The On Ramp

The Blue Mountain Internet Customer Newsletter

 Issue # 29 March 2006 
INSIDE THIS EDITION
Greetings from the Editor  by Carol Hall History  by Colin Miller
DSL Dilemma  by Mike Rochelle What is SPAM  by Ruben Bybee
WebCams  by Nathan ONeel The Tax Man Cometh  by Jose Acosta
A Touch O' Humor  by Nathan ONeel Spring Again!  by Gena Bybee
Visiting with Victor  by Carol Hall Your Personal Portal!  by Mike Rochelle
My Account information  by Carol hall Using a Search Engine  by Tony Abrego
Belong to a Club?  by Matt Stephens Go Fly a kite!  by Carol Hall
Kudos  by Matt Stephens Winners Circle  by Carol Hall
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Greetings from the Editor
by Carol Hall


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Greetings to all of you and I wish you a beautiful Month of March! I hope you enjoy this edition of The On Ramp. Since we changed our newsletter format last month, we want to remind you that you can still view it in the previous style if you prefer. After all, at BMI it is all about YOU. Just click on the "printable version" link.

As always, I welcome your comments and additions to the newsletter! Please email me at editor@bmi.net
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History
by Colin Miller


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History may seem like a boring subject to some people, but it can be quite informative and exciting once you find something that interests you. Maybe it's war history, political history, art history, or geographic history. If you have some extra time, you can surf around the net and you will likely learn something you didn't know.

Here are some sites to check out:

Presidents USA
The History Place
Bartleby.com
World History Compass
Geography

Within these main sites, there are a multitude of other sites specializing in certain topics. I'm quite certain with any of them you will find something interesting to read and learn about.

Enjoy history!
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DSL Dilemma
by Mike Rochelle


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Thinking of DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)? Faster than dialup and much faster than smoke signals! If you are considering a change, read on.

You have received calls and postcards from your local phone company wanting you to get their DSL service. "How does it work? Do I have to change my email address? I want to keep BMI and also have DSL, but I do not want to pay for both...

Worry no more! BMI offers DSL in the Qwest phone company area. You don't have to leave BMI, and you still get all of our services! (Free tech support, protected email, free ecards, free software, your personal portal, etc.) By ordering your DSL service through BMI, you even get to keep your dial-up....use it for all the times you are traveling out of town! A winning combination: high-speed access and BMI.

80% of people can get DSL at their home or office. Call or email us today to find out if you are one!
800-485-5006 or 509-522-5006
info@bmi.net
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What is SPAM
by Ruben Bybee


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"What is spam?"
Depending on where you look or who you ask, you will get varying answers.

At BMI, we define spam as "unsolicited bulk email", which means these emails are being sent to you through no action on your part.

In reviewing numerous spam reports sent to BMI over the last several weeks, I have found that over 90% of the reports are not actually spam but rather are valid email lists that were subscribed to.

"How does this happen?" When you contact a company, visit a website, or install new software, etc, you are often asked if you would like to receive emails from them. Many times the question is worded in such a way that you must uncheck a particular box to not be put on the list. It is no wonder that so many of us get placed on email lists we are unaware of! Nonetheless, these emails are legitimate and not truly SPAM.

"What to do?" The only way to really get off a valid mailing list is to unsubscribe from it. I know, I know, for years we have been preaching to never click on that unsubscribe link because it will result in more spam... but this is not the case with valid mailing lists. A valid mailing list will honor your unsubscribe request and not use it as a means to authenticate the validity of your email address.

Currently BMI is stopping over 800,000 spam emails each day. If you are unsure whether an unwanted email is truly SPAM, or simply a mailing list you inadvertently subscribed to, please do not hesitate to contact us - We are just a phone call or email away!
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WebCams
by Nathan ONeel


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Webcams are cameras that take pictures or videos and are connected to the internet so you can view them "real-time". One of the neatest things about the internet is being able to view the world - virtually!

