The On Ramp

The Blue Mountain Internet Customer Newsletter

 Issue # 26 December 2005 
INSIDE THIS EDITION
Greetings from the Editor  by Carol Hall BMI Mail Testers Needed  by Ruben Bybee
Holiday humor  by Colin Miller Online Shopping  by Mike Rochelle
Helpful Tips  by Carol Hall Online Classes  by Jose Acosta
Holiday Flavor!  by Gena Bybee Jesting with Jon  by Carol Hall
Where is the Owners Manu ...  by Tony Abrego Windows to the Weather  by KJ Newby
Grandma's China  by Gena Bybee Why BMI?  by Matt Stephens
Find Santa Contest  by Carol Hall POM Coast Computers  by Jon Alexander
Kudos  by Matt Stephens The Winners Circle  by Carol Hall
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Greetings from the Editor
by Carol Hall


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Greetings to all! I hope you enjoy this month's edition of "The On Ramp" and find the information not only interesting, but useful!

I wish each and every one of you a Blessed and Happy Holiday Season!

If there is a particular subject you would like discussed, please let me know. Email me at editor@bmi.net

Thank you, and Enjoy!
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BMI Mail Testers Needed
by Ruben Bybee


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BMI has spent the past year working on our Atrica server technology. This technology has integrated anti-spam, anti-phish, anti-virus, and anti-worm technologies.

We have been testing the system in house for about 6 months now. Fine tuning the spam filtering mechanisms and installing the user level control of quarantine and spam. We feel that this new system is superior to what we are using now and have been seeing spam catch rates over 99% with less than .5% false positives.

We need 50 users to help us test our new system and our quarantine interface. This testing amounts to turning off the existing Postini filtering for your mail and turning on our Atrica anti-spam engine. You will then be given a new URL for you to go to check for spam and adjust spam settings to your personal liking. The defaults are very good but you have the ability to change them as you see fit.

Click here to join our mail testing program.

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Holiday humor
by Colin Miller


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It's almost that time again. Yes, December 25th is rapidly approaching. After the stress of shopping and the frenetic fervor of getting the presents wrapped before the kids barge in, find some time for holiday humor!

Q - Who is never hungry at Christmas?
A - The turkey - he's always stuffed!

Q - What do you call Santa Claus' dog?
A - Santa Paws!

Q - Why was a turkey the drummer in the pop group?
A - Because he was the only one with drumsticks

Q - What often falls at the North Pole but never gets hurt?
A - Snow

Q - What did one Angel say to the other?
A - Halo there

Q - What did the dog say to the reindeer?
A - Woof, woof!

A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store, but couldn't find one big enough for her family. She asked a stock boy, "Do these turkeys get any bigger?"
The stock boy replied, "No ma'am, they're dead."
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Online Shopping
by Mike Rochelle


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Ever wonder where people who are on the internet all day at work, shop online? Here at BMI, we are always looking for a good deal and a quality product. One of my favorite things to locate are 1940 thru 1950 apple crate labels. The best place to find these at a reasonable price is at Ebay.

EBay is an online auction site that gives you the ability to buy and sell new and used items online with a worldwide audience. Amazon is an online store that caters to new items. Amazon, however, also offers many used items at a lower price to you. Many other stores, boutiques, specialty shops, department stores etc, also have websites in which you can do your shopping.

When shopping at an online store for a product, you want to make certain you are dealing with a reputable firm that will deliver the product as descried. The best way to determine this is to make sure that the online store front also gives you alternate ways to order and contact them...such as by mail or telephone. Online store fronts that offer no way to contact them directly are red flags for fraud. If you really want a product that an online store front offers, but they do not list direct contact information, you may want to email them to ask questions. If they answer promptly, and adequately, you are probably safe to go forward with the transaction.

Most stores charge a shipping and handling fee, plus applicable taxes. In the case of ebay, people selling items also charge fees to handle and ship their items. While this is fair, and makes sense, some sellers inflate the shipping charges to compensate for selling an item at a lower price. Be aware

Pay close attention to the shipping information. Reputable online stores will offer you multiple shipping options and pricing, as well as the estimated delivery date. Depending on your location, and that of the online store, delivery can sometimes take longer than you want to wait. If this information is not readily available, it is another red flag.

After you have decided what, where and when to buy, the next item is "How to pay' for it. Major credit cards are the most secure way to pay. When you are checking out from the website, always make sure you see HTTPS in the starting field of the address or look for a gold key at the bottom of the page. This shows you that your transaction information is being encrypted and the information is not viewable by unauthorized parties. It is secure.

Now that Christmas is upon us, go out and shop till you drop, or better yet sit at home, with hot cocoa, a warm robe and bunny slippers and do your shopping in the comfort of your own home!

