The On Ramp

The Blue Mountain Internet Customer Newsletter

 Issue # 31 May 2006 
INSIDE THIS EDITION
Greetings from the Editor  by Carol Hall New Puzzles Coming Soon  by Gena Bybee
Movie Rentals  by Colin Miller BMI Hardware Available  by Jon Alexander
State Capitals Crossword  by BMI Staff Q and A  by Matt Stephens
A Jewel of a Book  by Carol Hall Hobbies  by Nathon ONeel
Referral Winners!  by Ruben Bybee May Flowers Wordfind  by BMI Staff
Cool Sites!  by KJ Newby Conversing with Carol  by Ruben Bybee
3 of a Kind Picture Find  by BMI Staff Perplexing Peripherals  by Mike Rochelle
Read the Signs!  by Jose Acosta POM - Catalyst Innovatio ...  by Jon Alexander
Kudos  by Matt Stephens
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Greetings from the Editor
by Carol Hall


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Greetings to all of you! I was very pleased this month to receive several suggestions from you regarding articles and content! I even received a "Book Review" which I included in this issue. Now, I need your help...Each month I include an article in which I interview one of our staff so that you can get a glimpse of "who they are". I have interviewed all of the staff, and now I need volunteers! If you are interested in being interviewed so we can get to know you...please let me know. As part of our "BMI Family" I would love to share you with everyone! I hope you enjoy this edition of The On Ramp and I look forward to hearing from you. .

I welcome your comments and additions to the newsletter! Please email me at editor@bmi.net
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New Puzzles Coming Soon
by Gena Bybee


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Introducing our newest newsletter puzzles: 3 of Kind and Sudoku

3 of Kind is a lot like playing word search but with groups of 3 little pictures to find. Just click and drag over the 3 different pictures in the order in which you are asked to find them (right hand column) - across, down or diagonal. Our first "3 of a kind" puzzle is in this month's newsletter. Enjoy!

Sudoku: You start by logically entering numerical digits from 1 through 9 in each box of a 9×9 grid made up of 3×3 sub-grids without repeating a number in the row or column or 3x3 grids. Try to calculate where the numbers go according to the numbers already given for that particular puzzle. For more ways to solve puzzles go to: Angus1

To play Sudoku online: Web Sudoku and Sudoku

A little Sudoku history: The puzzle was designed anonymously by Howard Garns and in 1979, it was published in the magazine Dell Pencil Puzzles and Word Games under the title Number Place. The puzzle was introduced to Japan in 1984. At a later date, the name was abbreviated to Sudoku which can be translated as "the numbers must be single" or "the numbers must occur only once". The name stuck.

Our FIRST "3 of a Kind" puzzle is in this issue. We will be introducing "Sudoku" with our June issue. Enjoy!
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Movie Rentals
by Colin Miller


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Renting movies is as easy as going to a website and double clicking the titles with your mouse. With walk in store rentals as high as $4.50 per title, it's considerably less expensive! Most companies charge between $4.99 to $21.99 per month. The price ranges determine how many movies you can have "out" at one time; 1 at a time to 3 at a time. This does not, however, mean you can only rent 1 to 3 movies per month. You can rent as many as you want, at the flat rate, but you can only get the next one on your list when your current rental is returned.

Something I've read about is a practice called "throttling". Netflix appears to bear the brunt of most accusations. Basically, some users claim that Netflix "holds back shipments" of movies from your list if you rent a lot of movies. From their website:
Delivery and Return of Rented DVDs: We reserve the right to allocate and ship DVDs to you in any manner that we, in our sole and absolute discretion, determine. In determining priority for shipping and inventory allocation, we give priority to those members who receive the fewest DVDs through our service."
So that is something to consider. It would appear that normal rental habits will be treated well, but heavy users will notice delays in receiving their next selection. I can only stress that you read the" terms of service" carefully before entering into a contract with any of the online DVD rental companies.

Here are some choices for online movie rental:
Netflix
Qwikfliks
Blockbuster
DVD Avenue
Café DVD

Here is a review site: DVD Rental Reviews
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BMI Hardware Available
by Jon Alexander


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Blue Mountain Internet is a dynamic and growing company. Not one to rest on our laurels, we are always watching for new technology and seeking new markets. In addition to offering nation-wide dialup service, we also offer high-speed DSL through the Qwest phone company.

