Santa Cruz can be horrifying. In the movies, that is.
We know this from Hitchcock’s The Birds (based on a real event — sooty shearwaters getting disoriented over Santa Cruz!) and from (this is a great clip) Lost Boys and, much more recently, from Jordan Peele’s new thriller, Us — which looks terrifying.
Us even recruited local extras on Facebook. Oops, missed that call!
And, do you simply dismiss Transformer movies out of hand, because you saw a couple of them and they were overly cheesed up?
Then you would have missed the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s starring role in the latest Transformers flick, Bumblebee.
Our newsletter squad doesn’t always get to the latest films but we’re assured by the much more in-the-know folks in Marketing and Business Development that Bumblebee is actually a much better movie than you’d expect. Must be Santa Cruz and the Bay Area that made the difference.
And there’s a third popular movie recently filmed in Santa Cruz — this one on Netflix — Bird Box. Another entry in super-scary cinema, this was partly filmed in Henry Cowell Park where the fog and the huge redwoods provided lots of moody atmosphere.
Maybe it’s our fog.
Want to see a big list of movies filmed locally? Someone put together a list on LocalWiki:
Before there were hipsters in Santa Cruz, there were (and are) hippies. When we introduced a brand new technology in 1999 — replacing good ol’ dialup with the new service called DSL — we had to find a way to explain it.
Here’s a script for an early DSL ad, written by the many-talented Mark Hanford, one of a handful of Cruzio employees at that time, who wrote and performed a lot of our ads in that era. He’s now our Chief Systems Engineer, but he was a pretty hilarious copywriter. Unfortunately we don’t seem to have audio, just the script:
Cruzio ‘LSD/DSL’ 60-second spot for KPIG.
(SP = Support Person)
(SD = Stoner Dude)
(SFX of phone ringing, and someone picking up)
SP: Hello, Cruzio tech support.
SD: Yeah.. ummm… I heard that you were umm… selling drugs?
SD: Yeah, I heard you had acid!
SP: Uhh.. no…
SD: No really, a friend told me about the LSD you’re offering.
SP: LS… Oh, you mean DSL! It’s always on Internet access at several times the speed of 56k.
SD: Uh… did you say speed?!? I could use some of that!
SP: No, I’m not talking about drugs, I’m talking about a high speed connection!
SD: Yeah, that’s what I need… a connection!
SP: Let me explain… Cruzio is Santa Cruz county’s oldest and largest local Internet Service provider. We offer web hosting, e-commerce, dial-up access, and new always-on, high-speed DSL connections at competitive rates. We also have some of the friendliest (and most patient) tech support and sales people around.
SD: Look, I don’t think you get what I need. Umm… Let me talk to Dave…
Tagline: Cruzio is offering a two hundred dollar cash rebate to anyone who signs up for a year of DSL service, now through May 7th. Some restrictions apply. Please visit www.cruzio.com or call 459-6301 for details.
Ad 2: Sock Monkeys
And here’s another Mark Hanford ad, circa 2000, recorded with his partner, Barbara Diamond for our web design service and classes. Have a listen!
Ad 3: Three Little Pigs
Cruzio co-founder Peggy Dolgenos wrote ads, too. Here’s a script from a KPIG ad in 2002. Peggy always wanted to get the radio stations to use lots of sound effects in the ads:
> Sound of fiddle music playing a country tune.
> Sound of pigs squealing happily.
> Pig 2: It sure is snug here in your house of bricks, brother pig!
> Pig 3: (very stupid voice) Yeah, thanks for sharing this nice house after my straw house got blown away.
> Pig 1: (slowly and grandly) I take care of you, brother pigs.
> Pig 2: Now that the house is done, what else do we need?
> Pig 3: Big screen color TV!
> Pig 2: Waffle iron!
> Pig 1: No! What we need is a good Internet connection.
> Pig 2: Brother Pig, you are always so smart.
> Pig 3: I know where to get an Internet connection made of straw!