There are many live webcams on the internet that record the most beautiful places on earth! (from Hawaii, Tahiti and pandas in the zoo, to the Eiffel Tower in Paris). There is even a live webcam in Downtown Walla Walla

Viewing the world in the comfort of your own home is enough to put a smile on anyone's face! "Do you have a child or grandchild attending a university far away?" Take a look...most universities have live webcams to view the campus Central Washington University. Instead of asking them what the weather is like in their area...you can tell them the snow is gorgeous, or the sun is very bright that day...they might think you are psychic!

If you have a dial up connection, the webcams still work but you may have to wait a little while for the images to load. With a high speed connection like DSL, this virtual vacation means less time spent in waiting for the camera to refresh. For dialup customers, the BMI Turbo Accelerator will speed up the loading time considerably.

So, the next time you feel the need for a little getaway, consider a virtual vacation! It is easier on your wallet and you don't have to ask your boss for the time off. Here are some great sites I would like to share with you:

Earth Cam From here you can see some of the most frequently visited webcams around the world.

Mt St Helens Did you hear about Mount St. Helens blowing smoke? Why not see it yourself from this live webcam?

Daffodil Valley Times Are you going on a trip that will take you through a mountain pass - like through Snoqualmie pass or Stevens pass? See the road traffic and weather conditions before you leave home.

The internet is your best information source for just about everything and anything!
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The Tax Man Cometh
by Jose Acosta


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"The taxman cometh, the taxman cometh!" We are now into March, less than 45 days away from tax-time! Are we going to have to pay? Ugh!! Or do we get money back? Whoopee!!

I don't know about you, but I intensely dislike having to gather all my data, crunch those numbers, put it all together, and pray it all passes muster! But the IRS, yes, that dreaded agency that we report to, has provided a way we can do all this relatively easy. There are also tax software programs that help you by asking for the right numbers. They do the "crunching" for you, alerting you for verification if something doesn't look quite right, and in the end, joyfully telling you that you have money coming back, or somberly letting you know that you owe more.

To get started, gather up your W-2's, gift/contribution receipts, interest/tax statements, and any other paperwork you think you will need. Then go to the IRS efile website, the "final authority on tax information".

Here you will find initial information describing what you will need, as well as links to forms and publications, and a sundry of other items. This site also contains a link to show companies that will help you file for free if you qualify - a fairly easy process. These companies are required to pass stringent eligibility qualifications to assist individuals and they must comply with all federal rules and regulations on taxpayer privacy for paying and free customers. So your data is safe and privacy assured.

If you do not have a tax software program, (and you are not required to have one), you can view and download the forms from the IRS site, enter your data, and save the documents to your computer. You will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed to view these .pdf documents and enter the data. The website where you choose the forms has a link to download and install this program as well.

Google-ing on "filing taxes" brings up a number of links from other companies advertising their willingness to assist you with doing taxes. You will want to read their fine print regarding fees and other requirements. Remember though, that to qualify for free e-filing, you will want to choose the company of your choice through the IRS website listed above. If you go to the company's website directly, you will not be able to take advantage of the free-filing option if you qualify. There are companies that make their website look similar to the IRS website - so beware.

Of course, you can always go to your local tax preparer, taking your boxful of paperwork and let them sort it all out. But why deny yourself the fun of doing your own numbers, especially when online internet help is just a few key-clicks away?
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A Touch O' Humor
by Nathan ONeel


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Knock, knock!
Who's there?
Irish
Irish who?
Irish you a happy St. Patrick's Day!

A ventriloquist is telling Irish jokes in a pub, when an irate Irishman stands up:
"You're making' out we're all dumb and stupid. I oughtta punch you in the nose..."
The ventriloquist started to reply: "I'm sorry sir, I..."
"Not you," says the Irishman, "I'm talking to that little fella on your knee."

Q. What would you get if you crossed a leprechaun with a Texan?
A. A pot of chili at the end of the rainbow!

Q. Did you hear about the leprechaun who went to jail?
A. He was a lepre-con!

Murphy told Quinn that his wife was "driving him to drink".
Quinn thinks Murphy is very lucky because his own wife "makes him walk" !!

