The On Ramp

The Blue Mountain Internet Customer Newsletter

 Issue # 57 July 2008 
INSIDE THIS EDITION
Greetings from the Editor  by Carol Hall BMI Rolls Skype  by Ruben Bybee
Freedom From Wires  by Erich Neufeld Picturefind  by BMI Staff
FAQ  by Matt Stephens Food for the 4th  by Gena Bybee
The Bill of Rights  by Scott Larson Wordfind  by Carol Hall
Washington DC  by Mike Rochelle Movie Review  by KJ
Kitchen Freedom  by Michelle Mook Freedom From Paper  by Michelle Mook
KIDS!  by Rochelle Helms Crossword  by Ruben Bybee
Working From Home  by Victor Luna 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 hope all of you have a safe and happy 4th of July holiday weekend with you family and friends!  Here is a site that gives you some interesting Independence Day Facts.

I hope you enjoy this edition of The On Ramp, and as always, I welcome your comments and additions to the newsletter!

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BMI Rolls Skype
by Ruben Bybee


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BMI has recently entered into a reseller relationship to offer Skype phone service. Skype (which is owned by Ebay) is a phone service that uses the Internet similar to Vonage except it is designed for people that already have a phone line, whether it is just a cell phone or another house phone.

The Skype service is very affordable starting at around $3 per month for incoming calls and around $7 per month for unlimited outbound with a dedicated phone number. The hardware for Skype runs about $50.

I have had a Skype line for the past 6 months and found the call quality to be exceptional.

Call BMI today at 800-485-5006 to find out if Skype is for you!

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Freedom From Wires
by Erich Neufeld


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WIRELESS.  We hear that term a lot in today's world!  Wireless can refer to many things, from your mouse to your internet signal, and lots of things in-between. If you are reading this, then you ARE a computer user, and you KNOW about tangled wires!

There are several ways to go wireless:

1.  You can use a wireless keyboard
2.  You can use a wireless mouse
3.  You can hook up cameras wirelessly
4.  You can receive your internet signal wirelessly
5.  You can set up your home/office network wirelessly

Some of the things you can do wirelessly may surprise you. Here are some links for sites that have some interesting wireless products;

LogiTech
LogiTech Keyboards
Linksys

There are many other products and brands to consider. The above links should give you an idea or two.  BMI also offers wireless products, so if you want more information, please give us a call at 1-800-485-5006

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Picturefind
by BMI Staff


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Congratulations to James and Dorothy B. of La Grande, OR for winning the drawing for the June 2008 Picturefind! They received a $25.00 credit on their BMI account!
Go to the July 2008 Picturefind.
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FAQ
by Matt Stephens


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strong>Hello everyone in BMI land. How are you all doing? We are doing well here despite the fact that as of this writing we have only had a handful of days that have resembled summer. Our spring started late and seems to have traveled backwards into February. Cold and raining has been our forecast for far too long. I'm excited that it's supposed to get nice in the next few days. Anyway, back to the subject at hand.

This month I have heard from a great many of you, all having the same question, or statement in some cases. You keep getting disconnected and want to know what causes it. The answer to that question, or reply to that statement, is a bit more in depth in most cases but this time it was plain and simple. Blame it on Mother Nature.

That's right. I said it. Mother Nature has been fooling with your internet connections. Let me explain. Phone lines, whether above ground or under ground, have to stand up to a great deal of abuse. We all know that when things get hot they expand, and when they get cool, the contract. I can expand on this if you like, but I'll assume you know what kinetic energy is for this issue. When the phone lines expand in the hot, dry months the insulation on the wires themselves will develop little cracks. Then the weather will change and it will get cold and wet. When that happens the water will seep into the cracks in the lines and cause static. In drastic cases you will actually be able to hear the static or clicking and popping on your phone lines.

