ImOn Celebrates National Volunteer Month

National Volunteer WeekIn honor of National Volunteer Week, Jennifer Hildreth, Marketing & PR Coordinator at ImOn Communications, shares a little about ImOn’s view on volunteerism and how they engage their employees.

Why is volunteering important to ImOn Communications?
As a local company, ImOn Communications prides itself in being part of the Cedar Rapids community. Our belief is that local isn’t just an address. We don’t just work here; we live here, too. Whether we’re installing internet service or putting a fresh coat of paint on a neighborhood residence in need, we dedicate ourselves to making Cedar Rapids a great place to live and work.

Overview of ImOn’s employee volunteer program.ImOn Communications employees participating in Bowl for Kids' Sake 2017
Connecting with communities we serve is one of ImOn’s core values. We demonstrate this through actively giving back to local schools, cultural organizations, service groups, and nonprofits through donations of time and resources. In 2016 alone, ImOn sponsored or participated in more than 130 local community events and organizations.
ImOn Communications Employees participating in Day of CaringOne of the organizations we donate time to is Horizons’ Meals on Wheels program. Each month, ImOn employees deliver meals to local seniors, this equates to more than 1,000 meals each year. Employees at ImOn also participate in the annual United Way campaign and United Way Day of Caring. In addition, ImOn also contributes to the Eastern Iowa Freedom from Hunger Food Drive, and in 2016, donated 49,211 items — the most in overall donations from the 50 participating companies. To help encourage volunteering, ImOn offers employees up to 24 hours of paid volunteer time off.

What benefits has ImOn seen in engaging employees in volunteering?
Employee volunteering is important to ImOn. Our employees participate or volunteer in more than 70 local nonprofit organizations each year. We feel volunteering not only boosts employee morale and engagement, but it also allows individuals to share their interests with coworkers and develop their skills. Employee volunteering can also be a great team building activity.

 

Causes for Slow Internet Connections

Shocked and surprised boy on the Internet with laptop computerIf you are experiencing a slow Internet connection and download speeds, there may be many reasons for this. Here are a couple of things to consider:

Your Computer: The age and overall performance of your computer may be a factor. Also be aware that malware, spyware, and viruses can slow your computer down. Make sure you have some kind of software on your computer to protect yourself from these threats. ImOn TechHome is a desktop security software that can provide essential protection for your computer.

Wireless Routers: If you are utilizing a wireless router to create a Wi-Fi network within your home the quality and performance of the router may also be affecting your Internet speeds and connections. Be sure your wireless network is locked down so you are not sharing your connection with neighbors who are unauthorized and using your network without your permission. Click here for more information about locking down your router. While Wi-Fi may feel like the future, wired network connections still have a lot of advantages. If you want a more reliable connection with faster speed and no interference problems, a wired network connection is still the most reliable option out there. If you want the convenience of having a Wi-Fi connection here are a few tips for boosting your Wi-Fi signal.

Placement of Modem and Router: Where you put your modem and router can also greatly affect the strength of your signal and coverage area. Modems and routers placed on top of your PC tower, near an electrical outlet, or next to wires (including networking, telephone line and cable lines) can cause the speed of your Internet connection to be slow. This is due to interference from the other devices. You can also experience interference from other wireless networks in the area and some household appliances like cordless phones, baby monitors, and microwaves.

Hand holding a bundle of Ethernet cablesNumber of Connections: The number of individuals in your area using the Internet at the same time as you can also affect your Internet speed. If you have multiple computers or devices (game systems, cell phones, tablets, etc.) accessing the Internet at the same time, this can cause speed issues as the bandwidth is shared between those devices. Also, the day or time of day can also affects the overall speed of the Internet. Times when people are at home, e.g. home from work or school (after 3 PM) or weekends (Saturday and Sunday), are often slower times. Sites like Internet Traffic Report reports the flow of data around the world. This site can give you a rough idea of busy times.