Happy Holidays!
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Helpful Tips
by Carol Hall


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One of the best things about using your computer, is the ability to customize it to suit your needs. I recently had a customer ask me about increasing the font size in our newsletter to make it easier to read. You may have run across this same type of situation in any webpage you have visited. Not to fret... YOU control what you see!

When surfing the web in your browser, you can easily increase or decrease the size of the font to suits your needs;

Here is how you increase the font size in Internet Explorer or Firefox:

  • Open Internet Explorer (or Firefox)
  • Click on View- and choose Text Size
  • Set to larger or largest for IE (click on Increase for Firefox)

Do you have a secret tip that you would like to share with other readers? I would love to publish it for you! Please send your helpful tip to editor@bmi.net for publication in a future newsletter.
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Online Classes
by Jose Acosta


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Classes have been in session for a few months now and maybe you find yourself wishing you had registered for that class or two you've been wanting to take. Now you have to wait another month or two, or even a year perhaps, right? Perhaps not! One of the myriad of benefits offered with the advent of the internet is online courses, also known as distance learning. Yes, classes you can take over the internet.

So the next question is, "Where or how do I start?

  • You can check with a community college in your area and see if they offer online courses that you are interested in. Review their materials and follow their instructions for enrolling online.

  • If there is no college in your area, or if they do not offer the courses you are interested in, you can search the internet. Search with the keywords online courses using the Google search engine. That search will result in over 8 million choices! That might seem overwhelming, and it is. You might want to include other keywords in your search, such as the type of course you are looking for (i.e. accounting, para-legal, insurance, etc).

  • "How do you know whether all the colleges or universities listed are valid? Will employers value the online degree you receive? Will you be able to transfer credits from your online course to another institution? Will the online program you select provide a rigorous and worthwhile educational experience?" These are important questions you must answer BEFORE you embark on Online Classes.

To assist you in determining whether a school is valid or accredited, the following links offer a host of helpful information to ensure that the choice of school you make will result in real courses and a genuine degree. You want to choose a school that is reputable, well-known, and one that you can contact by phone and request certain information that will satisfy your concerns.

E-Sources This link will assist you in understanding 'Accreditation"

Diploma Mills This link helps give a set of criteria to identify bogus schools, also known as diploma-mills.

E-Learners This link shows a website that lists some accredited colleges. This is not an all inclusive list, but hopefully will give you a college or two that may be near for you to visit, because some courses may require a visit on campus as part of the coursework.

Once you have determined the school you will apply to for online courses, there is the business of finances. You will want to carefully review and clearly understand to your satisfaction, all financial requirements and refund policies before parting with your hard-earned cash.

Now, here are some links to a few colleges in the northwest part of United States that offer online courses:

Walla Walla Community College
Eastern Oregon University (La Grande, OR)
Columbia Basin College (Pasco, WA)
Washington State University (Pullman WA)
Idaho State University (Several locations in Idaho)

So, what are you waiting for? Check out online classes to quench your thirst for knowledge without being tied to attending classes at a specific time and day. You not only save gas from traveling to class, you have the option to manage your time for when you take the class and do your homework, as long as it is done on time of course.
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Holiday Flavor!
by Gena Bybee


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I found an excellent source of recipes for the holidays on the net: Food Network's Food TV,
Click on the TV tab and select a show. I chose the show we watch called "Semi-homemade cooking with Sandra Lee". She had several shows for Thanksgiving and she will have more for Christmas. Her recipes are delightful, and easy. Here is one I really enjoyed:

Spiced Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Citrus Glaze

Cake:
  • 6 eggs
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin pie mix
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 box moist spice cake mix
  • 1 box moist yellow cake mix

Glaze:
  • Yellow food coloring
  • Red food coloring
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange juice, no pulp
  • 3 teaspoons orange liqueur

Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt cake pan.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, oil, pumpkin pie mix, water, and pumpkin pie spice. Beat until well blended.
Add the cake mixes and stir to combine.
Pour the mixture to the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack.

Glaze:
Combine 2 parts yellow food coloring with 4 parts red food coloring to make orange food coloring. Whisk the powdered sugar, orange juice, orange liqueur, and food coloring in a saucepan on low heat for 5 minutes or until the sugar melts. If the glaze seems too dry, add more water or orange juice to reach the right consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the cake.
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Jesting with Jon
by Carol Hall


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Jon has been with BMI for 2 years and serves as one of our Customer Service Representatives. In addition to helping customers with questions, he is also in charge of our Partner Program at BMI. Jon excels at being not only helpful and friendly, but very thorough in all he does! We are very pleased to have Jon as part of our BMI Family.