In the spirit new technology, we now carry a full range supply of computer networking products. including:
  • DSL Single Port Modem
  • DSL Line conditioner filter
  • DSL Phone line splitter
  • PCI 10/100 Networking Card
  • PCI Gigabyte Networking Card
  • 8 Port 10/100 Auto-Sensing Switch
  • 8 Port Gigabyte Auto-Sensing Switch
  • 4 port 802.11G Wireless Router
  • 4 port 802.11 108 Mbps Wireless Route4r
  • 802.11 108 Mbps USB Network Adapter.
One of the benefits of a service such as DSL is the convenience it offers. "Have you ever tried to push the cables from all your computer and networking appliances behind the desk?" With DSL wireless home networking, up to FIVE people in your home can use your Internet connection at the same time. There is no need to string cables so the electrical octopus behind the desk gets smaller not larger!

To help you with any customer service, billing or technical support issues Blue Mountain Internet's network operation's center is open 7 days a week. (Mon - Fri. 7am to 8 pm and Sat. - Sun. 9 am to 6 pm PST). We have scheduled our service hours to correspond to our customers' needs so that we can provide the best possible support!

Please review our FREE essential internet tools as well, at BMI Rewards
Please note, you must be logged into our homepage for this site to open):

  • Free SpyBot, Spyware Detection And Removal Software
  • A Parental Control Program
  • Free-Surfer with Pop-Up Ads Blocker
  • Advanced Spam Filtering & Anti-Virus E-Mail Services
  • Award Winning computer Anti-Virus Protection
BMI is a full-scale provider with dialup, DSL, network consulting, security, group discounts, wholesale services, and many much more to streamline your work/home life.

For further information please visit our web site at http://www.bmi.net or call us at 1-800-485-5006.
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State Capitals Crossword
by BMI Staff


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Click here to play: State Capital Crossword Puzzle
Congratulations to Patricia H of Kooskia, ID for winning the April 2006 Crossword contest! Patricia received a $25.00 credit on her BMI account!
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Q and A
by Matt Stephens


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Good morning, afternoon, or evening to all of our valued customers! You may have seen last month's article on the frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding our new spam and virus filters. This month, I'll do something similar.

There are few questions that we receive on a regular basis regarding one specific topic. But, there are a few questions we get that cover every angle of the dial up and DSL world. Here is a conglomeration of those questions. I hope you find them helpful. If you don't find the question you want to know the answer to, feel free to call our tech support office, and we'll be happy to help you!

Q: What is Broadband internet?
A: Broadband internet is a connection that is high speed. The term "Broadband" refers to sending larger amounts information than is possible through a conventional connection such as dialup. Broadband comes in different forms:
"DSL": Digital Subscriber Line. This form of broadband is generally provided through your phone company with the help of an internet service provider such as Blue Mountain Internet. The downside to DSL is that if you are over a certain distance from the central phone office, the signal degrades and you are unable to receive it. If you are a Qwest customer, call BMI and we can test your line to see if you are within a 'receiving distance' for DSL.
"Cable": Cable internet is provided through your cable company. Companies like Charter, ComCast, and AT&T offer cable internet. The downside to Cable internet is that it's a 'shared' connection. It has the potential to be a very slow service if it is 'shared' among many in your neighborhood. DSL is a line directly to your house. Cable is a line to a shared box that gives service to many people in a close proximity.
"Wireless": Wireless Internet is a radio transmitted service that uses a radio antenna on the outside of your house to send and receive signals from a centralized point. This works in a similar way as your TV remote control. Information is sent through air waves.
"Satellite": Satellite internet is very similar to Wireless. The distance the signal must travel is much further though. The downside to wireless and satellite is physical obstructions. That tree that blooms every spring could cause problems if it's in the 'line of sight'. Also, snow covering the satellite dish can cause connectivity problems. A light coating of Pam cooking spray would solve that one though.

So now you know what Broadband internet is. Welcome to the new age of fast communications!

