Link to Offering advanced technology with a personal touch

 


Inside This Issue

Surfer Beware
Protect Yourself From Internet Security Threats

Survey Winner
Tom Broksle

Ask The Help Desk
What is an RSS Feed?

Sites Of The Month
Great Sites To Check Out In May!

Short Tutorial
How To Speed Up Slow E-Mail

 

 

Welcome to the Homefront Reporter

There are lots of reasons to spring into action in this month's eNewsletter. Learn how cybercrooks are exploiting an Internet Explorer security hole and what you can do to protect yourself. Find out how to "clean house" when your e-mail database gets too full. And for the ultimate in action, take an insider's look at the new Mission: Impossible: III movie.

The goal of each of our monthly eNewsletters is to keep our subscribers informed regarding their Internet connection and to improve their Internet experience. To meet this goal, each monthly newsletter will usually contain information related to:

  1. Warnings on a recent virus or e-mail hoax that may affect you
  2. An update on new services and other local interests
  3. An answer to a frequently asked Internet related question
  4. Some fun, seasonal websites to check out
  5. A short, step-by-step tutorial on an e-mail or browser related task

We think you'll find the information contained in this newsletter to be a valuable tool for enhancing your Internet experience. If, however, you'd prefer not to receive these bulletins on a monthly basis, click HERE.

To see what's inside this issue, take a look at the index to the left and thanks for reading!

- The Homefront Reporter Team

Surfer Beware - Protect Yourself From Internet Security Threats

Last month, Microsoft Corp. issued a software fix (called a "patch") to address a critical security hole in its Internet Explorer Web browser - a flaw cybercrooks had already discovered and begun to exploit. The flaw allows intruders to seize control of the PCs of anyone visiting their malicious websites, potentially giving them the ability to install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

If you're one of the many who use Internet Explorer, take note of this recent cybercrook scheme. To lure unsuspecting victims to these websites, spam e-mails are sent out asking you to click on links to news stories about the U.S. dollar vs. other currencies. After clicking on the link, your PC freezes up for approximately 30 seconds while the website installs a software program that captures online bank account log-ins and sends them back to cybercrooks.

To protect your computer from this and other serious threats, Microsoft Corp. offers a free security updates system that includes the posting of any new security bulletin updates on the second Tuesday of each month. A list of Microsoft security updates is available at www.microsoft.com/security/bulletins. If you use Microsoft products (such as Internet Explorer, Windows, Office, and MSN Messenger), we strongly recommend you visit this web page monthly to download the critical software fixes listed there. An even better idea is to have a "Microsoft Security Updates Alert" automatically sent to you each month by Microsoft Corp. Simply go to www.microsoft.com/security/bulletins/alerts.mspx. At this web page, you can sign up to receive e-mail, instant messaging, or RSS alerts each time a major security update is released.

The Microsoft Windows Update website, www.update.microsoft.com/windowsupdate, provides another easy way to quickly install software fixes for Microsoft products. When you visit this web page, your PC is automatically scanned for missing critical software updates, providing you with a list of updates that you can choose to install.

It is worth repeating that Microsoft will NEVER e-mail you software updates as e-mail attachments. Malicious hackers have been known to send spoof e-mail messages that appear to come from Microsoft, urging you to download the accompanying attachment to prevent infection by a virus or worm. These attachments are actually worms or viruses themselves. If you are not currently set up to automatically receive software updates from Microsoft, ALWAYS be sure to go to Microsoft web pages to download Microsoft-related patches and service packs rather than doing so via links e-mailed to you.

Of course, it is also vitally important to use and regularly update your computer's anti-virus software. Always scan file attachments of all incoming e-mail messages, even messages from people you trust. Many viruses and worms are spread over networks, through attachments, and by sharing storage media such as diskettes, Zip disks, and CDs. You have the ultimate responsibility for protecting your computer against these threats.