Internet Speed: First off, when we refer to Internet speed we are talking about bandwidth, or the amount of data that can be transferred over an Internet connection per second. For example, with a 30Mb Internet speed you can download up to 30Mb of data per second. It is important to know that bandwidth is a finite number for each Internet connection. When several people or devices are using a single Internet connection, the bandwidth is shared among them. That means lower bandwidth is being assigned to each device, resulting in slower Internet speed on each device. The more people, laptops, tablets, game consoles, and smartphones you have in your household, the higher the Internet speed and bandwidth you will need. At ImOn, we provide an easy way to help you figure out what Internet speed is right for the needs of your family. Just CLICK HERE to go to the new ImOn Speed Analyzer. Then answer 4 easy questions about your Internet habits and usage. Then the ImOn Speed Analyzer will recommend the best Internet speed for your needs. That way you get the Internet speed you need based on the number of people and devices you have in your home. But aren’t paying for something you don’t need or won’t use.

The Website you are visiting: The composition of the website you are visiting, including text, images, and videos, makes a difference on how fast your Internet speed appears to be. A website composed of mainly text loads faster than a website, such as YouTube, which is mostly pictures and movies. You may also have too many programs, games, or windows running on your computer at one time, which will slow down your computer and Internet speed.

Protecting Your Electronics From Lightning

Purple Thunderstorm Weather Thunder Storm VioletAccording to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, the United States experiences 22 million lightning strikes each year. Each lightning bolt can carry millions of volts of electricity. To put that into perspective, most home wiring delivers electricity at 120 volts. With all that power, lightning is responsible for several billions of dollars in property damage each year. This is damage to buildings, communication systems, power lines, and electrical equipment. But there are a few steps you can take to help protect your electronics from lightning strikes.

Get a Surge Protector:
First off, it is important to know that power strips and surge protectors are two different things. Power strips are just multi-outlet products meant as an extension to a wall outlet. While some of these do come with some sort of circuit breaker in them, they don’t offer any more protection from power surges than plugging something directly into the wall outlet.

A surge protector, on the other hand, acts like a shield, blocking excess power form reaching your electronics and offering some level of protection against power spikes. But how much protection depends on what kind of surge protector you have. Below are a few things to consider when shopping for surge protectors from Lifehacker.com and cnet.com.
What to look for in a surge protector:

  • Joule Rating or Absorption Rate: Surge protectors offer protection in amounts called joules. The joule rating on a surge protector tells you how much electricity the surge protector can absorb over time before it fails. Think of this like a reservoir of protections. If a product has 1000 joules of protection, it can take ten 100 joule hits, or one 1000 joule hit. For this reason, the higher the number the better. The Home Depot recommends getting a surge protector with a joule rating over 600 for normal household use.
  • Response Time: Surge protectors don’t kick in immediately. The response time is the length of time, or delay, it takes for the surge protector to respond to a power surge. You want the fastest possible time for the best protection. Look for surge protectors that responds in less than one nanosecond.
  • Clamping Voltage: The clamping voltage is the voltage needed to trigger the surge protector. Or essentially, when the surge protector wakes up and starts absorbing energy to help protect your electronics. The lower the clamp voltage the better and it is recommended to not get a clamping voltage over 400 V.
  • UL Seal: Make sure that the surge protector you are planning to buy is certified by Underwriter’s Laboratories. Underwriter’s Laboratories is the leading product safety testing and certification organization. It will guarantee that the surge protector you buy will actually protect the equipment you plug into it.
  • Wear-Out Warning: Try to look for a surge protector with some kind of light or alarm that will let you know when the surge protector is not working. It’s not always obvious when a surge protector stops working. That’s because many surge protectors will continue to provide electricity to connected devices even when the surge protection capabilities are destroyed. Without an indicator light or alarm, you have no way of knowing if your protector is still functioning properly.
  • Number and Type of Outlets Available: Electrical/power surges are not limited to electrical lines and electrical outlets. They can travel along any wire. So you may want to look for a surge protector that protects different types of wiring like cable lines, phone cords, and Ethernet cables. Some surge protectors even include a USB port to help protect your phones and tablets while charging. Also, think about the things you are going to plug into your surge protector before you buy. Make sure there are enough outlets and that they are spaced far enough apart to allow you to connect plugs with bulky built-in transformers.


