Back to School Throwback

The Internet has not only become an essential tool at home and work, but in schools as well. Great Plains Communications has some exciting Back-to-School promotions, but first we would like to throw it back to what college was like before Wi-Fi, online classes and having the web at our finger tips.

 

There was no such thing as online registration. You had a slip of paper with your desired classes and stood in line at the registrar’s office. While waiting in that line, you could think about the line you had to wait in later when getting your books.

 

Before tablets and laptops, taking notes meant throwing penmanship out the door and writing as fast as you could. You got a hand cramp? That was just part of it; no pain, no gain.

 

 

Do you have a question on an assignment? Professors didn’t send out weekly emails or assign online chats. You either tried to catch them in the classroom or signed up for office hours.

 

When a computer was needed for an assignment, there were no personal laptops to work in your dorm or wherever was comfortable. There was a sign-up list for the computer lab to write papers and use the printer.

 

 

Before eBooks and online searching, looking up a book in the library took time and patience with the Dewey Decimal System and many, many card catalogs.

 

It is fun to think back to how things used to be, but kids today are growing up in a very different world. Internet is not a luxury in college anymore, it is a necessity. From checking grades to having a class only offered online, Great Plains Communications understands the need for fast and reliable Internet service. Monday, August 10, Great Plains Communications starts Back-to-School promotions on high-speed Internet that you won’t want to miss. To find out what is being offered in your community, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and a representative would be happy to assist you.

Take a Stand Against Cyberbullying

7th grade bullying project – Words Hurt, Holliston Middle School, Robert H. Adams Middle School

These girls are real seventh grade students who have seen and experienced the painful effects of cyber bullying. It is not something that can be categorized as only a problem in big cities or in specific schools or communities. Cyber bullying is everywhere and it is real. According to No Bullying Cyber Bullying 2014 Statistics, “25% of teenagers reported having experienced repeated bullying via their cell phone or online; 52% of young people reported being cyber bullied; 95% of teenagers who witnessed bullying on social media reported that others, like them, ignored the behavior.” These statistics are frightening and need to be changed, so Great Plains Communications asks you to stand up with us in the fight against cyber bullying. Stand up with us in the fight to keep our children and communities safe.

Below we have listed a few things stopbullying.gov has suggested to keep in mind to help in the fight against cyber bullying:

  • Be Aware of What Your Kids are Doing Online
    • Just like a physical place, ask your kids where they are going online and who they are going on there with.
    • Install parental control filtering software or monitoring programs, but do not rely solely on these tools.
    • Encourage your kids to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know is being cyberbullied.
  • Establish Rules about Technology Use
    • Talk with your children about which sites are permitted when they are online and which ones are not. Show them how to be safe online.
    • Help them understand what is smart to share online and what isn’t, and explain how words can be hurtful.
    • Explain to them that once something is posted, it is out of their hands who sees or shares it even if they try to take it down.
  • Understand School Rules
    • Most schools have developed policies on uses of technology that could affect the child’s online behavior in and out of the classroom. Ask the school about their policies.

Children today are growing up in a different world than their parents. Their pain could be stemming from much more than a scraped knee from falling off their bike. It is time we took a stand and started asking the right questions to bring those statistics down.

If you have questions about your Internet service with Great Plains Communications, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and a representative will be happy to assist you.

Cyber Security and Summer Vacations

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 the 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 gyms they frequent. 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.

2.       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.

3.       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.

4.       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. The time is to be spent with family. Facebook will still be there when you get back. Don’t forget to look up this summer and enjoy all the excitement and relaxation a vacation provides.

Benefits of telehealth solutions for Rural Healthcare

 

The adoption of telehealth solutions and the technology that drives them has had a highly positive impact on healthcare for the citizens and medical professionals of Rural America. Improved quality of care and quality of life, significant cost savings, and increased economic opportunities can all be achieved through the adoption of telehealth solutions powered by a reliable, high speed, fiber optic network.

Improving quality of care and decreasing costs

When seconds are critical, telehealth solutions allow medical professionals to share records, diagnose, devise treatment plans, educate, and even consult during critical surgical procedures in real-time all across the nation.  In addition to the strides made in healthcare quality, reliable high-speed Internet access that powers telehealth solutions has the potential to significantly decrease costs for patients and medical facilities nationwide through streamlined efficiencies and the elimination of unnecessary patient transfers.

Bringing reliability, scalability, and opportunity to Rural Nebraska

Great Plains Communications is proud to bring Rural Nebraska hospitals and medical facilities the dedicated Internet access and managed Ethernet services that allow the implementation of reliable, scalable, telehealth solutions powered by our statewide, 5,000 mile fiber optic network.

