The On Ramp

The Blue Mountain Internet Customer Newsletter

 Issue # 37 November 2006 
INSIDE THIS EDITION
Greetings From the Editor  by Carol Hall Photo Sharing  by Colin Miller
Thanksgiving Crossword  by Tami Rochelle BMI Spam Updates  by Ruben Bybee
Farewell  by Nathon O'Neel SPAM  by Victor Luna
Picture Find  by BMI Staff Arts'n Crafts  by Gena Bybee
Puzzling Time  by Carol Hall Cool Sites  by Nathon O'Neel
Broadband  by Mike Rochelle Election Wordfind  by Carol Hall
Holiday Cooking  by KJ Newby Turkey Talk  by Jon Alexander
FAQ  by Matt Stephens Kudos  by Matt Stephens
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Greetings From the Editor
by Carol Hall


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My Best Wishes to each and every one of you for a great start to the upcoming Thanksgiving season! I have included some articles on subjects that may enhance your holiday fun (food, photo sharing, crafts and humor). Enjoy!

I welcome your comments and additions to the newsletter! Please email me at editor@bmi.net
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Photo Sharing
by Colin Miller


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Recently it has become easier and easier to use digital cameras. Once you have the camera, it's easy to take a lot of snapshots for almost no cost (you're just paying for the battery power to run the camera). Now that your computer has all of these images on it, you want to share them with friends and family. Instead of sending out 40 large e-mails with the images attached, you can send out 40 small e-mail with a link to the images. Sharing the images online is a very efficient way to make them available! Most of these sights will allow you to post and share the photos, but they are NOT "publicly" accessible....they may only be accessed by those you wish to share with! Here are some free options to share your pictures.

Flickr.com
Photo Bucket
Fotki
Image Shack

These are 4 services I have either used or seen in use by other people. The entire process is simple and mostly self explanatory. Once you're signed up, there are plenty of help topics to look over. <.p>
Happy pic snapping!
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Thanksgiving Crossword
by Tami Rochelle


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Congratulations to Leigh P. of Pendleton, OR for winning the drawing for the October 2006 Crossword! Leigh received a $25.00 credit on her BMI account! visit our Thanksgiving November Crossword
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BMI Spam Updates
by Ruben Bybee


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BMI is continually working to improve the spam system that we use to reduce and eliminate spam to your inbox. Our border email servers handle the Virus, Phish, and Worm scanning. Any email with a virus, worm, or phish is instantly dropped by our border servers. Our border servers also handle the authentication of senders and sender IP addresses. If a sender has been known to send a lot of spam then they are blacklisted and cannot reach our network. These blacklist databases (RBLs) are maintained from a variety of sources and are updated continually.

At the core of our spam processing is a cluster of 5 spam scoring servers running the award winning SpamAssassin engine. Building upon the standard heuristic 1,207 rules, we incorporate 3,800 rules that are updated daily from multiple resources on the net including SpamCops top 200 list.

In addition to the heuristic (pattern matching) rulesets, we also incorporate bayesian scoring rules which you help us to train by sending in your spams to spam@bmi.net. These bayesian rules are extracted from each email report and automatically update a centralized Bayesian storage of reports.

The above rules each score a small number from 0.1 to 5.0. Then our system adds all the little scores together to come up with a spam score for each email message. This spam score is compared to your personal spam score settings and if it exceeds your spam level then it does not go to your inbox. If the spam score is higher than your drop level then the spam is dropped and never seen by you. Spams that are higher than your personal spam score and lower than the drop level are quarantined for your review for up to two weeks.
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Farewell
by Nathon O'Neel


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I regret to inform all of BMI's wonderful customers that I will be leaving Blue Mountain Internet. My life has taken a turn towards another profession. The work environment and the customers were the best parts about this job. I have met so many different people in this job, some business like, some funny and all enjoyable to talk to. I may have given some of you a hard time, but you saw right through it and knew I was joking around. You gotta lighten the mood somehow right?

I wanted to say farewell to all, and that I am going to become a customer as well!

We are expecting a little present for God in the form of a little boy! I'm excited...but also scared about this. This is uncharted territory for me. I think we are going to be fine with my new job, and new family. I will be working in the electrical industry and have much to learn! (not like these easy computers)...Hahaha...I'm joking. Just a little advice, keep at it and you will be pros in no time. If you don't understand it, put it in a search engine.