Editor: Where were you born, and where did you grow up?
Jon: I was born in Walla Walla, WA and grew-up in Milton-Freewater, OR

Editor: What was your FIRST paying job?
Jon: Pulling weeds in Mr. French's garden when I was 6 years old

Editor: What was the "worst" or "most difficult" job you have ever done?
Jon: Cleaning the cages and animal runs at the veterinarians office

Editor: What "historical event" has had the biggest impact on you?
Jon: The fall of the Berlin wall

Editor: If you could play any musical instrument, what would it be?
Jon: The Jazz Saxophone.

Editor: If you could write a book about anything at all...what would the title be?
Jon: "Pivotal Moments In American History"

Editor: Who is your favorite fictional character and why?
Jon: Bilbo Baggins from the Hobbit, as I once played him in a stage production.

Editor: What was your very first car?
Jon: A 1978 dark brown Honda Civic.

Editor: Where is the one place you have never been, that you would like to visit?
Jon: The Greek Islands

Editor: If you could only eat one food, for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Jon: "Granny's Buffet" (I told him I thought that was an unfair answer, and he just laughed.

Editor: Close your eyes and imagine you are in a place called "Perfect" Where are you?
Jon: Heaven
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Where is the Owners Manual?
by Tony Abrego


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Have you ever lost the owner's manual for your T.V, stereo, or any of those cool electronic gadgets in your home? Maybe you bought something at a yard sale, or on Ebay, only to find out you don't know how to use it? That can be overwhelmingly frustrating, and you waste much time "trying to figure it out" or continually looking for the manual...you are anxious, irritated and stressed. STOP...go to your computer...let the Internet help you again!

Whether it's instructions, drivers, product information, owner manuals or online support, you will find it all at most manufacturers' websites:

. If you have a Sony VCR you can go to Sony and you will find everything you need for your Sony appliance. Simply go to Google and type the name of the manufacturer that made your product and Google will give you all the websites that are associated with that company.

I would recommend starting with the manufacturers' home site, and searching from there. Most will have a link on them for 'Product Support", "Customer service" or "Help". Once you find the link for "Owner's manuals", they generally send you through a series of "choices". Have your product name, and model number handy to zip through to the information you need.

Occasionally, you will run across a site that doesn't have information on the product you have. In that case, you have the option of emailing, or calling them for assistance. Many sites now include "Live Chat" as a way of talking directly to a representative via a real time online chat session.

Searching for help on the Internet takes much less time than tearing apart your house trying to find the manual. Not to mention, when you are done, you do not have to put everything back in the drawers you emptied in your frenzied search! Relax, enjoy and let the Internet do the work for you!

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Windows to the Weather
by KJ Newby


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This month I will be exploring the wonderful world of weather on the Internet. There are many sites and programs dedicated to giving you accurate and current weather conditions for all areas of the world & even yours!

First of all, our homepage at BMI Home Page is fully customizable to include your local weather through WX.com. I have my homepage setup to show my local weather in Walla Walla. Another good source of local weather is at Walla Walla.com. It has a link to local weather at the top of the website.

Websites are probably the most commonly used method to find your local weather forecasts. Here are a few of my favorites. Click on any of these links then enter your zip code to find your local weather.

Weather Underground
Yahoo Weather
Internet Weather Source
Weather.com

Another method to get your local weather is software that is installed on your computer such as WeatherBug. It will run when you start your computer and have an active connection to the Internet (not recomended for dial up connections). A trial version of WeatherBug can be downloaded at Weatherbug According to their website, WeatherBug is not spyware, but it is adware. It does not monitor, collect data or 'spy' on its user base, however the program is considered adware as the free version is ad-supported. You can read more about why Weatherbug is not considered spyware at their site.

You also can get your weather forecasts if you are using Mozilla Firefox for your browser.
  • Simply click on Tools
  • then Extensions.
  • Click on get more extensions
  • Look for ForecastFox
This browser extension will give international weather forecasts and display it in any toolbar or status bar with this highly customizable and unobtrusive extension.

And there you have it! I hope this information has been helpful to all that have an interest in weather around the world!
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Grandma's China
by Gena Bybee


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"Have you ever used grandma's china for the holidays and broke one of the pieces? The entire family was upset with you... now you are saved from the family!

There are many sites on the net. You can find replacements for china, stoneware, crystal, glassware, silverware, stainless steel ware, and collectibles. Replenish you stock, add to sets or redeem yourself with Grandma if you have a mishap! You can even register your pattern so they will have it BEFORE you break it - is THAT service, or what?!?

Replacements LTD Thousands of china replacements and tableware patterns, old and new! They also have pattern registry here.
Set Your Table - Discontinued china, crystal, sterling silver ... Replace and match discontinued dinnerware or tableware
Perfect Match China - Playing the" Match Game" using a china matching service .
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Why BMI?
by Matt Stephens


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"Why BMI?"

Knowing that Blue Mountain Internet gives you a $5 credit for each person you refer to us, might give you incentive to tell people about us. But what happens when the person you are referring to us asks "why"? You could tell them that when they sign up you get $5, but how does that help them?

