Author Archives: Peggy Dolgenos

Are You on the Menu in 2019?

To Serve Man

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.
  • Use incognito web browsing, but do recognize its limitations.
  • 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.)

How Cruzio Fights Email Fraud (“Phishing”)

fishing lure

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.

“Sextortion” — What It Is, What to Do

monitor camera


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 panic.
  • 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 (“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.

Under the Sea

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%!

Want to try the quiz? Test Yourself: Cruzio’s Fiberopticpus Trivia Quiz.

Pictures of the party below. We can’t wait till next year, our 30th Anniversary!

Playing trivia at OHE 2018Visitors enjoying art and working on the trivia quiz


lite brite at the OHECoworking champs Jolokia displayed a giant Lite Bright


OHE 2018

First place prize in the trivia contest was a giant inflatable whale!


Trivia winners and prize The trivia winners: first and second place, with the whale


The FiberOpticpus Trivia Quiz

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

    1. orange
    2. blue
    3. all the colors of the rainbow
    4. no color/clear

Answer: ____________________________________________________________________________________

2. Data is transmitted over fiber by lasers.

What does the acronym LASER stand for?

    1. light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation
    2. luminous asynchronicity enunciated by rays
    3. light-activated silicate-emitted radiowaves
    4. laparoscopic simulated energy rendition

Answer: ____________________________________________________________________________________

3. How do you join two strands of fiber together?

    1. sewing
    2. tying
    3. stapling
    4. fusing

Answer: ____________________________________________________________________________________

4. Fiberoptic technology has hugely increased the speed of the internet, which is measured in amounts per second. What comes next? Megabyte, Gigabyte, Terabyte, Petabyte…

    1. Ketabyte
    2. Metrobyte
    3. Exabyte
    4. Omegabyte

Answer: ____________________________________________________________________________________

5. Rain makes fiberoptic data:

    1. go faster
    2. go slower
    3. revert to non-binary format
    4. it has no effect

Answer: ____________________________________________________________________________________

6. Fiberoptic cables are made of glass. That means installers have to worry about:

    1. mesmeric forces
    2. bending cables too sharply
    3. electromagnetism
    4. overheating

Answer: ____________________________________________________________________________________

7. Which of these did *not* use fiber optic technology in some form?

    1. China’s Zhou Dynasty
    2. the Ancient Romans
    3. Alexander Graham Bell
    4. NORAD

Answer: ____________________________________________________________________________________

Octopus Questions:

1.  An octopus has 8 limbs. How many legs does an octopus have?

    1. 8
    2. 10
    3. 2
    4. 6

Answer: ____________________________________________________________________________________

2.  How big is the largest known octopus?

    1. 20 pounds
    2. 50 pounds
    3. 500 pounds
    4. 1,000 pounds

Answer: ____________________________________________________________________________________

3. What’s the typical lifespan of an octopus?

    1. 1 to 2 years
    2. 30 to 50 years
    3. Often about 100 years
    4. Up to 300 years

Answer: ____________________________________________________________________________________

4. Do octopuses, like sea stars, regenerate?

    1. No
    2. If they lose a limb it grows back, but they can’t grow more than that
    3. If a leg is removed a new octopus will grow from it
    4. An new octopus is only regenerated if the removed part contains heart tissue

Answer: ____________________________________________________________________________________

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?

    1. 15 dpi
    2. 72 dpi
    3. 300 dpi
    4. 1200 dpi

Answer: ____________________________________________________________________________________

6. The brain of the octopus is wrapped around its

    1. esophagus
    2. left eyeball
    3. spine
    4. heart

Answer: ____________________________________________________________________________________

7. How many species of octopus have scientists identified?

    1. 300
    2. 1
    3. 50
    4. we have no idea

Answer: ____________________________________________________________________________________

8. What do octopuses have more of?

    1. eyes
    2. mouths
    3. hearts
    4. they have the same number of all of these

Answer: ____________________________________________________________________________________

9. “Octo,” means eight. What bout “pus,” what does that refer to?