I just didn't want to leave without saying good bye to my wonderful BMI family. If you are a customer of BMI's then you are part of the family!
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SPAM
by Victor Luna


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Junk mail or SPAM whichever you want to call it, is unsolicited, unwanted and inappropriate email that is sent out to thousands of email addresses. Commercial advertising, promotions and scams, in mass quantities is spam.

Little can be done about spam, since the Internet is a public network. There are laws against sending spam in the united States, but a vast majority of spam is generated outside the country. For that reason, it is hard to police and enforce the Anti-Spamming laws.

The good news is there are spam filters within some email programs that will reduce and remove most spam.

Sometimes you can get on a mailing list and begin receiving emails that resemble spam. The difference is that you have purposefully, or unknowingly, put yourself on that mailing list. This often happens by going to websites that ask for your email, and you enter it. This can also happen when you sign up for, or purchase something online. You enter your email address as part of the subscription or purchase, and overlook the "disclaimer". Most often there is a disclaimer stating that you agree to receive offers from this company via email. A reputable company will have a box that you can "check or uncheck" to remove yourself from the list, but many times it is not prominently displayed and can easily be overlooked.

Emails from mailing lists that you inadvertently signed up for are legitimate, although they may seem to be spam from your point of view. Most of these emails will have an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. To unsubscribe you have to click on the link provided where it should ask for your email address and that you want them to stop sending you emails.

BMI filters your email at no cost. Every email sent to you gets graded by the subject, the body and content, how many people it's being sent to, and key words. All of these scores are then compiled (which takes on milliseconds). The score determines if the email fails and is sent to your quarantine, or it passes and it goes to your inbox.

You can inspect your quarantined mail at your personal Email Center from BMI. Within your email center, you can view the mail that has been filtered out, request it be delivered to you, or simply disregard it. It will automatically be deleted after two weeks if no action is taken. You may also add email addresses of friends, family and companies that you ALWAYS wish to receive email from so that they are not sent through the spam scoring process. It is yours to control, as you wish. Simply go to our homepage BMI Homepage
and click on quarantine at the top of the page to login to you email center.
Here are some links to learn more about spam:

SPAM
NetAlert
Spam Abuse
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Picture Find
by BMI Staff


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Congratulations to Opal C. of Baker City, ORA for winning the drawing for the September 2006 Picture Find puzzle! Opal received a $25.00 credit on her BMI account! Visit our November 2006 Three of a Kind Puzzle to play this month's puzzle!
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Arts'n Crafts
by Gena Bybee


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"Did I hear somebody is asking for arts and crafts?" I thought it would be great to find some, so I went searching on the net ...and I found these fun sites:

The Holiday Zone
Festive Fall Crafts
Autumn crafts
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Puzzling Time
by Carol Hall


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Are you one of those that periodically have an extra 5 - 12 minutes of "dead time" on your hands? Looking for something quick and entertaining to fill that space? Here is something fun to try! Visit: JigZone

This site is a great place to work a quickie jigsaw puzzle online. You can burst the picture into different numbers, sizes and shaped pieces, just depending on how much time you want to put into it. My favorite is 80 piece Classic, however....a real quick and entertaining cut is the 35 piece Jigzone cut! Go ahead...give it a quick try. After you finish ....scroll down on the left and it will compare your time with the fastest and average solve times.

If you get bitten by the "jigsaw bug"....here is another idea: go to Jigsaw Puzzle LIte and download the program FREE. This program allows you to make jigsaw puzzles from pictures on your computer. Just imagine working a jigsaw of your grandkids!

The real value of working jigsaw puzzles on your computer, however, is that the cat doesn't destroy them after you go to bed! ,/i. Have Fun!
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Cool Sites
by Nathon O'Neel


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These are the coolest sites in the entire world (in my opinion)

#1 has got to be Ebay. At this site you can get anything, and get it cheap. Hard to find parts, videos, electronics. Chances are someone out there thinks its junk but it's GOLD to you and me! Best of all, most things are sold in auctions, meaning if no one else bids on it you get it even cheaper! The beauty of it is that it changes so fast on a day to day basis nothing ever gets old. That's why people are making it a full time job and making a killing off it! One mans junk is another man's treasure. Truly.

