2021 PMT Employee of the Year Announced & Other Awards

Jose Alonzo was announced as Employee of the Year for 2021 at PMT’s Annual Awards Banquet. Jose has been with PMT for six years. Jose began his career at PMT as an Installation and Repair Technician, working with primarily residential customers.  He then transitioned to his current role as an Advanced Service Technician.

As an Advanced Service Technician, Jose focuses on providing communications services to businesses.  This includes installing and supporting business-class Internet, phone service, phone systems, cable TV, networking, alarm systems, and more.

“Jose is an asset to not only PMT but all the business customers he serves.  This past year, he has spent a considerable amount of time being trained and certified to stay up-to-date on the latest phone systems and cloud services.  Jose does an outstanding job, all with a smile,” states Matt Lyman, PMT Outside Plant Manager.

Jose and his wife, Denys, live in Rupert and are busy raising their family.  When not a work, Jose enjoys wrestling, boxing, and spending time with his family.

Congratulations Jose!  Thanks for your dedication and keep up the great work!

 Other highlights from the Awards Party include Kimberly Garcia receiving the President’s Award, and many employees recognized for excellent performance by their managers.

The following employees were also recognized for milestone service anniversaries:

  • Leonard Nelmida – 5 years of service
  • Kamy Fuller – 10 years of service
  • Katrina Black – 10 years of service
  • Aaron Draper – 20 years of service
  • Kaylene Uscola – 20 years of service
  • Teresa Allen – 20 years of service
  • Lesa Rabe – 30 years of service

 

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Cleaning Your Devices – Inside and Out

Spring is just around the corner, and you know what that means. It’s time for spring cleaning! When we think of spring cleaning, we typically think about dusting, vacuuming, mopping, and generally turning our homes inside out. But with the amount that we use our electronics, they could use a thorough scrub. So today, we’re going to talk about how you can spring clean your devices, both inside and out.

Exterior Device Cleaning

When cleaning, stay away from abrasive materials such as paper and fabric towels. To wipe your electronics, go with a soft, lint-free cloth, like those used to clean eyeglasses.

Do not use liquids to clean your devices unless explicitly stated in the care manual. That includes water and liquid cleaners like bleach and other corrosive fluids. Getting liquid in any of your devices’ openings can cause damage, especially to the speakers, headphone jack, or charging port. It’s also best to avoid aerosol sprays like Lysol air freshener – however, aerosol air compressors, or ‘air in a can’ can be an effective way to clear the dust out of your devices’ nooks and crannies.

If you need to use a gentle cleaner—ideally one formulated for use on electronics—do not spray it directly onto your device. Spray the cleanser onto your soft cloth, and then gently wipe the device. When you clean, be sure to disconnect all wires, cables, and external power sources to your device.

If you feel the need to disinfect your phone or laptop, it is acceptable to use a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or a Clorox Disinfecting Wipe to clean the non-porous exterior surfaces of your device

Interior Device Cleaning

Scrubbing the inside of your devices is a little more complicated than merely spritzing and wiping. Before you begin clearing out your desktop, start by backing up your data. You can back up everything or pick and choose what you want to keep. Depending on your preferences, you can then export your data to the cloud or save it to an external hard drive.

Once everything is secure and backed up, you can start organizing and decluttering. Even if you accidentally delete something you still need, you can rest easy knowing that all your data is saved elsewhere. Having an overcrowded desktop can cause your computer to run slowly, so it’s a good practice to keep everything neat and tidy. The same goes for your email. Go through your emails regularly, delete what you don’t need, and organize the rest into files and subfiles.

Many devices run apps in the background, even if you don’t use them. You may not even notice this is happening, but it can cause your device to run slower. Learn how to prevent infrequently used apps from starting up when you use your device, and for even more efficiency, disable those that you don’t use.

Your cleaning efforts, plus fast and reliable internet from PMT, will keep your devices running more quickly and smoothly. As always, PMT Tech Force is just a phone call away if you need any technical assistance with your devices.

Business Spotlight: Wickel Tire Pros

 

In 2018, father and son, Ardel and Jesse Wickel, decided they needed to diversify the family farm and bought a tire store. Fast forward to today, and the side business that the duo purchased has exploded in growth.