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Survey Winner - Tom Broksle

Tom Broksle of Sheridan was randomly selected from all those who completed last month's Internet survey to receive a $25 credit on his next 3 Rivers telephone bill. Thank you to all members who took the time to respond to our survey. We appreciate all the valuable input provided and will use it to better serve you in the future. Look for more surveys in this space in the future.

Is Montana Homefront Your Web Portal?


If you haven't made 3 Rivers Communications' Montana Homefront your Internet portal yet, it's time to check it out and see what you've been missing! If you're a 3 Rivers Internet subscriber you can get weather, national news, sports and entertainment headlines, email, stock quotes, games, e-greetings, Internet search features, and much more-all from one convenient location. All in a page customized by you!

More important, though, is the access the portal provides to local news and other information--local schools, churches, law enforcement and other community organizations currently post information on all kinds of neighborhood happenings, from church pancake breakfasts to local Boys & Girls club events. Check it out at www.montanahomefront.com.

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Ask The Help Desk - What is an RSS Feed?

Question: I've heard about people getting Web content via RSS feeds? What is an RSS feed?

Answer: RSS, which stands for "really simple syndication" or "RDF site summary," is an Internet-based information delivery system to which you can subscribe to have news and other information delivered to your computer, much like a newspaper delivered to your front doorstep.

RSS allows news website developers to distribute their news and information to customers who gather it in software known as "RSS readers." This information usually includes the news website's headlines and article summaries that you click on for more information.

If a website offers RSS subscriptions, it's usually indicated with some descriptive copy and an orange button labeled "XML" or a blue button labeled "RSS." Just click this button, then copy and paste the appropriate web address URL into your reader to visit the site and retrieve headlines and article summaries you have requested.

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Great Sites To Check Out This Month

Mission: Impossible: III Explodes Onto Screens
http://missionimpossible.com -  Super-agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) returns this month for the third installment of the billion-dollar Mission: Impossible franchise. This time around, director J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias) brings his unique blend of action and drama to the mix. Expect multiple international shoot locations, more stunts and action sequences, plus a storyline that includes a deeper look into the personal side of Ethan Hunt. If your mission is to find out more, head to this site to view video clips, get behind-the-scenes production notes, and meet the cast. You can even sign up to become an IMF agent and join the Mission: Impossible: III Scavenger Hunt. Rated PG13.

New Coaster Is Tops In Air-Time
http://holidayworld.com -  The world's top wooden coaster in air-time, the Voyage, opens this month at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana. Take the plunge and you'll experience a feeling of weightlessness for a total of 24.2 seconds. This exhilarating ride also features three drops of over 100 feet, five underground tunnels, 90-degree banking, and a top speed of 67.4 miles an hour. This site allows you to get a feel for the ups and downs with a virtual ride on the Voyage. (You can even throw your arms up in the air and scream if you want.) Holiday World, which is celebrating their 60th anniversary this year, just completed a $13.5 million expansion including several new attractions and a new restaurant.

Prepare For The Pump
http://fuelcostcalculator.com -  Planning on hitting the road for a family vacation this summer? With gas prices rising, the cost of fuel may take a bigger bite out of your travel budget. Know what to expect before you leave home by taking a quick trip to this handy site. Simply enter your start city, destination, and the make, model, and year of your vehicle. The Fuel Cost Calculator instantly estimates your round-trip fuel cost based on the current average gas price in your region of the country.

Look Ma, No Hands!
http://www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/mindread/mindread.html -  No kidding — you can make a symbol appear on your computer screen without touching a single key. The National Institute of Environmental Sciences includes this mysterious game, called the Flash Mind Reader, on their site. Simply pick any two-digit number, add the two numbers together, and then subtract the total from your original two-digit number. Find the corresponding symbol on the chart provided and stare at it awhile. Like magic, this symbol will appear on the page's crystal ball. You have to see it to believe it.