Unplug your Devices:
The safest way to protect your devices from power surges is to unplug them before a thunderstorm or when they are not in use. Unfortunately, this may not always be possible.

Backup Your Data:
While we recommend backing up your files regularly in case of computer crashes or viruses, it could turn into a life saver if your computer or mobile device does get fried by lightning. It would just add insult to injury because not only would you lose your computer you would also lose all your photos, movies, and important documents. One option is to use ImOn TechHome to keep your important memories and files safe.

Tree Trimming:
High winds can cause trees and branches to fall on your home or on electrical wires. Be sure to remove diseased or damaged limbs so they’re gone before the next storm. While pruning can be done anytime, it is always good to avoid hot, dry periods and extreme winter cold. If tree branches do fall on power lines, make sure to stay away from the lines and contact your local utility company. If branches fall on your ImOn cable lines, contact ImOn Customer Care to schedule a time for an ImOn Service Technician to come out and fix the issue after power is restored.

Check Your Insurance:
Even if you take all the precautionary steps possible, lightning may still damage some of your property or electronics. Check your homeowners or renters insurance plans to make sure they cover damage to your home and electronics caused by lighting.

Cable Confusions!

If you’re like most people, the back of your entertainment center is probably a mess of wires. But, why do you need so many wires connected to your TV and what exactly do they all do?  Here is a quick reference to help explain some of the most common cables you may have and what they are used for. And if you are sick of all the messy cables, we have also thrown in a couple tips to help you organize them.

Coaxial Cable
Coaxial Cable ImageCoaxial Cable is a copper-based cable used primarily for audio and video purposes.  It is commonly used to connect your TV to a cable TV service/provider, like ImOn.  In fact, you probably have at least one coaxial cable wall outlet in almost every room of your home. Besides bringing you your ImOn cable TV service, coaxial cable can also be used with other receivers, cable boxes, antennas, and modems.

Component CablesComponent Cable Image
If you have an older HDTV or an SDTV you probably use component cables to connect your DVD player or gaming console to your TV. Component cables are a set of three cables usually colored red, yellow, and white. The yellow cable provides the TV picture while the red and white cables provide the audio. While component cables do provide high-performance video connection from HDTVs to DVD players and game consoles, they are still digital-to analog conversions that can degrade the quality. They have been replaced by HDMI cables as the preferred connection method for high-definition video.

HDMI Cables
HDMI Cable ImageHDMI Cables stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface cables and are the new standard in providing both audio and video transmission for high definition televisions.  A single HDMI cable will provide both HD picture and sound and can be used for connecting Blue-Ray players, HD-capable digital cable boxes, computers, and over-the-top media players to your HDTV.  The HD video and audio content is transmitted digitally through the HDMI cable which means there is little to no signal degradation, even over long distances. For more on HDMI cables and their uses visit https://www.techwalla.com/articles/what-is-an-hdmi-cable-used-for

Digital Optical Audio CablesDigital Audio Cable Image
A Digital Optical Audio cable is a fiber optic cable used to connect DVD players or a set-top box to a sound bar or home theater system. Because it is a fiber optic cable, it transmits pure high-quality audio through light. Note that some audio components have moved to using HDMI instead of a Digital Optical Audio Cable, but there are still many products new and old that use this type of cable.

USB
USB stands for Universal Serial Bus and is the most popular connection used to connect a computer to devices such as digital cameras, printers, scanners, and external hard drives. But many new TVs now have a USB port on them. This is often used for plugging in a hard drive, or flash drive, to view media files on your television.

For a diagram on where each wire plugs in on your HDTV visit: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/03/21/technology/personaltech/hooking-up-a-new-tv-which-cable-goes-where.html?_r=2&emc=ctb2_20120322&nl=technology&


Cable Organization Ideas:

Now that you know what all the TV cables do, here are a few ideas from Pinterest on how to tame the mess of cords behind your entertainment center.

