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MONTHLY TOPICS

IN THIS ISSUE

SCAM ALERT
Watch out for social media Spam (and scams)
READ MORE

Whidbey Telecom News
UPDATE | Issues With Long Distance and Wireless Calls to Rural Areas
READ MORE

GO PINTEREST-ING!
Cool Stuff To Pin On Your Pinterest Boards
READ MORE

This Month's FAQ
Do I have to stop using Microsoft Windows XP after its support ends?
READ MORE

Sites of the Month for January
Make sure you take a look at these helpful websites.
READ MORE

Two to View
A Couple of Amazing Videos You Don't Want To Miss
READ MORE

Short Tutorial
How to find people to follow on Twitter
READ MORE

   

Dear Valued Customer,

Happy New Year! Now that the confetti is cleaned up and the noisemakers put away, it's time to tackle new challenges and enjoy new experiences. This January issue has plenty of new ideas to help you in the year ahead.

First you'll learn about the increased use of social media spam and its related phishing attacks. Be sure to review the precautions you can take to avoid becoming a victim. We revisit the Rural Call Termination Issue and let you know what's being done make sure you receive your calls. Also in the learning category, this issue explains the end of support for Windows XP and shares tips on how to search for people to follow on Twitter. To start 2014 with plenty of fresh ideas, check out the cool Pinterest pins, incredible videos, and resource-rich websites.

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

Here's what's inside our January eNewsletter:

  • SCAM ALERT
    Watch out for social media Spam (and scams)

  • Whidbey Telecom News
    UPDATE | Issues With Long Distance and Wireless Calls to Rural Areas

  • GO PINTEREST-ING!
    Cool stuff to pin on your Pinterest boards

  • This Month's FAQ
    Do I have to stop using Microsoft Windows XP after its support ends?

  • Sites of the Month
    Great websites to check out in January

  • Two to View
    Amazing videos you don't want to miss!

  • Short Tutorial
    How to find people to follow on Twitter

We hope you enjoy our eNewsletter!

 
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SCAM ALERT

Watch out for social media Spam (and scams)

In the first half of 2013, spam -- the scourge of the Internet since 1993 -- grew by 355 percent across the Internet's most popular social networks. This is according to data from Nexgate's State of Social Media Spam Report. It shows that about 1 in 200 social messages contain spam. Facebook and YouTube were the most infected, containing more spam than other social networks by a ratio of 100 to 1. Facebook also has the largest number of phishing attacks -- schemes in which a victim's password or credit card information is hacked.

Social media spam is growing at high rates due to spammers moving away from email. Why? It's harder to detect spam on social media sites and spammers can potentially reach millions of people with a single ad or post. Spammers have also developed a variety of ways to trick users with appealing visuals beyond the typical spam email.

What should you do? The Better Business Bureau recommends the following:

  • Never reveal overly personal or financial information on a social media site.
  • Avoid following unfamiliar or unknown links or pop-up ads.
  • Make sure to keep up with the latest operating systems, software, web browsers, antivirus protection and apps for the best defense against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
  • Report any possible spam to the appropriate people within the organization, including network administrators. They can be alert for any suspicious or unusual activity.
  • If you believe your financial accounts may be compromised, contact your financial institution immediately and close the account(s). Monitor all accounts for suspicious activity.

In addition, when browsing users' profiles or pages, remember that not everything on these pages may be safe. Despite the circle of trust that social media sites create, cybercriminals are constantly lurking behind virtual corners, just waiting for opportunities to strike.

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WHIDBEY TELECOM NEWS

UPDATE | Issues With Long Distance and Wireless Calls to Rural Areas

For some time now, rural telephone subscribers across the nation, including a number of our subscribers have reported difficulties with receiving long distance or wireless calls. Although the problems occur prior to reaching our network, it is important to us that you receive calls intended for you.

Our technical team has been working tirelessly with other service providers to resolve the call delivery problems and we have had some success with certain service providers. However, we believe some of our customers are still experiencing these issues. We continue to work with a variety of state and national organizations to gather information on this national issue in order to facilitate a permanent solution.

What is the problem?

Over the past two years, the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") has addressed concerns raised by Whidbey Telecom and many other telephone companies regarding call completion and call quality problems affecting long distance or wireless calls to telephone customers in rural service areas.

The FCC has setup the following portal as an information resource for consumers: http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/problems-long-distance-or-wireless-calling-rural-areas. Here you'll find descriptions of the issue, steps you can take to report problems you or other callers may experience, as well as information on what is being done to correct the problem. Below is a quick summary of issues.

The problem is occurring in rural areas where long distance or wireless carriers pay local telephone companies to complete calls. These charges help pay for the cost of rural telephone networks. To minimize their costs some long distance carriers contract with third-party "least-cost routing" service providers to connect calls at the lowest cost possible. Usually these contracts include strictly-defined performance parameters. Frequently, those performance levels are not being met and some calls are not connecting at all.

What is being done to fix it?

New FCC rules went into effect on December 29, 2011 to help eliminate practices that appear to be undermining the reliability of telephone service in rural areas. Another new rule bars carriers from altering the caller identification transmitted for a call, which is a common call quality complaint in rural areas. The FCC's Enforcement Bureau is continuing their investigation of underlying causes and industry practices, and assessing whether those practices violate FCC regulations.