Country Music Awards In Spotlight
http://acmcountry.com/content/index.php -  The 41st Academy of Country Music Awards takes place at the MGM Grand (Las Vegas) on May 23 and will be broadcast live on CBS Television at 8:00 ET/PT. If you're a country fan, this site will be music to your ears. Get awards show details, check out audio and photos from the spotlight artist, view backstage snapshots, and read the latest from Country Weekly magazine – all while listening to songs from a country superstar. Sign up to be an associate member of the ACM for free and enjoy access to special publications and sweepstakes.

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Short Tutorial - How To Speed Up Slow E-Mail

Granted, e-mail is much faster than snail mail. But even e-mail software can slow down if you don't keep up with maintenance on your database. Have you noticed any of these symptoms?

If this sounds familiar, it may be time to do some maintenance on the database where your messages are stored. The best maintenance you can do is to delete old messages you no longer need and then "compact" your database. To do this, follow the steps below.

Cleaning Up and Compacting Outlook Express 6.0 When Using Windows XP Home Edition

  1. With Outlook Express open, click your cursor arrow on the "Tools" menu and select "Options."
  2. When the Options window appears, click the "Maintenance" tab.
  3. About half way down the window you will see the "Clean Up Now" button. Click on it and the "Local File Clean Up" window will appear.
  4. Click on the "Compact" button.
  5. Click "Close" and then "OK."
  6. Quit Outlook Express and then reopen Outlook Express.

Cleaning Up and Compacting Entourage 2004 When Using Macintosh OS X

  1. While opening Entourage, hold down the "Option" key on your keyboard.
  2. Select "Compact Database" by clicking on the radio button.
  3. Click "Continue."

If compacting your Entourage database does not improve its performance, repeat the process. However, this time select "Rebuild Database" from the choices.

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We hope you found this newsletter to be informative. It's our way of keeping you posted on the happenings here. If, however, you'd prefer not to receive these bulletins on a monthly basis, click HERE.

Thanks for your business!

Best regards,

The Homefront Reporter Team
3 Rivers Communications
Offering advanced technology with a personal touch



3 Rivers Communications
202 5th St S
PO Box 429
Fairfield, MT 59436

1-800-796-4567 406-467-2535



(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.)

©2006 Cornerstone Publishing Group Inc.

Trademarks: All brand names and product names used in this eNewsletter are trade names, service marks, trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

Surfer Beware - Prevent Your Computer From Being Turned Into A "Zombie"

According to recent Internet security reports, attacks by hackers on websites are getting more frequent and nasty. Many hackers looking to inflict serious harm to websites do so by remotely taking control of unsuspecting home computers and then instructing them to simultaneously send massive amounts of e-mail messages to targeted sites. This technique of attacking sites is termed "distributed denial of service" (DDOS). These controlled "zombie" computers (usually home computers like yours) flood the targeted sites with messages to the point of preventing legitimate customers from conducting transactions at the victimized sites. Often times, these attacks can even entirely disable the sites.

So how are hackers able to take control of unsuspecting home computers across the globe and turn them into "zombies" to do their dirty work? Hackers create viruses and embed them into e-mail attachments and downloadable software files. When computer users open the corrupt attachments or download these files from the Internet, their computers become infected. Once the computers are successfully infected, they are added to a network of zombie computers used to generate spam e-mail and launch attacks against targeted websites. Usually the owners of these infected computers are not even aware that their computers are a part of this clandestine activity.

As a computer user, you can do your part to help curb this criminal behavior. Be sure to install and utilize virus-scanning software, update this software on a regular basis, and scan all incoming attachments before opening them. Always resist the temptation of opening files sent as e-mail attachments from someone you don’t know and only download software from reputable sites. In addition, many viruses and worms also spread through the sharing of files when using floppy disks, zip disks, and networks. Be sure to scan these files for infections as well. Remember, the ultimate responsibility of protecting your computer against worms and viruses lies with you.

