D & P BLOG

D & P’s Lenawee County Offices are Steeped in History Category: Blog

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In our last post, we talked about the history of our main office, from D & P’s beginning as an alliance of Deerfield-area farmers in 1898 to the state-of-the-art data center that serves as our headquarters today. But did you know that each of our Lenawee County offices has a story to tell too?

Our Tecumseh location, at 417 South Maumee Street, has a history steeped in a tradition of local enterprise. It began as a union hall for employees of Tecumseh Products, which at the time was at the center of Tecumseh’s community life — at its peak, the Products employed about 5,000 people. Later on, it was the office of the Tecumseh Products Employees Credit Union. That name might not sound familiar, but you’ve probably heard of it — the credit union grew quickly, and today it’s known as TLC Community Credit Union. With over 46,000 members and $400 million in assets, it’s in the top 10% of credit unions nationwide.

Our Blissfield office is located in the heart of a picturesque downtown. It, too, has deep roots in its community. In the 1890s, three brothers named Abe, George and Moses Kerbawy emigrated from Lebanon. Moses ran a newsstand and Abe ran a shoe repair shop, both on Adrian Street, while George Kerbawy sold dry goods out of a store on South Lane Street. He did business there for over 60 years, and that’s the building that houses D&P’s Blissfield office today.

Here’s an interesting note for sports fans — Moses Kerbawy’s son, Nick, managed the Detroit Lions in the 1950s!

Our Adrian office is also right in the middle of a historic downtown — and until recently, it was the site of Adrian City Hall. Late in 2009, city offices began moving into their current home in the municipal complex on East Maumee Street. The former city hall, which was built in 1971 and needed extensive repairs, was torn down in 2010. It ended up being a win-win situation for both D&P and the city. By building our new office on the site, we were able to locate right in the heart of the largest city we serve, put the property back on the tax rolls, and be a part of downtown Adrian’s revitalization.

Plus, there’s a bonus — we’re right next door to the Lenawee County Historical Museum, and the statue of Adrian’s famous “Aunt Laura” Haviland, which used to be on the lawn of City Hall, sits just a few hundred feet from our door!

Next time you’re near one of our local offices, we invite you to stop by and say hello. We’re here to serve!

Use Parental Controls to Protect Your Kids Category: Blog

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We’re more connected today than ever before, and while this brings plenty of good things into our lives, it also brings its share of headaches — particularly for parents. With all the devices your kids have access to every day, how do you make sure everything they’re exposed to is appropriate?

Of course, your first line of defense is simply being an involved parent — paying attention to what your kids are doing and keeping the lines of communication open. But technology also offers plenty of tools that can help you.

We can’t list every possibility, but here are some things you might want to think about.

Parental controls on tablets and phones: Just about any mobile device offers some type of parental controls. The New York Times recently reported that Apple’s iOS offers better parental control features than Android, but there are options no matter what kind of phone or tablet you own. Here are some useful links showing how to set up restrictions on the three major platforms:

Remember that inappropriate content may not be the only thing you want to block: for example, some apps allow in-application purchases that can run up a big credit card bill if kids don’t realize what they’re doing.

Individual user accounts on your computer: All modern operating systems allow you to set up multiple user accounts on a single computer, with every user having a different set of permissions. This allows you to do much more than just prevent kids from accessing restricted sites. You can set limits on what times any given account is allowed to be logged in — for example, you can leave your own account completely unrestricted but have the computer automatically force kids to log off at bedtime. If you have a different user account for every child in the house, you can even set a later logout time for older kids and an earlier time for younger ones. To learn more about the options available on different platforms, click the following links for Windows and Mac.

Filtering through your wireless router: Many routers come with parental control software. The advantage to this is that it covers all devices accessing your network without having to set up each computer or tablet individually, but there are some downsides too. The biggest is that it only covers devices accessing the Internet through your home network. It doesn’t affect phones or tablets with a 4G connection, and it also doesn’t prevent anyone from accessing a neighbor’s unrestricted wifi or simply taking their device within range of a public network.

Restricting your Cable TV: Although a lot of attention gets focused on keeping kids safe online — and rightly so — don’t forget that depending on your Cable package, there may be things on TV you don’t want them watching unsupervised. Your set-top Cable box has built-in parental controls that you can access using your remote. If you need help setting up your controls, you can click on the red tab in the lower right corner of any page on our website — look for the words “How can we help?” if you’re on your computer, or “Chat” if you’re on a mobile device — or call our helpdesk at 888-221-2277.