Q. What do you get if you cross poison ivy with a four-leaf clover??
A. A rash of good luck!
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Spring Again!
by Gena Bybee


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The winter weather is almost over, honest. It is time to start thinking about spring again!

  • Are you ready to start planting something wonderful in your garden?
  • Are you looking for something new and different then your last year's plants?
  • Troubled by a pest or problem you had last year?
  • Wondering if something will thrive in your geographical area?
  • First-time gardener?

There are lots of new varieties of plants as well as the old standbys. You can start now by shopping online and have it shipped to you just in time to plant this spring. First time gardener? There is lots of information online just for you!

HG TV: Click on the gardening tab on this site and it will provide you with lots of great ideas and information to start planning. You can look for gardening TV shows here too. Click on the TV tab on the left side and there will be a drop down box with a list of shows. Just pick one and see when it is on.

National Gardening Association: Plant based educational articles for adult and kid gardeners

Heirloom Roses. This is for those of you who are into roses. Talk about all kinds!

Aquatic Plant Depot: If you have an Aquarium, Water Garden, or Pond that you would like to find some aquatic plants for, this site is awesome for unique water plants.

GardenWeb: One of the largest gardening sites on the web, with articles on gardening and a directory full of nurseries. Need information on a specific plant? There is a large database of plants from A to Z.

ENJOY and a Green Thumbs-up to you!
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Visiting with Victor
by Carol Hall


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Victor has been with BMI for couple of years as one of our star Customer Service Representatives. In addition to always being friendly and helpful, Victor also speaks Spanish to allow us to assist our Hispanic customers with their Internet needs,

Editor: Where were you born, and where did you grow up?
Victor: Santa Ana in Southern California

Editor: Are you named after anyone?
Victor: Not that I know of.

Editor: What was your FIRST paying job?
Victor: When I was 9 I would work in a swap meet stacking and selling shoes and sandals.

Editor: What is your all time favorite movie?
Victor: "Scarface" Say hello to my little friend

Editor: If you could write a book about anything at all...what would the title be?
Victor: "Why Short People Have More Fun"

Editor: Who is your favorite fictional character and why?
Victor: "Wolverine" because he is just too cool, he is mean, has claws and he recuperates faster then any human being.

Editor: What was your very first car?
Victor: A 1980 Ford Granada, cost me 500.00 that I paid for with my own money when I was 16

Editor: Where is the one place you have never been, that you would like to visit?
Victor: I would like to go all over the world from continent to continent.

Editor: If you could only eat one food, for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Victor: Pizza

Editor: Close your eyes and imagine you are in a place called "Perfect". Where are you?
Victor: At my own house surrounded by everybody I love.
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Your Personal Portal!
by Mike Rochelle


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"Have you been to the BMI website? Have you really looked at it? Have you made it your personal portal to the Internet?" BMI's website portal is yours to customize to fit you. You can set-up your BMI portal so the things you want are there when you enter the internet.

Go to: BMI Homepage
Login with your BMI user name and password
Click on customize on the top right hand side

From that site you can add or remove any part of it you choose. Maybe you want Yahoo news, CNN and lottery results, but you do not want horoscopes or Links of Interest. You can have it show what you want, and where you want it on your starting page.

Once you have logged into the BMI website, you can go to our rewards website for free software. You can also go directly to your email and spam settings and quarantined messages (Click on Quarantine at the top). There are many benefits to logging into the BMI website. Once you have logged in, it will 'remember' you until you 'logout"...so there is no need to login each time. Enjoy!
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My Account information
by Carol hall


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You can look at your account status and billing information with a click of the mouse on our homepage:
  • How much time have I used on my dial up account this month?
  • Is my account current?
  • Do I have a balance due?
  • Was my payment received and applied?
  • I want to make a payment online.
  • I need to update my credit card information.
  • How do I receive my billing?
To view and update this information, just go to the BMI Homepage and click on billing -or- My Account on the top bar. This will bring you to a page where you can login with your user name and password and view the current status of your account.
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Using a Search Engine
by Tony Abrego


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Today we will discuss how to search for things online.

