Author Archives: Peggy Dolgenos

Equal Access Santa Cruz Wins Big

Let us know if you live in one of these neighborhoods! We’ll include you in our plans.

Cruzio Wins a Grant

On December 5th Cruzio was awarded a $2.45 Million broadband grant from the California Advanced Services Fund to build high-speed fiber optic internet connectivity to seven under-served mobile home parks in the Capitola area.

Why Santa Cruz County Needs Equal Access

When Cruzio started building our Santa Cruz Fiber network, Santa Cruz County was rated 446th of 501 California metropolitan areas for internet speeds. Too small to attract investment from big ISPs, and too populated for rural subsidy programs, our county wallowed in neglected infrastructure.

Until the early 2000s, Cruzio relied on leased AT&T lines. Those lines were built in an earlier, highly-regulated and subsidized era. With less regulation from the FCC, the big ISPs took advantage of their existing infrastructure and a lack of competition to save costs. Saving costs usually results in lower quality of service.

To our dismay, they started letting local wires age and fray. We realized we had to free ourselves from that aging network and we started building independent infrastructure. Now Cruzio has a considerable — and growing — network serving thousands of local residents. Wherever we build, we bring better options to the community.

We want to get that infrastructure where it’s needed most. So we’ve started an effort we call Equal Access Santa Cruz (EASC). And in early December, EASC won a substantial grant from the State of California.

We Know How Important Internet Is

For years, Cruzio Director James Hackett has said, “Internet is a utility that’s become as vital as gas, electricity, or even water.”

Something so vital to modern life needs to be available equally to all, no matter what their location or economic circumstances.

The just-announced grant takes a big step towards that goal. After a year of seemingly endless documentation (and many prior years accumulating expertise and experience), on December 5th, 2019 James and fellow Director Chris Frost drove up to Sacramento to receive the grant award for Cruzio’s Equal Access Santa Cruz project. Hooray!

Fiber optic internet installed at El Rio Mobile Home Park

Cruzio brought fiber internet to El Rio mobile home park in 2018

Equal Access Santa Cruz

We’re honored to get the grant, and it’s for a great project. There are several communications “deserts” around Santa Cruz County which have sub-standard internet, as defined by the FCC. Many of these areas are in mobile home parks, where incomes are lower, on average, than the communities around them. They’ve been ignored by big ISPs — big corporations have a habit of ignoring consumers. Especially lower-income ones.

Cruzio identified seven such communities in mid-County that we can reach with the best internet anyone can build: fiber optic connections direct to each home. Residents of these parks have, till now, experienced some of the worst connectivity in Santa Cruz County. With this project, they can look forward to the best in the USA.

We weren’t the only ones who recognized the need for better internet in mid-county neighborhoods. Member of Congress Jimmy Panetta, State Assembly Member Mark Stone, County Supervisors Zach Friend and John Leopold, and many other elected and appointed officials helped move the project forward.

This is All About Infrastructure, and That Can Get Complex. Any Chance You’re Still Reading?

Building infrastructure is tough work. Construction is expensive, time-consuming, and rife with licenses and regulations. We don’t doubt it’s boring to read about — a lot of our job is literally boring holes and feeding cable through them.

But Cruzio builds fiber to last a lifetime. And we know our work will change lives and livelihoods well into the future. It’s tough work, but it’s work worth doing.

Equal Access Santa Cruz Wins Big, Part II

Easc Map 800

Let us know if you live in one of these neighborhoods! We’ll include you in our plans.

When we last left our determined independent ISP, Cruzio announced that it won a grant to serve low-income mobile home parks in mid-County Santa Cruz. But before the grant was won, there was the grant process.

We Really Fit the Bill

Cruzio’s Equal Access Santa Cruz (EASC) project is tailor-made for the purposes of the State of California’s California Advanced Services Fund (CASF): “to encourage deployment of high-quality advanced communication services to all Californians.

All Californians. Not just the ones living in the big houses in the middle of town.

Cruzio’s project equalizes internet access across geographic areas and income levels, and puts much-needed new infrastructure into neighborhoods where substandard service currently exists. We’re a local company getting our community the internet it needs. We know how to do this; we’ve done it before.

Slam dunk.

And anyone in a position to know agreed. That was a start.

The Rocky Road We Travelled

Rocky Beach 800

We’re from Santa Cruz. We’re used to rocks.

Those of you who’ve applied for grants know it can be difficult and time-consuming — especially if you have to fight some of the largest corporations in the United States in the process. AT&T, Comcast, Spectrum anyone?

In an effort to boost internet quality in the US without pissing off well-funded interests, federal and state agencies  came up with a system that’s fairly byzantine and mostly controlled by the companies which own most of the existing infrastructure — yup, those big companies mentioned above.

Using the bizarre argument that competition stifles investment, lobbyists for those large companies have set up guard rails to protect their market positions at the cost of consumers. If an ISP claims to provide six megabits per second downstream to even one home in an area, regardless of price, that area is considered “served” and no grants for improved service will be awarded.

There is no method in place to check the validity of service claims. So money tends to sit in the pot as competitive ISPs like Cruzio search for places that don’t reach even that dismal standard.

Big ISPs Jealously Guard Their Monopolies

When we found such areas in the middle of our own county, based on years of maps produced by the FCC, and applied for funding, suddenly a big ISP took an interest — not in building better infrastructure, but in quashing our grant request. Suddenly, Spectrum declared the area “served” and asked the CPUC to turn us down.

That challenge succeeded, and took about half the mobile homes out of our project. Those residences won’t get a boost from the grant. Cruzio will try to extend to them privately, but the cost of infrastructure is high. As a result of the challenge by Spectrum, the benefit of the grant is more limited than we first intended.

We pressed on, though. From February to November 2019, we went through regulatory and environmental hurdles. We proved our long-term sustainability (Cruzio celebrated 30 years as an internet company in 2019, for goodness’ sake) and financial health. Finally, on November 4th, we got a provisional okay on our remaining proposal.

But — play some minor chords in this scene — it was only a recommendation, not an award.

Hey, what’s the difference? Just the final stamp on the paperwork.

We waited for the commission to give us the final thumbs up. This was an unbearably tense time. The behemoth ISPs now had one more chance to challenge our request. Weeks went by. The deadline loomed. Things looked hopeful — looks like we made it? A lot of finger crossing and trying not to jinx it.

The Day Before the Deadline

Then suddenly, the day before the final decision, Spectrum/Charter put in a last-minute dispute. They wanted to remove even more from the project, so that we’d have just a skinny strip of modular homes to serve with an awesome, but expensive, new network. That would change the economic viability of the project. It would kill it.

We were crazy worried. We reached out to our elected officials. Jimmy Panetta’s office responded quickly, and took steps to defend the project. But there were many hazards. The former chair of the commission had retired. The new chair was an unknown to us and to many advocates. Would she be more susceptible to lobbying pressure? Nail-biting time.

