The On Ramp

The Blue Mountain Internet Customer Newsletter

 Issue # 23 September 2005 
INSIDE THIS EDITION
Greetings from the Editor  by Carol Hall Ecards -R- Easy!  by Nathan O'Neel
Talking with Tony  by Carol Hall Cook's Delight  by Gena Bybee
Spiced Tomato Jam  by Carol Hall Gone Digital  by Mike Rochelle
Kickoff is Here!  by Victor Luna Reading on the Move  by Carol Hall
Buy it! Sell it!  by Matt Stephens Fun but Fickle!  by KJ Newby
A Good Laugh  by Victor Luna POM - R C Electronics  by Jon Alexander
The Winner's Circle  by Carol Hall Kudos  by Matt Stephens
Hellos and Goodbyes!  by Carol Hall
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Greetings from the Editor
by Carol Hall


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Summer is coming to an end, and Autumn is just around the corner. Time to take a break, and have some fun! I hope you enjoy this issue of 'The On Ramp' dedicated to "Fun Stuff" The purpose of this month's newsletter is to introduce you to the many FUN things that are out there just waiting for you to explore! So, take a moment, have some fun, and ENJOY!
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Ecards -R- Easy!
by Nathan O'Neel


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Electronic greeting cards (e-cards) are one of the nicest and easiest ways to keep in touch, say Hi, or acknowledge special occasions. So...when thinking of that special someone there are a lot of websites to visit for just the right e-card. (I have included a few links at the end). Some offer free trials and then a small subscription fee afterwards. At BMI, we offer a free e-card service to our customers! Take a look: Free BMI e-card

E-cards are as simple to use as sending an email. And it is much easier than going to the store, selecting a card from racks of choices, bringing it home, addressing it, and sending it; not to mention it is instant...you don't have to wait days for it to arrive at it's destination!
Nothing is better than when you say it from the heart and e-cards are a great way to do that
.

123 Greetings
123 Greeting
Yahoo American Greetings
Blue Mountain Greetings (This site is often confused with BMI. As much as we would like to take credit for it, it is not ours!)
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Talking with Tony
by Carol Hall


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Tony has been with BMI since October of 2003 and serves as one of our bi-lingual Customer Service Representatives. He is a lot of fun to work with and regularly shares stories with us about playing soccer on the weekends. He thought he might be to "shy" to interview; however, he managed to answer all my questions without hesitation!

Editor: Where were you born, and where did you grow up?
Tony: I was born in El Salvador and I grew up in Los Angeles, CA

Editor: What was your FIRST paying job?
Tony: I worked for my Dad (he did construction work) and he would pay me $15.00 for a weekend of work

Editor: Are you named after anyone?
Tony: No, I am unique.

Editor: What did you buy with your very first paycheck?
Tony: I was 9 years old and my brother and I saved a lot of it, but I bought candy also.

Editor: What was the BEST advice you ever received, and from whom?
Tony: The best advice I received was from my Dad, he said "Stay away from drugs...and stay away from women until after you are out of high school"

Editor: If you could write a book about anything at all...what would the title be?
Tony: "How To Make Money"

Editor: What is your "all time favorite" movie?
Tony: (smiling broadly) "Forrest Gump"

Editor: What was your very first car?
Tony: A gold colored, 1982 Nissan Datsun B210. I bought it when I was 14 years old.

Editor: Where is the one place you have never been, that you would like to visit?
Tony: "Heaven"

Editor: If you could only eat one food, for the rest of your life, what would it be?
(Tony hesitated a bit on this question...he said no matter what he picked, he would hate it if that was all he had) But, he settled on a broad choice...
Tony: "Beef"

Editor: Close your eyes and imagine you are in a place called "Perfect" Where are you?
Tony: I am at BMI
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Cook's Delight
by Gena Bybee


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Tired of the "same old thing" for dinner? Looking for new meal ideas? Not sure what to do with the bumper crop of zucchini your neighbor keeps giving you? Maybe you want to watch your fat or carbs? Or the best reason yet..."you can vaguely remember the delectable flavor of the Spiced Tomato Jam that someone in your family made...many, many years ago and always brought to family gatherings...however, no one remembers who made it, or where the recipe might be...fear not: You will find it on these recipe sites. There are recipes for everything. Millions of them!