 

Wickel Tire Pros, which started with four employees, now has 35 employees and 20 service trucks. The business recently moved to a newly remodeled 23,000-square-foot building at 539 Overland Ave in Burley.

 

The Wickels’ attribute much of their growth to the trust they’ve built with their customers. “From the beginning, I’ve always told my crew that I don’t want to be the biggest tire store. I want to be the best. I want to do the best job for our customers and provide the best quality,” states Jesse Wickel.

 

Wickel and his crew always think of what works best and is safest for their customers. They test tires on their own vehicles to know what works in our unique area and give personalized recommendations. Coming from a farming background, the Wickels’ know how vital prompt service is to their customers and will answer a call in the middle of the night to get a farmer back up and running as quickly as possible.

 

In addition to the sale, installation, and repair of tires, Wickel also offers complete under- car services such as oil changes, brakes, shocks, struts, alignment, and transmission work.

When Wickel Tire Pros started remodeling its new location, they asked PMT for a complete communications package including design, installation, and maintenance. PMT provides local and long-distance calling, as well as a phone system that seamlessly connects to the on-call technician after hours. PMT also out- fitted the business with an Internet circuit strong enough to run all the diagnostic machines, office computers, and Wi-Fi for customers. Cable TV service is available for customers in the waiting room. For peace of mind, PMT installed 32 security cameras so vehicles are monitored at all times.

 

Since all of these services are under one contract, the business can count on PMT to resolve any technical issues, day or night, at no additional cost. “Our managed services let Wickel Tire Pros focus on what it’s good at and leave the IT portion to PMT. If a printer stops working or a camera goes down, PMT will be there to fix it,” states Bryan Beckstead, PMT Account Executive.

 

PMT is excited to see the growth of Wickel Tire Pros and is grateful the Wickels’ trust us to help them connect with and serve their customers.

Keeping Your Smart Home Private

Smart home devices can make your life easier, but at what cost to your personal privacy?

 

The Internet of Things (IoT) has ushered in modern conveniences we love. Over the years, we’ve embraced their capabilities and eagerly anticipated the next new thing. We can control our home comfort systems, monitor our front door, turn lighting on and off, preheat the oven, and open the garage door – all from our mobile devices.

 

In an age when we’re all looking for ways to manage our time better, smart home gadgets deliver the goods. We know the benefits; we love the convenience. But are we sacrificing privacy for the privilege?

 

You occasionally see news stories about hackers gaining access to your network via smart home devices. While these issues were more prevalent in the early days of consumer IoT, they’re not unheard of now.

 

The good news is that it’s easy to shore up your defenses, as most malicious players gained entry through devices that weren’t password-protected. Devices that come with a factory password that can’t be reset are just as dangerous. Once a hacker knows that factory password, they could potentially take control of an infinite number of devices for their own purposes.

 

The fix is quite simple:

  1. Don’t purchase smart devices with unchangeable passwords or no password protection.
  2. Be sure to set your device up properly and choose a strong password before you start using it.

 

Today, most smart home devices require a unique login and password combination, and some even use biometric data, like facial scans, fingerprints, or two-factor authentication. If you purchase from a reputable brand, you shouldn’t have this problem.

 

Another issue with smart home devices, especially those that can you control with voice commands, is that they are always listening. You might have read a story a while back about a couple whose private conversation was sent to somebody in their contact list simply because the virtual assistant thought it heard the command to “send message.”

 

While the issue was likely more annoying and embarrassing than anything, it’s still a concern. You should also be aware of who your smart device data is shared with, so be sure to read the fine print on your customer agreement before you click “agree.” Most of the data collected is used for marketing purposes, and that tends to be a bit creepy. Imagine you’re talking about a product to a friend and suddenly ads for that product start showing up in your feed.

 

Most devices give you the option of muting the microphone. You can also set up your device to only take voice commands when manually activated, such as through your smartphone app or when you press a button on the device itself. Be sure to read the user manuals to find out how best to set up your device for your preferences.

 

The bottom line is if you’re thinking about getting a new smart home device but are concerned about privacy, a little research before you buy always pays off. As a general rule, you should always stick to reputable, established companies because they won’t risk their reputation by taking shortcuts. Be sure you can set up your own password – and make sure you do it before you start using it. A few simple steps and a bit of forethought go a long way to ensuring your safety.

 

Now that you know how to keep your smart home secure, make sure you have fast and reliable Internet from PMT to keep all of those devices connected!