Most times you'll just notice that your connection speed has dropped. This is called Line Noise. In the Pacific Northwest during the months of May and June we have had extreme hot (over 100 in some places) and then extreme cold (under 40 at night is many places) and a whole lot of rain. All the heat, cooling and rain have made the phone lines horrible in places. The most recent outbreak was in the Walla Walla / Milton-Freewater area in mid June. We had a couple of wind storms followed and mixed with rain. Horrible conditions for the phone lines.

Hark! There is better news. The weather is drying up. It's getting warmer out. The phone lines are going to return to a more normal status and your connections are going to get better. It's not really a promise, but it's a hopeful forecast. I can't control the weather any better than I can control the cowlick on my head (I don't remember being licked by a cow, but man he did a number on me). But I can only assume that as the year goes from June to July we're going to dry out and the connections that you are frustrated with now will go back to being reliable and user friendly. As with anything, there will be exceptions to this, and feel free to call our Customer Support Services at 1-800-485-5006 when you are having difficulty. Our support staff is happy to help you out.

For more on Line Noise, check out this site: How Stuff Works

If you have any suggestions for future articles, or would like more information on a previous publication, please feel free to email me at support@bmi.net.

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Food for the 4th
by Gena Bybee


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Grilled Avocado, Tomato, Red Onion Salad

10 tomatoes, quartered
4 avocados, peeled, halved, and pitted
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 red onion, sliced
1/2 lemon
1 cup pesto sauce
1/2 cup pine nuts
Parmiggiano-Reggiano

Preheat a grill over medium heat. Cover a large tray with tomato quarters, and set aside. Place avocado halves in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Place each half on a hot open grill for about 30 to 45 seconds. Remove and place on top of the tomatoes arranged on tray. Drizzle with olive oil again.

In another bowl, cover the red onion slices with the juice from the lemon half and olive oil. Place onions in the empty avocado pit holes. Cover with the lemon/olive oil mix. Then, top with pesto, distributing generously on all sides. Sprinkle pine nuts and cheese on top, to taste.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Tarts

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
12 vanilla wafers
1 (21-ounce) can blueberry filling, (or other pie filling)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a paper cupcake liner in each cup of a muffin pan. Beat cream cheese with a handheld electric mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Place a vanilla wafer, flat side down, in each muffin cup. Spoon cream cheese mixture over wafers. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow tarts to cool completely. Serve with blueberry filling on top, (or pie filling of your choice)

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The Bill of Rights
by Scott Larson


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 Many American school children are barely able to name more than one or two amendments from our constitutional Bill of Rights. It is a sad fact that our schools don't put much emphasis on learning our constitutional freedoms and liberties. Therefore, it would be my pleasure to post the original 10 amendments of our constitution for the benefit of our young people!

The Ten Original Amendments: passed by Congress September 25, 1789. Ratified December 15, 1791:

AMENDMENT I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
AMENDMENT II A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
AMENDMENT III No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
AMENDMENT IV The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
AMENDMENT V No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.
AMENDMENT VI In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
AMENDMENT VII In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
AMENDMENT VIII Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
AMENDMENT IX The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
AMENDMENT X The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Too much reading for you?  Ok then, here is my version for people that don't like to read big paragraphs.
1. Freedom of religion Freedom of speech Freedom of the Press Right to assemble Right to petition Government
2. Right to keep and use guns
3. Soldiers can't sleep in your home
4. Cops need a warrant to search your home
5. Right to remain silent Right to legal due process
6. Right to speedy trial Right to have a lawyer
7. Right to a Jury trial
8. No Excessive bail No cruel or unusual punishment
9. One amendment can't deny any of the others.
10.  If a power is not delegated to the government by the constitution, nor prohibited by the state, is a power given to the people.