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HARRISON TOWN HALL MEETING - Take Our Survey

Just what does “cooperative” mean? What does 3 Rivers have planned for your telecommunication needs in the future? What are your options for high speed broadband internet? Come to the 3 Rivers Communications public meeting on April 11 in Harrison and find out the answers to these questions and any other concerns you may have.

The 3 Rivers marketing department is hitting the road with the 3 Rivers General Manager. First stop, Harrison, for a town hall-style meeting. We're looking forward to meeting cooperative members and discussing the issues that are important to you.

The meeting is Tuesday, April 11 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Harrison Public School. Every one who shows up will receive a special gift. There will also be drawings for door prizes and refreshments will be served.

3 Rivers' General Manager will be on hand to present an update on what's going on at your communications cooperative and will take any and all questions.

Mark your calendar and plan to attend the 3 Rivers Communications Town Hall meeting in Harrison.

Your Opinion Counts!

3 Rivers wants to learn about your broadband Internet experience in order to better serve your needs. Click on the link below to fill out a brief online survey. If you submit your response by April 24, you will be entered into a drawing for a $25 credit on your next 3 Rivers phone bill. The winner will be announced in this space next month.

http://survey.3rivers.net

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Ask The Help Desk - When Will Microsoft Stop Supporting Windows 98?

Question: I’ve heard that Microsoft will soon stop supporting Windows 98. Is this true?

Answer: Yes. With the large majority of PCs now running Windows XP, the software giant has announced that it will end its extended support for all versions of the Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, and Windows Millennium Edition operating systems (and their related components) effective July 11, 2006. This means no more technical support, no more incident support options, and no more security updates related to these operating systems.

If you still plan to use Windows 98 or Windows Me operating systems, existing web-based support documents will continue to be available at http://support.microsoft.com/ph/1139 for Windows 98 and http://support.microsoft.com/ph/6519 for Windows Me. However, please note that it will soon be more imperative than ever that you utilize virus-scanning software and update this software on a regular basis when using Windows 98 or Windows Me.

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Great Sites To Check Out This Month

Go Fly A Kite This Month
http://nationalkitemonth.org -  Go fly a kite! We mean that in a nice way. April is National Kite Month sponsored by the Kite Trade Association International and the American Kitefliers Association. Their site includes lots of links to sites that'll show you how to build your own kites. It also provides safety tips for new people to the sport, event schedules for kite-related events, a place to register your own kite event, and a detailed history of kite flying. Can you name five people who changed the course of history through kite flying? This site tells you.

Anyone Got The Correct Time?
http://timeanddate.com -  How many more days until my birthday? What time is it right now in Singapore? Is my kitchen clock or my alarm clock correct? How many more days, hours, minutes, and seconds until New Year's Day 2007? This website can answer all of these important questions and more. You can also design your own "Personal World Clock" to show the current times in cities of your choice around the world. Time has never been so interesting!

Cassini Spacecraft Makes New Discoveries Of Saturn's System
http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/operations/index.cfm -  The world continues to be intrigued by the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft mission. The Cassini spacecraft is the first to explore the Saturn system of rings and moons from orbit. In January 2005, the European Space Agency's Huygens Probe detached from Cassini and was sent to Saturn's largest moon, Titan, providing scientists with vital data. Cassini continues to make discoveries as it orbits Saturn during its four-year mission. Recent photographs revealed what scientists believe to be liquid water on another of Saturn's moons, Enceladus. Head to this site for daily updates and amazing photography.

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's 2006 Tour Begins
http://faithhill.com -  Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's Soul2Soul Tour II 2006 is on pace to be the hottest concert event of the year. Kicking off April 21st in Columbus, Ohio, many concerts have taken only minutes to sell-out. It's no wonder. This married duo has over thirty number one songs between them. For a listing of concert locations and to listen to Faith sing songs as you surf, head to her site and turn up your computer's volume.