Cable ties or wires:
If you are having a difficult time with unruly wires, try containing them with cable ties, wire ties, zip ties, or Velcro. You can get as high tech or low tech as you want with this. You can reuse a wire tie off a bread wrapper or spend up to $20 for rubber cable ties.

Wire Labels and ID tags: Cable ID Tags
ID your plugs and wires with labels. That way you don’t have to guess which power plug and cable belongs with which gadget. You can just use masking tape and a marker or try reusing the plastic bread tags.  You can also purchase ID tags and wire wraps online or at an electronic store.

3M Command hooks: Command hooks for cable organizers
The great thing about Command Hooks is that they don’t damage your walls or cabinets, but they allow you to hang cords up to keep them off the floor. Plus they come in a variety of sizes and colors.

Sock Cable Wrap:
Use sock to cover cords and wiresAnother inexpensive way to help contain cords is by using a stretchy trouser sock.  Just cut off the toe of the sock and run the cables up through the sock to keep them together. The sock contains and covers up the cords. Plus you can get a sock that is a close match to your wall color to help conceal the cords better.

Plug Hub:  If you don’t mind spending a little more money, you can purchase a Plug Hub to help organize and hide your cables.  The box comes with cord wrappers to alleviate extra wiring and allows you to hide a full power strip or surge protector. The down side is that you now have a large plastic box to hide.
Plug Hub image

Using OBS Studio for Streaming Online

Video Game Controller ImageThe rising popularity of video gaming has also increased the popularity of video game reviews, strategy guides, and walkthroughs. In the past, most of these were written and published in either books or video game magazines. But gamers are now turning to video-sharing sites like YouTube to share this information with other gamers.

If you missed last week’s post, avid gamer & ImOn employee, Jacob C. shared tips on what you need to be a video game streamer. He explained the computer and Internet speeds required, different capture devices, and the streaming software needed to become a video game streamer on sites like YouTube and Twitch.TV.  In the post, Jacob also mentioned a free and open source streaming software option called OBS Studio.  Jacob actually uses this site for his own video game streaming.

For those of you not familiar with OBS Studio, OBS stands for “Open Broadcaster Software” and was made by gamers for gamers. It was designed for recording and streaming live video content to allow users to share their gaming, art, and entertainment with the world. It also has other practical uses besides just video game streaming.

For those of you interested in trying OBS Studio for your streaming, here are a few tips from Jacob on how to configure your OBS Studio settings for the best quality video streaming possible. If you aren’t familiar with OBS Studio, check out the variety of tutorials on the OBS Studio Website.

Configuring OBS Studio for Video Game Streaming:

  1. To add a source, click the ‘+’ symbol under Sources. A source can be anything from your game, to a webcam, or your computer screen.  Basically anything you want visible on your stream. For now, select Game Capture.  You can come back here later to add additional sources. Feel free to name this source whatever you like.  When finished, click OK.
    OSB 1      OSB 2
    OSB 3.png
  2. The next screen lets you configure what type of window to capture.  By default, it will capture any full screen game.  When a game is running, you’ll be able to select the specific game from the Mode drop down.  When finished, click OK.
    OSB 4.png
  3. Now that we have a game added, let’s go into the Settings to configure our stream.
    OSB 5
  4. Click on Stream in the Settings menu. Select your preferred streaming service and enter your Stream Key.  Your Stream Key can be found in the account settings for your stream service.
    OSB 6
  5. Next, click on the Output Change the Output Mode to Advanced.  This will give you additional output options.  Set your Bitrate somewhere between 2000 and 3000.  The higher the Bitrate, the better your stream will look.  However, viewers with a poor Internet connection may have trouble watching a high bitrate stream.  Make sure to set your Keyframe Interval to 2.
    OSB 7
    6. The last settings you’ll want to change are located on the Video As most videogames are played in a 1080p resolution, set your Base Resolution to 1920×1080.  Change the Output Resolution and Common FPS Values to match your needs.  Some popular configurations are: 1280×720 at 30 FPS, 1280×720 at 60 FPS, or 1920×1080 at 30 FPS.
    The settings that work best for you will largely be determined by how powerful your computer is and how clear you want the stream to be.  Most people agree that a 720p video at 60 FPS looks better than a 1080p video at 30 FPS.  When finished, click OK.