There are 27 amendments to the constitution with the remaining articles pertaining to representation, terms of office, prohibition, etc. To view the remaining articles, click here: The Bill of Rights

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Wordfind
by Carol Hall


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Congratulations Gary C. of Joseph, OR for winning the drawing for the June 2008 Wordfind! He received a $25.00 credit on his BMI account! Please visit our July 2008 Wordfind puzzle.
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Washington DC
by Mike Rochelle


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With this being the month we celebrate our Independence, and the theme of the newsletter being "Freedom", it seemed only fitting that I should highlight Washington DC!  Below are some links that will give you much information regarding our capital: 

The History of Washington DC

DC Homepage

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Movie Review
by KJ


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GET SMART:  Bungling secret agent Maxwell Smart, also known as Agent 86 for CONTROL, is on a mission to battle the forces of their evil crime nemesis known as KAOS with his more-competent partner Agent 99, (whose real name is never revealed) at his side. When the headquarters of U.S. spy agency Control is attacked and the identities of its agents compromised, the Chief has no choice but to promote his ever-eager analyst Maxwell Smart, who has always dreams of working in the field alongside stalwart superstar Agent 23. Smart will do whatever it takes to thwart the latest plot for world domination by KAOS.

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Kitchen Freedom
by Michelle Mook


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You may be too hot to cook, but you still need to eat - and you may have a whole family that depends on you for food, so your decisions are important. While it's tempting to simply go out to eat every night, no one really needs the extra calories, fat, or sodium. A little planning and some clever use of time can get fresh food on your table without keeping you in the kitchen all day!

Try some of these simple tips:

1. Take advantage of summer's fresh produce Visit your local farms or your farmer's market and stock up on fresh fruits and veggies. Take them home, wash and portion them, and keep them in your fridge. Kids and adults alike will happily snag a zipper bag of cold, fresh fruits or veggies for snacks.
2. Bust out your crock pot and keep your kitchen cool We tend to think of our crock pots as winter tools, but the fact is that you can cook an entire meal in a crock pot and never once have to turn on your oven or stove! If you run your crock pot over night, you're cooking while you're not even in the kitchen, and your lunch or dinner will require only the microwave.
3. Cook once, eat twice When you do fire up your stove or oven, double the recipe. Leftovers can be microwaved for lunch or dinner, or re-purposed into new dishes: leftover steak or chicken can be diced and marinaded and added to a big bowl of bagged salad and fresh veggies for a quick meal. Most importantly, plan ahead. It's too easy during the long, hot days of summer to leave it to the last minute and end up at a fast food restaurant.   See the below links for some great ideas:

The Dollar Stretcher
Cool Recipes
10 Tips

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Freedom From Paper
by Michelle Mook


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We've all heard of the paperless office - a marketing tactic that promised freedom from file cabinets forever. While it's never come true, the idea still intrigues us. True paperlessness is probably impossible, but there are ways to reduce household clutter by using our home computers. I think many of us still harbor a secret desire to have literally no paper files in our lives at all, especially when faced with spring cleaning every year, or tax season, or even monthly bill paying.

Taxes:  I do my taxes online every year, and file electronically. Most online tax sites will allow you to download a PDF copy of your completed tax documents, and many will keep archived copies on their web sites for you. If you keep a copy on your computer and burn one to CD, you probably don't even need to print one out.

Bills:  If your bank offers online banking, odds are that they also offer online Billpay. Many large companies will give you the option to receive your bills electronically through your Billpay interface and they'll stop sending paper bills altogether. Since so many of us seem to think that we must keep copies of our bills for years (even though we never actually look at them again), not receiving bills on paper in the first place can be a relief.

Photos & Memorabilia: The advent of the digital camera has revolutionized how we store our photographs. Twenty years ago, we all took film pictures. Some of us typically had drawers full of undeveloped rolls of film and boxes full of processed photos that needed to be added to albums. Now many of us can upload photos from our cameras through our computers to the Internet for all to see, and no paper is ever involved. Posting family photo albums online at sites like Picasa or Flickr lets all our loved ones worldwide have instant access to our images.