 

Why Managed Wi-Fi May Be Right For You

If you’re like most people these days, you’ve got a lot going on. Whether it’s students learning from home, adults working from home, or some combination of both, we know the last thing you want to worry about is which device is going to connect in which room. That’s why PMT offers MiHome, a managed WiFi solution that will provide your devices with reliable and continuous coverage throughout your house.

 

The term “managed WiFi” is really just another way to say: “We’ve got you covered.” From network set-up and equipment, to ongoing monitoring and service, MiHome will ensure your home WiFi network works exactly how and where you need it, with no special equipment purchases or maintenance on your part.

 

The advantages of a managed WiFi network include:

 

Better CoverageMiHome from PMT means you’ll get the best carrier grade equipment available, rather than the consumer grade equipment available on the shelves of your local electronics store. This especially makes a difference when it comes to whole-home coverage – having the right mesh extenders is crucial to effectively covering every room in your house.

 

Better Support – from the beginning, our trained technicians will ensure that your router is set up correctly and your mesh extenders are optimally placed to push WiFi signals into every corner of your home – or even your outdoor living spaces. Then, on an ongoing basis, that same equipment will give our tech support the visibility and data they need to troubleshoot any issues you’re having with your network, and get you back up and connected.

 

More Control and Security – our managed WiFi network makes it easier to keep your home network secure from hackers or nosy neighbors, and provides you with best-in-class parental controls to keep your children safe online.

 

Are you ready for the ultimate WiFi experience in your house? Turn it over to PMT, because we’ve got you covered. Learn more about MiHome and get connected today.  Contact us today!

Disposing of Old Devices Safely

Now that you’ve gotten those fun new electronic gadgets for Christmas, you’ll need to dispose of your old ones. You can’t just toss them in the garbage and start fresh with the latest iPhone since they’re full of your photos, emails, banking information, and other important information.

Luckily, you can safely get rid of your old cell phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer, then start enjoying those new devices with Internet from PMT.

Back It Up

The first step is to back up your information. Backing up your data regularly — even when you’re not getting rid of your device — is a good habit to get into. Whether it’s music you’ve downloaded, documents you’ve typed, or pics you’ve snapped, backing up is a form of insurance in case your device ever crashes or gets hacked.

When discarding an old device, think about what you want to keep. Some people back up everything and sort through it later, and there’s nothing wrong with that! But if you’ve owned your device for a while, backing up every single file might be a lengthy endeavor. You might prefer to pick and choose what you save.

Either way, you have three options for backing up your device. Data migration is a techy-sounding term for when data gets moved from one location to another. In this case, we’re talking specifically about storage migration, when information is changing storage mediums.

 

Device to Device – Some devices, like desktop computers, will allow you to transfer data between devices. Using Migration Assistant for either Mac and Windows, you can even transfer between the two different systems – although the process can be a little tricky for the less tech-savvy.

 

External Storage – In this case, your external storage device will be the middleman. You start by transferring all your data to a separate device. Depending on how much data you have, your drive could be as small as a USB flash drive or as big as an external hard drive.

 

The Cloud – The cloud is the current favorite for data migration because it’s super easy and doesn’t require any extra hardware. This transfers all your data to the cloud via the Internet. Once complete, your files can be accessed from any device. It’s fast, simple, and secure, making it the optimal choice for data migration beginners.

 

Do a Final Cleanup

Before you toss your old device, be sure to log out of all your websites, wipe any saved passwords, and unpair your devices. Finally, erase the computer’s hard drive. You’re washing your digital fingerprint from the device and protecting yourself in the process. Most computers and mobile devices can be restored to factory settings through built-in utilities.

 

Toss It Without Hurting the Environment

Because empty devices are filled with electronic components and substances like lead, mercury, and cadmium, they’re hazardous material and shouldn’t go into a landfill. Take it to your local hazardous and electronic waste depot. If it still has some life in it, consider donating it to someone else who might enjoy it!