Whidbey Telecom continues in our efforts to further a more permanent resolution with originating carriers. By providing enough data to the FCC that these problems continue to persist, we will show good cause for further action on their part and compliance enforcement.

What can I do?

Since many of these unsuccessful calls never reach our network, it is more effective for originating carriers to diagnose the source of the issues. If you experience problems with long distance or wireless calls placed to your Whidbey Telecom telephone line, we recommend that the calling party contact their long distance or wireless carrier first. Please have them provide their carrier with as many details about the call as possible. The information listed below is vital for investigating technicians:

  • The date and time the call(s) were made or attempted.
  • The calling and called telephone numbers.
  • Names of both telephone carriers involved.
  • A description of issues related to the call.

Whidbey Telecom customers are also welcome to contact our Repair Department at 611 to report call delivery problems.

While these issues are not related to Whidbey Telecom facilities, we remain committed to our customers. We will continue to do everything in our power to provide you with premium service and ensure outside carriers meet their responsibility to deliver calls to our network so we can, in turn, deliver those calls to you.

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GO PINTEREST-ING!

Cool stuff to pin on your Pinterest boards

Light Up Where You Dine With Wine
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/291537775849826251/

A Dreamy Photo Of A Beach Paradise
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/291537775849623886/

A Little Bit of London For Afternoon Tea
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/291537775849826204/

You haven't started pinning on Pinterest yet and you want to get started?
If so, go here: https://pinterest.com/join/signup/.

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ASK THE HELP DESK

Do I have to stop using Microsoft Windows XP after its support ends?

Question: I'm still using Microsoft Windows XP as my operating system. Can I keep using it after Microsoft ends its support in April 2014?

Answer: Support for Windows XP (and Office 2003) will end on April 8, 2014. After that date, Microsoft will no longer provide new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates.

You can continue to use Windows XP, but it's not recommended since your computer might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Microsoft strongly recommends you get current with Windows and Office. For complete details including instructions for moving to Windows 7 or Windows 8, visit: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/end-support-help.

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SITES OF THE MONTH

Great Sites To Check Out In January

Go For The Gold!
http://www.teamusa.org/Road-to-Sochi-2014
Join Team USA on the Road to the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. Get to know the athletes by reading their bios, watching video interviews, and checking out their blogs. You can also browse around the Team USA Shop to pick up clothing to show your support for the team.

Recipes For A Healthier 2014
http://www.eatingwell.com
If you're making a New Year's resolution to eat better in 2014, this site can make it easier for you to be successful. You'll find all kinds of recipes that are healthy and delicious including Breakfasts to Grab & Go, Quick 5-Ingredient Dinners, and 26 Soups to Help You Lose Weight.

It Pays To Be Smart About Money
http://www.smartaboutmoney.org
Smart About Money (SAM) is a program of the National Endowment for Financial Education -- an independent, nonprofit foundation. This site's many tools and resources include calculators to help with budgeting and debt management, a LifeValues quiz, worksheets, and more.

Take a Free Personality Test
http://www.learnmyself.com
What's more fascinating than learning about yourself? This site offers a free personality test that shows the five main aspects of your personality as well as a breakdown of 30 traits like kindness, anger, imagination, and intellect. One user described it as eerily accurate! Nine other free tests are also available.

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TWO TO VIEW

A Couple of Amazing Videos You Don't Want to Miss

http://www.eNewsletterHome.com/_eNewsletter/2014/1401_VIDEO_A.htm

Killer Trees on Whistler Mountain
This video lets you go along for the adventure of snowboarding over buried stumps and deep powder in a tree-filled run on Whistler Mountain. It's a fast-paced adrenalin rush that includes some close calls!

http://www.eNewsletterHome.com/_eNewsletter/2014/1401_VIDEO_B.htm

1964 Predictions About 2014
In 1964, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov made predictions about 2014. Many of them came true, such as: "Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone."

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SHORT TUTORIAL

How to find people to follow on Twitter

If you're fairly new to Twitter, or are simply looking for new people to follow, check out the Twitter search tips below:

How to find people by name:

  • Type the person's name into the search box at the top of your Twitter homepage.
  • Results for your search will show up under the People tab on the search results page.
  • You can also search by typing the person's name into the search box on the Connect page.

How to find people by interest:

  • From the Discover page, click on "Popular accounts" (https://twitter.com/who_to_follow/interests) to browse categories.
  • Click on any interesting category. You'll be shown a list of accounts you may want to follow.
  • You can also browse by interest using the search box at the top of the Browse categories page. Type in a topic (like "news" or "basketball") or a descriptive phrase (such as "ballet dancer" or "actor") and you'll see a list of account results for that search term.

How to browse Twitter's suggestions:

  • On the Discover page, click on "Who to follow" (https://twitter.com/who_to_follow/suggestions).
  • Browse suggestions Twitter has generated for you based on who Twitter thinks you might find interesting.
  • Click Follow to follow any user, or click their username to learn more about them.

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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

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.

©2014 Cornerstone Publishing Group Inc.

 


Whidbey Telecom
14888 SR 525, Langley, WA 98260 | 360.321.1122 | www.whidbey.com