Then, out of the blue, a knight in shining regulatory armor appeared. Steve Blum, of the aforementioned CCBC, has helped many municipalities plan and build network infrastructure. He submitted a firm rebuttal to the commissioners defending not only our grant but the program itself and its aim of increasing low-cost, high performance internet throughout the State of California.  If you’d like to see community advocacy at work, read his letter here.

The CPUC recognized the merit of the argument. They approved the grant. The CPUC had done its job. Yay.

Next Steps

Now we need to complete ours. Winning the grant is only one step in a long chain. Funding is given as a reimbursement for finished work, not an up-front payment. So we have to finance and construct the network before we see a penny.

And although we have the support of the parks’ residents, we’ve discovered that many mobile-home parks have been “rolled up” by private equity firms in the last decade or so. People in the parks generally rent the land their homes are on  — they own the structures, not the dirt. Most parks used to be owned by local companies or HOAs, but not so much any more.

The actual owners are now pretty detached from the parks and difficult to reach. Cruzio needs to work with the owners to help their residents get free upgrades to their internet, and it is often a challenge finding anyone willing to answer an email or a phone call.

But we are up for the challenge. It was such a great feeling to “light up” our first mobile home park, the El Rio in downtown Santa Cruz. We’ll never forget the joy when residents saw they had gigabit speeds for their business, their kids’ homework, and their entertainment. Equal, best-of-breed access is what it’s really about.

Santa Cruz Fiber Crew At El Rio 800

Our crew at the El Rio mobile home build site

Here’s Where We Get to Thank Everybody

The Central Coast Broadband Consortium (CCBC) championed our cause. The CCBC is a state-funded group of experts who spend their time studying where in our tri-county region (Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito) the internet sucks, and then figuring out how to improve it. Yes, there’s actually someone paying attention to this!

CCBC loved our idea and helped immeasurably. Many thanks especially to Steve Blum and Freny Cooper from Monterey Bay Economic Partnership for their support and for helping us navigate the tsunami of required paperwork, which they somehow understand.

Congress member Jimmy Panetta and his office saw our plan and encouraged us to go forward. Mr. Panetta has been a long-time, well-informed advocate for internet availability and fairness. We’ve seen him take the right side of the argument on Net Neutrality and personal privacy on the internet. He has some top-notch help in his office: Panetta aides Emmanuel Garcia, Matt Manning, and Carina Chavez made sure their boss’s letters of support reached people in the CPUC.

We’re also lucky to have even a State Assembly member who understands the importance of internet to families and businesses around our county. You may not be aware that Mark Stone is a powerful advocate for fast, fair, low-cost internet. He’s tried hard, and against heavy odds, to raise standards in our state. When it comes to EASC, he advocated for his constituents and lent his voice.

The support went down the line. County Supervisors Zach Friend and John Leopold, along with Capitola City Manager Jamie Goldstein and Santa Cruz County Economic Development Manager Andy Constable deserve credit for their participation in the process.

And many thanks to the folks at the CPUC, who gave us the nod. We intend to do them proud. This project will be a feather in their cap.

 

When the Power is Out

power outage in Santa Cruz image

We know that even when your power is out, you want the internet up and running

Cruzio knows our customers need internet service no matter what the circumstances. And that’s been a big part of our ongoing infrastructure investment.

Our aim is 100% uptime, even when PG&E power is out.

In fact, we aim higher than that: we offer extra service to customers who don’t have power in their homes or offices. If your power is cut, we always want to offer the alternative of coming into our coworking space and using the internet here. 

As the PG&E situation gets more challenging, we have to adapt in order to stay close to our goal. This blog describes the steps we’ve taken in the past and what we’re doing now.

We’ve Always Prepared for Outages

We’ve prepared well over the years. As we established our independent fiber optic-backed network, Cruzio bought our own office space in downtown Santa Cruz to house a generator and data center and we’re connected with multiple redundant fiber and wireless backhaul paths.If one of our hubs goes down in a power event, we can reroute traffic in several configurations. Because of this, we’re able to confidently guarantee service levels to enterprise customers — businesses who simply can’t operate without internet. We’ve even been able to come through with sudden demands for emergency internet for local facilities like the County Building. 

Cruzio power outage team

Meeting the day we got the PG&E outage warnings

We’re proud of our outage response team: Jesus Lopez, Dan Thomas, Chris Frost, Adia Schamber Jones, Justin von Besser, Mark Hanford, Alison Lowenthal, and James Hackett (not pictured). With the rest of our dauntless staff, they keep our network and downtown headquarters up and running, serving thousands of customers.

We have dozens of generators and uninterrupted power supplies (UPSs) to provide power backup to our many facilities around Santa Cruz County and surrounding areas. Cruzio always carries spare UPSs so that in an extended power outage we can cycle them (charge one while deploying another). In an outage, we follow a schedule of rotation and replacement for our UPSs and for fueling and refueling generators. Even when PG&E power is on, we run our main generator once a week to ensure it’s working properly. 

We’ve Got a Great Team

Our team, mentioned above, is a crucial part of our uptime efforts. They’re the ones up at 3 am, driving to the top of Loma Prieta in bad weather, making sure the power is on and the internet’s flowing. 

And when you add in the extra issues our customers experience in emergencies, every member of our staff contributes. We may not return your call or update your ticket as quickly when we’re in the middle of an outage, but we are listening to and addressing the issues you describe. Please check our network status page or call in for the latest news. 

Once, when the elevator power was out, our Director of Technology and Infrastructure, Chris Frost, carried a UPS up 5 flights of stairs. By the time he got to the top and plugged in the equipment, the power had returned. He laughs about it. But he made sure we were ready for an extended failure.

But Now We’ve Got a More Serious Situation

Cruzio has been well prepared for the way things have worked up until the last few months. Generally, in our experience, we’ve had power outages for 3 or 4 hours, or perhaps half a day. The outages have been unplanned, occurring in a limited area, and PG&E has fixed them quickly — often even before their own projections. We are more than ready for that type of power outage; it can be challenging, but we have the equipment necessary to handle it. But this isn’t the only kind of outage we’re seeing now.

In the new paradigm, as a result of climate change we’re living with more extreme weather conditions. Drought, tree-killing diseases and pests, extreme heat, record-breaking winds — all of these have caused a sharp increase in fire danger. On the power-supply side, PG&E filed for bankruptcy based on fire liability. Now they’re shutting down their infrastructure in advance of damage, powering down hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses all at once, and for days — perhaps, they’ve hinted, weeks — at a time. These are much longer outages than our customers and Cruzio are accustomed to.

The climate situation isn’t getting better, and we don’t expect PG&E’s response to improve any time soon. Our community and our business have to adapt.

We’re Looking at Enormous Investments to Deal with Power Outages

Cruzio, as a provider of vital services, has to adapt even faster and more thoroughly than most other businesses.

So the tens of thousands of dollars per year we spend on backup power will have to double and triple. We will likely spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on power backups in the next year or so.

Our staff has been drawn thin by the new power paradigm. Over the last weekend we had techs napping in our break room as they waited for their next generator-refueling shift. We’ve added staff to build out our network, and now we’ll need to hire and train more people to take care of our equipment at our many sites. This, too, is costly: responding to power emergencies slows down our network builds. We would rather be building fiber. But until our state figures out a different way, this is the world we have to deal with. 

Our Number One Priority is Always Keeping our Current Customers Up and Running

Along with making our network more resilient around the county, we’re improving our in-building power redundancy as well. When customer power is out, we welcome folks to come down to our office and use our internet. We even lower our coworking fees during outages so non-members can get the internet they need.

And we’re working on upgrades to our coworking electrical backups, so that we can accomodate more people. In a long, wide-area power outage, people need a place to go.

But We Need a Better Way

Just to touch on the larger picture: small diesel-fueled machinery like generators are bad for the environment, but people are understandably buying them up. With these long outages the small generators will almost certainly proliferate, and that will exacerbate the climate problem. We need to find other solutions. Cruzio, for example, is looking at using more solar power. We hope that our community as a whole recognizes this issue so we can all address it together and find a better way.

Seeing the 4 am status updates from Dan or spotting Colin, exhausted, between shifts makes us very grateful for the team we have and how much care they put into their work. Many thanks to them for keeping us going. And let’s hope the wind dies down soon so the power can come back on.

 

1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake Photos

Photos taken by the US Geological Survey. For the full folder of photos, check out the USGS website.

072. Santa Cruz’s town clock stopped a few minutes after the earthquake.

 

073. Pacific Avenue. Brick buildings were a serious liability.

 

074. Pacific Avenue

 

075. Pacific Avenue. Yes, our town really looked like this.

 

076. Some businesses never returned

 

077. People were injured and killed in downtown SantaCruz. Rescue operations started almost after the quake.

 

078. Many of our older buildings were lost. Our Downtown/Pacific Avenue commercial area had been listed as a historical district, but is was delisted by the National Register of Historic Places because of the earthquake’s effects.

 

079. Businesses had to abandon their shops. Many set up in tents — and operated in tents for years after the quake.

 

080.

 

082. The levee by the river shows rifts

083. Hillsides collapsed

088. Ford’s department store in downtown Santa Cruz never reopenedloma prieta earthquake photos

063. The Santa Cruz Mountains saw incredible destructionSanta Cruz Mountains earthquake damage in 1989

 

055.

092. Watsonville, too, experienced massive damage to beautiful old buildings

 

094. Highway 1 heading south from Watsonville

 

006. In San Francisco,  many buildings had even more dramatic collapses

 

009.

Attributions for all these photos and more:

 

photo_attributions from US Geological Service

Cruzio Celebrates 30 Years of Geekdom

Cruzio Internet's Open House Invitation

Cruzio’s celebrating 30 years with one of our fabulous free parties — and a jingle contest!

Cruzio Internet is having a big anniversary and a big, big party — you’re invited!

We founded our company 30 years ago, when the internet was new, experimental, and little known. Santa Cruz plunged right in.

Cruzio's family

Cruzio opened a storefront on Pacific Avenue in the early 90s

It Wasn’t Just Cruzio. Santa Cruz Was a Leader in Technology

Santa Cruz in the 1980s was full of fire-dancing free-loving hippies. It was also full of tech nerds who worked for Lockheed or Hewlett Packard over the hill. Students hoping to eventually work for the latter but who partied like the former filled out the mix.

Tie dye and pocket protectors got mixed together and produced the internet,  with its far-reaching cosmic social effects and solid basis in science and math.

tie dye mandela

Precise technicians can express a creative side, too

We founded Cruzio, our quintessentially Santa Cruz internet service provider, in 1989, as members of that vibrant, culturally diverse community.

Santa Cruz is an idealistic place, and Cruzio founders Chris Neklason and I had high hopes for humanity. We were inspired by people like John Perry Barlow, the Grateful Dead lyricist and early internet pioneer who proclaimed things like: 

“We are in the middle of the most transforming technological event since the capture of fire.”

And we saw the light.

Communication is a powerful and a very human thing. The earliest internet had been set up to exchange scientific data. But almost immediately, even scientists in their labs used the medium for non-technical discussions. They shared with each other science fiction, music, and even knitting tips. Personal use of the internet spread.

Many of us in Santa Cruz were inspired by big ideas about bringing the world together with this radical new form of communication. In the late 1980s, we started Cruzio as a Bulletin Board System (BBS). We kept the equipment in our spare bedroom on Palm Street, on the West Side of Santa Cruz.

BBSs were precursors of ISPs. One of perhaps a dozen in Santa Cruz County, the Cruzio BBS allowed people out in the community to have their computers call our computer on the phone, exchange data, and send commands that our computer would follow. Pretty revolutionary in 1989. Mind-blowing!

Cruzio Gamers in Chris and Peggy's Garage

Cruzio gamers in our garage — that’s an Apple “laptop” on the left!

Nerds Joined the Internet First, and Had a Ball

People who ran BBSs were called “sysops” and Santa Cruz had an active and collegial sysop community. We had our own sysop news- and email groups for the exchange of vital information: how to create and maintain fast connections from our little county to the rest of the world. It was hard work. For Cruzio, which had hundreds of customers by the early 1990s, it was all-day, all-night work.

We’d had an earthquake early on in Cruzio’s history. We saw that our service could be a lifeline, like ham radio. So we knew it had to be up and running 24/7, 365 days a year.

Most computers only displayed text back then, with rudimentary graphics. But users were creative about what they did with text. We drew pictures (often of cows), wrote poems, designed and played multi-user games. Students and people who worked in tech companies made up most of our users in the early days — they’d had email and newsgroups, and wanted them at home, too.

An ASCII cow

In 1990, when the internet was available to private companies, we jumped on it immediately. Cruzio became one of the first commercial ISPs in the country.

“Join the INTERNET,” we announced, using all caps for this obscure technical term. The software got better, partly due to Santa Cruz-based companies. And as more people put things online, online became more interesting.

In the next several years everyone, not just geeks but everyone, got on the internet.

We Love Our Community and Our Customers

Cruzio was lucky. Santa Cruz, our community, had the vision to embrace this new world early and enthusiastically. Our experiment was successful, and Chris and I were able to quit our day jobs and devote full time to the venture.

Our customers have always loved our fast, reliable internet and reasonable prices. They’ve also loved our local staff, our cats, and our kids. And we’ve responded by constantly working to improve speed and stability of internet connections: dialup begat DSL, DSL gave way to Velocity, and now wireless and fiber connections are replacing everything that came before.  We see our company as a connector between the most advanced technology in the world and the needs and capabilities of real humans.