> Pig 2: We can get one made of twigs!
> Pig 1: No straw, no twigs. For a very reasonable price we can get a connection with an excellent local company called Cruzio. It’s easy to use and very reliable. Cruzio has been around since 1989. They provide excellent service.
> Pig 3: (questioning) Cruzio????
> Pig 2: (enthusiastic) Cruzio!
> Pig 1: I’m ordering Cruzio service today.
> Pig 3: I stuck a bean up my nose, Brother Pig can you help me get it out?
Richard Kiel played the alien in the above episode of Twilight Zone and Jaws in James Bond films
We all know what happened in 2015-2016.
Our personal information — our “profiles” — were bought and sold, not just for advertising, but for political gain. Like the episode in The Twilight Zone pictured above, something we think of as a service for our benefit (social media) turned out to have ulterior motives behind it (data collection and sale).
What kind of manipulation will the internet bring in 2019, with elections coming? How will consumers be consumed?
To be sure, there’s a big baby of good in the bathwater of the internet. We may decide some exchanges are worth the cost. Free service for exposure to ads is an example. We’ve been making that trade for decades. More concerning is the new and hidden level of advertiser access, which isn’t just one way (sending ads to our device) but two-way (sending ads and collecting data). Because that’s not a trade we’re making consciously, it doesn’t feel right.
The extent of quiet intrusion has been surprising, and mentioned in various news reports. Now that we know, what do we do?
Humans are great at fooling ourselves, so we have to watch out for “I’m not affected by propaganda, not me!” thinking. We are affected by propaganda. We are gullible, and need to guard against appeals to our own prejudices.
More we all can do toward a more accurate internet:
Use your dollars. If the market shows that people value privacy, companies will follow suit.
Don’t click on links to websites you’ve never heard of. CNN, NPR, or the Wall Street Journal are going to take responsibility for their reporting. Thousands of other “news” websites exist just to draw clicks. Don’t get lured in.
Avoid forwarding lurid, extreme news. Whatever side of the political spectrum you’re on, it’s giddy to imagine that the other side is committing crimes so foul they’ll be jailed for life. But that rarely happens. Reputable reporters (see above) will discover and describe crimes more accurately than clickbait creators.
If a friend or relative sends out irresponsible headlines, consider having a gentle word. Funny memes are one thing, stories that pretend to be news are a step beyond.
You vote with your mouse. You define yourself and your community — even, in a way, humans as a species! — with your clicks. If you’d like to see better quality stories, don’t click on the shallow ones.
Support the good guys on the internet. Donate to Wikipedia. Subscribe to legitimate online newspapers and magazine.
Use the controls available to you: Check your browser’s privacy settings. Use Facebook’s and Google’s settings.
Support legislation like the Honest Ads Act. Fight back when internet companies protest that their usage policies are easy, obvious, or even a choice (what if you *don’t* agree with Facebook’s privacy agreement? It’s not negotiable, and the service has no real competitors.)
The internet’s been hit with increasingly tricky “phishing” scams — emails where a criminal tries to trick you with phony information.
What Do Phishers Do?
They might spoof your bank, or a company you’re likely to have an account with like Amazon or Facebook. Sometimes they spoof your ISP. Sometimes, as in the “sextortion” described above, they pretend they can watch you at your computer.
The internet — and email in particular — were originally designed with a small number of trusted users in mind. Programming to block nefarious emails has limited success, as hackers work hard to get past filters. So while email providers block most fakes, some always manage to get through.
How is Cruzio addressing the problem?
We asked our ever-resourceful and remarkably calm Customer Service manager, Justin Von Besser, about the best approach for a responsible ISP.
Says Justin: “We’ve developed procedures to kill these attacks as quickly as possible. First we report the fraud to the FBI. Next, we contact the compromised server— the owners usually know nothing about it, they just have an infected computer — and we tell them what’s happening so they can take their server down and scrub the virus. Our anti-spam software blocks most bogus messages and we are constantly working with our software vendor to make that process more effective. And we’ve been adding a network status to voice mail when an attack seems widespread, so people know what’s going on.”
