#145, December 8, 2011 PDF Print Email
Cruzio Newsletter #145, December 8, 2011
1. When the Power Is Out, Cruzio Is On
2. Correction: Surfer-Almost-Swallowed-By-Whale Link
3. How Our Office Space Became a Giant Aquarium
4. Velocity: Speed and Economy

5. Email Server Upgrade
6. Working On Our Billing

7. Santa Cruz Makes "Top 10" Lists. Wait, the Lists Are Bogus?
8. Office Space Available: Includes 100 Mbps Connection

9. AT&T/T-Mobile Merger Held Up: We Think That's Good News
10. Congress Considering Harsh Copyright Bill: We Think That's Bad News 

11. Donate to the Food Bank — Cruzio Will Match
12. Doug Ross
13. Looking Back at 2011
14. What's New Around Cruzioworks

1. When the Power Is Out, Cruzio Is On
It's Cruzio's job to keep your Internet going, even if the rest of Santa Cruz is dark. 

Along with the much improved PG&E circuit in our new data center, we have prepared for storms and blackouts with tremendous battery and generator backups. We've beefed up backup power at our wireless mountaintop locations, too. Already we've stood up to extremely high winds and sporadic power earlier this month.

That means if you are working here at Cruzioworks, your power and Internet will be on even when most of the area is out. And for our core systems (email, Web hosting, colocation) — we won't lose power or functionality at all, period. If your website is hosted at Cruzio, your customers around the world will continue to see your pages and order your products. Readers will have no inkling that in Santa Cruz there's been a storm, heavy wind, or even an earthquake.

2. Correction: Surfer-Almost-Swallowed-By-Whale Link

So, we accidentally put in the wrong link to that great video taken by local videographer Barb Roettger. She did an amazing job and we want her to get proper credit, so here's the right link.

Some people have doubted the video was legitimate. Barb was kayaking with friends, one of whom also took a video which backs hers up. Here it is from another viewpoint.

3. How Our Office Space Became A Giant Aquarium
This isn't exactly an ocean story, but it is fish-related. We've got some imaginative employees here at Cruzio, on the second floor of our new building. And we've got a big, shiny atrium and a happy, busy coworking community on our first floor. Cruzio Tech Services manager Chris Frost found a giant toy and sent it out on a sunny afternoon, and Krissie Olson made a short film of the result. Watch it here.

4. Velocity: Speed and Economy
We've connected over a hundred and fifty users on our new Velocity Internet + Phone service.  And on the whole, we're happy with the results. 

Customers are reporting much, much higher speeds. Depending on location, some folks are getting close to 20 Mbps. Other folks, who live farther from town, don't get the highest speeds (although it is an improvement, usually, from DSL) but do enjoy the big savings from combined phone and Internet for just $44.95.

Interested? Order here.

Great news — now Velocity home service includes unlimited free calls to Canada as well as all 50 United States.

We really tried to remove all the arbitrary limits that usually come with Internet service. Cruzio gives you the fastest speed and the highest bandwidth your line can physically maintain.

We apologize for sometimes taking days or even longer to get back to people who inquire. We are trying to take the time to ensure good service for every customer. And in some cases — especially if there's no current phone service to the location — the process can take weeks. We're working hard to speed our responses. In the meantime, thanks for your patience!

5. Email Server Upgrade
How do you like your email? Reliable, secure, private — for your eyes only. Free from spam and viruses. Those are Cruzio's priorities for your email, and we're always working behind the scenes to get you every bit of email you want to receive. That keeps our staff quite busy.

Last month we made a significant upgrade to Cruzio email. We re-architected the system to be more nimble, so that problems are less likely to happen and repaired more quickly. Faster and newer CPUs handle the spam filtering better, too.

Thanks to Mark Hanford and the engineering staff, the upgrade went off smoothly, late at night, and was nearly transparent to our members. The way it should be.

6. Working On Our Billing
Cruzio uses a billing system created especially for Internet Service Providers. Hmm, how many independent ISPs are there? Not many. So the billing system doesn't get upgraded as often as we'd like. The bill format has stayed the same since the early 2000's — not good.

