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MONTHLY TOPICS

IN THIS ISSUE

FACEBOOK ALERT
Watch Out for Survey Scams
READ MORE

Whidbey Telecom News
Report on Incoming Call Issues
READ MORE

Two to View
A Couple of Powerful Videos of the Japan Disaster
READ MORE

Ask the Help Desk
Is the Internet running out of IP addresses?
READ MORE

Great Sites to Check Out This April!
Make sure you take a look at these helpful websites
READ MORE

Short Tutorial
Adjusting the Cookie Settings On Your Browser
READ MORE

   

Dear Valued Customer,

Like our spring weather, the content of this April issue is a mixture of "rain clouds and sunshine." We share compelling videos of the Japan disaster and let you know how you can help, and also warn you about the growing number of Facebook survey scams. But on a brighter note, you'll find reassurance about the upcoming Internet transition from IPv4 to IPv6, as well as websites featuring fun diversions, such as popping virtual Bubble Wrap, touring famous art museums, and trying your hand at word search puzzles. We also report on incoming call issues that are receiving national attention.

We think you'll find the information contained in this eNewsletter to be a valuable tool for enhancing your internet experience.

Here's what's inside our April eNewsletter:

1. FACEBOOK ALERT - Watch Out for Survey Scams

2. Whidbey Telecom News - Report on Incoming Call Issues

3. Two to View - A Couple of Powerful Videos of the Japan Disaster

4. This Month's FAQ - Is the Internet running out of IP addresses?

5. Sites of the Month - Great Sites to Check Out this April

6. Short Tutorial - Adjusting the Cookie Settings On Your Browser

We hope you enjoy our eNewsletter!

- Your Whidbey Telecom Team

 
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ONLINE WARNING

FACEBOOK ALERT - Watch Out for Survey Scams

Scammers have identified Facebook as an easy place to make money through survey scams. These scams are now rampant and there are too many variations to describe here in detail. However, we'll share the elements of survey scams so it will be easier for you and your Facebook friends to spot them.

It starts with the bait, which is typically one of these types:

  • Sensational or extreme headlines - If you see a status update that starts off with "OMG...," "SHOCKING..." or "You have to see this...," there's a good chance it's a survey scam.
  • "Too good to be true" offers - Have you seen status updates from your friends or received Facebook messages promising you a free or drastically reduced priced iPhone or iPad? This is a common ploy of a survey scam.
  • Additional Facebook features or functionality - Some of these Facebook scams claim to offer you the ability to see who has viewed your profile or see who has deleted you as a friend. They're all fake. Facebook doesn't provide developers the access to the information required to create such applications.

Anyone curious enough to click on the link is taken to a page that looks like Facebook but isn't Facebook. Then you're asked to "Like" the page, which adds the scam to your own Facebook wall. This is how the scam spreads. You're also asked to fill in a survey. This is how the scammer makes money; they're paid by a marketing company to complete surveys.

Remember, if a Facebook page or any site insists that you share a piece of content or do a survey before reaching the promised destination, it's likely a scam. If you've fallen for these (or similar) scams, remove the message from your status, newsfeed, and your Likes and Interests in Facebook's "Edit my Profile" menu.

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WHIDBEY TELECOM NEWS

Report on Incoming Call Issues

In recent months, there have been a number of telephone subscribers across the country reporting difficulties with long distance and cellular calls. Whidbey Telecom has also received reports from some of our customers, indicating that their friends and family, using national carriers, have had problems placing calls to our customers' local telephone numbers.

We investigated these reports and determined that these troubles with receiving long distance and/or cellular calls were related to this national issue. Problems have been occurring on calls originated using a variety of telephone technologies including landline, wireless, cable, and VoIP, but local calls within Whidbey Telecom's own network do not experience these problems. The reported issues include, but are not limited to:

  • The calling party hears ringing, but the called party hears nothing;
  • The called party hears ringing, but upon answering, hears only dead air;
  • Unusually long call set-up times, sometimes as long as 50 seconds;
  • Garbled, one way or otherwise poor quality voice on completed calls;
  • Inability to receive faxes;
  • Missing or incorrect Caller ID.

When the caller's long distance or cellular call is transported from his or her service provider's network to ours, the call must be transported completely and accurately before we can deliver the call to our customer's local phone line. Through our investigation, we believe other service providers have been utilizing a process to transport their traffic more cheaply into more rural areas such as ours, using a system called "least cost routing."

This process selects a path for outbound calls based on cost, can sometimes result in traffic congestion, and ultimately can cause a delay in call transportation, degradation in call signal, or call looping where the call never completes correctly. Unfortunately, Whidbey Telecom has no control over these issues - the problem occurs before the call ever reaches our network.

We've been cooperating with several national telephone associations to provide information on the scope of these issues. They have concluded the problem is part of "an epidemic affecting the routing of calls to customers in rural areas nationwide." The national associations are currently collecting data and working with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to further investigate the problem.