There are many cooking web sites that include recipe searches, cooking schools, cookbooks, recipe boxes, glossaries, menu-planning, cooking tools and newsletters. Some of these sites include cool articles and cooking tips as well. Here are a few to get you started:

Recipes.com A free directory of cooking web sites where you can find lots of links to recipe searches, cooking schools, cookbooks, cooking utensils, eating healthy, desserts, and more.

Food Network (My favorite) This site features recipes and TV viewing schedules for popular TV Cooking Shows. They also have a "my recipe box" and newsletter. There are tabs for shopping, cooking, party ideas, "quick & easy", get healthy, tasty travel, kitchen design and even videos.

Cooking.com This site featues a recipe search bar, links to menus, and cool articles. It also includes an "Ingredients Glossary" that is just under the "recipe" tab. There are many other tabs as well, such as home, special values, gift ideas and a wedding registry.

Cooking.Light This site has recipes that are "low-fat and low-calorie" featuring menus, meal planning and cooking tips.

Recipe Source This is the best site for tons of recipes. You can search for recipes in many ways, for example: by ethnic group or by a type of dish. You just click on the "name category" and it will take you to a list of "recipe types", then click again on the actual recipe. It is very cool!.

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Spiced Tomato Jam
by Carol Hall


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It was early spring...you couldn't wait to plant a garden! You carefully planted those little tomato plant seedlings and watered them lovingly as they grew and flourished. It is now late summer....and you have eaten sliced tomatoes, tomato sandwiches, tomato salad, garnished virtually every meal with tomatoes, and much to your surprise....the rest of your enormous crop has now decided to ripen ALL AT ONCE!

Your friends and neighbors no longer answer the door when they see you with yet another bag of "tomatoes". The vegetable drawer in your fridge runneth over with "tomatoes". "Now what?!?" you wonder...

Well, here is a great way to finish off that bumper crop, and enjoy an unusual treat until next year when you will do it all again!...

SPICED TOMATO JAM

3 cups tomatoes
1/ 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 box SureJell (or Certo)

Peel, cut up and simmer 2 1/2 lbs of tomatoes for 10 minutes. Measure out 3 cups of the cooked tomatoes and add all the rest of the ingredients except Surejell. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil, then add the Surejell and boil for 1 minute.

Follow the canning instructions on the box of Surejell and enjoy a delectable tasty jam the rest of the year!
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Gone Digital
by Mike Rochelle


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Digital photography is not the "wave of the future" - it is HERE. With no film required, and endless storage and use capabilities, you will be filling those scrapbooks with memories from a "digital age"!

"How does it all work?"
A digital camera captures an image through a sensor called a "CCD". This sensor has light sensing dots called pixels. These pixels are how a camera gets it's megapixel designation. The more megapixels, the bigger or clearer the picture. Once you have clicked the "snapshot button", the image is placed on some sort of "storage device". Storage devices may be a "card" or a "memory stick" that is inserted in your camera.
These storage devices hold tons of data and can be downloaded to your computer. You can attach your camera to your computer with a cable, or you can remove the storage device from the camera and insert it into a "card reader" in your computer (if you have one). If you do not, they are a peripheral that you can purchase.

Once you have put the picture in your computer...the possibilities are endless. You can use the photos on greeting cards, email them to friends and family, share them on the web, print them for an album, edit and enhance them, etc.

Digital cameras are so versatile, they can be used any place your good 'ole 35mm camera could. However, most digital cameras are lighter, smaller, easier to use. Plus, you don't have to buy film and have it processed only to find out that in your haste, you took a picture of your left foot! Most digital cameras allow you to "view" the pictures while they are still in your camera, and you can quickly delete the ones you don't want, BEFORE you even download them to your computer. The storage devices can be erased, and used over and over, saving much money on the cost of film!

