Cruzio Newsletter - Number 115, April 14, 2008 1. Get Answers at Cruzio's New Hands-on Lab 2. Computer Devices May Harbor Viruses 3. Cruzio Wins Metro Gold Again 4. Good News: No Immunity for Telcos 5. Upcoming Classes in April (starting tomorrow morning!): "One Day Web Site," Tuesday April 15th, 9 am to noon, $199 "Internet 101," Thursday April 17th, 5:30 to 7:30 pm, $29 "Start Making Money Online," Tuesday, April 22nd, 9 to 11 am, $79 6. Gizmo of the Month: Cruzio Tote 7. April 26th: Computer Care Drop-in Day, Free! 8. Update Your Web Applications 9. Discontinuing Newsgroup Service 10. Moving? 11. Buddy Bucks 12. Feed the Hungry, We'll Waive Your Late Fees 13. How to Reach Cruzio (Dial-in or Tech Support) 1. Get Answers at Cruzio's New Hands-on Lab, April 23rd Next session Wednesday, April 23rd, 2 - 4 pm Price: starts at $39.80/two hour session Do you sometimes wish you had your own IT department? All of us encounter tricky projects and time-consuming road blocks on our computers from time to time. Cruzio has found that some of these technical questions are best dealt with in person, at a computer, with a knowledgeable expert offering advice. So we've started holding regular hands-on labs where you can go over your difficulties or your aspirations with Cruzio's knowledgeable technical staff. You can bring questions about your computer or other devices, your Internet connections, or your Web site. Feel free to dig deeper with topics you've learned in a Cruzio class. Come as often as you like. The cost is as low as $39.80 for a two-hour session -- much cheaper than your own IT. As usual, Cruzio members get a substantial discount over regular price. These sessions are held regularly, generally on Wednesday afternoons twice a month. For a full schedule and price list, go to http://classes.cruzio.com/classes/hands_on_lab.html 2. Computer Devices May Harbor Viruses There seems to be no end to the deviousness of hackers trying to introduce viruses into your computer. Some hardware comes out of the factory prepackaged with viruses. The items sitting on the shelf are already infected -- so when you connect an electronic picture frame or flash drive to your computer, you may be transmitting the virus. That puts your data at risk of hijacking, theft, and misuse. Because of this risk, the first thing you should do after buying new hardware is (sigh) to scan it with anti-virus software. This is true of any device that stores data -- anything which a computer reads. It's a quick process, but an important one. It's just another reason to have good anti-virus software installed on your computer, and to update it regularly. For advice on how to do this, see Cruzio's computer care page at http://www.cruzio.com/support/security/computer_care.html If you'd rather not do this yourself, Cruzio will scan your computer or other devices for you for as low as $49. Cruzio can also install anti-virus software and updates and perform disk cleanups if necessary. For prices and to sign up, see: http://quartz.cruzio.com/signup/index.php?formname=ccs.html Many thanks to Bruce in Cruzio Technical Support for providing this advice. 3. Cruzio Wins Metro Gold Again We're pleased and excited to win the Metro's top prize for Internet service for the 14th straight year, especially because it's awarded by the people we serve. Many thanks to Cruzio's members for voting us top honors in Metro Santa Cruz's annual reader poll. It inspires us to try even harder next year. 4. Good News: No Immunity for Telcos We're happy to report good news on the security and privacy front. As a data-carrying service, Cruzio generally stays out of politics -- we're here to help you communicate your own politics, not ours. The exception is when we see an important issue affecting the Internet. We've been concerned about reports of large telecommunications companies gathering private data from the Internet secretly and without a warrant, in the name of national security. A bill was passed by the Senate granting retroactive immunity to the companies which may have done so, threatening to cut off all investigation about what data was gathered, for what purpose, and whether it was done legally. Apparently, efforts from communities and individuals had some effect. Congressional representatives at last stood up to heavy pressure and refused to let the bill get to the House floor. We're pleased that our own representative, Sam Farr, stood strong against immunity. It looks as though this is now a dead issue for Congress and that the courts can go ahead and accept cases on the actions of the telcos. We probably won't hear much about these cases, as hearings on matters of national security are kept quite secret -- and properly so. But at least the legal system will have a chance to examine what occurred and if there were abuses we may be able to prevent them in the future. 5. Upcoming Classes in April (starting tomorrow morning!): "One Day Web Site," Tuesday April 15th, 9 am to noon, $199 "Internet 101," Thursday April 17th, 5:30 to 7:30 pm, $29 "Start Making Money Online," Tuesday, April 22nd, 9 to 11 am, $79 Three great classes are offered at Cruzio in the next two weeks: If you're ready to have a professional-looking website, come to our "One Day Web Site" class tomorrow morning to get it started. We'll take you step-by-step from the start of your project, working on your actual site with plenty of individual attention from experienced instructors. This concentrated class is worth a dozen lectures or tutorials. The next class is tomorrow morning, but we still have a few spaces, so sign up now! Then on Thursday of this week: If you're reading this newsletter, we imagine you're pretty comfortable with Internet basics like getting connected and reading email. But perhaps you've always felt like you could use a better understanding of what you are doing. If you -- or someone you know -- feels a little shaky on the basics, we recommend a quick, low-cost class in "Internet 101" at Cruzio. We'll go over ways to make the Internet work for you, from email setups to expanded online research to making purchases safely online. And next week: Any business that doesn't sell its products online is losing a great opportunity. Web sales are low-cost, cover the globe and can happen while you are asleep. Once installed, an online shop can bring in income for years. Learn how to add a ShopSite shopping cart to your Web site at next Tuesday's hands-on class "Start Making Money Online." For more information about classes and to sign up, go to http://classes.cruzio.com 6. Gizmo of the Month: Cruzio Tote If you have been buying gizmos month after month, maybe it's time to get a bag to