Cruzio logo and newsletter #214

1. We Were Out in January’s Storms

trees block street in the Santa Cruz Mountains

When Robert tried to come to work on January 5th, this was what his commute looked like

We were out in the storms.
From Pacifica to Monterey and all places in between, Cruzio’s tri-bay service area was hit hard by the storms last month. We thought you’d like to see some of the challenges we faced as we tried to reach every part of our network for maintenance and repairs.

Cruzio staff encountered flooded roads, insane potholes and sinkholes, mudslides, blown over redwood trees. We got calls from subscribers with weeks-long power outages, knocked-over utility poles, equipment sitting in muddy puddles.


Our photos…

2. Cliffs and Roads Fell: Video

Last Friday, February 10th: at Steamer Lane: as surfers ride waves just feet away, a substantial chunk of the overhanging cliffs crashed into the bay. Yikes.

And the mountains had similar issues. Check out this video of a road in San Mateo County simply dissolving into the mountain:

Public works departments face enormous challenges in the recovery/repair process. The City of Santa Cruz is revising its plans for West Cliff. The Santa Cruz Public Works department put up this terrific video depicting the situation —check out the “before and after” overlays — and you can look at the planning process here.

Bomb-Cyclone Storm Event, Santa Cruz, CA from City Santa Cruz on Vimeo.

3. How an ISP Deals with Weather

a flooded river

We’re thinking about resiliency.
Early in Cruzio’s history, we went through the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

Just in the last few years alone, our community’s been hit with severe drought, fires, extended and frequent power outages, and floods. Wow.

We’ve learned from all of them to be prepared. As we build our network, we double or triple up on everything. Multiple independent paths to reach nodes on the network, so if one hub is down, another can deliver internet. Two motorhome-sized generators at our network operations center. About 20 small generators ready to deploy to remote sites. Uninterruptible power supplies behind ever access point.

Whenever we buy a piece of new equipment, we get another to be a “warm spare” on a shelf, ready to deploy.

Power to the People
Power is often the most unreliable factor. We can’t always count on PG&E, and our customers count on us. So we have to be a power company as well as an internet company.

Rob Genovesi, a brilliant member of our brilliant engineering team, has recently redesigned our standard point-of-presence equipment to operate much more efficiently in an outage. Instead of needing to dash out with generators within an hour or two, we’ll have up to ten hours of power — enough to wait out the worst of a storm, or to last from late night to morning. That flexibility means a lot to our staff! We’re making plans now to convert our sites to the new design.

Rob also designed the solar power systems we use to run our equipment in many locations.

Going Forward
We stay glued to the news — last month it was weather news, other times it’s fire or rolling blackouts or whatever is the pending disaster of the day/week/month. We fill up our tanks. We make extra offsite backups of data. We stock up on sandbags. And when the crisis has passed, and the danger is gone, we’re out in the sunshine repairing and strengthening our network. We’re in it for the long haul.

4. Take a Break, Have a Fresh-Baked Cookie


The Sentinel Cafe, in Cruzio’s coworking space in downtown Santa Cruz, is up and running again!

Yes, you can have it all. The lightning fast internet. The ergonomic chairs. The not-being-at-home for awhile while you’re working. And the opportunity to take a break and have something really, really good to eat.

They say, “cookies help you think more clearly.” Actually no one has said that, that we’re aware, but we find it to be true. With a cup of fragrant organic coffee, it is certainly is.

Donna is the talent behind the cafe and she’s a wonderful baker. We’re seeing quiches, biscuits, all sorts of delicious things. Healthy options, you ask? Yes, plenty. Salads with every sort of trimming, from quinoa to beets to beans. Bagels and healthy sandwiches. And of course there’s always excellent coffee, as well as smoothies and other drinks. Alex at our front desk is particularly partial to the iced tea.

Donna is a sort of zen poet and when she makes something she sends out a message to the coworkers like:

Just made a gallon of Passion Fruit Jasmine tea!
It’s delicious!
Ready to Go over Ice and
sweeten to taste.
If daring, maybe a little 1/2&1/2 on top too.

Doesn’t hurt that along with the noms you can work in our gorgeous coworking space as well. A well-placed cookie can make the workday a bit more pleasant. But you can come in just for the food if you like.

The prices are surprisingly low, the food is fresh and so good. Stop by!

5. Celebrate California’s Black History

Map of California; overlay with photos of historic black figures in California history

Happy Black History Month from our friends at California Local.

From their latest newsletter:

“To mark Black History Month, California Local writer Ray Delgado has compiled an inspiring list of 30 African Americans who helped bend Dr. King’s “arc of the moral universe” a little closer to justice, starting in the 1800s and continuing to the present day. But the list is just a starting point. Another place to begin locally is with the story of London Nelson, the former slave who left his worldly goods to Santa Cruz schools when he died in 1860. History buff and author Geoffrey Dunn recounted Nelson’s story in 2021, when the spelling of his first name was corrected on the community center that bears his name. That mystery, Dunn wrote in the Good Times article, was solved by the late Phil Reader—whose research into Santa Cruz’s African American history is compiled in the book Do You Know My Name, copies of which can be purchased on the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History website.”

Be sure to check out California Local for the latest Santa Cruz news, traffic and weather conditions, upcoming government meetings and directory of local community groups and nonprofits.

6. Comparing the Flood of 1982 to 2023

January’s floods were awful. But they weren’t even the worst our area has seen. Check out the terrible floods of 1982 that killed 22 people in Santa Cruz County — many people still remember those times.

The 1982 storms devastated the whole Tri-Bay Area, from Half Moon Bay down to Monterey. In Santa Cruz, Natural Bridges Park lost one of its natural bridges.