#2 on my count down would have to be Google. This information highway will find you anything! It's . Misspelling, switching the words around, finding it in a round about way will all get you different results...and may be more accurate for what you are truly looking for. Me (being a car guy)...let's say it's a car part you are looking for - tough to find because it's rare or the local parts store wants too much. Search google for the car, or do research and find out what other cars came with the same part. Search for that one. Junk yard search engines will get you just what you want. Not only cars, but facts too. "How to convert metric to standard, dollars to euros, is this true or not, etc". The possibilities are endless. Chances are if you thought of it, someone else has too, and you can find it here.

#3 Last, but not least is My Space I personally don't use it but I know a lot about it. This website is the most popular for meeting people, finding friends, and just finding others with the same interests. To vent your problems with life, to get whatever off your chest. Pictures, chats, and group discussion on about every topic I. This site is awesome for talking with others and getting your opinion out there.
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Broadband
by Mike Rochelle


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Broadband ---- You know it, you love it. Only thing is, Can you get it??

What is broadband? Well broadband is any High Speed Internet connection that is faster than dialup.

Let's run over the different choices at present for broadband:

DSL: "Digital Subscriber Line" This type comes over a phone line and is distance specific, which mean you may be able to get this if you are close enough to DSL equipment.

Cable: Cable Internet comes over your cable line. Your cable company must have updated equipment to be able to provide this service.

Satellite: Satellite Internet users a dish typically about 2.5 feet in diameter and faces the northern sky. This is the most universal type of broadband since you can use it anywhere you can see the satellite.

Wireless (Fixed): This is where a small antenna is placed on your house and faces towards equipment (radio transmitter) on a tall building or hill. The internet signal is received by the antenna on your house and it is connected to your computer with a cable or a home wireless network.

Wireless (Mobile): This is either through a cell phone or a company that provides mobile computing.

In certain areas of the world, there are companies testing right now a new technology that will be able to bring new services to you over your power lines. Keep watching the news for new technology that will make your internet more enjoyable.
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Election Wordfind
by Carol Hall


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Congratulations to Beverly L. of Florence, OR for winning the drawing for the October 2006 Wordfind! Beverly received a $25.00 credit on her BMI account! Visit our elections word find
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Holiday Cooking
by KJ Newby


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With the holidays nearing I can only think of one thing...FOOD! And when I think of food, I think of the Food Network. I love the Food Network. So if you're looking for a recipe or a new twist on an old one then Food Network is for you!

From Rachel Ray to Bobby Flay this site will give you a wide variety of recipes to try. If you are like me, I watch the Food Network at home and then forget the recipe by the time the show is over. So when in doubt I just get online and go the Food Network and find the recipe from the show I was watching. <.p> You can actually become a Food Network member and create an online recipe box of your favorites and add to them as you go. Also, this site has a store for all of your culinary needs from knives and cutting boards to pots and pans. So before the holidays hit, check it out and dine is style this holiday season!
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Turkey Talk
by Jon Alexander


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Asked to write a composition entitled, "What I'm thankful for on Thanksgiving," little Timothy wrote:
"I am thankful that I'm not a turkey"

What key has legs and can't open doors?
A Tur-key.

What did the mother turkey say to her disobedient children?
If your father could see you now, he'd turn over in his gravy!

Why did the turkey cross the road?
It was the chicken's day off.

If the Pilgrims were alive today, what would they be most famous for?
Their AGE

Can a turkey jump higher than the Empire State Building?
Yes - a building can't jump at all

What do you get when you cross a turkey with an octopus?
Enough drumsticks for Thanksgiving

How can you make a turkey float?
You need 2 scoops of ice cream, some root beer, and a turkey

What kind of music did the Pilgrims like?
Plymouth Rock

Which side of the turkey has the most feathers?
The outside

What's the key to a great Thanksgiving dinner?
The tur-key

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FAQ
by Matt Stephens


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I don't know about you, but it's cold outside around here. As much as I love the summer time, I am welcoming the coming winter with open arms. Snow falling, holidays, sledding trips to the cabin in the mountains. All these and more make the winter more bearable. What ever you choose to do this winter to keep the cabin fever to a minimum, make it as fun as you can.

One thing about the "wet season" that troubles me though, is the quality of my connection. It seems to be a new problem that starts for many of our customers in the fall and winter and seems to taper off in the spring. Have you ever wondered why this happens? Well, I'm here to help you. Or at least shed some educated light on the subject for you so at least you understand what is happening and don't mistakenly throw your computer out in the cold.