What can you do? If you or someone you know experiences the issues listed above when placing calls from outside our network, we recommend calling the same number using a different service provider. This often demonstrates the number is in good working order. If the problem is with a specific service provider, the person placing the call should first call that service provider and open a trouble ticket. We are happy to work with that service provider to troubleshoot and resolve the problem. If you or the person experiencing difficulties placing calls does not receive reliable service or a satisfactory response from the originating service provider, consider filing a complaint with the FCC if the call is from one state to another, or with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, if the call is entirely within the State of Washington.

Complaints can be filed here for the FCC: http://esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm, or by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322); and here for the WUTC: http://www.utc.wa.gov/consumers/Pages/ConsumerComplaints.aspx, or by calling 1-888-333-WUTC (9882).

Secondly, we want to hear from our customers who are experiencing these issues. We'd like the opportunity to consult with you and identify exactly what type of problems you're having and when they occur. This information will be vital as we collaborate with national telephone associations and cooperate with the FCC to find a resolution. Please give us a call, Monday to Friday, between 8:30 AM and 5 PM – 360-321-1122 or toll-free 866-548-7760.

While the issues are not with our facilities, Whidbey Telecom's commitment to our customers remains the same. We will continue to provide premium services and to ensure that outside carriers meet their responsibility to deliver calls to us so we can, in turn, deliver those calls to you.

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TWO TO VIEW

A Couple of Powerful Videos of the Japan Disaster

Introducing a new section to our monthly eNewsletter. The "Two to View" section will feature two interesting or compelling videos from around the web. This month's videos are of the devastation and aftermath left from the Japan earthquake and tsunami. Even though it's been more than a month, the recovery and clean-up is still ongoing. For more information on how you can help those affected in Japan, please visit the Red Cross link at the bottom of the article.

http://www.eNewsletterHome.com/_eNewsletter/2011/04/VIDEO_A.htm

This video shows the destruction in Japan from several different perspectives including scenes inside buildings as the earthquake hit, vehicles floating away, fires at an oil refinery, and evacuation and rescue efforts.

http://www.eNewsletterHome.com/_eNewsletter/2011/04/VIDEO_B.htm

You can't help but be moved by these sweeping, birds-eye views of Japan as whole communities are swept away by the raging waters caused by the tsunami. What is left behind is nothing but piles of rubble.

If you'd like to help, you can visit http://www.redcross.org.

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ASK THE HELP DESK

Is the Internet running out of IP addresses?

Question: I heard something on the news about the Internet running out of IP addresses. As a consumer, should I be concerned?

Answer: No, you don't need to worry. A transition is taking place to a new Internet Protocol called IPv6. But if everything goes according to plan behind the scenes, you won't even notice.

Here's the background on the transition: Every device that connects to the Internet needs a unique IP address to identify it; websites need them as well. An IP address is actually a set of binary numbers but to make them easier for us to remember, they're usually displayed in decimal format. For example, in Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4), the 32-bit binary number 11011000.00011011.00111101.10001001 would appear as 216.27.61.137.

Since 1981, IP addresses have used IPv4, which allows for roughly 4.3 billion 32-bit addresses. After years of rapid Internet expansion, however, the pool of available unallocated addresses for IPv4 will soon be depleted. The solution is for the Internet to upgrade to IPv6, which uses 128-bit addresses and therefore allows trillions of unique numbers.

Once again, this change from IPv4 to IPv6 will be primarily managed by commercial websites and Internet service providers. Action on the part of consumers is not expected to be required.

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GREAT SITES

Sites of the month for April

Word Search Puzzles
http://onlinewordsearch.org
Get your brain working with fun word search puzzles in dozens of categories such as fitness, garden, space, animals, music, holidays, seasons, and sports. Puzzles with wedding and baby themes are also included so this is a great place to look for games to play at showers this spring.

Virtual Art Tours
http://www.googleartproject.com
Can't get to Paris or Florence to view famous works of art? This site is the next best thing. It lets you wander from room to room at world-renowned art museums as if you're walking through them. You can even zoom in on the paintings for a closer look at colors and brushstrokes.

Play With Bubble Wrap
http://bubblewrapfun.com
There's something about Bubble Wrap that people of all ages find appealing and this site caters to that fascination. The Bubble Machine allows you to pop Bubble Wrap with your mouse pointer --almost as much fun as doing it for real. Other activities include Bubble Paint and Bubble Quizzes. Check out the Pop Pix section to see whimsical photos of people using Bubble Wrap in different ways.

Social Networking for Kids
http://togetherville.com
If you're tired of your younger kids asking why they can't join Facebook, you'll love this site. It's a social networking site especially for children. Recently purchased by Disney, it creates a safe place for "kids and their grownups" to play online. While the social component features Facebook-like interactions, it's perfectly safe since you have control over the people your kids interact with.

Recipes For Your Ingredients
http://www.supercook.com
You know the situation: It's time for dinner, and about all you have in your refrigerator are some chicken, a bell pepper, parsley, and a piece of cheese. What to do? Go to this site, type in your ingredients, and get ideas for recipes that use those ingredients (and maybe a few staples from your cupboard). When you find a recipe you want to try, click on it to get instructions and reviews.