OSB 8.png

7. When you’re ready to stream, click the Start Streaming button.
OSB 9

For more details, check out Twitch.TV’s OBS Guide

Video Game streaming with ImOn

Boy playing video gamesOver the past few years, the video game industry has become a billion dollar industry with consumers spending $23.5 billion on gaming in 2015. In fact, according to Big Fish Games, 155 million Americans played video games regularly in 2016, and 4 out of 5 households own a video game console.

The rising popularity of video gaming has also increased the popularity of video game reviews, strategy guides, and walkthroughs. In the past, most of these were written and published in either books or video game magazines. But gamers are now turning to video-sharing sites like YouTube to share this information with other games. In fact, Swedish gamer Felix Kjellberg’s YouTube channel, PewDiePie, has become the most subscribed YouTube channel in the world, with a staggering 11.9 million subscribers.

So, have you ever been watching your favorite streamer and thought, “I can do that, can’t I?”  If a million people will watch CaptainSparklez play Minecraft, how many would watch you?  There’s no question that breaking into the live streaming scene is hard.  So we wanted to give you some help on how to get started.  We asked ImOn employee and avid gamer and streamer, Jacob C., to be a guest blogger and provide a few tips on what you need to be a video game streamer. Here is what he has to stay….

Level Up Your Gear

First things first – if you don’t have the right equipment, you can’t play the game.  Try taking down Ganon without the Master Sword and you’ll see what I mean.  Your equipment boils down to a few simple parts that come together to make streaming magic.  Here’s what you need:

  • A decent computer
    • Twitch.TV, the world’s leading video community for gamers, recommends a CPU of at least an Intel Core i5-4670 and 8 GIGs of RAM. How do you know what you have?  That’s easy, go to your Control Panel and click on System.
  • A Capture Device
    • Capture Card: A capture card is a device used to capture, or record, the video signal from an external gaming device. You will need a capture card if you plan to capture video and stream from a game console. Although some of the newer game consoles, like XBOX One and Playstation 4, can stream directly to Twitch.TV, you may find the options to be a little lack luster. By using a capture card, any HDMI device can be used for streaming on your computer.
    • Thankfully, the popularity of game streaming has created a large demand for capture devices – driving the options up while keeping the cost low. AverMedia and Elgato have been making products just for gamers for years now.  Here are a few tried and true options from them:
    • Streaming Software
      • Once your hardware is squared away, you’ll need the right streaming software to make it tick. It seems like everything comes with some kind of streaming software already included these days, even new graphics cards!  Some options include XSplit, Gameshow, and OBS Studio. You really can’t go wrong with whatever software you have, but I’ll be focusing on the free and open source streaming software option: OBS Studio.  OBS is literally made by gamers for gamers.  If you’ve seen some flashy pop ups or crazy sounds on a stream, you will be able to integrate them using OBS.  For more information about different streaming software options visit: https://help.twitch.tv/customer/portal/articles/792761-how-to-broadcast-pc-games
      • Once you’ve downloaded the broadcast software of your choice, I recommend taking the time to explore the setting and experiment. Stay tuned because I will be doing a future blog post on how to configure your OBS settings for the best quality possible.
    • Fast Internet
      • Hardware? Check! Software? Double check!  What could possibly be left?  How about the most important part of all, an Internet Connection!  A fast and reliable ImOn Internet connection will keep you streaming for hours without worry.  There are many different options (http://www.imon.net/residential/Internet/) when choosing your Internet speed.  With Internet speed, the upload speed is a big factor if you are planning to stream directly to sites like Twitch.TV. You will want at least 3Mb upload speed for streaming to sites like this. If you have a lower upload speed you could experience low video quality and possible stuttering in the video feed.
      • I would recommend to have at least 80Mb Internet speed for streaming. This will give you the 80Mb download speeds and 4Mb upload speed. If you need help finding out what speed you have, give ImOn Customer Care a call at 319-298-6484.  They’re right here in Cedar Rapids and can help make sure you have what you need to stream!

Pick Your Platform

Finally, you will need to decide where you want to stream to.  Would you rather be one of the 2 million streamers on Twitch.tv or be an up and comer on a newer platform like BEAM?  Maybe you have a YouTube channel and would rather stream there.  What if I told you there was a way to stream to these sites and more all at the same time?  I know, you’re mind just exploded… I’ll give you a minute.

First you will need to set up your account on the sites you’d like to stream to. The most popular options are:

Once you’re up and running there, set up an account at Restream.io and follow this guide to connect all of your accounts. This will allow you to stream to multiple sites at the same time.

What’s the difference between a modem and a router?

You know those two plastic boxes that sit on your desk? The ones that have flashing lights to indicate they are doing their job? They are about the same shape and size, but what is the difference? And why do you need both?

You probably know that one’s called a modem, the other is called a router, and they’re both involved with getting you on the Internet and connecting you to the world. But, most people aren’t able to explain the difference between the two; that’s where we come in!

Although they’re working hand in hand to get you connected to your favorite websites, they’re doing totally separate jobs. So what is it that they do?

The modem connects to a cable/wire from the outside, bringing Internet data (email, You modemTube videos, Google search results, files) into your home from all over the world. A different wire that goes from your modem to your computer, delivering your Internet requests and activities to your computer and monitor. What you see is what you asked for. Thanks, modem!

Now, you could use the Internet by plugging your modem into your computer. The reason why this is not the best decision is because while modems are useful and an integral part of getting the World Wide Web on your screen, they don’t provide much Internet safety. When you are only using a modem, you put your computer at risk for viruses and hackers. That’s where the router comes into play!

A router takes the digital signal from your modem and shares it with other Internet ready routerdevices in the house. You now have a computer network at home. The router also adds security by modifying the IP address on your computer(s). Your IP address is a set of numbers that is specific to your device and allows you to access the internet and allows other devices to communicate with yours. Doing this makes it harder for hackers to invade your network.

A wireless router allows you to connect to your Internet at home with any wireless device, such as a laptop, Smartphone or iPad. You can learn how to lock down your wireless network with our previous blog post.

ImOn’s 10th Anniversary!

ImOn Communications 10th Anniversary Logo
On March 9, 2017, ImOn Communications celebrates its 10th year serving the Cedar Rapids community. Not only have we provided quality high-speed Internet, cable TV, and phone service to our residential and business customers the past 10 years, we have also grown as a company, invested in infrastructure and technology, and supported the communities we serve.

To mark our 10th anniversary, we wanted to share a few fun facts you may not know about ImOn.

  1. When we started the company 10 years ago, the top 3 company name choices were, ImOn Communications, Mable Cable, and Quix Net. ImOn Communications won the vote and as they say, the rest is history.
  2. ImOn started with 37 employees and we have now grown to over 100 employees.
  3. 3,854 customers have been with us the entire 10 years. Thanks for your loyalty!
  4. ImOn employees deliver meals once a month for Horizon’s Meals on Wheels program. Each year, more than 1,000 meals are delivered to seniors in our community.
  5. ImOn has won the Corridor Business Journal’s “Best Internet Service Provider” award 6 times.
  6. In 2016, ImOn sponsored or participated in 133 local community events.
  7. ImOn Customer Care is comprised of 14 people located right here in Cedar Rapids. They help, on average, 8,278 customers per month. And did you know the busiest day in ImOn Customer Car is Monday?
  8. ImOn’s network is comprised of over 640 miles of fiber optics, coax, and copper. Did you know ImOn was the first company to offer Fiber-to-the-home service in Cedar Rapids! That includes 1GIG (1,000Mb) Internet speed!
  9. In the flood of 2008, lmOn lost 14% of our customers and 2 hub sites due to the flooding. But in the flood of 2016, ImOn didn’t lose anything!