Chris and Peggy in the house where Cruzio started

Chris and Peggy in the house where Cruzio started

 

Cruzio now sells internet connections for $75/month which are often 1,000 times faster than the old 1200 baud (baud!) connections from 1989. The fiber optic cables supplying backhaul to our network carry more data than all the lines supplying all of Santa Cruz County twenty years ago — and we have more than one set of them, for redundancy.

Things move fast.

Many years have passed, and we’re still grateful to a community that embraces creativity and independence, and cares about honesty and hard work. 

One of Our Cruzio Family Stories

And in the spirit of mixing the personal and the technical — which is what the internet allows us to do — I’ll end with a timely quote from one of our children, who grew up with modems beeping and buzzing all around her and her funny words written down in the Cruzio newsletter:

“Now I know how cats feel doing jumprope” declared Carly, at age 9, wearing her Halloween costume of cat ears and tail and trying to jump rope.

Thanks for all the support, and here’s to another 30 years of independent internet!

And…

If you have a moment, check out the entries in the Great Cruzio Internet Jingle Competition. Vote for your favorite jingle!

Cruzio Jingle Contest

ASCII Cows

 

 

                                            (__)
                                            (oo)
                                     /-------\/
                                    / |     ||
                                   *  ||----||
                                      ~~    ~~
                                  Hello from 1989!

In the early days of the internet, our computers didn’t do graphics very well. So people got creative with letters and other keyboard characters.

One of the big fads was ASCII cows. Here’s a selection, collected from newsgroups and email in 1989:

            --==>>  THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO COWS  <<==--
                 as you've NEVER seen them before!

                  ________________________
         (__)    /                        \         * OFFICIAL EDITION *
         (oo)   (  November 1989 Version!  )
  /-------\/  --'\________________________/      * WORLDWIDE DISTRIBUTION *
 / |     ||
*  ||----||             Edited by Eric W. Tilenius
                    Please send your submissions to:
     Cow                ewtileni@pucc.Princeton.EDU // ewtileni@pucc.BITNET

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

         (__)             (__)             (__)             (__)
         (oo)             (oo)             (oo)             (oo)
  /-------\/       /-------\/       /-------\/       /-------\/
 / |     ||       / |     ||       / |     ||       / |     ||
*  ||----||      *  ||W---||      *  ||w---||      *  ||V---||
                                              
     Cow           Cow laden        Same cow       Nancy Reagan-type
                   with milk     after milking     cow with milk

         (___)             (___)    *        (___)             (___)
         (o o)             (o o)     \       (o o)             (o o)
  /-------\ /       /-------\ /       \-------\ /       /-------\ /
 / |     ||O       / |     ||O         |     ||O       / | #>-+|O
*  ||,---||       *  ||@\--||          ||,---||       *  ||,----|
                                                  
     Bull       Same bull after    Rotc bull after    Red-blooded American Bull
                seeing above cow   seeing other bull   shooting the Rotc bull



         (__)             (__)             (__)             (__)
         (oo)             (oo)             (oo)             (oo)
  /-------\/-*     /-------\/       /-------\/   
 / |     || \     )*)(\/* /  *     / |     ||
*  ||----||  *   \ |||/)|/()(    
\/|(/)(/\/(,,/   \)|(/\/|)(/\
  Cow munching   Grass munching   Cow in water       Cow in trouble
    on grass         on cow

          (__)             (__)    *        (__) *      (__)
          (oo)             (oo)     \       (oo) |      (oo)
  /--------\/      /-oooooo-\/       \-------\/  \-------\/
 * o|     ||      * ooooooooo     o  o|     ||   /     ||
    ||----||     ooooooooooooo        ||----||>==/-----||
 ooo        ooooooooooooooooo                  
  Cow taking      Cow in deep         Cow getting the shit
    a shit            shit             kicked out of her


         (__)
         (oo)                       U
  /-------\/                    /---V
 / |     ||                    * |--|                       .
*  ||----||
       

Cow at 1 meter.         Cow at 100 meters.        Cow at 10,000 meters.



         (__)                     )__(                vv    vv
         (oo)                     (oo)                ||----||  *
  /-------\/               *-------\/                 ||     | /
 / |     ||               / |     ||                 /\-------/
*  ||----||              /  ||----||                (oo)
                        vv    vv                ()

American Cow              Polish Cow            Australian Cow



         (__)                     (__)                     (__)
         (oo)                ____ (oo)                _---_(oo)
  /-------\/               /-    --\/               /-     -\/
 / |     ||               / |     ||               /|      ||
*  ||----||              *  ||___-||              *  ||___-||
                                                 

Freshman Cow at          Freshman Cow             Freshman Cow
start of school     After the "Freshman 15"    After the "Freshman 20"


         (__)                     (__)                     (__)
         (OO)                     (@@)                     (xx)
  /-------\/               /-------\/               /-------\/
 / |     ||               / |     ||               / |     ||
*  ||----||              *  ||----||              *  ||----||
                                                 

Cow who drank Jolt       Cow who ate              Cow who used Jolt to wash
                      psychadelic mushrooms      down psychadelic mushrooms


                                         /\                  __
                                        /  \                 ||
             (__)                 (__)  \  /               (_||_)
             SooS                 (oo)   \/                 (oo)
      /------S\/S          /-------\/    /S          /-------\/
     / |     ||           / |     ||    /  S        / |     ||
    *  ||----||          *  ||----||___/    S      *  ||----||
                                                  
    This cow belonged     Ben Franklin owned       Abe Lincoln's
  to George Washington       this cow                   cow


                                                 (__)
         *        (__)                           (oo)
          \       (oo)                     /------\/
           \-------\/                     /|  |/  |
            | ==$ ||                     / |  [) ||
            ||----||                    *  ||----||
                                           
     Old "One Arm" belonged           This cow was given to
       to Ceasar's Palace           Hugh Hefner for his Birthday


                  (___)               (__)      (__)
                  ( O )               (oo)      (oo)
           /-------\ /                 \/--------\/
          / |     ||V                   |        |
         *  ||----||                    ||------||
                                          
  The cyclops that Jason and         This cow lived with
the Argonauts met had this cow          Dr. Doolittle


             (__)                   (__)
             [##]                   (@o)
      /-------\/             /-------\/              /-------  (__)
     / |     ||             / |     ||              / |     || (oo)
    *  ||----||            *  ||----||             *  ||----|---\/
                                                  
 This cow belonged      This cow lived with      This cow belonged to
  to Flash Gordon       the Little Rascals       the Headless Horseman


                    (____)             (____)                           (____)
                    (oo  )                (o  o)                        ( O O)
         /-----------\  /          /-----\    /----          /-----------\  /
        / ||       |  \/          / |   |  \/   |           / ||       |  \/
       /  ||       ||||           \ |  |      | | |        /  ||       ||||
      *   ||||-----||||            *| | |-----| | |       *   ||||-----||||
          /\/\     /\/\             /\ /\     /\ /\                
     This cow belonged         This was Salvatore      No one was sure whether
      to Pablo Picasso        Dali's favorite cow    M.C. Escher's cow had four
                                                           legs or eight


               O__O                             \_|_/
               (oo)                             (oo)
        /-------\/                       /-------\/
       / |     ||                       / |     ||
      *  ||----||                      *  ||----||
                                          
    Cow at Disneyland         Cow visiting the Statue of Liberty



                        (__)                        (__)
                      (oo)                        (--)
             /-------\/                        /-\/-\
           / |     ||                        /|    |\
          *  ||----||                        |    | 
      ============                     |    |
/                                     /----\
                                /    \ \
                     * 
     Cow Hanging Ten at Malibu           Cow sunning at Fort Lauderdale
                                             (What a bod, huh guys?)


               )\               (__)
              /  \              (oo)
        
           Cow swimming at Amityville
(Where Jaws was filmed, for those less educated)


        *                                                 (__)
         \                                                (DD)
          \                                        /-------\/
          |\                                      / |     ||_\_/
        \ | \ (__)                               *  ||----|
        \\|| \(oo)                                      
         \||\ \\/                         Cow chugging brews and staring at
           \||                            sunbathers at Fort Lauderdale
           \\ ||
            \\||
             \||
                                               / / / / / / / / / / /
               \\_                              / / / / / / / / / / / /
                \_                              / / / / / _______   / /
 Cow skiing a Black Diamond at Aspen            / / /    /   |   \  / /
                                                / / /    (__)|      / /
                                                / / /    (oo)|      / /
   ( @@@ )                                        /-------\/ |
    ( @@ )            (------------)             / |     ||_|
       @@  (__)       (  *>COUGH<* )            *  ||----|
        @@ (oo) . . . (  *>COUGH<* )                   
     /--UU--\/        (____________)
    / |    ||                              Cow sheltering from English Weather
   *  ||---||

   (New) Jersey Cow


                       O O                 O O
                        \ \               / /
                         \ \          (__) /
          (__)            \ \         (xx)/
          (DD)             \ +--------+\//
   /-------\/               \|        | /
  / |     ||                 +--------+
 *  ||----||
        
Cow fantasizing about "Riding the Mechanical Bull"
            at Gillies in Texas


         o  o
         |__|             (__)             (__)
         (oo)             (oo)            =(oo)=         oo
  /-------\/       /-------vv       /-------\/
 / |     ||       / |     ||       / |     ||
*  ||----||      *  ||----||      *  ||----||
                                 
 bill bixby        bela lugosi      boris karloff  claude rains
 male relative     cow              cow            cow
 cow
                       x
                   xxxx|xxxx
                xxxxxxx|xxxxxxx
                       |
                      //
                (__) //                        (__)   (__)
                (oo)//                         (oo)===(oo)
         /-------\//                    /-------\/     \/-------\
        / |     |//                    / |     ||       ||     | \
       *  ||----|                     *  ||----||       ||----||  *
                                                    
     Julie Andrews Cow                         Siamese cows


                            o        o             (__)    
                             \      /              (oo)   /
                              \    /           _____\/___/
             (__)              \__/           /  /\ / /
             (oo)       _______(oo)            /  * /
    /---------\/       /|  ___  \/             / ___/
   / | x=a(b)||       / | {   }||         *----/\
  *  ||------||      *  ||{___}||             /  \
                    ||-----||            /   /
                                            

    Mathematical        Television      This cow does Disco
        Cow                 Cow        (That's what comes of
   (developer of        (Cow-thode      snorting cow-caine)
     cow-culus)          Ray Tube)

            o
            | [---]
            |   |
            |   |                              |------========|
       /----|---|\                             | **** |=======|
      /___/___\___\                         o  | **** |=======|
      |            |                     ___|  |==============|
      |           |                ___  {(__)} |==============|
      \-----------/             [](   )={(oo)} |==============|
       \  \   /  /             /---===--{ \/ } |
    -----------------         / | NASA  |====  |
    |               |        *  ||------||-----
    -----------------           ||      |      |
      /    /  \   \                         |
     /     ----    \
                          This cow jumped over the Moon


                (__)
               ([][])            "I have this recurring dream
               __\/_--U              about golden arches."..  (__)
              /\    \__                                   :..("")
             /\\\  /  /                         //\  ____\_____\/ //
            /----/__/\ /\                     // \\/     \___ / //
                \\\____/--\--                 // /-/__________/ //
                 /======   \/            =======/==============//
              *_/ /    \   /              //  /              \\
                 /      \                //                   \\

                     Psycowlogist and patient


                                               (___)
          \\   (__)                    (o o)
           \\\ (oo)                     \ /
        *-----\_______\/\/                    \--O--/
      _______/   ---  \______              // -----\
     --------\   \S/  /\_____              \\/_{} /==V===[]
               \______/                        \_____\\//
                                                \__/
   It's a bird...                               //\\         The Boss
    It's a plane...                             //  \\   (Bruce Holstien)
                                                //   //
                                                    


                                          ==================
 _____________________________            H                H
 |             |-------------|            H     (__)       H
 |             |   ________  |            H     (oo)       H       __
 |   COWNTY    |  | (|__|) | |            H    / \/ \      H     /    \
 |    JAIL     |  |  |oo|  | |            H   | |  | |     H    | STOP |
 |             |  |__|\/|__| |            H   D===b=-----  H     \ __ /
 |             | o           |            HH       ||
 |             |            |            H                H       ||
 |             | ]           |            H                H       ||
 |             |             |            H                H       ||
 |_____________|_____________|            H                H       ||
                                               
 Some cows get in trouble...                 Cattle Guard


     (  (    )
   ( (     )   )
   ( (         )
  (           / )
 ( ( \\       )
     ( |  // )
       |   |    (__)
       |   |    (oo)                   (__)
       |   | ----\/              ______(oo)_____
       |   |    ||              ( _)_______(__) )
     **|   | ---||                \ __________/
    ``'---------
        Cow Hide                     Cow Pie


                   \  |  /         ___________
    ____________  \ \_# /         |  ___      |       _________
   |            |  \  #/          | |   |     |      | = = = = |
   | |   |   |  |   \\#           | |`v'|     |      |         |
   |            |    \#  //       |  --- ___  |      | |  || | |
   | |   |   |  |     #_//        |     |   | |      |         |
   |            |  \\ #_/_______  |     |   | |      | |  || | |
   | |   |   |  |   \\# /_____/ \ |      ---  |      |         |
   |            |    \# |+ ++|  | |  || |      | |  || | |
   |            |    \# |+ ++|  | |  || |      | |  || | |
|    () |#| H  |_ ||  | |||| | ||         |
   |    ( ||| ) |     #     |  | |||| | |      | ||||||| |
   ________/  /_____ |  | |||| | |      | ||||||| |
        `v'-                            | ||||||| |
         || |`.      (__)    (__)                          ( )
                     (oo)    (oo)                       /---V
              /-------\/      \/ --------\             * |  |
             / |     ||        ||_______| \
            *  ||W---||        ||      ||  *
                                 

