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Support Center: Technology

Gmail Gets a Makeover.

Gmail has updated its look. The modern design provides a cleaner, easier interface. Users can switch from the old look now, or they can wait for Google to do so for them. If you think you are ready for change, the option to “Switch to the new look” will appear in either the upper or lower right corner of your screen.

Here are six new features that we are excited about:

1. Mail and Contacts and Tasks Button

It’s a mouthful, but Google has decided to include all three of these features into a single pull-down button. With the old interface, they were easy to lose. The space made available by placing them in a pull-down menu has allowed them to stick out, dressed up in a big, red font.

Google+

Ready to get out of the gossip ridden, mini-game filled, and SPAM covered cluster that has become the norm in social networking sites? There’s a new network in town that could clean all that up for us, Google+.

As of yet, Facebook and MySpace have dominated the field of social networking, and while MySpace fades away, Facebook has become a super power in terms of users (750 million active accounts.) Just as it appeared that Facebook had acquired a monopoly on social networking, Google has released it’s take on the social network.  Google+ is the new social network on the block. Released in the last week of June, it is projected to already have over ten million users.

Alright, so maybe gossip will never leave the conversation, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could aim the gossip where it needed to hit? G+ took the idea of circles and forced it onto online networking. By keeping friends, close friends, work friends, family, extended family, acquaintances etc.  separated, you don’t have the problem of discussing private matters with everyone you’ve ever met.

Organizing between Friends, Family, and Acquaintances has never been easier. You can simply drag relevant contacts into the circle of your choice. When posting updates, photos,  or videos simply select one or more circle you want to share with.

Looking at your current online social network feed, how many notifications do you have concerning a mini-game? Odds are there are quite a few. And who are half these people? Google has focused social networking back to meaningful updates on your people’s lives.

While you were sifting through the mini-game queue, how many SPAM messages did you run into? If it looks anything like my page, quite a bit! Something handy about G+ is you have a handful of other online endeavors created by Google that hint at what you’re getting yourself into. For instance, look at Gmail, they’ve dominated the field with a minimalist style.  They’ve done this with their search engine, messenger, reader, news etc. and Google+ will be the next installment in a long list of successful online outlets.

Sounds like something you’d like to be a part of doesn’t it? Now all you need to do is get invited!

Tech Summer Camp

Introducing Tech Summer Camp
Our goal is to provide an opportunity for local businesses, like yourself, to come together and learn more about topics that interest you in a friendly, no-pressure, no-obligation atmosphere. Questions are encouraged, because we know technology can be a bit scary sometimes with all its changes. Save yourself time researching and take advantage of our expertise when we address the latest tech topics.

Domain renewal time…?

I just got a domain name renewal notice in the mail and thought to myself,  didn’t I purchase that domain for 5 years.  Crap, who is my registrar again?  Are you asking yourself these same questions?  Several of our customers have and after a bit of digging we realized the notice they received did not come from their true registrar.

A company by the name of Domain Registry of America has been sending out these types of suspicious notices for years. The notice is portrayed to be a friendly reminder that you’re domain name is about to expire but little do you know it’s a solicitation to get your business so don’t be fooled.

Here’s a sample of what the solicitation looks like.  Thanks Scrappybusiness.com!

Also, special thanks to Nick Stamoulis for writing “Domain Registry of America: Don’t be scammed!” a few years back warning us about this scam that still continues to this day. The full article can be found here http://www.searchengineoptimizationjournal.com/2008/03/18/domain-registry/

If you ever have questions about your domain please don’t hesitate to call us!

Domain Registry of America: Don’t be scammed!

I just received an interesting notice in the mail from Domain Registry of America. It was real easy for me to identify these schmucks as scam artists, but the average consumer may not find it so easy.

In the top right corner of the mailing are the words “Domain Name Expiration Notice.” Then, below that, there is an 800 number and a web address (www.droa.com). It’s an official looking letter and arrives in an official looking envelope and a return envelope, addressed but not postage paid. The letter begins, “As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification of the domain name registrations that are due to expire in the next few months.”

Some people may not know when their domains expire, but I do. I also know who my domain registrars are and I have no interest in switching. The letter continues:

When you switch today to the Domain Registry of America, you can take advantage of our best savings.

Then the letter tells me when my domain names expire – several months away. But they want me to “Act today!”

First, if I did switch my domain registration to Domain Registry of America, I wouldn’t be saving any money. I’d be losing money; and that’s probably the case with anyone.

I currently pay $10 per year for domain name registration, the going rate. Some web hosts include this fee in their packages. Others offer registration for less than $10. In any case, I’d never pay more than $10. Domain Registry of America wants to charge me $30.00 for one year or $50.00 for two years. And in bright red letters next to the $50.00 price tag are the words “save $10.” Hmmm … by my calculations I’d be losing $15. Nice scam they have going there.

There are probably people who would fall for this. But I’d caution my readers to stay away from these people. After doing a little more research (like a Google search), I discovered that I was not the only person to have been solicited by these people.