Hospitals served by Great Plains Communications

  • Gordon Memorial Hospital-Gordon, NE
  • Fremont Health-Fremont, NE
  • Brown County Hospital-Ainsworth, NE
  • Callaway District Hospital-Callaway, NE
  • Chadron Community Hospital-Chadron, NE
  • Chase County Hospital-Imperial, NE
  • Community Hospital-McCook, NE
  • Perkins County Hospital-Grant, NE
  • Jennie M. Melham Hospital-Broken Bow, NE
  • Columbus Community Hospital-Columbus, NE
  • Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital-Hastings, NE
  • Alegent Creighton Hospital-Plainview, NE
  • Webster County Community Hospital-Red Cloud, NE
  • Alegent Health Memorial Hospital-Schuyler, NE

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Social Media 101 Tips for Businesses

Networking is no longer just updating your business card and dispersing as needed. It has become more than just rubbing elbows with fellow business owners at the annual banquet and making calls to potential clients. Today’s definition of networking includes an array of virtual options that are becoming common-place in the communication mix, and we are left with social networking. Providing an abundance of options, opportunities and potential, social networking or social media, can become very overwhelming. Great Plains Communications would like to share just five basic tips to keep in mind when starting up your business’ social presence.

  1. Pick the right platform for your business.  Don’t feel like you have to utilize every social media outlet. First figure out your demographic, and plan accordingly. If you are targeting an older market, Twitter might not be the best use of your time. Instead of quantity, focus on the quality of content you are publishing.
  2. Keep it updated and consistent.  One of the biggest unspoken rules of social media is to keep your information up-to-date. This means information from your past experience on LinkedIn, to office hours and company values on Facebook. You must also keep it consistent. By keeping the ‘About Me’ of your company consistent on all social networks, you build branding and association for the customer.
  3. Start the conversation.  Plan out your content and make sure you are present on your sites. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours on Twitter or constantly checking Facebook. Rule of thumb, a minimum of three Facebook posts a week and five tweets a week.  It is different for every business, but never posting can look worse than not having a site at all.
  4. Share the love.  Just as you ask friends to like your page or follow your account, reach out and do the same for other businesses. When you retweet, you get retweeted. This comes from the ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’ mentality. If you see a post that you think your customers would benefit from, share it.
  5. Track results and adjust.  All social networks have some form of analytics or tracking feature to let you see just how well your posts are doing. Don’t take it personally if you don’t get retweeted, or if nobody likes your post. Social media is about trying new things and figuring out what works for your business and your customers. Take the results, adjust and try something else. Don’t give up.

 

Spring Cleaning your Computer

Has your documents folder become the junk drawer of your computer? You don’t notice until your once fleeting load time has become more of a bathroom break between tasks. Well, it’s that time of year. Open up the windows, let the fresh air in and clean out those pesky untouched programs, services and files. It’s time to spring clean your computer.

Great Plains Communications has some specific steps and programs to consider when starting the process.

–          Erase Unwanted Files

Get rid of those research papers from college, memes you found funny a year ago and any pictures you could keep on a USB flash drive. By deleting files, you clear up storage space making it easier and faster for the computer to find information.  For Windows users, CCleaner is a free app that could speed up the process. Click on the link to find out more information, but be sure to read through the entire process, as the program does much more than just deleting files.

–          Update Software

By not keeping your software up-to-date, you aren’t allowing your computer to be the best version of itself. Skipping multiple updates will cause your loading times to increase rapidly. Make sure to keep not only your software updated, but also your virus protection. For computers with built-in virus protection, sit back and relax while your software update does all the work for you.

–          Defrag Hard Drive

Defragmentation is simply speeding up read times on the hard drive, by moving sequential data physically closer together so that it doesn’t have to search the entire drive to find specific data. The easiest way to do this is by using the free program Defraggler.

An additional option would be Great Plains Communications’ Tech Home. With Tech Home, you are provided with world-class security for all devices, home and on the go, while also having access to 24/7 “Live” tech support. Tech Home costs just $14.99 a month with all tech assistance free of charge. It provides the support you want and the protection you need around the clock, to ensure your computer won’t be bogged down and is functioning at its full potential.

There are multiple ways to increase performance speeds on your computer, but take the time this season and find which ways work best for you. If you would like more information or would like to sign up for Tech Home, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Troubleshooting Home Network Issues

Having problems with your Internet connection can be frustrating and confusing. After your first 12 tries at the refresh button, you restart the device. All that does is gives you a few minutes to contemplate just how frustrated you are. It still doesn’t work. Great Plains Communications wants to give you a few tips on how to troubleshoot the problem to either solve the issue, or provide you with helpful information for tech support in assisting you further.

First off, what are you having an issue with?

Email

When having problems with your email, ask yourself the following questions before panicking and continuously hitting resend.

–          Did you go over your quota in your mailbox?

–          Is it not sending to a certain email or to all email accounts?

–          If you send group emails, are you getting an error stating you sent too much mail? If so, are you registered for mass email agreement with Great Plains Communications?

Modem & Router

If you don’t have an Internet connection reaching any of your devices, it might be your modem that is causing the problem. Your modem is what allows data to travel over a phone line from your device to the Internet. The router then connects all other devices to the modem. So if the only problem seems to be the connection to your tablet or laptop, the issue is more likely in the router.

–          Is your ADSL or DSL light flashing? This means the modem is not connected.

–          Is there a red Internet light on? This means your DSL modem is not getting an IP to connect.

–          Is your Ethernet light on or off? This will determine if the connected device is online.