ImOn 10th Anniversary Employee Photo

To celebrate our 10th anniversary, ImOn will have several fun customer events and giveaways throughout the year. Here is just a preview:

ImOn March Gladness Nonprofit Bracket Challenge

ImOn March Gladness Nonprofit Bracket Challenge LogoAt ImOn Communications, we believe in supporting and investing in the communities we serve. We pride ourselves in actively giving back and supporting our local schools, cultural organizations, service groups, and nonprofits. So it would only make sense that we do something BIG for our community in honor of our 10th Anniversary on March 9, 2017.

Since our 10th Anniversary falls in line with the NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament, we have decided to hold a “March Gladness Nonprofit Bracket Challenge” on ImOn’s Facebook page. For this challenge, 8 local nonprofits will compete for community votes for a chance to win a $500 donation from ImOn Communications. The nonprofits participating are: Eastern Iowa Honor Flight, Four Oaks, Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa, Last Hope Animal Rescue, Matthew 25, Young Parents Network, Bridgehaven, and Willis Dady.

We invite you to like our ImOn Facebook page, and visit each day, March 14th -24th, to vote for your favorite nonprofit and help them win $500. For more information visit www.MyImOn.com/MarchGladness

10 Months of ImOn Giveaways

We recognize that our customers continued loyalty plays a vital role in the success of ImOn, and to show our appreciation and to celebrate ImOn’s 10th anniversary, we will be launching the event 10 months of ImOn Giveaways in March.  Once a month, a prize will be given away on ImOn’s Facebook page. Some prizes include: a tablet, blue tooth speakers, Roku, and Amazon Echo.  Just another great reason to like and follow ImOn’s Facebook Page!


– ImOn Cash ClingImOn Cash Cling Sticker Image

Who wants to win $100 off their ImOn bill?  You can with ImOn’s Cash Cling! More details to come later this month – check ImOn’s Facebook page or www.MyImOn.com/10Years for updates!


-Great customer Appreciation events throughout the year

Besides the fun activities listed above, we also have a number of activities planned for the remainder of the year to help celebrate this anniversary milestone. Some of these include:

  • Uptown Friday Night FREE admission ticket giveaway – May 26
  • ImOn night at Brucemore Children’s Theatre – August
  • ImOn’s annual Customer Appreciation Celebration – August
  • An ImOn team for the Especially For You Race Against Breast Cancer – October
  • ImOn Days with the Iowa Hawkeyes – Fall
  • ImOn 10 Days of Christmas – December
  • FREE year of ImOn Services giveaway – December


Make sure we have your current email address so we can send you special information about these upcoming events. To register your email with ImOn go to www.MyImOn.com/loyalty.

March Madness Survival Guide

imon-facebook-image_mar-17_march-madness_828x315

Buzzer-beaters, unthinkable upsets, and fans everywhere.  We’re getting closer and closer to March Madness and ImOn wants to make sure you have everything you need for the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

Schedule:
March Madness officially begins on Selection Sunday, which takes place on Sunday, March 12th. This is when the NCAA I Men’s Basketball Committee reveals the 68 teams that will play in this year’s tournament. The show will stream live on NCAA.com. After Selection Sunday, the action begins on March 14th and 15th with the First Four games. The First and Second Rounds get under way March 16th -19th. This part of March Madness may be the most entertaining days with all the possible buzzer-beaters and unthinkable upsets.  Below is the complete schedule from the NCAA with all of the tournament dates and sites.

March Madness Tournament Dates

Brackets:
The first thing you need to know is that that odds of picking a perfect March Madness Bracket are over 9.2 quintillion to 1. To put that into perspective, you have a substantially better shot at winning the Powerball than you do at picking a perfect bracket. But even with those odds, one in 10 Americans play March Madness brackets, whether online, in an office pool, or just with some friends. If you would like to be a part of the action, you can print off your official 2017 bracket by CLICKING HERE or visiting http://www.ncaa.com.

Now that you have your brackets, remember to enter the KGYM bracket challenge, sponsored by ImOn, for a chance to win $500.  Just submit your bracket on the KGYM website between March 12th-16th.