Our Main Office … From 1898 to Today Category: Blog

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If you visit D & P Communications’ main office on Teal Road in Petersburg today, you’ll find a state-of-the-art data center with a large staff working hard to provide the best quality service to customers across Lenawee and Monroe counties. But did you know that for our first 73 years in existence, we didn’t even have an office?

As you may know, D & P started in 1898 as the Deerfield Farmers Telephone Company. At the time, it was an alliance of local farmers setting up party lines, with 10 households sharing each line. The company was owned by its subscribers, and every household with a phone owned one share of stock.  The value of one share back then is 330 shares today.

It wasn’t until 1971 that the company began to need a central office. That first office was run out of a house in Deerfield, with just five employees.

Thirteen years later, in 1984, we moved into an office in downtown Petersburg. Today it’s the home of Iott Insurance. That was a time of rapid expansion for D & P — and also rapid improvement in telephone technology. Buried lines and the advent of fiber optics made phone service much more reliable and convenient.

In 1995 we began providing Cable TV and Internet service, and in 1999 we purchased the land in Petersburg where our current main office sits. The property is 32 acres, 20 of which are used for farming. Our expansion continued when we purchased Charter, which had been providing service in Blissfield. We then began expanding to more areas that were interested in our services, including Morenci, Dundee, Hudson, Britton, Palmyra, Riga, Tecumseh, Adrian and Clinton.

Today, our main office in Petersburg is the hub of a 55-employee operation that provides fast, reliable phone, Internet and Cable TV service to more than 10,000 customers. We also have local offices in Adrian, Blissfield, Dundee and Tecumseh. But even though both we and our offices have grown, we’re still the friendly, locally owned company you’ve come to know — providing good service to our neighbors one person at a time!

Declutter Your Computer for Faster Web Surfing Category: Blog

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Has this ever happened to you? You have a fast Internet connection, your router is set up properly, and everything seems like it should be in order … but whenever you try to load a webpage, your computer seems to drag.

Slow browsing isn’t always caused by your Internet connection. Any number of things about your computer itself can contribute to it. If your computer is really lagging, you may want to hire an expert to clean it up, but here are five easy things you can check yourself.

Do you have too many tabs open? All modern browsers let you keep multiple windows open at a time, and multiple tabs inside every window. It can be a very handy way to work on several things at once without losing your place. But every tab you open requires memory, and if you have dozens of tabs open that you’re not using, it can slow your browser to a crawl. Keep an eye on how many browser tabs you have open, and close the ones you don’t need anymore.

Does your browser have too many extra toolbars and plugins? The top of your browser window should look pretty simple: the basic buttons (back, forward, reload, home, and maybe a few others) plus a spot to enter Web addresses and maybe a search box. But if you have a host of extra toolbars at the top of the window, you may be running some unwanted programs that can both slow down your browser and potentially invade your privacy. Free software downloads are a frequent culprit: often offering free downloads is a backdoor way for somebody to install add-ons to your browser. They may do something relatively innocuous, like sending you advertisements, or they can be more malicious. You may be able to disable unneeded toolbars yourself (look for “Settings” or “Preferences” in your browser menus), or you may want to have an expert do it for you.

Do you have too many applications open? Multitasking can be a great thing, but if you’re running a Web browser and a video player and iTunes and Microsoft Office, it may be too much for your computer to handle. Try closing applications you aren’t using and stick to just the ones you need to have open right now.

Do you have lots of unneeded system files? Here’s one simple way to free up disk space on a Windows computer. From your desktop, double-click on “My Computer.” Then right-click on your hard drive, which is usually just called “C:”. In the menu that opens, click on “Preferences.” You should see a pie chart that shows how much space you’re using and how much is available, with a “Disk Cleanup” button next to it. Windows will automatically search for and delete unneeded items, such as temporary files created by the system or copies of Web pages that your browser may store offline for faster loading. (Caution: Unless you really know what you’re doing, don’t delete any system files manually — it’s too easy to accidentally delete something your computer needs to function.)

Are your own files disorganized? Even something like having too many files on your desktop or in your Downloads folder can negatively affect your performance. If your desktop is full of icons, try organizing them into folders, and if your Downloads folder has hundreds or even thousands of items in it, go through the folder to figure out what you still need and delete everything else.

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