Homefront Reporter | November 2005

Link to Offering advanced technology with a personal touch

Netiquette Alert
Sending Holiday Cards Via E-mail

Last Chance
To Take Advantage Of 3 Rivers $4,000,000 Capital Credit Distribution

Ask The Help Desk
What Are USB And FireWire?

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

Short Tutorial
How To Use "BCC:" When Sending Holiday Cards


Welcome to the Homefront Reporter

It's that time of the year to begin thinking about sending holiday greetings, cards, and photos to family and friends. If you intend to send your holiday cheer via e-mail this year, this month's eNewsletter provides tips and tutorials on making your project more successful.

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, e-mail hoax, or security issue 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

Netiquette Alert - Sending Holiday Cards Via E-mail

Like everything else, it seems, greeting cards are going digital. Sending holiday greetings and family holiday photos by e-mail has become commonplace. The intention, of course, is to send tidings of great joy rather than great frustration. So it's important that everyone understand and use good netiquette when sending holiday cards and photos. Here are some guidelines:

  1. You wouldn't freely share friends' phone numbers with others, so don't publish their e-mail addresses for all to see. When sending a greeting to many people who might not know each other, use the blind carbon copy (bcc:) feature of your e-mail program rather than the carbon copy (cc:) function. By doing this, no e-mail addresses will be inadvertently revealed.

  2. Make sure card and photo files are small, i.e. one megabyte or less. If your plan is to send several attachments, each containing many large holiday photos, consider sending a series of e-mail messages instead with only one or two photos attached to each message. This will avoid delivery problems. Another option is to post photos online and provide a link to the photos within your holiday message. Recipients could then click on the link which will take them to the web page containing your photos.

  3. Many people create cards and convert them to a digital format to be e-mailed. Make sure you save the artwork to a file type that is common, such as PDF (Portable Document Format). Using uncommon software that most people don't have only leads to frustration when the recipient attempts to open the file.

Back to Top

Last Chance - To Take Advantage Of 3 Rivers $4,000,000 Capital Credit Distribution

Since June 1, 2005, members of 3 Rivers Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (dba 3 Rivers Communications) have been eligible to take a discounted cash-out of the entire balance of their individual capital credit account. As of October 26, more than 4,600 people have taken advantage of this program, receiving checks for more than $1.2 million.

As a cooperative, 3 Rivers does not keep "profits" in the same sense that other businesses do. Most funds in excess of operating expenses are transferred to a capital credit account. All funds in the capital credit account are guaranteed to be paid to the members, although the timing of that payment is determined exclusively by the Board of Trustees. Annually, the Board determines the amount to be returned based upon the financial health of the Cooperative, the cash needs, financial performance, and balance sheet impact. Capital credits are normally returned to members based on the oldest year's capital credits on record.

Every member's capital credit account exists as a "Future Value" account. This means that if your account balance is $5,000, it is only worth that amount at some point in the future. It may take 30 or 40 years for the company to complete payment. In many cases capital credit accounts end up as estate assets, and still take years to completely pay out. But this year, you are being offered an opportunity to clear your unpaid capital credit balance!

3 Rivers is accomplishing this through a voluntary process known as a "Discounted Cash Buy Out". Discounted buy outs are a standard financial tool, which allow offering a percentage of a future value account as cash today. In the case of 3 Rivers, the cash today offer is 20% of your future value account, through December 31, 2004. So if we take that $5,000 mentioned earlier, you now have a choice; you can wait to collect your capital credits in full over a period of many years, or you can take $1,000 today! Then you can make an individual decision as to whether you will invest, pay some personal bills, or just spend your money. It's entirely YOUR CHOICE!

The obvious question then, is, "What is my future value, and what will I get today if I take this offer"? A brochure was mailed out to all our members in June showing you exactly this information. If you happened to miss this mailing, you can call a telephone Customer Service Representative at 800-796-4567 (467-2535 in Fairfield) and get the same information.

SHOULD you exercise your option and take this offer? We can't really answer that question for you. We CAN tell you it would help the Cooperative if you do. Your personal situation should be reviewed by you, your family, your business partners, and any financial advisor you use. The offer is open until the goal of $4,000,000 is distributed, or December 15, 2005, whichever comes first, on a first come, first served basis. For additional information visit www.3rivers.net/capitalcreditFAQ, or call 800-796-4567 and ask for a mailed or faxed copy of the Capital Credit Frequently Asked Questions sheet.

Back to Top

Ask The Help Desk - What Are USB And FireWire?

Question: I've heard friends mention that they have USB and FireWire connections on their computers. What do these terms mean and how do I know if I have these connections on my computer?

Answer: USB (an acronym for Universal Serial Bus) and FireWire are two types of a "bus" — a collection of external cords that transmit data from one part of a computer system to another. FireWire is also known as iLink on some devices and computers.

In modern computers, USB 1.1 establishes the hardware-to-computer connection for peripherals, such as mice, keyboards, printers, and joysticks, that don't require fast data transmission rates. USB supports data transfer rates of up to twelve megabits per second (Mbps).

In 2001, the USB standard underwent an extensive overhaul resulting in the new USB 2.0 standard. It has much faster (480Mbps) transfer rates and can be effectual when connecting digital cameras and video cams to computers. The same USB cable will work for both USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 devices as there is no difference in the shapes of USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 ports.

There are two types of FireWire devices, FireWire 400 and FireWire 800. The older standard is FireWire 400, also referred to as the IEEE 1394 bus. It transfers data at 400Mbps. The newer FireWire 800 standard transfers data at a blistering 800Mbps, a speed required to transfer high-quality video and images. This type of bus is used to connect such hardware as CD and DVD burners, digital cameras, video editors, camcorders, and high-end scanners.

Nearly all computers built since 1999 have either USB 1.1 or USB 2.0. Look at your computer's ports. If you see a rectangular port with a stick figure by it, you have a USB port. FireWire ports are hexagonal and have a symbol that resembles the letter "Y" next to them.

Back to Top

Great Sites To Check Out This Month

See Pictures Of People Doing The Phoon
http://Phoons.com -  Have you "phooned" for anyone lately? Well, you may have and not even known it. Ask someone to take a picture of you while you're in a phoon pose (arms and legs bent in a running position, turned sideways, not looking at the camera or smiling) and send it into this site for posting. Hundreds of people have already done so. Check out the images of people doing the phoon in crowds, in foreign countries, on fountains, at theme parks, in tight fits, at airports, on beaches, in costumes, with animals, and more.

Lost Is Big Hit In Second Season
http://abc.go.com/primetime/lost/index.html -  The popular, multiple Emmy-Award winning television program, Lost, is back for another mystery and action-packed season. The show's official site provides links to bios on each cast member. It also includes a "Lost Trivia Challenge" game that'll test your Lost expert skills. Video clips as well as recaps from previous episodes will keep you up-to-speed in case you missed a show. Plus, lots of photos from both seasons are available for viewing.

Countdown To Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
http://www1.macys.com/campaign/parade/parade.jsp -  Almost every year since 1924, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has helped kick off the holiday shopping season. (No parade was held during 1942-1944 as Macy's donated the rubber used to make balloons toward the war effort.) Over 2.5 million people will line the streets of Manhattan on Thanksgiving morning to enjoy the huge balloons as well as the spectacular floats, skillful marching bands, and popular celebrities -- and, of course, to see Santa Claus! Visit this site to learn more about the parade's history and to go behind the scenes to see how 4,000 volunteers pull off this amazing event.

Top Secret Aerial Photographs From WWII
http://tara.rcahms.gov.uk/ -  This recently upgraded site, created by the Aerial Reconnaissance Archives (TARA) at Keele University in England, will eventually provide access to over 5.5 million aerial photographs taken over occupied Western Europe during WWII. Aerial photographs taken by the Germans during WWII and until recently was classified NATO property, will also be available for viewing on this site. Aerial images include the Allied invasion of Normandy, the Bismarck hiding in Norway, and the Auschwitz concentration camp. If you can't access the site on your first attempt, try again later. The site is getting many hits and is worth the visit.

Zoom Into Exact Map Location
http://www.us.map24.com -  Here's an alternative to using MapQuest.com for driving directions or looking for map-related information. This site, of course, gives you helpful driving directions. However, the most unique feature is the point and draw option for finding address locations in cities and towns across North America. Simply draw a box (using your cursor arrow) on your monitor screen around the area that you want to closely review. The page automatically zooms into the exact location you are looking for. It's pretty amazing technology!

Back to Top

Short Tutorial - How To Use "BCC:" When Sending Holiday Cards

Getting cards and photos from friends via e-mail attachments can be great fun. What's not so great is when people send a card to you but then "cc:" (carbon copy) one hundred of their other friends on the same message. You see everyone else's e-mail address and they see yours. This may not be so bad unless the e-mail gets forwarded to a spammer who then adds your e-mail address to his spamming list and/or sells it to other spammers.

The correct method of sending a holiday greeting card via e-mail to your friends and family is to use the "bcc:" (blind carbon copy) feature. It's found on all commonly used e-mail software programs. This function hides the e-mail addresses of all recipients of your greeting — which will give them more to be jolly about!

Sending BCC: Messages in Outlook Express When Using Windows XP

  1. Open Outlook Express and click on the "NEW" button located at the top of the program's toolbar.
  2. If the "Bcc:" (Blind Carbon Copy) header is not visible, go to the View menu and select "ALL HEADERS." The "Bcc:" header and field should appear under the "Cc:" header and above the "Subject" header.
  3. Click your cursor arrow on the "Bcc:" button and the Select Recipients window will appear.
  4. Select one of the contacts or one of the groups by clicking on its name and then click on the "Bcc:" button. Do this for as many contacts or groups as you want to receive the e-mail. Then click "OK" to go back to your message.
  5. You will notice that the names of the groups or recipients are now in the "Bcc:" field.
  6. Enter a subject, compose your message, and click the "Send" button on the toolbar. That's all there is to it. Since you used the "Bcc:" header, no one receiving your message will be able to see anyone else's e-mail address.

Sending BCC: Messages in Thunderbird 1.07 When Using Mac OS X or Windows XP

  1. Click your cursor arrow on the "Write" button.
  2. If the "Contacts" pane is not visible on the left hand side of the new e-mail, click on the "Contacts" button and it will appear.
  3. Select the contacts in the list by either double clicking on the individual contacts or by control clicking on them and then using the "Add to To:" button.
  4. However, you don't want those addresses in the "To:" field; you want them in the "Bcc:" field. You'll notice a small downward pointing arrow button on the left side of the "To:" field. If you click on it, you'll see other header options including the "Bcc:" option. Click on "Bcc:" to select it from the drop-down menu. Do this for all of the contacts you want in the "Bcc:" field.
  5. Now, compose your e-mail, give it a subject, and hit the "Send" button.

Sending BCC: Messages in Netscape 7.2 When Using Windows XP or Mac OS X

  1. Open Netscape 7.2 and go to the "Window" menu. Drop down to "Mail & Newsgroups" to go to the e-mail client.
  2. Click your cursor arrow on the "Compose" button to create a new e-mail message.
  3. Click on the "Address" button. The "Select Addresses" dialog box will appear.
  4. Click on the addresses to which you want to send the e-mail in the address book pane on the left hand side of the window and click on the "Bcc:" button. The addresses that you selected will move over to the "Address message to:" pane.
  5. Click "OK."
  6. Now compose your e-mail message, give it a subject, and hit the "Send" button.

Sending BCC: Messages in Mail.app When Using Mac OS X

  1. Click your cursor arrow on the "New" button to create a new e-mail message.
  2. To see the "Bcc:" field, go to the "View" menu at the top of your screen and drop down to "Bcc Header." The "Bcc:" field will now appear highlighted with a flashing cursor.
  3. Click on the "Address" button and the "Addresses" window will appear.
  4. Double click on the contact entries to add them to the "Bcc:" field.
  5. Close the Address book window.
  6. Compose the rest of your e-mail message, give it a subject, and then hit "send."

NOTE: You don't have to put anything in the "To:" field of the e-mail using these programs. However, if you don't, some spam filters may block the e-mail or send it into the recipient's spam folder. To solve this dilemma, put your own e-mail address into the "To:" field. It's already in the message's header as the sender so it's no secret anyway and you'll get a copy of the message that you're sending.

Back to Top

We hope you found this newsletter to be informative. It's our way of keeping you posted on the happenings at our shop. 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.)

©2005 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.