The Paperless Office - Paperless Office
The IRS on Efiling - IRS Efile
How Do I Set Up Online Bill Pay? - Online Bill Pay
Picasa - Picasa
Flickr - Flickr

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KIDS!
by Rochelle Helms


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Good month of July to our BMI family! With the celebration of Independence Day this month our theme just fits.

I wanted to start the article with an idea about volunteering. I know we are all busy in our daily lives but when I give back, I just feel good. My kids like how it feels to make a difference in the world, however large or small. Here is a great start at ideas for kids. They can research the best fit for them.
 USA Freedom Corps

 I can't say the word freedom without thinking of the men and women deployed. So, in line with thinking of the armed services personnel stationed over seas. Here is a link to give back to the troops. Say Thanks

As I have said before in past Newsletters, I love to do things with the kids. Whether it be making a meal with a theme or using crafts, it is a great way to take the time to get to know these little people. Here are some great ideas for the month of July.
 July 4th

I used to make friendship bracelets and I found step by step instructions for making a Freedom bracelet. Don't know what I am talking about? Click here. Freedom Bracelets

Finally, here is a place to go for a plethora of information and ideas to have fun with the kids. My favorite link on this site is Billy Bear's Fourth of July. Because when there is no time to prepare, it has print out of activities and a few games. Find your favorite and have fun. Kids Konnect

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Crossword
by Ruben Bybee


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Congratulations to Gail B. of Otis, OR for winning the drawing for the June 2008 Crossword! She received a $25.00 credit on her BMI account! Click here to goto the July 2008 July 4th Crossword.
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Working From Home
by Victor Luna


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For years the solution to families financial pressures has been for both parents to work outside the home.  We are discovering, however, that a second income isn't covering skyrocketing mortgage rates, gas prices and medical bills, or even daily living expenses.

With a broadband connection (DSL, WIireless, etc) at home and a VOIP (Voice-over IP) service at work, the options are incredible!  You can take your phone from the office, and plug it into your broadband connection at home and it is just as if you are sitting in the office.  People can call your office, and you answer from home,  or a call can be transferred via the office phone system to your extension exactly as if you were sitting in the office.  The caller does not know where you actually are when they call.   

Now, add to this a VPN (Virtual Private Network) tunnel from your home to your office, and you can literally work from your office desktop and programs -from home!

Working from home this way really saves on the travel time, and gas bills, making your household budget a little more comfortable.

  ABC News

If you are interested in knowing more about how to get set up to work at the office from the comfort of your home, call us today at 1-800-485-5006

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Kudos
by Matt Stephens


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"Just a short note to express my thanks to Rochelle. I am a new customer to BMI and the contacts I have had contacts with KJ who answered all questions and expressed sincere interest in my situation Erich and Michelle who took the time to help me and Rochelle who fixed everything this morning in less than 5 minutes...MY SINCERE THANKS! It is such a pleasure to do business with professionals. I intend to keep my service with BMI when I complete my move to Omro WI. Please, keep up the good work Sincerely"
-Trish R., Green Valley, AZ

"I want to thank your staff members, past and present, which have been so very helpful over the years in assisting me in dealing with any number of glitches, most due to my own lack of computer moxie. Your staff deserves great credit for both your patience and advice in responding to my many inquiries. Incidentally, I have been very satisfied with Blue Mountain/Qwest DSL connection to date. BMIs technical service has been excellent, both in setting up the connection and helping to familiarize me with the way the system works. Thanks again for your great support."
-Joe T., Salem, OR

"I would like to thank you for all the help you have given me in my trouble times. Michelle who was very nice and lots of patients. I can't hear over a phone and had a friend helping me; she was very good at her job. Thanks to all you"
-Jack S. Merlin, OR

"Blue Mountain Internet has been providing us excellent service for about 10 years now. Their tech support is excellent and always ready to kindly help out a customer. Thanks a lot, BMI!"
-Cathryn M., Adams, 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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