Blog.Forret appears in Google as the No. 3 result for the company’s name. The No. 2 listing is the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). On the FTC website, I read:

The Federal Trade Commission has requested that a federal district court enjoin Domain Registry of America, Inc., an Internet domain name re-seller, from making misrepresentations in the marketing of its domain name registration services and require it to pay redress to consumers.

That was 2003. Evidently, these guys have been around a long time. There are 58,400 results on the Google SERP for this company’s name inside quotes. Most of them are negative reactions to DROAs aggressive marketing tactics and its penchant for misrepresentation. The company’s response? Theythreatened to sue a blogger whose blog posts ranked highly for their company name.

Read rest of the article at:  http://www.searchengineoptimizationjournal.com/2008/03/18/domain-registry/

What’s going on with my internet connection?

  • Have you ever wondered what your internet traffic looks like?
  • Ever wonder if watching that movie or downloading those songs was killing your connection?

Well now you can see what’s going on with our new bandwidth tracking software.  Use the tools the Tranquility “Tech Guys” use to check out your connection.  It’s quick, easy and provides a snap shot of your internet traffic.  Below is a sample screen shot of what the software can share.

If you’d like access to this software please just give us a call and one of our “Tech Guys” will set it up for you.  Also, no need to worry about any extra charges for this service because it’s FREE!

Thunderbird has new wings!


Spread Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird released their 3rd version a few months ago and we had a chance to review the new features.  After several months of use we have come quite satisfied with them.  The two biggest are tabbed emails and advanced search.

The search feature is a little slow upon first use but that’s because it’s indexing all your mail.  After the indexing process has finished it becomes much faster and easier to find stuff!

If you want to give it a try simply click on the icon to your left to download it. Then if you need helping configuring your Tranquility settings please check out our new tutorial in support center.

Let’s get Google Fiber!

This is a long post. But this could be immeasurably important for Columbia, so I beg you to read it and take action.

If you haven’t heard yet, Google is planning an “experiment” in fiber broadband. They intend to pick one or more cities in the U.S. to deploy gigabit ethernet citywide. That is roughly 10 times as fast as Tranquility’s entire connection to the Internet…and they’re looking to bring that kind of bandwidth everywhere. Perhaps best of all, they want to make it an open-access, carrier-neutral network. That means Tranquility, Socket, and other providers will be able to offer service at these speeds…which adds up to competition and low prices.

I couldn’t overstate the impact this would have on Columbia if I tried. We simply have no idea what new applications and technologies this could engender. It would also instantly make Columbia an epicenter for data-intensive industry, dramatically improving our economy and jobs market. We should do everything in our power to bring this home.

The city government, in partnership with many interested parties, is working up an application as we speak; those who are watching the process tell me it’s unlike anything they’ve ever seen: interest groups that can’t ever get along on anything are working hand-in-glove, and we’re going to have a tip-top proposal. This is fantastic…but it only gets us halfway there. That’s where you come in.

PLEASE, go here: http://www.google.com/appserve/fiberrfi/public/options

…and click on “Nominate Your Community.” I know it’s kind of a long form, but most of the items are easy, and there’s a “don’t know” option for many of them. They just want to hear from normal people, so don’t worry if you aren’t a techie. Numbers are going to matter. If you are part of an organization and you feel comfortable speaking on their behalf, be sure to list them…but it’s just fine if you just speak as you.

Also, note that Columbia is an ideal city to meet Google’s goals. Feel free to note any of these reasons…but please don’t just cut/paste them; we don’t want to look like we’re astroturfing.

1)They say they want between 50,000 and 500,000 people. We’re right on target there.
2)We’ve got lots of colleges and universities, including some world-class research facilities.
3)Our demographics are good, with high education and quite a bit of technical industry.
4)We’re a major life-sciences hub; life-sciences is one of the most data-intensive fields there is.
5)Our population density and geography should be a good microcosm for suburbia nationwide.
6)Our current broadband availability is below average in performance and above average in cost.
7)We’re on the I-70 corridor, one of the nation’s major fiber backbones.
8)There are at least two live proposals for large data centers in town that just need the right anchor client.
9)We have a rich history of network development, including stars like Datastorm Technologies (old-school geeks will remember Procomm Plus, one of the biggest early networking programs…it came right out of Columbia, MO)
10)Our cost of living is low, which will be good for the Google employees who come to live here.

Anyway, this is just off the top of my head; I’m sure if you think about it you can come up with tons more reasons Columbia is a great place for Google to set up shop. So have fun, and make our case. Even if you aren’t interested in this stuff, I beg you….at least just spend 5 minutes and send the form off. If we really get this, it’ll be huge for everyone…even people who don’t use computers.

Also, if you don’t mind, I would really appreciate it if you sent a link to this page ( http://www.tranquility.net/2010/02/lets-get-google-fiber/ ) to everyone you know who lives in Columbia. This competition is going to be fierce; everybody’s going to want in on this. If we expect to be chosen, we’ll need to work for it.

If you’re still here, thanks for reading all this. I know it was long…but it’ll be worth it.

Let’s get out there and do it!

Hunter Cook
Data Center Manager
Tranquility Internet Services

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