D & P BLOG

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.

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.

Behind the Scenes of our Residential Help Desk Category: Blog

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One of the advantages of getting your phone, cable or Internet service from a local company is when you need to call tech support, you’re talking to someone who actually lives in your area and knows the neighborhoods they service. But who are the people on the other end of the line? To give you a peek behind the scenes of D & P Communications’ residential help desk, we asked one of our technicians, Ben Joanisse, to tell us about his job and what a typical day on the help desk entails.

To start with, our residential help desk operators are distributed in our 5 office locations — Petersburg, Adrian, Blissfield, Dundee and Tecumseh — and they work in shifts to allow them to cover a large number of hours. Ben works at our Blissfield office, and a typical day for him involves “a little bit of everything.”

D & P provides a complete range of telecommunications services, so help desk technicians need to be well-versed in telephone and cable TV systems in addition to a wide variety of ways to access the Internet, including fiber, DSL and fixed wireless, which may be used by customers in more remote areas.

But the help desk doesn’t just deal with our own services. For example, Ben recently spent a few days dealing with some problems customers were experiencing when they tried to make international calls. The problem didn’t have anything to do with our local service, but it took our help desk’s expertise to figure out where along the entire network the problem was cropping up, and to reach out to the right people to fix it.

Our help desk technicians also help customers troubleshoot their own equipment. If you’ve purchased a new wireless router and need help configuring it, or even if you just accidentally switched the input on your TV, Ben or one of his colleagues can walk you through it.

Working on a help desk takes a particular set of skills. There’s the technical ability, of course: Ben, for instance, earned his associate’s degree in networking. But beyond that, help desk technicians need to be both patient and very good at description, whether it’s talking a customer through how to fix a problem with their equipment or knowing how to ask the right questions to pinpoint the exact issue.

And for the technicians who work the help desk, every call brings something different.

“I learn something new every day,” Ben says.

To speak to a help desk technician, please call 888-221-2277, email servicedesk@d-pcomm.com, or visit www.d-pcommunications.com and click on the “How Can We Help?” box in the lower right corner of your screen to chat with a help desk technician live.

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