There are many Search Engines available online. A "search engine" is simply a tool for looking things up on the internet. By putting in a word,or a combination of words, the search engine will give you a list of links that may contain the information you are looking for.

My favorite is Google because I can find anything I want from there. Here are a few simple steps you can take to get to Google:
  • Connect to the Internet
  • Open the Internet Explorer
  • Go to the address bar and delete what you have in the address bar and replace it with www.google.com
  • Then click go
  • You simply type a word or phrase in the search box search button.

An even easier way to get there is from the BMI Homepage. The Google Search Box is waiting for you to type in a word or phrase!

If you type "dictionary", you will get online dictionaries that you can use to find the definition to words. You will also find sites to publishers that publish dictionaries, (online or hardcopy), and you will find sites that you can visit to purchase dictionaries, etc. In other words, the results of your search depend on the words or phrases that you put in. It is best to be specific. For example, if it is "online dictionaries" that you really want, type online dictionaries. This will eliminate the links to all the stuff you did not want!

Looking for a picture of your favorite celebrity? Simply click on images, from the main Google page, and enter the name of the celebrity you are looking for. You will get fast results!

Google is really cool, It allows you to search for Images, Groups, News, Local and more. There are many different that you can use, however, so experiment with a few: Searching the Web Have fun!
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Belong to a Club?
by Matt Stephens


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"Are you involved in a club, a group or an organization? Have you been satisfied with the service and support you have received from Blue Mountain Internet? Would you like to receive $5 credit on your BMI account for each person in your organization or club?"
Now that I have your attention, here is a very easy way to do it!

We have brochures explaining our service, support and even ways to stay safe while you are online. If you call our office at 800-485-5006, we can set you up as an affiliate and ship you some brochures to display at your meetings. For each person that signs up and gives us your name as a referral, we will add $5 credit to your BMI account. With just 3 people a month, you can easily pay for your internet service. You can also let your friends know that if they refer someone to us, they will get a $5 credit for each person.
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Go Fly a kite!
by Carol Hall


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Have you ever wondered:
  • Where kites came from?
  • How long have they been around?
  • Who invented them?
  • How can I make one?
  • Where is the best place to fly one?
  • Are there really kite eating trees?

Take a look:

Let's Fly a Kite
History of Kites
Kites
All About Aviation, Flight and Kites
Gomberg Kites

March has long been considered 'Kite Month" as it tends to be windy. I hope you enjoy these "Kite Sites" and are inspired to gather up your kids, neighbor kids, grandkids and whoever else and give one a try! Enjoy!
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Kudos
by Matt Stephens


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"I want to thank Nathon for his help in getting my Anti-virus program up and running. And for being patient with an older person. Thanks Again"
-Audrey N, Pendleton OR.

"Now that your Tech Help who was terrifically helpful -- THANK YOU!!! got me set up, I just received SEVEN bmi.net emails from Jan. 7th to now!!! Sheesh! Makes me wonder what else is out there that I'm missing out on because I haven't known how to do this or that on my computer settings!!! THANKS FOR YOUR TECH HELP!!! I APPRECIATE IT!"
-Pat H. Kooskia ID

"Thank you! It is great doing business with a company which employs real live people who are knowledgeable...and who care about total customer satisfaction. Sincerely,"
-Lenora H. Enterprise, OR.

"BMI -- You folks are the greatest, I had two different internet providers in this area before you, and neither of them was ever helpful like you are, thanks so much."
-Dena L. Bend OR

"Hi Matt, After MANY calls and a great deal of help from you and your staff, I am finally connected to the internet! I'm sure it has been as frustrating for you as it has been for me. I am very appreciative of all the help I've been given. Today I spoke with Jose and I want you to know he has GREAT customer service! His sense of humor made the call today a pleasure. He is an excellent employee and deserves a raise. Thanks again for everyone's help in making my Christmas gift a success."
-Lynn C. Baker City, OR.
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Winners Circle
by Carol Hall


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Congratulations to our February 2006 Wordfind winner!!

Cathy P of Walla Walla, WA is the lucky puzzle winner! She received 3 FREE months of service from BMI

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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