One of the drawbacks to digital picture taking in the early days, were the "prints". You had a great picture captured on your computer...but how could you print a nice copy to send Aunt Mable at Christmas time? That dilemma is gone. Many places offer "do-it-yourself" photo printing services. For example, you can take your floppy disk, CD, or memory card to Walmart, pop it in their machine, pick the photos you want to print and push the button. Within an hour, you have professional quality prints on quality photo paper that you can share "just like before". Other options for having your photos printed on professional photo paper is to order them online through places like:

Walmart Photo
Wink Flash
Fuji Color
Kodak

Many of these sites also offer convenient ways to "share your photos online" with family and friends. You can post your pictures to a site, and then give you friends and family password protected access. That is a great way to share online vacation albums and family event albums, without trying to email tons of photos!

Here are a couple of other helpful links if you want to learn more!

Big Sky Fishing
microsoft Digital Photography
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Kickoff is Here!
by Victor Luna


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Football Season is starting! Since I am an avid sports fan, I wanted to write about a great website where you can get all the information you need on your favorite football teams. NFL.com has everything from the latest news of your favorite team, to links to your team's official website.

You can see the scores as well as a "play by play" of a game that is currently being aired. The site also features
  • Stats of all your favorite players
  • Team stats.
  • Schedule of all the games in the NFL (Everything from pre-season to the Superbowl.
One of the things I like the most is that it lists the standings of all the teams, NFC or AFC, East, West, North and South, allowing you to know where your team stands. There is a lot of information on this website, so if you like football and would like to know more about your favorite team check it out today!
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Reading on the Move
by Carol Hall


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I love the "escape" reading a good story brings! I have always enjoyed reading, and do not remember a time that I did not. In today's world, however, it seems like our lives continually get busier and busier and there is less and less time for that "escape".

Over the last few years, I found myself reading for enjoyment less and less, and asked myself how I might change that. Well, as usual, I began searching the Internet for clues. And, again...I found the perfect solution: Audio Books!
Audio books are a great way for anyone to find time to read, even when you are busy:

  • Listen to a book on your commute to and from work
  • Listen to a book as you work in your yard
  • Listen to a book on a morning / evening walk
  • Listen to a book as you do your housework
  • Listen to a book as you ride your bike

Living in a small town, I found the audio book selection at the public library and local bookstores to be rather limited. I purchased some used Audio books online at Amazon.com. Then I found the BEST section yet: Audible.com

Audible.com features thousands of Audio books, as well as magazines and other periodicals. The site makes it easy to search by genre, author, title, subject, etc. Once you find the book you want, and download it, Audible.com provides you with the software you need to put the book in the format you want (you can listen from your computer, or put the book on your MP3 player, or burn it to a CD)

So now, as I take my morning walk...I bring along my portable CD player and listen to several chapters!
What a refreshing way to start my day!
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Buy it! Sell it!
by Matt Stephens


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It is said that "truth in advertising" is a myth. However, I do not totally agree with that statement. One of my favorite commercials is also one of the most honest and truthful commercials I have ever seen. It is an eBay commercial. There is a man working in a department store, and a woman asks for something and he begins to sing about all the wonderful things you can find on eBay. My son enjoys singing along to it which only adds to the humor of the entire commercial.

The truth isn't that department store sales staff will sing to you. The truth is that you can literally find anything you want or need through online auctions.
  • Need an original clock for your 1941 Buick project? I found one.
  • How about a bumper for your 1973 Comet GT? I found one.
Once there was a person auctioning his fiancée's wedding dress after she left him at the altar. He was not just selling it, but "modeling" it himself. Online aucitons are as entertaining as they are useful!. You can literally find anything (car parts, irrigation items, home decorations, matchbox cars, bed, bath and beauty supplies, etc). If you can dream of it, it's there for you to bid on.