If you have been on a dial up connection for any length of time, you have more than likely heard of "line noise". Line noise is defined as "interference in a line, introduced by static; disruption of computer communications caused by interference on the telephone line" So what does that mean to you? Well, static on your phone lines can come from many places. Did you see the cute little creatures that crawled on your phone lines all spring and summer? Well, those furry little wonders all have claws. And they grasp at the phone lines so they don't fall off. This will indefinitely cause little holes, tears and rips in the insulation around the lines. Then, as it gets hot and then cold the tears become worse. Then you add water from the rain and snow into the equation and you get static. A lot of static.

Now, you're probably wondering why this matters. Well, when your computer talks over the phone lines it does it by what sounds like static. When you add line noise to this it's as if a third computer is on the line speaking an unknown language. This will confuse your computer or ours and the connection will be slow, and in some cases, even drop frequently.

But wait, that's not all. Other things can have serious effects on your connection. Things that are completely in your control. How many programs do you have running on your computer? Many times I hear the answer none when I ask this. But look in the lower right hand side of your screen, down by the clock. Each of those little icons is a program that is running. Each of those programs is using memory. The more memory that is used, the less you have available for your connection. Your connection needs memory to load web pages and mail into in order for your computer to display it.

One other thing that has been a problem for very few customers is radio and television stations. Do you live next door to a radio station? Is there a radio station close by? Radio stations broadcast a signal at extreme wattage which also causes static on the telephone lines. This could be one source of line noise, but it would most likely be apparent all year long, rather than just the cold and wet months.

The last thing I would like to mention this month is other devices within your home. Do you have a cordless phone? A fax machine? An old phone that predates internet? Try removing every device from your phone line within your house, and then try dialing up. See if your speed and reliability increase. If it does than you know that something in your home was causing the trouble. You can plug things back in one at a time to find out which one was causing the trouble. Also, make sure that the phone line from your computer doesn't go through anything else like a fax machine, a splitter, a coupler, or another computer. Straight to the wall.

So I know that most of this doesn't look very hopeful. But there can be resolution to these and any other cause of trouble. The most common issue is line noise, and a simple call to your phone company can resolve it. (Please note: phone companies charge for doing repairs to the phone lines within your home. Please speak with your phone company prior to any repair to find out the cost of such repair)

Also, if it is a program running on your computer that is eating up all the memory, you can simply close that program.

If it is a phone line issue and the phone company can't do anything about it due to your location (living outside city limits is a good example) than call our office. In many cases we can add an initialization string (a string of programming that tells your modem how to connect) which in many cases will stabilize your connection and cause you less grief.

One other thing to consider is the BMI Turbo program. This program won't change the speed you connect at, or download at, but it will certainly make your online experience more enjoyable as it will enable your computer to load web pages up to 7 times faster. And the more you use it, the faster it loads frequently visited websites. I have used it at home myself and when properly configured it's really helpful.

Just make sure that you enjoy the coming winter months as best you can. You can't change them, or stop them from coming, so you might as well enjoy t
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Kudos
by Matt Stephens


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"Hey Jon! Thanks for your help this afternoon. I REALLY appreciate it. The computer and the internet is still a big mystery to me most of the time. I had no idea that others could store their cookies on my computer. I may look into a new computer down the line, but as long as my old one creeps by this winter Ill just keep on truckin with it. Again, thanks for your patience and help.:
-Frank and Colette C. Butte, MT

"Just a note to thank you properly, Kevin, Nate, John, Matt for helping us during the ordeal with Qwest relative to installing DSL. After receiving incorrect billing today for modem, and incorrect DSL 1.5 billing - - -at your direction, Nate, contacted Supervisor, and after many requests to speak to a Supvr-- finally may have this finalized! Person answering contact insisted she could help -- I persisted and received a supervisor who assured me she could take care of this error. We still have our telephone line hanging over our fence in the backyard! Haven't seen the Installer for a week! You bet we have reported it and complained! Very disappointing! Whatever happened to PROFESSIONALISM? ETHICS? CUSTOMER SERVICE? Regardless, Bob and I appreciate all your help! especially Kevin who witnessed all of it! We couldnt have done it without you! You could teach Qwest some valuable lessons!"
-Robert and Elaine H. Walla Walla, WA

"I would just like to extend a special thank you to the staff here at Blue Mountain. And an extra thank you to Nate, for his speedy service and sincerely positive attitude! Thank you,"
-Elaine E, Airway Heights, WA

"Dear Victor, I thank you for your patience and help! You are a real gentlemen. Connection is very good. Regards,"
-Tatiana G. The Dalles, OR
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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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