Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

Tag: High-Speed Internet (page 1 of 17)

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.

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.

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!

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.

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