Watching the Games:
Get your DVR ready!  CBS (ImOn channels 2 & HD 802), TBS (ImOn channels 61 & HD 861), TNT (ImOn channels 57 & HD 857, and tru TV (ImOn channels 72 & 872) will be broadcasting most of the First Round through the elite eight, and CBS gets the Final Four and the championship game. During the First and Second rounds many of the games will take place during the work day and there will be an overlap in game times, this is where the DVR comes in handy.  But, you don’t have to DVR the games, you can watch them LIVE on your phone, tablet, laptop, or computer with ImOn TV Everywhere. If you are an ImOn cable TV subscriber and have TBS, TNT, or truTV in your service package, you can watch these games through ImOn TV Everywhere. You must register your ImOn account on the Watch TV Everywhere site before the games start. For registration instructions, visit www.MyImOn.com/TVE

For more information about the NCAA Tournament visit http://www.ncaa.com/march-madness

Fitness Apps to Stay on Track

Each time January 1st rolls around, many of us make a New Year’s resolution to either get healthy or lose weight. But according to Health.com, only 46% will stick to their resolution after six months. We know it can be difficult to stick with your resolution, so we have compiled a list of some helpful apps and websites to help keep you on track. Also, let us know if you have a different app, or website, you find helpful and we will add it to our list.

MyFitness Pal App LogoMyFitnessPal App
MyFitness Pal is consistently ranked as one of the best fitness apps in the industry. It features easy-to-use step and calorie counters. It uses a database of more than 5 million foods, a barcode nutrition scanner, and a recipe importer.  The basic version is free to download and use, but the premium version does cost.

MindBody App ImageMindBody App
The MindBody app is your go-to resource for finding local group fitness classes, massage studios, or CrossFit gym. Just plug in your zip code and the app connects finds the best fitness, wellness, and beauty services near you. You can also check out rating and review, find special offers, and book mark your favorites.

 

Fit Radio App imageFIT Radio App
Fit Radio is a music streaming app that specializes in DJ-created mixes that maintains consistent beat for your workouts. You can browse by genre, DT, or type of workout, such as Zumba, yoga, or Spin. The basic version of the app is free but limits you on your choices. The premium version has more options but comes with a monthly fee.

Couch to 5K app imageCouch to 5K
The Couch to 5K app has helped thousands of beginning runners cross the finish line of their first 5K race. The app helps you go from couch potato to running a 5K with training program, workouts, and motivating coaches. The app is a one-time charge of $2.99.


Sworkit App imageSworkit

Sworkit, which stand for “Simply Work It”, offers workouts and videos of exercises demonstrated by professional trainers. You can choose from standard workouts or customize your own by picking your workout length, areas you want to target, or any other special needs or limitation. The app is free but paying for the premium version will unlock even more workouts for you to try.

Fitnet App ImageFitnet
Fitnet is a workout app for people who can’t find time to go to the gym. It features 5 to 7 minute targeted workouts that fit your schedule. With over 200 free exercise videos ranging from abs to yoga at all intensity levels, there is a personalized workout for everyone. The app can use your phone’s camera to measure how closely you follow the moves shown on the screen. The app is free but does offer in-app purchases.

Yonder App ImageYonder
Yonder is like Yelp for the outdoor enthusiast. Just enter your location and the app will give you suggestions for hiking, biking, kayaking, and skiing in the area, along with reviews and tips from other users.

 

Charity Mile App ImageCharity Mile
If you’re the type of person who likes to make a difference, than get moving with Charity miles. Charity Miles is a walking, running, and biking tracker app that tracks how many miles you’ve covered during your workout. But for every mile you move, you earn money for a charity on your behalf. All you have to do is tune on the app, choose from over thirty world-class charities, and start moving.
For more great fitness and health app ideas visit:
http://greatist.com/fitness/best-health-fitness-apps
http://www.active.com/fitness/articles/16-best-health-and-fitness-apps-of-2016http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2485287,00.asp

Or if you are interested in joining a gym in the area, check out these great locations:
Sister’s Health Club
Custom Fitness
The MAC
Anytime Fitness