Q: Why does my email take so long to come in or go out?
A: Well, this could be caused by many things such as a slow connection speed. However, if that was the case, everything else would be slow as well. The most common answer to this question is Anti-Virus software. If you have your anti-virus software set to scan your email, it will slow you down, and often time-out when you are sending or receiving messages. The process to disable the email scanning function of your anti-virus software is different for every program, but you should be able to find instructions for doing this on the manufacturer's web site, or give us a call and we can try to help you.
A side note to this: Email anti virus scanning with your @bmi.net address is redundant. Our email servers have anti-virus software on them, so you don't have to worry about disabling the scanning feature of your particular software...your email is scanned and SAFE before it gets to your virus scanner on your Anti Virus program. If you use other email addresses, however, you should think twice about disabling your anti-virus email scanner.

Q: Every once in a while I get an "invalid username or password" error. Why?
A: This is not an easy question to answer. I am not aware of anyone that has been able to figure out for sure why this happens. Sometimes Windows will not send the password information, or the password will change in your computer. When this happens, our servers do not get the information and it generates the error. A lot of times when this happens, the user will try different passwords thinking the original one doesn't work any longer. This is not the case however. Simply re-type your password and you should be back up and running. If you are still unable to get online, call our office for assistance.

Q: Is there anything I should do before calling tech support when I have a problem?
A: There are a couple of steps that could help us get to the heart of the matter faster. First of all, look for the error message. If something isn't working you will get an error message on your computer. It might say "Page cannot be displayed" or "error 691: the username or password is not valid on the domain". These error messages tell us what is wrong, so we can find the answer for how to fix it. Giving us the error message will save BMI and you time and questions. Also, try shutting your computer all the way off and then restart it (just restarting it will not clear the memory if that is the cause of the problem). Once it's been restarted, retry what you were doing and see if it works. If these two "quick fixes" don't solve the problem, than call our office and one of our techs will be very happy to help you resolve the issue.

Over the past three years, I have heard many questions. And just when I think I've heard it all, something new comes up. I may not have all the answers yet, but if you keep calling in, someday I will!

Probably the most common statement I hear from customers is "I feel dumb for asking" and my response to this is don't. Just because you don't know the answer to the issue that plagues your computer, you should not feel dumb. Computers are an ever changing industry that you, the end user, are not able to keep up with. That's what we get paid for. Without your questions, our local unemployment line would be a little bit longer than it is now.
Keep using your computers.

Keep playing until you break something. Keep calling us when you can't figure out how to fix what you broke. We are happy to help each and every one of you. If we don't know the answer, we can at least point you in the right direction to find the answer!
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A Jewel of a Book
by Carol Hall


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Dolores, W a valued, long-time subscriber to BMI, ran across a jewel she would like to share. I searched and found this book also for sale at Amazon.

"Even with a computer-savvy son, I've longed for a book that would help me understand my computer and provide simple explanations at my fingertips. And I found it! At 642 pages, MASTER VISUALLY is comprehensive but clear. It answers my questions and opens my eyes to computer possibilities I hadn't thought of.

Explanatory text fills the top half of each page. The bottom half shows the screens referred to, and gives step by step guidance--from "click start" to wherever you're headed. In a two-page spread, the second page gives 3 or 4 likely questions and their answers.

MV is produced in several versions (mine is Windows XP) and older versions are still available. Some copies come with a CD containing "a fully searchable e-version of the book" and free software. The Table of Contents and index make it easy to find a particular subject.

If I'd spent $40 to buy MASTER VISUALLY brand new, I'd still feel I got my money's worth. As it is, my perfectly acceptable used copy cost $12.15 through amazon.com. For more information about Master Visually books, which include a wide range of non-computer as well as computer books, go to Maran.com

Thank you Dolores!"
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Hobbies
by Nathon ONeel


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Everybody needs a hobby, especially guys. "Something to occupy your time when there's nothing better to do". It keeps you out of trouble and when you have finished, it's something to be proud of. For me, its cars and the internet has helped me so much.

From "cheaper parts and great information", to that "rare and hard to find part", the internet has been a tremendous help! You just have to know how to search for what you want. Different websites and search engines will all give you different results. Chances are someone else has had the same idea and posted a "how to" online.