So we're making improvements. We're going to simplify the bills you receive in email, starting with Velocity customers (the taxes and fees associated with phone service were just too much for the already crowded style). If people are happy with the shorter bills, we'll apply the same changes to our other services as well.

7. Santa Cruz Makes "Top 10" Lists. Wait, the Lists Are Bogus?
Santa Cruz (which includes the whole surrounding area, really, down to Watsonville) has the good fortune of making a lot of "best of" lists. Here are some:
Most Artistic Cities in America

Top Cities for Bicycle Commuting 

10 Great Places to Spend Christmas

and, less flattering:
Least Affordable Cities with a Population Under 500,000

But did you ever get the feeling that these lists are all bogus? Salon magazine agrees.  Maybe the list we really belong on is "cities who are good at getting on top 10 lists." 

8. Office Space Available: Includes 100 Mbps Connection
Our new office suites just opened up, with literally dozens of small offices for small businesses, telecommuters, and freelancers. We are happy to report we were about 70% full on opening day — lots of furniture moving in the last few weeks and a lot of new people at our get-togethers — but we still have plenty of space available. All the new offices share our coworking amenities, so for the price of an office you also get meeting rooms, break rooms, and other services.

The building is beautiful, the location is fun, the Internet is beyond belief, the coffee is free, and the company is excellent. You can rent by the month or the year. C'mon, you've gotta make the leap. We'd love to have you. Contact Jahnai for more information.

(And by the way, there's plenty of room in our coworking area, too. Come on in and have a look, rent a desk!)

9. AT&T/T-Mobile Merger Held Up: We Think That's Good News
The best environment for consumers is a competitive one. (Remember the supply-demand curve? It doesn't work when there are only one or two suppliers.)

As outliers in the telecommunications world, we've watched for decades as the competition in our industry has dwindled and open access to public utilities has narrowed. We have to ask ourselves, are these large corporations merging to succeed — or, rather, do they aim to be "too big to fail."

The FCC says of the proposed merger of the 2nd and 4th largest American wireless phone companies: "the proposed transaction would likely lead to a substantial lessening of competition." Let's hope it doesn't happen.

10. Congress Weighing Harsh Copyright Bill: We Think That's Bad News
The Internet isn't exactly the Wild West. Nobody's shooting anybody, except in videos. But it has been relatively wide-open— and it's flourished. Though we understand that people aren't always well-behaved, we still regret every time another limit or fee is imposed, even as we admit it's necessary. For example, copyright holders should be protected.

But this latest bill in Congress is more than what's necessary.

The new Senate bill (the "Protect IP Act") protects the accuser in a copyright infringement action way more than necessary. There's little justification required in order to force a website to close, and the actions taken reach up to providers of name service or Web hosting (it looks like even YouTube could be shut down if a user posts the wrong video). And those who force sites off the Internet are heavily protected in the bill — in nearly all cases they'd be immune from liability even if accusations turn out to be false. Seems like that would encourage irresponsible accusations.

If the system needs work, we can do a better job than this. Read more here.

11. Donate to the Food Bank — Cruzio Will Match
We were so busy in November, we neglected to remind everyone of our yearly donation-matching policy. That is, if you will help Second Harvest Food Bank feed the hungry in Santa Cruz County, we will help you help them.  

Our goal is to match at least $1,000 of donations. Every year, nearly since our founding, we've offered up the challenge and our members have met and passed it and inspired us to give even more. This year is a tough year. It's harder for many to give, while more people than ever are needy. Let's do what we can.

To contribute, send a check made out to "Second Harvest Food Bank," to Cruzio, 877 Cedar Street, Suite 150, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. We'll note the check and pass it along with our own donation. (If you give in some other way, just mail us your documentation — an online receipt will do.) Since we didn't announce the campaign earlier, we'll take donations until January 3rd, 2012.

12. Doug Ross
We see talented artist Doug Ross  in the coworking space at Cruzio daily—sharing his latest illustrated creation, wearing funky pants and drinking coffee like the rest of us. But ask him about his volunteer job of rescuing marine wildlife and Doug will tell you with heartfelt sincerity about his involvement with the Marine Mammal Center.

