Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

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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.

Summer Backyard Activities for the Whole Family

Make your backyard the place to be this summer! From how to do some small budget decorating upgrades, to creating your own water blob for the kids, we have found some of our favorite backyard tips from our cable channel, HGTV.

3 Outdoor Upgrades Under $100

DIY Backyard Kerplunk Game

How to Make a Backyard Water Blob

DIY Pool Noodle Kids’ Games

Backyard Camping Ideas for the Whole Family

 

Want to jazz up your backyard even more? Don’t forget to enter our Summer Story giveaway where we will be giving away a 36 in. Endless Summer Deep Drawn Bronze Fire Pit! Just go to our Facebook page and find the SUMMER SOCIAL GIVEAWAY – WEEK 2 post for details on how to enter.

Another way you can win this summer is by saving with our summer promotion!

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

To sign up for this great deal or learn more about this promotion, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

2019 Summer Event Schedule

Being a part of the communities we service has always been very important to Great Plains Communications. While we are an active member of many local chambers of commerce, we also encourage employee involvement and always look forward to the summer season when we can tour the state to take part in different local parades bull rides and other events. Here is a list of our 2019 summer tour:

Saturday, July 13, 2019: Chadron Fur Trade Days in Chadron, NE

Saturday, July 20, 2019: Perkins County Fair in Grant, NE

Monday, July 29, 2019: Custer County Bull Riding Classic in Broken Bow, NE

Thursday, August 8, 2019: Knox County Fair Bull-A-Rama in Bloomfield, NE

Thursday, August 8, 2019: Thayer County Fair in Deshler, NE

Saturday, August 10, 2019: Old Settler Days in Indianola, NE

Friday & Saturday, August 16 & 17, 2019: Chase County Fair in Imperial, NE

Along with walking in the parade, we will be sponsoring the Hairball concert Friday night, so watch for our employees at the front gates for a free t-shirt while supplies last!

Saturday, September 28, 2019: Heritage Days in McCook, NE

So, if you are in the area for any of these events, keep an eye out for our employees and give us a wave or stop and say hello!

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.

2019 Grilling Father’s Day Recipes

Looking for the perfect gift for that special man who has been there to stick on the band aids, check under the bed, and walk you down the aisle? Father’s Day is this weekend and Great Plains Communications has found some of our favorite grilling recipes from our cable channel, Food Network that will please dad from the inside out this holiday.

How to Grill the Perfect Steak

Does your dad enjoy a nice juicy steak with a healthy char from the grill? Watch as the cooks from The Kitchen explain how to cook different cuts of beef so you can pick the right one for your budget and family.

Bobby’s Garlic Mustard Beef Skewers

Looking to enjoy a beefy flavor but want to mix things up a bit? Try these skewers that pack a punch through the different types of mustards and raw garlic.

How to Grill Salmon Steaks and Fillets

If you are looking for something other than beef, consider trying grilled salmon. People can be intimidated by grilling seafood; afraid it will break apart on the grill. This video will show you how to prepare both fillets and steak cuts of salmon.

DIY Outdoor Grilling Caddy

With Father’s Day still a few days away, make this easy and very handy grilling caddy from HGTV. It includes a bar to hang his grilling utensils and a bottle opener for his refreshments – this is a thoughtful and rather cheap DIY gift he is sure to enjoy.

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.

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