and the winner will be announced here on our blog Tuesday, May 14.

If you would like to sign up or learn more about the spring promotion, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Tech Tip: iPhone Features Hiding in Plain Sight

There are many cool features that come with owning an iPhone and with constant upgrades, it can be hard to keep track of all of them. While some new features are obvious, some are hidden. Great Plains Communications wants to give you a guide to some of our favorite not-so-obvious iPhone features you may have missed.

  1. Add Someone to an iPhone Note

Did you know you can add people to your notes? Improve grocery shopping

What to do:

  • Open your Notes app and select the note you would like to share
  • Select the icon in the top right (highlighted below)
  • Choose how you want to share the note (message, email, etc.)
  • Decide who you want to share it with (as many as you want) and include a message

From there, your friend or friends will be able to view and edit the note in real time.

  1. Close All Safari Tabs at Once

We are all guilty of forgetting to close our tabs, including the last celebrity you googled, that roast chicken recipe you made last week – next thing you know you have upward of 30 tabs open. Instead of sitting there sliding each tab up to close one-by-one, use this hack to close them all at once.

What to do:

  • Open the Safari app
  • Hold down the tab icon in the lower right-hand corner (highlighted below) until a window pops up giving you the option to close all tabs

DONE!

  1. Use the Magnifier Tool

Have you been at a restaurant and forgot your glasses? Forget shoving the menu against your face to find your order and turn on the magnifier tool on your iPhone.

What to do:

  • Open your Settings and go to General
  • Click Accessibility
  • Open Magnifier and toggle it to “on.”

To access the tool:

If you have an iPhone X or later version – triple tap the button on the right-hand side of your phone.

If you have an iPhone that includes a Home button, tap it three times.

It’s Almost Tax Day – Online Tax Tools 2019

Tax Day is just about here, as Monday, April 15 quickly approaches. While filing taxes is never a super enjoyable task, it is something we all must do. Great Plains Communications wants to make the process a little easier for those who are still needing to file, with a few online tool options.

TurboTax

You can find the TurboTax Federal Free Edition software online to file your 1040 EZ and 1040A federal returns as well as your state returns. While the federal filing is free, state might cost extra, along with many upgrade options that provide additional help and an even smoother process. The software is very user friendly, as you can either upload your W-2 as a file or even snap a photo and TurboTax will auto-fill the right fields.

H&R Block Free File

Using H&R Block’s Free File program, you will be able to file both federal and state tax returns for free. If you have used another software in the past and are looking to switch to H&R Block, you are able to import tax returns from any competing software, upload tax documents and start filing.

TaxAct

Through a Q&A format, you can file your 1040EZ and 1040A federal returns, as well as your state returns for free through TaxAct. However, importing past year’s returns will cost an extra $5. They have both a desktop and online version of their software.

Choosing the right tax filing software depends on your specific needs. Luckily there are many options available and you can file from the comfort of your home with the convenience of online programs.

Spring Savings with Great Plains Communications

Spring is a time to refresh and renew. Great Plains Communications wants to help you do just that – out with the old and in with the new Internet speeds this spring! The Internet isn’t just for entertainment or research purposes anymore, it is a necessity in the home. From supporting security systems to being a requirement for a child to succeed in their education, make sure your family has the Internet speed they need.

Pick your spring savings!

Sign up for NEW Internet service or upgrade your current speed and receive up to a $100 bill credit!

Bundle with TV, Phone or both and receive an ADDITIONAL $25 bill credit!

+ FREE installation on all new services.

 

We want you to pick the speed and deal that best fits your family’s needs. If you aren’t sure what speed your family needs, check out our speed tool. For more information or to sign up for this great offer, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

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