                        "Cow Town"


              \ (__)                       (__)
              \\(oo)                       (\/)
         /-----\\\/                 /-------\/
        / |    (##)                / |     ||
       *  ||----||"               *  ||----||
                                     
    This cow plays bagpipes.      Cow from Beijing


         (__)                     (__)                     (__)
         (\/)                     ($$)                     (**)
  /-------\/               /-------\/               /-------\/
 / | 666 ||               / |=====||               / |     ||
*  ||----||              *  ||----||              *  ||----||
                                                 

Satanic cow           This cow is a Yuppie         Cow in love


         (__)                                              (__)
         (oo)                                              (oo)
  /-'''''-\/                            /-------------------\/
 / |'''''||                            / |                 ||
*  ||''''||                           *  ||----------------||
                                                     
 Cow in Argyle                                Stretch Cow
                         *
                      **   **
                 * **  * * *  **
                *   /  /   \ *  *
             \  \ /  \        / /                         (__)
          *  /  / \  \  (__)  \ \                /--------(00)
            /           (00)  / /               / |      |(  )
            \    /-------\/   \ \              *  ||---- ||()
            /   / |     ||    / /                 ||     ||
          \ \  *  ||----||    \ \                      
         /  /             / /            Cow Chewing Marbles
                 Cow in Heat


           (___)
           (o o)
     /------\ /   (__)                         (__)
    /    ____O    (oo)                         (oo)
   |   / /----\----\/                   /-------\/
   /\oo===|  /    ||                   / |     ||
  | ||   *||-----||                  *  OO----OO
  *           
    Cowt in the Act                   low rider cow


         (__)                 \__\                 (__)
         (oo)             o   (oo)                 (oo)
  /-------\/           ____\___\/          *+-------\/
 / |     ||           / |     ||           ||______||
*  ||----||          *  ||----||             ||----||
   OO    OO             OO    OO             OO    OO
Detroit cow          Mustang cow            pickup cow


                 (__)              (__)              \_||_
                 (oo)              (oo)              (*||*)
  /---------------\/           /----\/        /-------\||/
 / |             ||           /    ||        / |     ||
*  ||------------||        *-||----||       *  ||----||
   OO            OO          OO    OO          OO    }{
      li-moo-cow          fastback cow      teenager's cow


         ____
        (____)
                               .xxxx.
         (__)                  '(oo)`
         (oo)            /-----'-\/ `
  /-------\/            / |    |============>
 / |     ||            *  ||----| ()
*  ||----||                   
                    Moo-ammar Cowdafi
   holy cow            armed and dangerous


         (___)             (___)
         (o o)             (o o)
  /-------\ /       /-------\ /
 / |     ||O       / |  O ||O
*  ||,---||       *  ||,---||
                     
    A Bull       A-bomb-in-a-bull     No-bull


           (---)
           (   )
          /-----\                          (___)
          |     |                          (o o)
          |  |  |                   (-----) \ /
          |  |  |                  /  / \    O
          |  *  |                 *  | O |
                                 -----
          Coward                  Phone Bull


                  __________________________
         }__{    / Send YOUR cow pictures to \
         (00)   ( ewtileni@pucc.Princeton.EDU )
  :****** \/ ==='\___________________________/'
 : #     ##
   ##****##
   ""    ""


 |    |                              |    |           *
 |    |            (__)              |    |            \       (__)
 |    |            (oo)              |    |             \      (oo)
 |    |     /-------\/               |    |          -----------\/--
 |    |    / |     ||                |    |          ----|      |---
 |    |   *  ||----||                |    |              --------
 |    \_____________             |    \_________________
 |     _________________             |     _________________
 |    /                              |    /
 |    |                              |    |
 |    |                              |    |
 |    |                              |    |
 |    |                              |    |
 |    |                              |    |
 |    |                              |    |
 |    |                              |    |
/      \                            /      \

Cow perched on a tree.              Cow attempting to fly off tree.


 |    |
 |    |
 |    |
 |    |
 |    |
 |    \_________________
 |     _________________
 |    /
 |    |
 |    |
 |    |
 |    |
 |    |
 |    |                                (__)
 |    |                      *---------(..)
/      \                        ----\/

Cow that has failed miserably in the attempt.


  .            /\         .       .        :                (__)
        .     /  \      .          .       :                (xx)
             /    \   .        .    *      :         __------\/
            /      \              *        :        * ||____||
            | (__) |   .    .   **         :         / |    |\
     .     /| (oo) |\           **         :
          / | /\/\ | \   .     . *         :         Hamburger
      .  /  |=|==|=|  \     .      *       :
     . /    | |  | |    \  .               :
      / USA | || |NASA \     .           :       *        (__)
     |______|    |______|       .        :        \       (oo)
    .       (__||__)     .   .             :         \-------\/
       .    /_\  /_\  .     .    .         :        8-|     ||
            !!!  !!!                       :          ||----||
                                           :              
  The cow that jumped over the moon.       :         Flying Cow


                          ...---...
                       ../  / | \  \..
                     ./ /  /  |  \  \ \.
                    /  /   /  |  \   \  \
                   /  /   /   |   \   \  \
                   
                   \          |          /
                    \         |         /
                     \        |        /
                      \       |       /
                       \      |      /
                        \     |     /
                         \    |    /
                          \   |   /
                           \  |  /
                            \ | /(__)
                             \|/ (oo)
                          /---++--\/
                         / |  || ||
                        *  ||-++-||
                               

               Cow surviving attack by Red Baron


              ..---..                             (__)
             /       \                            (oo)
             |  RIP  |                     /-------\/
             |       |                    / |     ||
             |       |                   *  ||----||
             |       |                          
             |       |
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\/////////////////

            Elvis's Cow...      ...Or is it alive and living in tax exile???