carry them. Cruzio's stylish new tote bag will fill the bill, in attractive lime green with a kitty displayed on the side. It's green in another way, too: it's reusable. The bag is big enough to carry your groceries, or a beach towel and picnic lunch. There are side pockets for your suntan lotion. Right now the tote bags are on sale, just $4.95 each (the regular price is $7.95). You'll find them at our stores in Santa Cruz and Watsonville, or on the Web at: http://shopcruzio.com/accessories.html 7. April 26th: Computer Care Drop-in Day, Free! Saturday, April 26th, 10-2 pm 903 Pacific Avenue, downtown Santa Cruz Does your computer need an upgrade? Does it have a virus? Trying to do a project -- or play a game -- on a sluggish or virus-laden computer can be as frustrating as slicing tomatoes with a dull knife. You'll save time and effort if your computer is running well, and you'll feel less stressed-out. If you'd like your system to operate at its best, take advantage of the upcoming drop-in session to have Cruzio's experts check out your computer free of charge. We'll not only diagnose your computer's problems -- we'll also work on optimizing its startup time right then and there. We can often make significant improvements in the wait time between turning on your computer and starting work, which can be some of the deadest time of your day. So bring your computer down and let us help improve your life. 8. Update Your Web Applications When someone's running an old, exploitable script on their website, it can compromise the network as well as the individual site. So please, remember to be a good netizen. When you are running software like WordPress, PHPSurvey, Gallery II or Joomla! on your website, please update it from time to time (Cruzio Website Plus or Premium accounts receive email whenever an update becomes available). You may not need to do major upgrades -- such as from 1.0 to 2.0 -- but generally it is good to install the minor, bug-fixing updates, such as when software goes from 1.1 to 1.2 or from 1.1 to 1.11. When you're not using your scripts any longer, please go ahead and uninstall them. If you aren't sure, or have any questions, just ask. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 459-6301 option 4. 9. Discontinuing Newsgroup Service As mentioned last month, we are discontinuing our direct newsgroup service so that we can focus our resources on priorities shared by more than two percent of our customers. We extended the service an additional month just to be sure newsgroup readers had plenty of time to find a new source. Newsgroup access will continue to be available via your Cruzio connection from third party providers. We have had a good experience for many years with a news provider called Newsguy, who is offering Cruzio members a special deal that includes a free month of unlimited downloads. Check their offer here: http://newsguy.com/cruzio.htm There are also sources for free newsgroup access, such as http://groups.google.com We apologize for misquoting Newsguy's lowest monthly price in the last newsletter, as an alert reader pointed out. The lowest monthly rate is $7.95 (you can see why, even at discounted group rates, this service was expensive for Cruzio to make available to 10,000 members). By the way, Cruzio receives no commissions or kickbacks of any kind from Newsguy or any other news provider. We're just passing along a recommendation based on many years of experience. They seem like nice guys over at Newsguy. 10. Moving? If you are moving your home or office, please contact Cruzio. We're 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 if you're cancelling a phone line. We can often save you from an interruption in Internet service and prevent costly fees -- but you've got to let us know. Call us at 831 459-6301 or email email@example.com. 11. Buddy Bucks Did you know you get a credit for every friend you refer? It's the easiest way to save a few bucks each month while sharing Cruzio with your buddies. Recommend us to friends, family, or colleagues: if a new customer gives us your email address, registration number, or full name when they sign up you'll get at least $10 credit to your account. If two friends sign up, $20. Three friends, $30. It just goes on and on. 12. Feed the Hungry, We'll Waive Your Late Fees If you're late on a payment to Cruzio, turn it into a donation to hungry folks in our community. We will waive your late fee if you bring three cans into our office for our Second Harvest Food Bank barrel. Learn more about this charity at http://www.thefoodbank.org 12. 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 let people know what's happening. Hope it's helpful. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org 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. 13. How to Reach Cruzio (dial-in or tech support) To reach the Cruzio Information Center, for online technical and sales information: http://www.cruzio.com/support To dial in to Cruzio, set your software to dial one of the numbers below (note: we've expanded and joined modem pools, so you may be using another number. If so, don't worry, it still works just fine). Dialup (in Santa Cruz County): 459-9408 Nationwide Dialup: Look up local number on our Web page: http://www.cruzio.com/support/dialup_isdn/nationwide_numbers.html or call Cruzio toll free, 1.800.303.3302 To call Cruzio: 459-6301............Use this number to check Cruzio's system status, pay your Cruzio bill, find out more about our hours and location, or to reach someone in customer service and technical support. 722-6200 .......... Cruzio's number in Watsonville. To send email to Cruzio, use one of these addresses: email@example.com ......for technical support firstname.lastname@example.org .......for billing and ordering information Cruzio's locations: Santa Cruz: 903 Pacific Avenue, Suite 101, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Watsonville: Plaza Vigil, 25 E. Beach Street, Watsonville, CA 95076 Cruzio's hours: Sales hours: 10 am - 6 pm, Monday through Friday; 10 am - 2 pm Saturday Technical support: 8 am - 6 pm, Mon to Fri, 10 am - 2 pm Saturday System monitoring, including customer-alerted emergencies, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year (leap years, 366 days) Thanks very much from Cruzio: Chris, Peggy, Julianne, Mark, Paul, Gershom, Jessi, James, Juana, Nikkie, Mike, Don, Bruce, Westi, Andrew, Jaime, another Chris, yet another Chris, Diana, Jake, Shawn, Zachary, Carlos, and Josh; our talented interns, Jeff, Chris and Jimmy; and Jake, Annika, and Carly (the kids) Carly, age 10, enjoying nature at a park: "You know that swan was ready to kill me for a piece of bread."