Last week Doug netted a 325 lb young male California Sea Lion known affectionately as  Tannenbaum who was having a seizure in the shallow water of the Moss Landing Harbor. Suffering from Domoic Acid Toxicity caused by a local "Red Tide" harmful algal bloom, Tannebaum was taken to the MMC hospital and is now in treatment. We have our fingers crossed that he and his wild brothers can all make a full recovery. Nice work Doug.

By the way. Doug's work is on sale at local stores like Artisan's Gallery and on his website. Lovely Christmas gifts. Just a thought.

13. Looking Back at 2011
It's been quite a year. But that's not unusual. In our business, every piece of equipment we use and everything we know is out of date pretty fast. 

This year we fulfilled our dream of moving to a building with a geyser's worth of Internet and redundant power. The building is amazing in itself: a beautiful, bright and airy place to work. Thanks, Krissie, Nikkie, and Frost for leading our team as we renovated and refurbished!

Then to make the building even more special, we hooked it up with fiberoptic Internet that goes all the way to Sunnyvale, linking Santa Cruz with the world in an unprecedented way.  

The easiest way to share that Internet was to open it to local companies looking for server space. Many thanks to Mark, our senior systems engineer, for putting together our data center and colocation facility.

We also developed, with an ISP partner, a new service called Velocity. At last, we are able to provide many — we wish it could be all — customers with double or triple their previous Internet speeds.

We had a great Fiber-lighting party with the Hoop-a-Lites, and a bunch of other fun events.

We increased our staff, not easy in these tough economic times. We were able to do so because our community supports us, and we're grateful for that.

We got to move in across the hall from our good buddies at Ecology Action. Pretty cool watching the electric cars filling up in our parking lot. Pretty cool to have a parking lot.

We've been getting to know some incredible coworkers, from retirees starting new businesses to young Web designers working on cutting edge technology, from artists to engineers to sea lion rescuers. That's been the most fun of all.

14. What's New Around CruzioWorks
Parties and fun, that's what's happening around Cruzioworks. Last week we had the first Wine Down: snacks, wine, good company and, to inaugurate our new audio system, karaoke. It's amazing what songs people know every single word to — everything from Gram Parsons to Sir Mix-A-Lot... Lots of people at last week's Bounce Hour talking about their projects. We're happy to see folks finding each other and taking advantage of the expertise in the buillding — that's what coworking is all about!... Meadhbh Hamrick has delved into multiple uses for QR codes... MakersFactory showed off their new 3D holiday cards, you can make them at with them this Saturday... Rebecca Sharp will be doing walk-in photo shoots every month at Cruzioworks. We have been enjoying the lovely wedding photos in her office window, one of which is a picture of Cruzio's much loved former employee, Mike Brogan... Elizabeth Borelli and Dana Nichols of Sustainable Santa Cruz are hard at work to save the planet, working with Frances Moore Lappe and putting on a show at the Rio... Fred at the Sentinel Cafe has introduced yogurt/granola/fruit bowls, a great favorite for breakfast and arguably healthier than one of those admittedly delicious bear claws (come to think of it, Ms. Lappe would approve)... Leadership Santa Cruz came by for a visit. It's always great to meet the local movers, shakers and up-and-comers and good to see their much-loved leader, Dave Vincent... 

Thanks very much from Cruzio:
Chris, Peggy, Mark, Paul, Gershom, Jessi, James, Nikkie, Jaime, another Chris, yet another Chris, Sandi, Robbert, Jesse, Ralph, Colin, Rob, Edgar, Rebecca, Taylor, Krissie, Adia, Robert, Tenolian, Jahnai, Elena, Zac and Jessie;
Our fantastic interns;
Jake, Annika and Carly (the kids). 

"I do not like the smell of cactus." -- Carly, age 14


& Events

Classes and Events @ Cruzio :

Free Coworking Jelly
3rd Friday of each month
Try a coworking day at Cruzio — free!  Bring a friend and use our space to collaborate, cogitate and caffeinate. It's easy to spend a productive day in the Cruzioworks environment.