America is filled with people asking the same question: "What's in it for me?" Well, at Blue Mountain Internet, we'd like to offer a few answers.

Rewards: Blue Mountain Internet customers get many rewards just for being our customers. The rewards come in many forms. The $5 credit mentioned above is one reward. We also offer free software such as a firewall protector, a pop up ad blocker, anti-virus, Adware and Spyware removal tools, and free tech support. All of these are found at http://rewards.bmi.net.

Customer Service: Every employee at BMI feels that customers really do come first. We strive to supply a level of customer service that many people dream of, but rarely find. Like pulling into a service station in 1955 with a flat tire in the rain - our Customer Service Representatives are rushing out to greet you and help you get on your way.

Tech support: (Your friends may ask...): Many providers will advertise internet for as low as $6.95 or $9.95 a month. Read the fine print and you quickly learn that you have to pay for tech support. That $9.95 a month can quickly go up to $12.95 in just a one minute phone call. At BMI, our tech support is not only free, but we also give you four different ways to contact us:
  • You can call our office (800-522-5006 or 509-522-5006) and speak to a living, breathing human being,
  • You can go to our website and click on Live Chat to instant message (talk) one of our techs
  • You can email our tech support department and receive help within 24 hours tech@bmi.net
  • You can fax our office 509-529-5006

Any way you decide to contact to us, we'll be happy to help you with no additional or hidden charges to you. Our support is free, easy and helpful. We're even open on the weekends!

Portable: You can travel and take your laptop with you. We have local dialup access numbers in all 50 states. Yes, all 50. In most locations you travel to, we will have a local access number.

Versatile: You can check your email (anywhere you have internet access through your connection, or someone else's) by going to our home page (http://my.bmi.net) and clicking on the link for webmail.

Affordable: Compare our pricing and valuable services with other providers. You will not find a better deal!

As you can see, Blue Mountain Internet, its owners and staff, really believe that you are our most important asset. We love that we are able to share our success with you each and every day. We treasure you as customers, and as part of the BMI family. Help us expand our family, and the rewards will continue to grow.
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Find Santa Contest
by Carol Hall


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Last year, we ran a very popular contest that entered people into a drawing for NEW COMPUTER! We are very pleased to announce that we will be running that contest again this year.

This is how it works:

We hide a picture of Santa somewhere on our BMI and Atrica Server websites for you to find. When you spot him, click on him and that will open up a "Live Chat" window with one of our representatives. Simply give them your name, address and email address, and you are entered into a drawing to win a FREE Computer!

Be warned, Santa moves around during the entire month of December...so keep your eyes open!

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POM Coast Computers
by Jon Alexander


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Blue Mountain Internet's Partner of the Month for December 2005 is: Coast Computers in Florence Oregon. Brett Feingold founded Coast Computers in 1995 and offers services from new computer sales to network consulting.

Services include:
  • Computer repair and sales
  • Internet sales
  • Network consulting and troubleshooting
  • Web Design
  • Software sales
  • Consulting
Brett holds a Bachelors of Science degree from the University of North Carolina and a Masters of Business Administration from Western Carolina University. He also keeps his Microsoft certifications up to date which means he has all the latest skills to better serve his customers.

Soon after he and his wife were married, they decided to establish their business in Florence. "Florence is a growing town with many opportunities," he said and then adds that "Coast Computers is the only computer repair business in Florence that offers in-home or on-sight support. We will match or beat competitors' prices"

Brett also devotes personal time to the community by chairing the local Rhododendron festival. "I have to start asking for money pretty quick" he said while describing the festival. "The Rhododendron festival is the third oldest parade in the county"

.
Coast Computer can be found in their new shop at:
1525 12th St. Florence, OR 97439
. Or you can call, 541-997-0700 Attn: Bret Feingold

Remember, if there is an outstanding business in your area that you would like to recommend to us, please forward that information to info@bmi.net.
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Kudos
by Matt Stephens


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"I really appreciate your help and PATIENCE"
. - Ken D Milton-Freewater, OR

"I have called several times for help in different areas and no matter who I talk to I have gotten help immediately. Everyone is always so friendly and are so happy to help me. With other servers we have used, it wasn't like that so we are so pleased with the service we get from you. Thank you so much and continue your excellent service."
- Sincerely, Jack and Norma W Florence, OR.
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The Winners Circle
by Carol Hall


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Congratulations to our November 2005 Puzzle winners!!

Opal C of Baker City, OR for the Wordfind and Vicki W. of Quincy, WA for the Crossword
The lucky winners each receive 3 FREE months of service from BMI

Cheryl J of Walla Walla, WA was the winner of last month's Movie Madness contest and will receive a FREE $20.00 Walmart Movie Card.

Congratulations!
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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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