The "how-to's" of online auctions are easy:

You just have to set up an account with the auction site. Take eBay for instance:
  • Log onto eBay
  • Click on the link to "register". I helped my cousin do this, and trust me,if he can do it, anyone can.

    Once you have registered, you can buy and sell on eBay.
  • Near the top and bottom of each auction is a bid button. It really is that simple.
  • Selling is just as easy. Once you have an account set up with the auction site, you will have access to a user's folder where you can list items you wish to sell. There is usually a small listing fee, or commission that you pay to the auction site

    A common question is "Should I use a picture when I'm selling an item?" The answer to this is yes. You don't have to, but think of it this way: "If you are looking for an item, are you going to take the word of the person selling it that it is in great condition? Or would you rather see it first?"

    The auctions will have a starting date and time and an ending date and time. You will be notified if you win a bid, and then you make arrangements for the final purchase and shipping. If you are selling an item, you will be notified of each offer you receive. You can set parameters for the selling price so you do not end up selling an item for less than you want to accept.

    Websites like eBay also have wonderful help menus that will guide you through the entire experience. So what are you waiting for? Go out in your garage and find the junk that could be someone's treasure. People will buy anything.
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Fun but Fickle!
by KJ Newby


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Many new computers are coming with DVD Burners already installed and ready to use. In addition, the cost of buying a DVD burner to put in your computer, is dropping. So, more and more people are now starting to experiment with the world of DVD burning. This is a fun and intriguing adventure, but at the same time, can pose a little frustration. With different types of hardware, software, and media, it can quickly overwhelm you. Don't let this stop you, however. Just be patient and do some research before you begin. Below are a few tips and resources to help you:

An Intro to DVD Movie Making...Fun but Challenging
You've just created a movie masterpiece and you're itching to show your friends the fruits of your efforts! So what better way would there be than creating a DVD? With the price of DVD burners tumbling and a wealth of DVD authoring software available (often bundled with the DVD writer), DVD home movies are fast becoming the preferred method of final production. Jump on the band wagon, follow the guides and start creating your first DVD movie!

The DVD Writer/Burner
Don't even think about popping down to your local PC shop without first taking a moment to research the available recorders on the market. Armed with a few bits of information, you'll easily avoid the confusion you'll face when buying a DVD writer. Unlike CD writable media, there isn't one uniform standard for DVD discs. The competing DVD writable standards are:
  • DVD+RW
  • DVD-RW
  • DVD-RAM
The first two are compatible with the majority of DVD drives and stand-alone DVD players. The third can only be played on DVD-RAM compatible drives. Each type has its merrits, and to be honest, they all pretty much achieve the same objective - writing Data to a disc. The first two, however, can be played on almost any DVD drive/player. To maximize your writing options, I would recommend you use a multi-format DVD writer. That way you can burn to whatever variety of disc you believe will be the most compatible.

The Software: Gone are the days of simply pressing the red button and recording to tape. Creating a DVD movie is more than simply a case of burning your movie to a DVD disc:
the movie itself should be an MPEG2 encoded VOB file meeting the DVD white book standards in frame size, bitrate...
To ease the task of making a Digital Video Disc, there's a growing number of "DVD authoring packages" that make recording as simple as (you guessed it) pressing the little red button. But that's not all they do. All the entry level DVD authoring packages will guide you through the complete process, from capturing to editing to converting to burning your DVD.

Chances are you'll be using the DVD authoring package to merely create a DVD from the material you have captured and edited using your chosen video editing software. At the bottom end of the market, programs such as Sonic MyDVD and Ulead Movie Factory offer simple interfaces and "off the shelf" menus. They don't offer much flexibility or individuality, but they perform reasonably well. Whatever package you choose, bear in mind that, like everything in the video editing world, all DVD authoring softwares aren't the same!