When you go to a site and your eyes are getting tired of scanning the site to find what you are looking for, here is a tip:
  • Hold down the Ctrl key and press the letter f on your keyboard
  • Type in a keyword of what you are searching for and click on Find next
This "find feature" will search that page for your keyword and save you from scanning the entire page! That really speeds up the searching process.

If you don't have a hobby, the internet can help you find one as well. Click on: Hobbies and this site will help you find what you like to do. Probably what made you happy when you were a kid, could turn into a good hobby now. For me, watching my dad tune and clean his two hotrods is what got me into the car game.

Internet Hobbies is another great site to get started. You can find products, ideas, and much more. Take a look!
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Referral Winners!
by Ruben Bybee


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Congratulations to our April 2006 Referral winners!!

In last months The On Ramp we told you we would begin drawing winners from our list of participants in our "Refer a Friend" program! To be entered in this month's contest, refer someone to BMI. If they signup, both YOU and your FRIEND are put into the drawing for great prizes!

Donna L. of Baker City OR for referring Samuel O. of Haines, OR
-and-
Cris V. of Baker City OR for being referred by Jody J of Baker City, OR.

Each lucky winner received $25.00 credit on their BMI Account!

Congratulations!

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May Flowers Wordfind
by BMI Staff


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Click here to play: Flowers Word Find
Congratulations to Tami K of College Place, WA for winning the April 2006 Wordfind contest! Tami received a $25.00 credit on her BMI account!
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Cool Sites!
by KJ Newby


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This month I will be looking at a few cool sites that might be of interest to you.

The first is Calories Per Hour . I have recently spent a lot of time on this site and find it to be very useful. This is a diet and weight loss site with many useful tools including calorie and body mass calculators, forums and other tools. This is a free site with great information.

The next site is Ref Desk. I use this quite often and it has proven to be a winner in my book. Since 1995, RefDesk is a free and family-friendly web site that indexes and reviews quality, credible, and current web-based resources. If you are looking for answers, RefDesk may be the place for you.

This next one is for all the video gamers out there. Whether it's Xbox, Playstation or PC, this is a great site! Check out ign . This is the web's number one videogame information destination: game reviews, codes, message boards, file downloads and more. This is a free site, full of useful gaming information.
Have fun!
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Conversing with Carol
by Ruben Bybee


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Carol joined BMI "at the beginning" in May of 1995 when we first opened our doors. She is the Office Manager and Editor of "The On Ramp". She's usually the "interviewer" in this section of the newsletter, but this month the tables are turned and she is the "interviewee"!

Editor: Where were you born, and where did you grow up?
Carol: I was born in Santa Maria, CA and I grew up in Fresno, CA

Editor: What was your FIRST paying job?
Carol: I worked at Liberty Mutual Insurance Company in Fresno as a claims processor.

Editor: What was the "worst" or "most difficult" job you have ever done?
Carol: (thinking....thinking...thinking...) Maybe I have not had enough jobs in my life, but I can honestly say that every job I have ever had has been great! I have been Blessed!

Editor: What "historical event" has had the biggest impact on you?
Carol: No need to think about "that" one...September 11th. It changed my way of thinking from "naive" to "incredulous".

Editor: If you could play any musical instrument, what would it be?
Carol: Since I am "musically declined", any instrument would thrill me, but I really enjoy wind instruments...perhaps a recorder or a flute.

Editor: If you could write a book about anything at all...what would the title be?
Carol: it would be called "The Glass Is ALWAYS Half Full!"

Editor: Who is your favorite fictional character and why?
Carol: (Thinking...thinking...thinking...) It would have to be Tweety because she is "naughty and nice".

Editor: What was your very first car?

Carol: Uh-oh, this could age me.....It was a 1972 baby blue Maverick.

Editor: Where is the one place you have never been, that you would like to visit?
Carol: Australia

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

Editor: Close your eyes and imagine you are in a place called "Perfect" Where are you?
Carol: I am in Heaven.
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3 of a Kind Picture Find
by BMI Staff


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Click here to play: 3 of a Kind Picture Find
NEW this month! Maybe you will be the first winner!
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Perplexing Peripherals
by Mike Rochelle


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Have you ever wanted to find help for a problem on your PC or a device attached to your computer? Is it old? Have you lost the manual and have no idea where it is? Windows XP users already know their operating system is chock full of drivers and info on just about anything they plug into it. But what about an old Windows 98 system, maybe ME or maybe even Windows 95...?