                     (__)
                     (oo)
        /---+      +--\/
       / |  |      | ||
      *  ||-+      +-||
                                                *

   David Copperfield's Cow               David Copperfield's other Cow



                                    (__)
                                    (oo)
                             /-------\/
                            / |     ||
                           *  ||----||
                                  
                             (__)  (__)
                             (oo)  (oo)
                      /-------\/    \/-------\
                     / |     || -- ||     | \
                    *  ||----   --       ||  *
                                         
                      (__)                (__)
                      (oo)                (oo)
               /-------\/                  \/-------\
              / |     ||                    ||     | \
             *  ||----||                    ||----||  *
                                            
                 Barnum's Troupe of performing cows



                    (__)                       _--------_
                    (oo)                      |__________|   BIG
             /-------\/                        XXXXXXXXXX    MAC
            / | 007 ||                         __________
           *  ||----||                        |_        _|
                                            --------
       Cow licenced to kill      Enemy Cow after having met previous cow


                                                     (__)
                                                     (oo)
                                                    /'-m
            (__)                                   / '' ` )
            (oo)    o     /| /|/|_                |      /|
           / \/    /    /      _ /                |  |  | |
          /  _\===   ___\_____/___               |_____|_|
      ___|__/ |/\    (___________(_)               //|| ||
     *                                          *  ww ww

            Mrs. O'Leary's Cow                 Cow'nt Dracula


 ____             ____                                |+++++|
|++++|    ___    |++++|                       ____    |+++++|
|++++|   |++ ______________________          |++++|   |+++++|
|++++|   |++/      /( )\           \         |++++|   |+++++|   __
|    |   |+|      |-oo- |           \______  |++++|   |+++++|  |++|
-----(__)--|       \__\/           _(__)_  \ ----------------------------------
 o   ( oo /_______________________| (oo)  \ |         __
 |  _/\_| |  M O O - B U S T E R S|__\/\ /| |        /oo| - Bleaurgh!
 |-|  \\____                         ------  )_    /|  /\
  -|_  \_|-_| 0     _|  *  \/  *
     \  |  __________________________________/
     |  W|  \ \_/ /----------------- \ \_/ /
     / /\ \  \___/                    \___/
    / /  \ \
                                             Who you gonna call...?


        (__)                   (__)                    (__)       (----------)
        (00)                   (-o)                    (--) . . . ( *>YAWN<* )
  /------\/              /------\/               /------\/        (----------)
 /|     ||              /|     ||               /|     ||
* ||----||             * ||----||              * ||----||

Cow w/ Glasses    Flirtatious cow (winking)   Cow after pulling an all-nighter


*        (__)              (__)               (__)               (__)
 \       (oo)              (oo)               (oo)               (oo)
  \-------\/        /-------\/         /-------\/         /-------\/
  /|      |\       / /      \         / \      /         / \      \
 //||----||\\     * //------\\       *   \\--//         *   \\----\\
                                                        
Cow walking         Cow jogging         Same cow        Cow breaking


          (__)
          (oo)                       (__) o       *     (__)
           \/                        (oo)/ "      |     (oo)
       ____| \____            /-------\/(__ o=o=o=|------\/
       ---/   --**           / |       /          |      |
    *____/    |___//        *  ||----||           ||----||
        //--------/                               
       //__                      Cow           Cow pooing
       Cow marching            standing


   Side      Front   Side   back                (___)  Where's all the bulls!
   (__)      (__)    (__)   (__)                (O O)/
   ( oo      (oo)    oo )   (  )              _/\ /\_  
   /\_|      /\/\    |_/\   /  \            \\/   O   \//
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(___)
(  OO
 \_ | - Got some cows that aren't in here?  Add yours to the official
   \O   collection!  Send them to:  ewtileni@pucc.Princeton.EDU


(___)
(  --
 \_ | - G'nite, and thank you for your support.   Zzz z z z z z  z   z
   \O

          Thanks to EVERYONE who contributed COWS!

Cruzio and the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989

Chris after the Loma Prieta earthquake

Cruzio’s founder Chris Neklason reading a post-earthquake newspaper. The headlined death toll was more than twice the true number

Cruzio became a company just months before the Loma Prieta quake hit Santa Cruz in 1989.
At that time, there wasn’t much internet to speak of, just connections to email, newsgroups, and some little all-text applications that searched for books and papers on some libraries online.
Cruzio, run out of a spare bedroom in our home on Palm Street, had a few dozen subscribers. They were using Cruzio to communicate with the small number of other people who were online back then. Cruzio’s co-founders Chris Neklason and I had day jobs. It was more a hobby than a business.

All Shook Up

When the ground shook, Chris and I were at work at a local software company called The Santa Cruz Operation, or SCO.  Chris was on the second floor. His office chair slid around the room, an effect he at first enjoyed until the danger of a well-stocked bookshelf above him became obvious. On the first floor of the building, after a few seconds of waiting for the shaking to stop,  I saw my coworker Raven Brewster dive under a desk and followed suit.
Most quakes — the little ones we have from time to time — last just a few scary seconds. But this was a big one. We crawled out from our under desks after the long seconds of rocking and rolling passed — in all around 15 seconds.
Hundreds of computer manuals had tumbled off shelves. Stuff was all over the floor. The power was out. All the employees slowly made their way to the parking lot.

Eerie Scene

We looked out from our spot on Mission Street and saw smoke rising from a couple of places downtown. It was silent, eerily so. Cars weren’t moving, everyone had pulled over. Sirens weren’t wailing, at least not at first. Just silence and smoke.
We worried about downed power cables, about the potential for fires from ruptured gas lines — clearly there were already some of those. We couldn’t work, that was for sure. Our managers sent us home.
For Chris and me, home was 317 Palm Street and Cruzio (such as it was) ran in the spare bedroom upstairs.

A Delicious Post-Quake Dinner

After ensuring the gas was off and checking the house for damage, we sat down. No power, certainly not for a long time. We checked the freezer. We’d had a party a few days earlier, and had half a quart of vodka and a gallon of ice cream. We decided it was wise to consume those immediately.
Our families in Sacramento and New York were watching news reports that at first estimated hundreds of deaths and showed San Francisco on fire, Joe DiMaggio waiting on line for water. They learned that Santa Cruz was the epicenter of the disaster — surely we would have even more deaths and destruction! And with power out, little news was getting through. Phone service was spotty. They were relieved to finally hear from us.

Our Little Venture — the Internet — Turned Out to be Vital

Like the rest of our community, Cruzio was affected by the earthquake. Our server was fine but we had no electricity to run it. We ran completely on telephone lines at that time, and the phones were jammed and sporadic.
At first we thought, well, no one around here has electricity anyway, who will want internet?
But we learned otherwise.
In an emergency, communication becomes even more vital than normal. Most people in 1989 didn’t have the ability to get online, but those who did used it as soon as they could, and urgently. We got Cruzio back up and running within three days.
And we started preparing to do better in the next outage.
Realizing that Cruzio provides a lifeline service, we made backups and redundancy — power, telecommunication — a priority from 1989 on. We’ve stayed up all night many times when necessary. We’ve answered calls in heavy rainstorms or when fires were threatening, and rushed to our facilities in the mountains, where it’s even more cold and dark and remote than you can imagine.
If this sounds like the old Post Office motto, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” that makes sense. Like the post office once was, today internet service is a vital way that people communicate. And with the earthquake as our early crucible, we aim to keep our service up and running as long as we can.

Remember the Cruzio Baby?