Specific Website

If you are having problems with a specific website that will not load or is continuously giving you an error, the first step you could take is entering the link into “Down For Everyone Or Just For Me.” This site will help you determine if the problem is with your device. If it comes back that the problem is with your device, there are numerous things it could be, from something in your computer stopping the stream of data reaching the Internet to really anything along the way.

These are just three of the many common problems users may experience with their home networks. If troubleshooting the problem on your own does not work, follow these last few steps in contacting our tech support and they will be happy to help you.

–          Make sure you have your account number ready.

–          Be sure to be in front of your computer, to enable you to walk through tech suggestions step by step.

–          Expect to be on the phone for a minimum of 20 minutes, as it can take some time for a tech to pinpoint the exact issue.

–          Have all your findings from doing your own troubleshooting ready.

–          Call 1-855-853-1483, Option 1

Help us Celebrate Safer Internet Day 2015!

Safer Internet Day (SID) started as an initiative and has grown into a landmark event. Forming in Europe, the Insafe organization has grown above and beyond its original geographic zone and now celebrates in more than 100 countries worldwide, across all continents.

Striving to address an emerging online issue each year, Insafe has shed light on topics such as cyber-bullying and social networking. This year, SID 2015 focuses on “Let’s create a better Internet together”.

The idea is that no matter what language you speak or what country you call home, we all face issues brought forth by the Internet. As our children become emerged in the culture and effects of technology, cyber safety becomes increasingly important.

Last year, the Unites States SID Committee launched the, “One Good Thing Campaign” in hope of encouraging people of all ages to share one good thing they’ve seen or experienced to “make the Internet a better place or the world a better place with the help of the Internet and social media.” Great Plains Communications challenges you to take part in Safer Internet Day by posting One Good Thing or just talking to your children about Internet safety. The World Wide Web is just that, a connection between us all. Let’s create a better Internet together.

Mysteries of “The Cloud”?

What is “the cloud”? Most people think of it as a technological mystery, an untouchable place, a visible mass of condensed water vapor floating in the atmosphere. No matter how you visualize “the cloud” in your mind, Great Plains Communications wants to share some information on not only what it is, but what you can do with “the cloud”.

For starters, your files are NOT literally being sent up into the sky. “The cloud” refers to a process called cloud computing, which is simply the method in which files are transported from a computer, smartphone or tablet to physical servers, via the Internet. An example would be your e-mail. Web-based e-mail (Gmail & Yahoo) uses a cloud computing program, making it possible for you to check it from any location.

Other than e-mail, cloud computing is a good way to backup your music, photos, and documents. Most companies will even have a backup to your backup, by storing files on more than one server in more than one center. Say goodbye to the hassle of figuring out different ways to get pictures off your phone, cloud computing also makes sharing files as easy as creating a folder and choosing which device you want it to go to or who you want to see it.

“The cloud” isn’t such a scary and mystical thing, but rather a tool to make sorting, storing, and understanding today’s technology a little easier. A couple recommendations would be dropbox.com, a user-friendly site that is what it says, a drag and drop server there to help save and transport your files from different devices. There is also Google Drive, which is a good option if you already have a Gmail account. The Internet provides you with a multitude of options right to your devices, which gives you the opportunity to pick the one that best fits your needs. If you have questions on your Wi-Fi or Internet service, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and one of our representatives would be happy to help you.

Three Reasons to Use a Home Wi-Fi Connection Instead of Mobile Broadband

Many cellular companies are now in the home Internet business, but are these services really as good as a fiber-based wireless network?  The short answer is: not really.  Here are three reasons why you should choose a wireless network powered by fiber-based network over Mobile Broadband.

First off, a few definitions.  A wireless (or Wi-Fi) network using a fiber or wire-based system is what our customers enjoy.  This type of Internet uses a wireless router in your own home to turn a wired system into a Wi-Fi network.  Mobile Broadband uses a cellular connection to provide an Internet connection.  These connections are inherently wireless and are not supported by a dedicated wired connection.

1. A Home-Based Connection is safer in severe weather: When severe weather strikes, many take to their Internet and Smartphones to find out if their friends and families are OK and to find out more information.  If there are too many calls and data requests being made over the entire mobile network, then Mobile Broadband may slow down significantly or stop working completely.  Since a wired connection isn’t carrying much voice traffic and has more bandwidth to access, this is a far smaller concern with a home Wi-Fi connection.

2. A Home-Based Connection is better supported: For Great Plains Communications’ customers, there is no comparison between the service provided by our technicians and Mobile Broadband companies.  Our technicians live in the communities they serve.  That means that they can react to service issues in hours instead of days or even weeks.  When using a national Mobile Broadband service, it is nearly impossible to be a priority.

3. A Home-Based Connection is better for the future: Scientifically, there is only so much data that can be transmitted over Mobile Broadband.  As demand continues to grow, the speed that you will be able to attain will shrink, not grow.  Wired Internet is only getting faster and speeds will continue to increase well into the future.  You can see the proof in our faster speeds across Nebraska.

There are many reasons to trust an Internet connection from Great Plains Communications over those offered by Mobile Broadband.  These are three that we feel truly affect our customers.  If you have more questions, visit http://gpcom.com/residential/internet for more information.