Computer Hope
Hardware Hell

Here are some websites that are a wealth of information and might be able to help you with those pesky troubleshooting issues. Perhaps you just need some idea of how to setup a network at your house or how to install that old printer now that you can't find the driver disk. If you can't find the answer here, then point your web browser to Google and search there. Chances are someone else has been in the same situation you are in and might just have the info you're looking for!
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Read the Signs!
by Jose Acosta


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II've been told that laughter is great medicine. Personally, I love a good laugh, and after reading these below, I couldn't help but share them with you. Hopefully you will enjoy them as much as I did. Happy medicine!"

  • A sign seen on a restroom dryer at O'Hare Field in Chicago: "Do not activate with wet hands"
  • At a car dealership: "The best way to get back on your feet? Miss a car payment."
  • At a tire shop in Milwaukee: "Invite us to your next blowout".
  • At a Towing Company: "We don't charge an arm and a leg.- We want tows".
  • At an optometrist's office: "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place".
  • In a dentist office: "Be true to your teeth or they will be false to you".
  • In a department store: "Bargain Basement Upstairs".
  • In a farmer's field: "The farmer allows walkers to cross the field for free, but be aware that the bull charges."
  • In a health food shop window: "Closed due to illness."
  • In a Maine restaurant: "Open seven days a week and weekends".
  • In a Texas funeral parlor: "Ask about our layaway plan".
  • In a veterinarian's waiting room: "Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!"
  • Maternity Clothes Shop: "We are open on Labor Day".
  • On a repair shop door: "We can repair anything. (Please knock hard - bell out of order.)
  • Outside a country shop in West Virginia: "We buy junk and sell antiques."
  • Outside a muffler shop: "No appointment necessary. We heard you coming"
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POM - Catalyst Innovations
by Jon Alexander


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Blue Mountain Internet's Partner of the Month for May 2006 is Catalyst Innovations in Athena, Oregon!

Sean Calvert is the owner and operator of Catalyst Innovations. He states that Catalyst Innovations will assist small business clients in improving their products and processes.
"We help identify areas for improvement and generate solutions for problem areas. If a device needs to be developed to perform a particular task, we will generate concepts and assist our clients in the development of that item."
The solutions that Catalyst Innovations provides take the form of small machines, process improvement plans, and custom software for their clients. Sean says he also performs maintenance and troubleshooting services on computer systems and can provide education on various software packages.

The primary focus of Catalyst Innovations is technical assistance and product development. They work on home computer systems that are performing poorly, to new products that are being developed for small businesses. Catalyst Innovations pricing is:

  • Basic computer service-$50/hr
  • Education and training-$35/hr
  • Product or process optimization-$50/hr
Sean has also expanded the business to other mechanical services beyond computer and networking repair. Recently he acquired SolidWorks 2006; a three dimensional computer modeling program. One of his developments, the "Lightening Swivel" for rifle slings, is being sold through the Browning Company web site. In the next three years he hopes to be supporting his own product line while continuing to develop machinery for his clients.

One of the more challenging jobs in the last year, he states, was helping a local business.
"We worked with a small machine shop and performed maintenance on the PC that drives their $200,000 screw machine. The hard drive was dead according to the support personnel but we were able to revive it and get the company running again. We saved them thousands in service and hardware costs."
Sean can be reached after 5:30 PM at 541-566-2325
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Kudos
by Matt Stephens


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"Thank you, Jon, for your help and patience. Makes me even more aware of why I'm using a local, accessible ISP."
-Penny F. Pendleton, OR

"Dear BMI
I am the winner of the computer in the find Santa contest. I just wanted to thank you again for the marvelous prize. I finally installed it and your representative made it easy to hook up with BMI again. The computer works brilliantly!!! I'm so thrilled and thankful. Keep up the good work."
Barbara L. Milton-Freewater OR

"Nathan. . . . . . Thank You, Thank You!! I am back up and running. You were very nice to deal with and obviously knew what you were doing. That is why I am with BMI..."
-Jackie P. Baker City OR
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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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