Cruzio Classes
(see latest info & register here)
Internet 101
Tues, Jan 10, noon - 2 pm

Still feel like you're not an Internet native? Cruzio's own Gershom Toriz goes over the basics, from avoiding viruses to organizing bookmarks & toolbars. You'll be showing off to your kids in no time.

Head Shots by Rebecca Stark
(make appointment)
Tue, Dec 13th, 10 am - noon
Special one-time offer: local photographer Stark will take your photo for personal & business use. Pick your favorite shot, she will touch up & email the finished photo within 24 hrs.

Programming the Nation?
(see latest info & register here)
Sat, Dec 17, 11 am - 1 pm
The morning after the showing of the documentary Friday night (at the Rio Theatre), join a conversation with the filmmaker about topics like literacy, advertising and political propoganda at Cruzioworks. Free of charge, but you should attend the movie the night before.

MakersFactory Classes & Events:
(see latest info, full class listing, and register here)

IP Strategy & Business Formation for Startups
Tues, Dec 6, 7-9 pm

Lasercut Your Own Holiday Card
Drop in, an expert will be on hand to help.
Sat, Dec 10,1-4 pm

Cards are $12

Show & Tell & Make

Learn about 3D printing and laser cutting, and make a fun item to take home.
Sat, Dec 10,1-4 pm

Tickets are 2 for $49

3D Extrusion Printing
Weds, Dec 14, 6-9 pm

Intro to 3D Modeling with Blender 
Three Mondays, Jan 9, 16 & 23, 6-7:30 pm

Entrepreneurship: From Prototype to Market
Tues, Jan 24, 6-8 pm

Principles of 3D Printing
Mon, Jan 30, 6-9 pm

Web Worx Meetups & Classes

Beginning Word Press
Mon, Jan 12, 6-9 pm

Want to teach a class? Cruzio is renting its beautiful new classroom facility by the hour. Inquire with CruzioWorks staff.

Details of classes and events occasionally change. Please check our website for the latest information and to register.

If you're moving home or office, Cruzio is here to help the Internet portion of your move go smoothly.

It's best to let us know several weeks ahead of time, especially if you have DSL or are cancelling a phone line.

We can save you from an interruption in Internet service and prevent costly fees — but you've got to let us know. Call us at 459-6301 or contact us online.

Get Cruzio Credit with Buddy Bucks

Recommend us! Each time a new customer gives us your email address, account number, or full name when they sign up you'll get a $10 credit – or more – to your account.

Feed the Hungry
If you're late on a payment to Cruzio, turn it into a donation to hungry folks in our community.

We will waive late fees up to $5 if you bring 3 cans into our office for our Second Harvest Food Bank barrel. Learn more about this charity.

Your Account
Pay your bill, update your contact information, check on your Cruzio statements.

Get to the account center by logging in to cruzio.com and clicking the "Payment Center" button on your Profile page.

How to

For help, visit Cruzio Tech Support.

Dialup (in Santa Cruz County): 459-9408
Out of Santa Cruz County? Find a Nationwide Dialup Number, or call Cruzio toll free
800 303-3302

By Phone:
In Santa Cruz County:      831 459-6301
Outside the County:
     800 303-3302

On the Web:
 Contact Cruzio
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Cruzio's NEW location:

877 Cedar Street
Suite 150,
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Cruzio's hours:
9 am-6 pm Mon to Fri;
10 am-2 pm Sat
System monitoring, including customer-alerted emergencies, 7 / 24 / 365.

About This Newsletter

Cruzio doesn't like to waste bandwidth with extra email, but we sometimes have events and announcements that users need to know about. This seems like the most efficient way to stay in touch. Hope it's helpful. Please send us an email with any comments or questions.

By the way, we would love to have a regular, predictable schedule for this newsletter...but we simply do not send it unless there is real news enclosed. Thus the haphazard datelines.
Cruzio is bringing faster internet to Santa Cruz County - 30Mbps Business Broadband