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SHORT TUTORIAL

Adjusting the Cookie Settings On Your Browser

In computer terms, a cookie is a very small text file placed on your hard drive by a server when you visit a website. It is essentially your identification card, and its job is to keep track of your preferences and store information such as your e-mail address. Cookies can actually save you time by eliminating the need to re-enter your information every time you make inquiries or purchases at your favorite websites.

However, if you are concerned about websites placing cookies on your browser, you can adjust the setting to block all cookies or to accept cookies only in some situations. Follow the steps below for your browser and operating system.

Adjusting Your Browser's Cookie Settings When Using ...
Internet Browser: Internet Explorer 8
Computer Operating System: Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7

  1. With Internet Explorer open, click your cursor arrow on "Tools" in the menu bar. Then select "Internet Options" from the resulting drop- down menu.
  2. When the Internet Options window opens, click on the "Privacy" tab.
  3. In the "Settings" area, you will see a slider to adjust the cookie settings. Moving the slider up to the highest setting will block all cookies. Moving the slider down to the lowest setting accepts all cookies. The default setting is "Medium" and will accept cookies in some situations.
  4. Click the "Apply" button to apply your new settings and then the "OK" button to close the Internet Options window.

Adjusting Your Browser's Cookie Settings When Using ...
Internet Browser: Mozilla Firefox 3.6
Computer Operating System: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7

  1. With Firefox open, click your cursor arrow on "Tools" in the menu bar. Then select "Options..." from the resulting drop-down menu.
  2. When the Options window opens, select the "Privacy" tab.
  3. By default, Firefox will remember your browsing, download, form and search history, as well as keep cookies from websites you visit. You may change this by clicking the "Firefox will:" dropdown menu and selecting "Never remember history" or using the custom menu to adjust individual settings.
  4. When your finished, click "OK" to save your changes and close the Options window.

Adjusting Your Browser's Cookie Settings When Using ...
Internet Browser: Mozilla Firefox 3.6
Computer Operating System: Mac OS X 10.4 - 10.6

  1. With Firefox open, click your cursor arrow on "Firefox" in the menu bar. Then select "Preferences..." from the resulting drop-down menu.
  2. When the Preferences window opens, select the "Privacy" tab.
  3. There are two options for cookies: "Accept cookies from sites" and under that is "Accept third-party cookies." Check the box next to either or both. (For this tutorial, we will select both.)
  4. Next, select how long you'd like cookies to be kept on your computer. From the "Keep Until:" drop-down menu, choose: "they expire," "I close Firefox," or "ask me every time."
  5. Once you've made your choice, click on the red circle in the upper left corner of the dialog box to save your changes and close the Preferences window.

Adjusting Your Browser's Cookie Settings When Using ...
Internet Browser: Safari 5.0
Computer Operating System: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS X 10.4 - 10.6

  1. With Safari open, click your cursor arrow on "Safari" (when using a Mac) or "Edit" (when using Windows on a PC) in the menu bar. Then select "Preferences..." from the resulting drop-down menu.
  2. When the Preferences window opens, select the "Security" tab.
  3. In the "Accept cookies:" section, choose from "Always," "Never," or "Only from sites I visit." The last option will block cookies on your computer from third parties and advertisers.
  4. Once you've made your choice, click on the red circle in the upper left corner of the dialog box to save your changes and close the Preferences window when using a Mac. If you are using Windows on a PC, click on the X in the upper right corner of the dialog box to save your changes and close the Preferences window.

Adjusting Your Browser's Cookie Settings When Using ...
Internet Browser: Google Chrome 10
Computer Operating System: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS X 10.4 - 10.6

  1. With Chrome open, click your cursor arrow on the wrench icon located in the far upper right corner. Then select "Options" ("Preferences" on the Mac) from the resulting drop-down menu.
  2. When the Google Chrome Options/Preferences window opens, select the "Under the Hood" tab.
  3. In the "Privacy" section, click on the "Content settings..." button.
  4. When the Content Settings window opens, verify that "Cookies" is highlighted within the "Features:" section.
  5. There will be two groups of two options to choose from in the section labeled Cookie Settings. The first group includes radio buttons for "Allow local data to be set (recommended)," and "Block sites from setting any data." The second group includes "Ignore exceptions and block third party cookies from being set," and "Clear cookies and other site data when I close my browser." You can choose on option from the first set, and one or both options from the second set.
  6. Once you have made your choices, click on the "Close" button to close the Content Settings window and then click on the "Close" button to close the Google Chrome Options/Preferences window.

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We hope you found this eNewsletter to be informative. It's one of our ways of keeping you posted on news and information about our industry and our community. Thank you for the privilege of serving you!

Best regards,

Your Whidbey Telecom Team

©2011 Cornerstone Publishing Group Inc.

We have used our best efforts in collecting and preparing the information published herein. However, we do not assume, and hereby disclaim, any and all liability for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions resulted from negligence, accident, or other causes.

 


Whidbey Telecom
14888 SR 525, Langley, WA 98260 - 360 321 1122 - www.whidbey.com

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