Webmaster's Thoughts

"Keeping Your Online Telephone Bill to a Minimum"

This past week I received a cry for help from a "PC" friend who had just received a $359.00 telephone bill... Yes that's right, her telephone bill was actually $359.00... Most all of the bill was incurred by her browser dialing to the Internet using long distant numbers even though her browser shows her set to connect with local numbers. We still are trying to find out what caused her to connect via the long distant numbers.

We contacted AT&T, the long distant carrier, to see if there was any way for the bill to be reduced. AT&T stated the service was used and the bill will have to be paid.... The sad part of all of this is that when checking with AT&T, we discovered that another bill due out within the week is over $200.00..... What a hard lesson this is for someone who only wanted to enjoy the experience of getting email and surfing the internet...

We did contact the Internet Service Provider my friend is using and they have agreed to refund one half of the original online bill in what they call a "One Time Good Will Gesture". I guess one half is better than nothing but even with that amount refunded the bill is still an enormous one.

My friend did not set up her computer for online service herself, another close friend did so. Currently this friend is on vacation. Can you imagine how she will feel when she gets back and finds out what has happened.... I admit this is an extreme example but it does show the need to be very sure of what you are doing when installing and setting up an email or a browser program...

The above story only points out the importance of verifying the numbers you are dialing to connect to the Internet are within your local dialing area... With our Macintoshes this is an easy thing to do... Mac OS uses a control panel called Remote Access in later versions and PPP in earlier versions that lets you actually see the number you are connecting with as the connection is made.

In fact Remote access even keeps a log of recent past connections. This log can be found by going to the Remote Access Control Panel and selecting 'Activity Log' under Remote Access on the menu bar. Checking this log periodically will keep you from incurring any expensive long distance charges.

In our Antelope Valley Area we have numerous local Internet Service Provider ready to help you set up your computer for the Internet and they are close at hand to help should any problems occur with your connections.. If you are just signing up for the Internet for the first time , talk to folks you know that are already Internet connected.

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