NHL Season Heats Up In April
http://nhl.com -  The action really heats up this month as the NHL's regular season schedule winds down and the play-off action begins. Check out the NHL's official site to get up-to-the-minute scores as well as complete stats and game overviews, radio and video highlights, links to your favorite NHL team's site, player interviews, and more.

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Short Tutorial - How To Stop A Downloaded File While In Progress

Have you ever started to download something from the Internet and then realized after the download started that the file was a lot bigger than you anticipated and you really didn't have time to wait around for it to completely download? Well, with most modern browsers, there is a way to stop the process in the middle of the download. You can then come back later to start and finish the download when you have more time. Follow these directions to stop a file from downloading before its completion.

Stopping a File Download When Using Internet Explorer 6.0 Browser and Windows XP Home Edition:

With Internet Explorer 6.0, your only real option is to cancel the download using the CANCEL button on the download window before it finishes. If you want to restart the download, you will have to start again at the beginning.

Stopping a File Download When Using Firefox 1.0 Browser and Windows XP Home Edition and Macintosh OS X:

To use the special download features of this browser, you need to open the Downloads window.

  1. With Firefox open and before you begin downloading, click on the "Tools" menu and drop down to "Downloads." The Downloads window will appear giving you a list of recent downloads.
  2. Download a file in the usual manner from a site you trust. When the download begins, you will see a progress bar below the name of the file in the Downloads window. Beneath the progress bar is a "Pause" link. Clicking on that link will pause the download and change the "Pause" link to a "Resume" link.
  3. Resume the download by clicking on the "Resume" link.
  4. You will notice a "Cancel" link to the right of the file name. This will cancel the download and the "Cancel" link will become a "Retry" link and a "Remove" link. The "Retry" link will restart the download from the beginning. The "Remove" link will remove the file from the Downloads window's list completely.

Stopping a File Download When Using Netscape 8.1 Browser and Windows XP Home Edition:

To use the special download features of this browser, you need to open the Downloads window.

  1. With Netscape 8.1 open and before you begin downloading, click on the "Tools" menu and drop down to "Downloads." The Downloads window will appear giving you a list of recent downloads.
  2. Download a file in the usual manner from a site you trust. When the download begins, you will see a progress bar below the name of the file in the Downloads window. Beneath the progress bar is a "Pause" link. Clicking on that link will pause the download and change the "Pause" link to a "Resume" link.
  3. Resume the download by clicking on the "Resume" link.
  4. You will notice a "Cancel" link to the right of the file name. This will cancel the download and the "Cancel" link will become a "Retry" link and a "Remove" link. The "Retry" link will restart the download from the beginning. The "Remove" link will remove the file from the Downloads window's list completely.

Stopping a File Download When Using Safari 2.0 Browser and Mac OS X:

To use the special download features of this browser, you need to open the Downloads window.

  1. With Safari 2.0 open and before you begin downloading, click on the "Tools" menu and drop down to "Downloads." The Downloads window will appear giving you a list of recent downloads.
  2. Download a file in the usual manner from a site you trust. When the download begins, you will see a blue progress bar below the name of the file in the Downloads window. Next to that progress bar is a white "x" in a gray circle. Clicking on that "x" will pause the download and change the "x" icon into an orange circle with a white curved arrow.
  3. Resume the download by clicking on the orange circle with the white arrow.

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We hope you found this newsletter to be informative. It's our way of keeping you posted on the happenings here. If, however, you'd prefer not to receive these bulletins on a monthly basis, click HERE.

Thanks for your business!

Best regards,

The Homefront Reporter Team
3 Rivers Communications
Offering advanced technology with a personal touch



3 Rivers Communications
202 5th St S
PO Box 429
Fairfield, MT 59436

1-800-796-4567 406-467-2535



(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.)

©2006 Cornerstone Publishing Group Inc.

Trademarks: All brand names and product names used in this eNewsletter are trade names, service marks, trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.