Cruzio's family in 1997

1997: Cruzio kept the family in tie-dye in the early years

Why are Those Kids on the Counter?

When Chris and Peggy started up Cruzio as a real business, there was an unexpected benefit: they got to bring their babies to work every day.

From infancy, the kids were extremely popular with staff and customers. People cooed and smiled at them, and even sometimes held them while a parent typed on a keyboard or got files from a drawer.

These babies did not tolerate playpens — when placed in a playpen, they’d simply stand up, hold the side, cry, and try to escape. Nothing makes a parent as nervous as noticing a playpen about to tip over.

Mom in the Playpen

So Cruzio gave away the company playpen and set up a fence around Peggy’s desk, essentially making a giant playpen with desk, chair, mom, and baby inside. Peggy often answered tech support email and calls in the makeshift playpen,  baby on her lap. Or both would work on the floor: baby finding something acceptable to chew on, Mom getting account paperwork in order.

Cruzio staff at the time — pioneers of the internet — John, Deana, and Judy, would sometimes take the baby out to local coffee shops to give the exhausted parents a chance to get a little work done. At the coffee shops more oohing and ahhing would occur. The Cruzio kids were known throughout the neighborhood before they could even walk.

The babies were sort of Cruzio’s mascots — along with the Cruzio Kitty, of course. As they grew up, all three kids were often at the office. Even during their surly teen years, the kids took advantage of the extremely fast internet Cruzio always has at our headquarters and often hung out, developing a fondness for obscure anime and child-friendly internet games like Neopets and Club Penguin.

Those Funny Things Kids Say

And in recognition of their place in the Cruzio business, at the bottom of every newsletter — despite their eye rolls — we always put quotes from the Cruzio kids. They are all grown now — the oldest is 27! — so they don’t say such silly things any more. But we kept lots of notes and we post quotes from the early years of Cruzio and the family. You’ll see an example at the bottom of this newsletter (all past newsletters are in our archive).

Running your own business is hard. Last week we described the awful racket of modems and crying babies in the little house where the family lived with multiple modems before Cruzio moved to a real office at 903 Pacific Avenue. Stage two was bringing the babies to the downtown office on the third floor. And stage three saw Cruzio hiring some wonderful staff members (looking at you, Mark!) who allowed Peggy and Chris to take a vacation after about 10 years without one.

(By the way, you can’t see her, but the third kid is in the picture: another baby was on the way.)

Saving the Planet

This week there are climate actions all over the world,  including locally.

Folks at Cruzio live and work locally — in a coastal area. Our office is near a river which flooded its banks just two years ago. We’ve watched fires take down infrastructure around our mountain facilities, and of course the fire disaster news from other parts of California serves as a warning to people in Santa Cruz County. It could happen here, too.

Cruzio has always been mindful of the environment. The internet is a way to travel by moving data, not cars.

Green Building

When Cruzio refurbished our building with our partners at Ecology Action, we followed strict environmental guidelines and achieved LEED Gold certification. We had to pay attention at every stage of construction: we reused everything we could from the previous incarnation of the building as a newspaper publishing plant. We salvaged old lumber and architectural details. When we couldn’t reuse, we put in items made from recycled materials. Or failing that, items made from natural materials like sea grass or flax seed oil. We put in openable windows so that air could naturally flow, and floor-to-ceiling interior windows so light could flow, too. The result? A work environment that’s both pleasant to look at and easy to breathe in.

Green Business

We set a goal when we opened our coworking space and started building our fiber network: 3,000 cars off the road. With fast internet, people can work from home. With great internet and a shared facility, local people — including Cruzio employees — can cowork in a professional environment without going over the hill or spending their workday under low ceilings and inefficient lights. That’s good for our lives — less stressful, less time spent commuting — and better for the planet.

And we’ve always avoided waste by sending electronic, not paper, bills. It took a while for once-ubiquitous old windowed envelopes and fax machines to go out of fashion, but many offices, like ours, use the internet to go nearly paperless.

Participating in Bigger Efforts

But let’s face it, there is much, much more that we need to do.

We use electricity. How is that generated? We were early supporters of Monterey Bay Community Power, in hopes that would spur innovation and increased use of renewable energy.

Our employees and customers often drive to downtown Santa Cruz. How can we further reduce hours on the road? We’re supporting local efforts to create more workforce housing close to businesses like ours.

And some issues are so large we barely have a voice. But we encourage everyone to stay aware and to advocate for the right thing when given the opportunity.

All this is a lead-up to the events that are happening this week. Check out the speech by teen environmentalist Greta Thunberg and consider participating in local and national actions.

Cruzio Met the Aggressive Squirrel

Emily the squirrel in a box

Emily, just prior to her notorious escape

Cruzio has a small office which happens to be next door to the grapefruit tree where a local squirrel became famous.

Emily’s Story, in a Nutshell

The squirrel was abandoned as a kitten, then raised by hand by a kindly human who named her Emily. But this July, Emily’s onset of maternity (which honestly can be overwhelming) combined with her lack of fear of humans and possibly some innate character flaw caused her to go psycho on passersby.

After several unnervingly hostile staredowns and biting incidents, people alerted the fire department to the squirrel.

The fire fighters and a brave animal rescuer removed Emily and her three small babies from the grapefruit tree. In a sad echo of her own early orphanhood, Emily then abandoned her kittens as she chewed through a plastic box and fled. It’s reported that she may have been seen, post-escape, in Live Oak. (But how can people tell it’s her, really?)

This is all documented in local and national news stories. Here’s a great video of the incident.

Cruzio’s Experience with Emily

Cruzio, being nearby, has additional exclusive information and footage of this squirrel prior to her arrest and escape.

We had noticed an odd squirrel in the maple tree outside our office, just about 30 feet from the site of her eventual capture.

In early spring, we saw the squirrel chewing on something strange. Not a nut. Not a scrap of food. On closer examination, it turned out to be a cigarette lighter.

Emily, the video

Emily, spotted near her grapefruit tree a few months before the famous incident

Okay, that’s weird. Another day, we went outside and noticed our 3-foot-high avocado plant had been ripped out of its planter. The foliage had been torn off and thrown several feet away and the pit from which it rooted was chittered into hundreds of pieces strewn around our porch — as if a tiny wood chipper had gone at it.

At first we thought it was a human vandal but who would chip an avocado pit into literally hundreds of small pieces? Not a human and not even a normal squirrel.

A squirrel who’d gone bananas, that’s who.

Later, when the squirrel hostilely stared down passersby and even bit several people, the word was that she was just protecting her babies. That may be so. But in our experience, she was already pretty nutty.

Takeaways:

  • Squirrels are wild animals. Changing their ways can be hazardous.
  • Also, don’t feed squirrels. One of the attacks happened when a young man tried to feed Emily a potato chip.
  • Don’t leave your young avocado plants outside…

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