Now you’re set to enjoy your new gadgets! If you have any questions along the way or would like some additional help, PMT Tech Force is standing by. Don’t forget you’ll need great Internet and superior Wi-Fi coverage to get the most out of your new devices.  Contact us today

 

PMT Pays Customers $226,839 in Dividends

 

PMT is proud to announce that $226,839 was approved by the Board of Directors to be paid out to the cooperative’s members. Project Mutual Telephone Inc. is a non-profit cooperative that pays dividends back to customers based on the Board’s discretion in regard to their annual net revenue. PMT is the only communications company in the area that pays its customers back. Over the last ten years, PMT has returned over 3.5 million dollars to its members. The more services used by each member, the larger their patronage check. This year’s dividend payment will be issued in December and represents a portion of patronage earned in 1996 and 2019.

 

“We are grateful for our member customers and their support. Without our members, we do not exist,” states PMT Board Chairman Dan Lloyd. “We are proud to be able to return this money to our customers. When we’re successful, our customers enjoy the rewards.”

 

Checks will be mailed the first of December. For those members receiving dividends in the amount of ten dollars or less, the credit will be applied to their December bill.

 

Where to Stream Christmas Favorites

It’s time to grab some hot chocolate and start the Christmas movie season!  And as long you have fast and reliable internet from PMT, you’ll have no problem streaming these holiday films on the device of your choice.

Whether you’re in the mood for a heartwarming tale, a yuletide comedy, or a festive fright (we’re looking at you, Gremlins), the list below will have you covered.

 

Classics

It’s a Wonderful Life – What can you say about this Capra classic, other than it’s hard to imagine Christmas without it. Streaming On: Hulu (Premium)

Miracle on 34th Street – This Academy-Award winning film can make even the most skeptical believe in the magic of Christmas. Streaming On: Disney+

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – Okay, technically it’s a TV special rather than a movie, but it’s just not the holidays without Rudolph, Hermey and Yukon Cornelius. Streaming On: AppleTV (Paid)

White Christmas – Combine the music of Irving Berlin with legendary entertainers like Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney, and you have the epitome of a feel-good Christmas movie. Streaming On: Netflix

 

Modern Classics

A Christmas Story – From the importance of BB gun safety to the dangers of licking a frozen flagpole, this movie is full of iconic scenes. Streaming On: Hulu (Premium)

Scrooged – Bill Murray plays the ultimate scrooge that needs to be reminded what Christmas is all about; luckily there are several ghosts more than happy to lend a hand. Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video or YouTubeTV (Paid)

Christmas Vacation – The holidays aren’t the same without spending a few hours with Clark Griswold on his hapless pursuit of the perfect family Christmas. Streaming On: Amazon Prime (Paid)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Jim Carrey, along with a few hundred pounds of make-up and prosthetics, brings the Dr. Seuss classic to life. Streaming On: Netflix

The Santa Clause – Tim Allen learns that being Santa Clause is not quite as easy as delivering presents once a year and eating lots of cookies. Streaming On: Disney+

Elf – The movie that Will Ferrell worried might end his career has become one of the most popular and endearing Christmas comedies of all time. Streaming On: Hulu (Premium)

The Polar Express – Based on the book by the same name, this beautifully animated movie is great for all ages. Streaming On: fuboTV (Premium)

The Muppet Christmas Carol – Sure, there plenty of variations of this is classic Dickens tale to choose from, but this is the only one with the unique charm that only the Muppets can provide. Streaming On: Disney+

 

(Kind of) Christmas Movies

Love Actually – The perfect Christmas-themed date movie featuring the iconic song you are sure to hear several hundred times in December. Streaming On: Amazon Prime (Paid)

Die Hard – It’s classification as a Christmas movie is a popular online debate topic, but this classic Bruce Willis action movie does feature the most action-packed office Christmas party of all time. Streaming On: HBO Max

Home Alone – Macauley Culkin battles to keep a couple of bumbling thieves from stealing his Christmas. Streaming On: Disney+

Gremlins – The ultimate cautionary tale about buying your children strange and exotic pets for Christmas. Streaming On: fuboTV (Premium)

Budget-Friendly Smart Kitchen Devices for Holiday Cooking

 

Whether you’re preparing Thanksgiving dinner or baking Christmas goodies, these budget-friendly smart devices, paired with fast and reliable internet from PMT, will save you time and up your game in the kitchen this year.