One way that the latest storm differed from 1982 is our level or preparedness. After some terrible storms, in Santa Cruz the Soquel Bridge was rebuilt higher in 1999 and better reinforced. In Half Moon Bay the drainage system was rebuilt.

The San Francisco Chronicle wrote up a comparison of the two storms with lots of photos from around the Central Coast and Bay Area. This shows the collapse of the Soquel Bridge in Santa Cruz:

people viewing collapsed Soquel bridge in 1982

Santa Cruz County
California Local explores the history of San Lorenzo River flooding. It’s pretty dramatic. For example, in1862 the newspaper reported: “The machinery of the saw mill was carried off…”

San Mateo County
Coastside also caught some terrible damage from the 1982 floods. The Half Moon Bay Review describes children killed by a mudslide on Oddstad Boulevard.

Another contrast is how sophisticated the storm-watching was. Were you keeping an eye on graphs, maps, and apps during January’s storms? Checking your phone every few minutes to see full-color displays and receive evacuation information?

We were looking at satellite photos like this:
satellite photo of an incoming storm

Check out what state-of-the-art storm metrics looked like in 1982! You can read the whole report from 1982 from the USGS:

satellite photo of a storm from 1982

7. Careful! Spammers are Micro-Targeting

We’ve seen some dangerous phishing schemes lately. Watch out for hackers who are apparently mining LinkedIn or other company information to get the names of CEO’s and employees. They then email the employee pretending to be the boss.

Here’s how the spam might look — this is a real example:

Subject: Urgent / Confidential
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2022 00:06:47 +0800
From: [Your boss’s actual name is here!]
To: [your email address]
Good Morning [your name],

Are you available right now? I have a couple of meetings today, so I will appreciate a swift email response.


[Your boss’s name]
Chief Executive Officer

Sent from my iPhone

The “Sent from my iPhone” is clever, because it explains why your boss might be a little less wordy than usual. Since it’s not actually written by your boss, the email can’t contain anything specific. So they pretend it’s a quick note.

They are phishing. What they want is to catch you, like a fish on the line. Once you’ve responded they’ll try to get personal information from you.

We’re even seeing these “messages from the CEO” in texts as well!

As always, Cruzio is reporting and taking down these schemes as we see them. Usually by the time you see it, the link is disabled. But in case something has slipped through, always remember:

If you’re not expecting this email
If it seems urgent
If you hover your mouse on the “from” field or a link and see an inappropriate email address

…then it’s almost certainly fake. And if you have any doubt at all, and don’t want to fail to respond, don’t just reply or click on links. Find another way to ask if this is real.

8. Pinball Machines: Just the Facts

Once again, our always-curious, ever-resourceful Sales and Marketing Manager Jesus Lopez, has taken a deep dive into something we take for granted. This time, pinball machines!

  • Pinball got its start in France, dating back to the 1700’s in a game called Bagatelle, which was basically croquet but on a board with wooden pins and a ball that was devised as a way to play croquet but not out in the rain :rain_cloud:
  • However, it wasn’t until 1871 when Montague Redgrave from Ohio turned an old Bagatelle game into the first pinball game, after making some serious improvements, like a coiled spring, a slope, more marbles, etc :seal_ball:
  • Much like cool nerds people do n movies and video games, a lot of pinball machine developers of the late 80’s into the 90’s machines included a cow or a cow reference hidden somewhere as part of the game :fabio_cow:
  • SEGA released Apollo 13, which was a one-of-a-kind multi ball mode, where 13 balls are released into the playfield at once, more than any other pinball game in history :rocket:
  • Some pinball machines, like the Munsters pinball machine, will give you a fun “midnight madness” round if you’re playing a game and midnight strikes, sometimes leading to a chaotic multiball round to wake you up and keep you playing :troll:
  • More…

    9. Thanks for Helping the Hungry

    various canned goods

    As long-time Cruzio subscribers know, preventing hunger in our community is important to us as a company. We donate to the Second Harvest Food Bank regularly, and every year at holiday time we match customer donations. And every year, our customers beat our estimates, causing us to give more than we’d planned. This year, we gave over $5,000 to the Food Bank. Many thanks to everyone who gave, and remember we have a food barrel ready for donations all year round!

    10. Help Us Expand, Get Free Internet

    view of pyramids

    If you were in Cruzio’s area, both you and the pyramids could get great internet — free!

    Want free Internet? Have a tall building or sweeping view?
    Cruzio is always looking for well-situated buildings to join our broadband network. If we use your location we’ll give you free high-speed service.

    We’ve had great success, not only with taller buildings like offices and apartments, but with houses that just happen to see lots of other houses and buildings.

    Not only will you save on great internet — you’ll also help other people in the community who need a better connection. If you wish your neighborhood had better internet, and your house doesn’t fit the “sweeping view” description, bug your neighbor up on the ridge!

    Interested? Contact us.

    11. Handy Cruzio Information

    If you’re moving, Cruzio can save you from an interruption in Internet service and prevent costly fees. Call us at 459-6301 or contact us online (several weeks ahead, if possible!).

    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, bring 3 cans of food into our office and we will waive late fees up to $5. Donations go to Second Harvest Food Bank.

    Chris, Peggy, Mark, James, Frost, Sandi, Colin, Adia, Jesus, Alison, Justin, Andrew, David, Alex, Ani, Max, Iasha, Alana, Jay, Jason, another David, Sonya, Carlos, Evan, Robert, Pily, Dizaree, Ben, Rob, Steve, another Mark, Justise, Lucas, Ian, another Robert, Thomas, Tyler, Mario, Cody, and Jose;

    Jake, Annika & Carly (the grown “kids”)