What can you do to protect yourself? Here’s a summary from Boston University with great advice. We agree with them, except that instead of informing Boston University, you are welcome to tell Cruzio.
Announcements are commonplace now: hackers have stolen private information from companies like LinkedIn, Target, KickStarter, and Adobe. It’s numbing, to be honest. And that nagging worry: what really happens when our information is hacked?
Enough Information to Scare You, and a Warning About Porn
Lately, that personal information has been used for “sextortion” schemes. If your data’s been stolen, the criminal puts enough of it — maybe a stolen password you’ll instantly recognize — into an email subject line.
That gets your attention and you read the email, where the writer warns they’ve been watching you, and recording you looking at porn. They then demand a payment in bitcoin.
What to do?
First, know that the part about recording you is almost certainly bogus. The writer has simply bought your password off a hacker’s website along with many others. These emails go to everyone, hoping to find some who are embarrassed enough to pay.So:
Don’t respond. Don’t pay up.
If you’re using that password, change it immediately.
Consider using password protection programs and updating your anti-virus software.
In fact, this is a good time to check which of your accounts may have been compromised. It isn’t “have you been affected” any more, it’s “how often”.
Have You Been Pwned?
We get so many notices, it’s easy to put them to the side — but luckily you can get a big picture from haveibeenpwned.com. (“Pwned” means a hacker has gotten your account information.) You’ll doubtless find it interesting — if not shocking — to see a list of the times your information’s been stolen.For more information about sextortion and other dangers, we recommend the Electronic Freedom Foundation. Their website covers the topic of protecting privacy in great detail. Cruzio works with the EFF on Net Neutrality and other issues — they are a great non-profit, pro-consumer group.
Once a year Cruzioworks opens its doors to the community, showcasing local art, food, beer, and wine free to all visitors. We call it the Open House Extravaganza since all our coworkers can join in — it’s a big, big party with multiple hosts.
2018’s 8th annual party went swimmingly, and we say that because the theme was “Under the Sea.”
We introduced our new fiber optic mascot, the Fiberopticpus, beautifully depicted by our ultra-talented graphics artist Ani Bilgutay. We’d planned to just use it for this party, but it’s so great we’re going to keep Fiberopticpuses around in our future ads and decorations.
Octopuses were everywhere: dangling from the ceiling along with fish and shells. And there was a giant inflatable whale. The music system played “Under the Sea” and “Octopus’s Garden” — among other tunes so as not to go overboard.
This year we invited folks to try a trivia game. Families and groups of friends gathered at tables, working on the questions, which were (purposely) incredibly hard. No one got 100%!
Here at Cruzio, in our community by Monterey Bay where we’ve been installing high-speed broadband, we’re very much interested in both octopuses and fiber optics. We adopted the Fiberopticpus, above, as our fiber mascot.
And we created this trivia quiz for our eighth annual Open House Extravaganza. Missed the party? Test your knowledge at home, see how you score! Answer key follows the questions.
Cruzio’s Fiberopticpus Trivia Quiz!
Questions about Fiber:
1. What color(s) are the fibers in a fiberoptic cable
5. Octopuses can change color to precisely match their environment with chromatophores, or pigment cells, in their skin. Translated into a graphics program format, how many dots per inch (dpi) does the skin appear to have?
Cruzio’s building a world-class independent, Net Neutral network as fast as we can.
One thing that’s helped us is the law (the Telecommunications Act of 1996) that’s given companies like Cruzio the right to lease phone lines from AT&T while we construct our own. After all, the phone and cable companies had a head start on us with publicly enforced monopoly contracts while they built.
To level the playing field, the law says independent ISPs can rent the copper that goes to homes and offices. That’s how Cruzio delivers Velocity and DSL. In some areas, Cruzio’s Velocity speeds are great. In other areas, it’s the only service people can get.