 

Drop Scale

To say that the Drop Scale is more than a traditional kitchen scale is a serious understatement. Once connected to your WiFi, this scale can keep you all of your recipes on track. For instance, let’s say a recipe calls for more than you have flour left in the pantry. You simply pour what you have into a bowl on the scale, and it will recalculate all of the other amounts in the recipe for you. Or, maybe you’d like to swap out one ingredient for another. Drop Scale will tell you exactly how much of that new ingredient you should use to balance out your recipe.

 

iDevices Kitchen Thermometer

Tired of constantly having to drop everything to look at the meat thermometer in the oven? Or, having to buy an extra thermometer to monitor two things at once? This smart thermometer from iDevices solves both of these problems by connecting to an app on your phone. With it, you can track two temperatures at once on your smartphone via an app and set up alerts for when your target temperature is reached. That way you are free to work on your other holiday meal dishes or entertain your guests.

 

June Oven

The June Oven is not exactly on the inexpensive side at $700, but for everything it can do, you may want to make the investment. In addition to being a countertop oven, this smart appliance is also an air fryer, slow cooker, toaster, and broiler. It also has a built-in HD camera that can recognize various ingredients and prompt you with suggested cooking programs. And when connected to WiFi, you can use an app to monitor your food with the camera and make any necessary adjustments to the settings from anywhere.

 

Hamilton Beach Smart Coffee Maker

By the time December gets here, let’s face it, you’re going to need all of the coffee you can get. This connected coffee maker can stay one step ahead of your caffeine needs thanks to its advanced scheduling features. And if you find yourself in need of a “pick-me-up” while you’re knee-deep in wrapping paper? No problem. The Hamilton Beach coffee maker integrates with your WiFi-enabled Alexa to make it completely voice-controlled. You can even control the strength of the brew!

 

Let these smart kitchen devices, and fast and reliable WiFi from PMT keep you on track this holiday season.

 

 

Business Spotlight: Minidoka Memorial Hospital

 

The community of Rupert was developed as a result of the Minidoka Project, which was created under the Reclamation Act of l902. This act, signed by Teddy Roosevelt, made it possible to irrigate and “reclaim” desert ground for agricultural purposes.

 

The Minidoka Project began in l904 and consisted of the construction of Minidoka Dam and associated canals northeast of Rupert in Minidoka County. As the town grew, the need for healthcare increased, and a physician named Dr. Frazier saw the need in Rupert and proceeded to build a hospital. Dr. Frazier did all the work himself, and the Hospital was completed in 1926. The Hospital was known as Rupert General Hospital and was located on what is now the corner of 6th and G Street – and is owned and used as office space by PMT today.

Dr. Frazier owned and operated the Hospital until 1928. After that, the Hospital exchanged ownership several times until Minidoka County built Minidoka Memorial Hospital (MMH) to retain physicians and patients. MMH opened its doors in 1960.

 

MMH is the joint operation of Minidoka County’s only Hospital and Nursing Home located in Rupert, Idaho. Services offered include surgery, inpatient and outpatient treatments, Long-Term Care, Home Health, ambulance, and occupational health. The Hospital employs over 380 people, making it one of the county’s largest employers.

 

MMH’s goal is to make it easier for residents of Minidoka County to get quality care without having to travel out-of-town. Over the past 10 years they have added several specialists to their team, including an ENT, Internists, Orthopedic Surgeons, and a Neuro Surgeon – quite an accomplishment for the size and population on Minidoka County.

MMH has also been collecting awards. They are the recent recipients of the Nationally recognized Verdantix Innovation Award for their Quality Program using state-of-the-art software technology.

 

Since the Hospital opened its doors in 1960, PMT has been providing phone service to MMH. As the Hospital grew and technology progressed, PMT has continued to be MMH’s communications provider of choice for phone and internet service. PMT has connected multiple buildings owned by the Hospital with fiber optics and upgraded their phone system, so all the phones on the campus are connected seamlessly. With more medical devices reliant on internet service and conducting general business, “Minidoka Memorial’s relationship with PMT is vital to the successful treatment of our patients. More and more of the equipment and technology that we use is reliant on the fiber connection that is provided by PMT, from our Electronic Medical Record to the transfer of digital images and everything in-between. Our patients are the beneficiaries of the services PMT provides.” Jason Gibbons, Chief Financial Officer, Minidoka Memorial Hospital.

PMT values the relationship we have built with MMH over the last six decades and looks forward to their continued success and growth as they care for the residents of Minidoka and the surrounding counties.

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