RESOURCES: Here are a few resources that provide a wealth of knowledge about DVDs. Good luck and enjoy!
Video Help A collection of tools, tutorials, discussions and more covering DVDs, VCDs and more.
DVD Demystified This site contains a useful FAQ's page about DVD technology; also has information about the book DVD Demystified by Jim Taylor. The book discusses every imaginable aspect of DVD technology and should be read by anyone who wants to learn more about DVD technology.
Doom9 This is a useful site with guides, downloads, and a glossary.
DVD Creation One of the popular Digital Media Net (DMN) forums that focuses on DVD authoring. Registration (free) required.
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A Good Laugh
by Victor Luna


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TECH: Hello, Friendly Internet. How may I help you?

CUSTOMER: Oh, hello young man. I was wondering if you offer online banking?

TECH: We're an Internet service provider, ma'am. You can certainly use our service to connect to online banking.

CUSTOMER: What do I need to do that?

TECH: You just need the modem in your computer. That plugs into a phone jack. Sign up for an account, and sign up for online banking with your bank.

CUSTOMER: But where does the money come out?

TECH: I'm not sure I understand?

CUSTOMER: You know...Does the money come out from that slot on my computer?
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POM - R C Electronics
by Jon Alexander


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Blue Mountain Internet's Partner of the Month for September 2005 is Curtis Muilenburg of the Florence, Oregon Radio Shack

Curtis, and his wife Ronda, own and operate R C Electronics which has been in business for 33 years. Curtis is an authorized Radio Shack dealer offering consumer electronics ranging from "digital cameras" to "build-it-yourself erector set robots". He also offers car stereo sales with free installation.

After high school, Curtis moved away to work for the railroad and then for 10 years as a Boeing machinist. When he moved back to the Florence area, he and his wife Ronda purchased R C Electronics from Ronda's father, who started the store in 1972.

R C Electronics has a policy of excellent customer service. The store staff will answer questions about the items they sell and will do their best to answer your questions about consumer electronics you have purchased from other vendors. They also have excellent resources for local computer networking and repair. Please look up their web site at R C Electronics. You can email at curtis1@bmi.net


541-997-8467
2876 Highway 101 Florence, OR 97439
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The Winner's Circle
by Carol Hall


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Congratulations to our August 2005 Puzzle winners!!

Marcine B of Hermiston, OR for the Wordfind and Lauren S of Deer Lodge, MT. for the Crossword

The lucky winners each receive 3 FREE months of service from BMI

Congratulations!
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Kudos
by Matt Stephens


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"I just want to extend my thanks to Alisha for her help in this situation. I chose to cancel the two items that were spam and the whole event is now resolved. I have had to call for help prior to this and have always received prompt and correct help from whomever helped me. Bless you all!" J. Ayers, Walla Walla, WA
"KJ: I want to thank you so much for helping me out. Yesterday the tech I spoke with told me my computer was broken and I should call a repair place & I am thankful to have received my mail. You were very helpful. Thank you." Virginia G. Weston, OR.
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Hellos and Goodbyes!
by Carol Hall


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The month of August brought several staffing changes to our BMI family. We were sad to say goodbye to Renee Eagon and Alisha Callahan. They both left BMI last month to move to new areas within the northwest. We shall miss them!

We had the privlege of welcoming 2 new members on board however! We are happy to have Colin and Jose join our family!

Colin Miller recently moved to Walla Walla from Oregon, and brings with him 10 years of experience running his own website.
Jose Acosta just moved to Walla Walla from Michigan where he was the director of a private school. Prior to that, Jose worked for Microsoft for 10 years.

We welcome Colin and Jose, and their experience, to BMI with open arms!
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Have an interesting Idea for our newsletter?
Please send your comments or requests to info@bmi.net

DISCLAIMER: Opinions and information herein are solely for the purposes of entertainment of Blue Mountain Internet subscribers. Legal, financial or other important decisions should be made on the bases of extensive research and no specific actions should be taken based on information contained within this newsletter. Blue Mountain Internet, its owners and employees are to be held harmless in any and all matters relating to this publication.


The On Ramp is a monthly publication of Blue Mountain Internet.

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