We’re building fiber fast, but in the meantime copper is helping us survive and helping customers have an independent choice.
Now the phone company’s pushing to end customer choice on their lines — the lines customers are paying for. They say independent ISPs don’t need access to the copper lines and central offices any more. AT&T wants to start by raising our rental rates sky high and then, if they’re allowed, cutting us off and removing lines altogether when and where they choose.
That hurt Cruzio and other independent ISPs in communities all over the country. It would weaken and even kill already-scarce ISP competition. And without competition in an unregulated market, prices rise and service quality falls.
So on your way to the fight for Net Neutrality (which is going pretty well in California, thanks to public action), please take a moment and let the FCC know you’re opposed to their proposed change — it’s called “forbearance.” Visit savecompetition.com to register your views.
After the FCC voted to repeal Net Neutrality last December, Congress missed its chance to block the change. On June 11th, the repeal became official.
So at the federal level, Net Neutrality is done. Gone. Like a dead parrot, it is no more.
But there’s still hope for Net Neutrality. California could do it.
As we know, California is a big, powerful state. A California Net Neutrality law would have a lot of weight. Some state representatives recently offered two separate bills to establish a California version of Net Neutrality. And not to brag, but our own State Senator, Bill Monning, was a co-sponsor on the stronger of the two bills! Yay Bill. Next, the bills were combined. We had high hopes. And then…
What Happened to the Net Neutrality Bill?
Corporate lobbyists for AT&T, who just won several battles on the federal level, didn’t sit idly while California deliberated. The bill supporting Net Neutrality — which is extremely popular — was nonetheless edited late at night, in committee, in a hurry.
Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), who’s received $29,000 in campaign contributions from large ISPs this election cycle and doubtless expects more to come, led the process, and didn’t allow debate. The bill was watered down so much that its author, Scott Wiener of San Francisco, disassociated himself from it.
“This committee has turned the bill into one that doesn’t protect net neutrality,” said Wiener.
Read more about the “tense Assembly committee meeting” here.
What’s next? There will be another Assembly committee — Privacy and Consumer Protection — meeting on the bill soon. Will California wake up and protect Net Neutrality? Or will state representatives continue to cave to pressure from some of the biggest companies in the country — AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and Spectrum? Follow the gritty details on Steve Blum’s blog at TellusVenture.com.
Again, the best step we can take right now is to let our state representatives know it’s important. Our local reps are on the right side, but it’s easy for politicians to let things slide if we don’t express our views.
Cruzio’s staff all pitched in to help customers update settings. What’s it like at Cruzio when we’re all focused on a single project? It looks like this:
A lot of people stopped by with laptops, phones, even desktop computers. A lot of people got help. Everyone remained calm and cheerful. Good work team!
If you use a Cruzio-supplied email address (see the list on our FAQ) you just saw a big improvement in service. Larger mailbox capacity, bigger per-message sizes, more robust system, better spam filters.
And Cruzio’s email system still upholds our values: we don’t harvest your personal information and sell it like most providers.
It was a big job, and there’s still work remaining. Out of over 7,000 email boxes upgraded, we expect some people haven’t yet updated their settings, and we are here to assist. Check our FAQ for some common answers and don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help!
Kudos to Our Lovely Staff
Upgrading such an important service for such a large number of people took a lot of planning, and our endlessly talented project manager Adia Schamber did an amazing job. So did indomitable Chief Systems Engineer Mark Hanford, who led the work on the engineering, making sure that nothing was lost and everything was doubly backed up.
So many of our lovely staff worked extra hard to make sure every email customer was updated as quickly as possible. It’s impossible to name each and every staff member individually (check the bottom of the newsletter for their names!), but we know our customers appreciate them. We got many compliments in the mail, on Yelp, etc. — and we always love compliments. Thanks, everyone, for recognizing our efforts, and enjoy the improved service!