    1. crus, meaning leg
    2. pus, meaning venom or corrupt matter
    3. pusus, meaning little boy
    4. ped, meaning foot

Answer: ____________________________________________________________________________________

10. What’s a normal human hobby that octopuses also seem to enjoy?

    1. watching television
    2. playing darts
    3. braiding their hair
    4. gardening

Answer: ____________________________________________________________________________________

11. What do octopuses do to disorient their predators?

    1. stare hypnotically into the predator’s eyes
    2. spin their tentacles rapidly to create a whirlpool
    3. expose their fearsome claws and teeth
    4. shoot out blinding clouds of ink

Answer: ____________________________________________________________________________________

For bonus points, draw your own Fiberopticpus below!



*or higher!


We’ve Gotta Save the Internet. Again.

Save the Internet

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 to register your views.

California Fails Disastrously to Rescue Net Neutrality

net neutrality throttled in California

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

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.

To protect Net Neutrality, write to:
Governor Jerry Brown
Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom
Assembly Member Mark Stone
Assembly Member Anna Caballero
State Senator Bill Monning

And maybe send Assembly Member Miguel Santiago a nasty note.

The New Email System’s Here!

We did it!  We upgraded our email system.

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:
Cruzio email help

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!

Rules, Mergers: What’s Ahead for the Internet?

Telecom mergers and scandals

Seems like news about telecommunications companies comes from one direction after another — the headlines are dizzying.

Why should we care about these titans clashing and marrying? Because their function, in part, is to deliver information. People use that information to make decisions, notably political decisions.

Here’s the future, if the big corporations have their way: the largest ISPs will continue to consolidate their near-monopoly market share. At the same time — through the repeal of Net Neutrality — they’ll use that market strength to either own or to demand payments from content companies, like HBO,  Netflix, or YouTube. Channels or websites who don’t pay won’t be easily available. That means smaller companies will be boxed out.

How can this be okay? The cover story for merging monopolies is that no company will invest in infrastructure unless they are freed from competition — which is odd, because every other business has to compete. And as for Net Neutrality, the non-Neutral model is cable TV, not the internet we’re familiar with.

Cruzio and other independent ISPs are competition. We’re not welcome in this paradigm. In the early days of the internet, companies like ours made Net Neutrality the lay of the land. Larger ventures like AOL and Genie couldn’t compete with an open internet. Their “closed garden” models had to give way. But as competitors are being driven out, will openness survive?

TechRaising 2018: Beautiful Minds

Cruzio was proud and happy, once again, to host TechRaising in our coworking space last weekend.

Cruzioworks has lots of desks, ergonomic chairs, and — obviously — great internet. We’re a perfect match for TechRaising, a weekend-long hackathon-type event focusing on cooperation rather than competition (unique to TechRaising, but also a very Santa Cruz concept).

Santa Cruz is a Petri Dish

And Santa Cruz is a great community to hold events like this. We’ve got so many creative people in our area, and so many people with technical, mechanical, and other professional skills. Techraisers brew beer. They produce music. They apply physics to problems like power generation and battery life.

We’re a petri dish for creative tech — look at great Santa Cruz County garage startups like Plantronics, Netflix, or Looker. These successful companies began as local ideas, and they continue to contribute to our local tech ecosystem. Many successful entrepreneurs are on hand at Techraising as mentors and judges, along with venture capitalists from Silicon Valley.

Twenty Projects on the Big Teal Wall

Using Cruzio’s open space and big teal wall to organize, twenty would-be entrepreneurs pitched ideas for startup businesses on Friday June 1st. On Sunday, two days later, nearly all of them exhibited a “proof of concept” showing how they could present their projects to potential investors.

In the days between pitch and demo, people met new friends to collaborate with and our office space buzzed with excited talk and clicking keyboards.

“This is what our space is for,” commented a happy Peggy Dolgenos, Cruzio co-CEO.

No Live Goats Were Involved

One would-be startup (they are farmers) asked if they could bring a live baby goat into our office for their demo. We suggested that a video of the goat would be preferable.

Even without the goat, we saw some awfully creative ideas and had a lot of fun.

One of the best projects was called “Serverless.” You’ve got to see it to appreciate the creativity and technical chops that went into this demo. Tech Beat reports on it here.

Many thanks to Matthew Swinnerton, Margaret Rosas, and Andrew Mueller for setting it up! We love you guys and hope to see more TechRaisings in the the future, it’s a terrific concept and you carry it out so well.

Learn more: