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!
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?
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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cruzio’s Email Upgrade
Q. What happened? A. On May 22nd, 2018, Cruzio did a major upgrade of our email software. So there are new settings for some programs and a new Webmail interface. It’s a big improvement but could require some patience as you adapt to the new situation. We apologize for any inconvenience, and we think you’ll like the changes!
Q. What email addresses are affected? A. Email addresses ending in the following domain names are affected. Other addresses don’t have to make changes: @cruzio.com
Q. What’s the fastest way to get my email? A. Go to Cruzio Webmail. All you need is a login and password (and if you forget the password, you can retrieve one).
Q. I’m getting a broken link when I try to get to my email. What do I do? A. Try turning your computer (or phone, or tablet) and your modem or router off, wait 30 seconds, and turn them on again. It might be that you’ve got old information lingering in your software and this will clear it out.
Q. Why is my mailbox so much smaller? A. The new email system is removing way more spam. That means your main mailbox will have less email in it, and the Spam mailbox will have more.
Q. I am having trouble accessing my email in my usual way. What should I do? A. To get to your email right now, go to Cruzio Webmail. It’s all set up already. You only need your login to get full access to your email.
Q. But I like my other email programs. A. They will all work! To set up other ways of getting email, like Outlook, Thunderbird, Apple Mail, and other apps on your phone or tablet, we have a full set of handy instructions here. It will only take a few minutes, but we know sometimes that’s even too long, so use Cruzio Webmail if you have any trouble or you are in a hurry.
Q. I already made the settings changes and my mail program still isn’t working! A. If you have already updated your settings and you still can’t get your mail, even if a Cruzio tech walked you through it or did it for you, you probably just need to reboot your networking equipment. Turn your modem and router off, wait a few seconds, and turn them back on. This should fix the problem.
Q. Can I get more help? A. We are ready to help you. We’ve moved over 7,000 mailboxes to the new system and we know there will be people needing assistance. So let us know what’s going on and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We also have staff (and you know our staff are friendly and knowledgeable!) on hand from 10 am to 5 pm every weekday at our front desk. If you bring in your phone, laptop, tablet, or computer, we’ll be glad to set it up with you, no appointments needed. If 10 to 5 doesn’t work, let us know and we’ll work it out.
Q. What are the improvements? A. You’ve got more storage for saved email (20GB). Bigger messages are permitted (35MB). Better spam filtering. A better way to read email with your web browser (Cruzio Webmail). And on the back end, where you can’t see it, a more robust and redundant system.
Q. What about privacy, security, net neutrality? A. Cruzio has the same standards we always have. Your email isn’t harvested for marketing material. Your personal information isn’t collected for sale. That’s never going to change.
Q. Any danger that email was lost while Cruzio moved it? A. No. We had a redundant system during the change. We’ve moved the mailboxes to a different server, but on our side, everything is there ready for you. You just have to point your email program to the new server, if you haven’t already.
Q. Is there a limit on the number of messages I can send? A. To protect against spammers, our system limits each user to sending to 500 recipients in any 24 hour period. This is 500 recipients, not 500 messages. If you need to send more messages than that, we recommend using a full-featured mailing list service like MailChimp. Mailchimp is free for up to 2000 mailing list members and up to 12,000 messages per month. It is what we use for the Cruzio newsletter.
Q. How do I change the size of the font in Cruzio Webmail? A. Click ‘Settings’ in the menu bar and then ‘font settings’ in the left-hand pane. From here you can increase the base font size up to 16px.
Q. I’m trying Webmail. My “sent” folder is missing some or all of the email that used to be in it. What’s up? A. It’s likely that the name of that folder in Webmail is just different from the name of the folder in your other email program. Sometimes it’s as simple as “Sent” vs “sent.”
To find the other “sent” emails, look through the folders. You’ll probably see another folder in the list that contains that mail.
Then, to change the name in Cruzio Webmail to match your other email program:
Click “Settings” in Webmail.
Click “Preferences” on the left.
Click “Special Folders”.
Adjust the “Sent Items” drop down to match the sent folder you used before.
Q. My messages have weird time and date stamps on them. What should I do? A. This usually happens if javacript isn’t available on your computer. It’s easy to set manually:
Click “Settings” in Webmail.
Click “Preferences” on the left.
Click “User Interface” on the center pane.
Adjust the time zone to reflect your location. Santa Cruz is -08:00GMT.
And if you set it manually, don’t forget that you’ll have to do that again if you take the device to a different time zone!
Q. How do I select multiple messages at once? A. If all of the messages you want to select are contiguous, you can click the first message, hold down the Shift key, and then click the last message. The first and last messages all messages in between are selected. If the messages are not contiguous, hold down the Ctrl key and then click each of the messages you want to select.
Q. How do I customize my spam settings? A. The default settings will deliver spam to your Spam folder. You don’t need to do anything to get it started. If a spam message reaches your inbox, tag it as spam by selecting it and clicking the ‘Spam’ button on the menu bar. If you navigate to your spam folder and see any legitimate message sin there, select them and click ‘Not Spam’ in the menu bar.
Q. Can I white-list people I don’t want sent to spam? A. To block or allow specific email addresses or domains, click ‘Settings’ in the menu bar and then ‘Spam Settings’ in the left-hand pane. You can add up to 1000 entries in each Allowed and Blocked list. Note: Domain names must be preceded by *@ (for example, *@domain.com), otherwise they will not work.
Q. How do I empty my email trash folder? A. Click the Trash folder in the left-hand pane, select all messages and click ‘Delete’ in the menu bar. If you do nothing, anything in your Trash folder will be deleted automatically after 7 days.
Accounts and Billing
Q. I notice you are charging for mailboxes that used to be free. My family/business has been using multiple email addresses for years and can’t afford to start paying for all of them. What can I do? A. The first step is to clean out any email addresses you aren’t using. For the rest, although we’re raising the price, each mailbox is only $60 per year, so consider whether it may be worth the cost. There are no contracts required, you can cancel any time. If that doesn’t make sense, we have many low-cost options which can help, including free email forwarding. Please contact us, we’ll work it out!
Q. I didn’t even know I had these mailboxes. Can you tell me what’s in them? A. We won’t read your email but we’ll help you do it: Cruzio can reset your passwords if you contact us and provide proper identification.
Q. I want to close a mailbox. What happens to all the mail? A. Before you close an email address, you’ll need to make sure you’ve downloaded any data you want to keep to your computer or other device. Cruzio will keep the email for 21 days past the date the service is closed, so you will have a last chance to restore data if there’s something you have missed.
Q. I have to download all my email? How do I do that? A. The download happens on the customer side, so Cruzio can’t do it for you. But we do have instructions and advice for you, and the process should be pretty easy. If it’s a complicated case, we’re happy to recommend a consultant. And remember, if it’s taking you a while to figure it out, the cost to keep a mailbox is only $5 per month.
Q. I use the email address as a login for services that are important to me like Facebook and my bank. Or people I’ve lost touch with have that address and might try to contact me someday. What should I do? A. We kept the per-mailbox cost low so that you can keep an email address or transition from it very slowly. We’re also providing forwarding so that email to one of your addresses can be received in another mailbox — free of charge. Contact us for advice if you need it!
Q. I liked the old interface. I’m used to it. Why did you change? A. Technology moves forward pretty relentlessly, as everyone working at Cruzio knows. There are just a lot of issues that older email clients don’t handle well. We think you’ll really like the new interface.
Q. New email interface! I’m excited! But does that mean I need to change the settings in my email readers? A. Yes, you’ll need to change them on all the devices you use to send and receive email. Instructions are here. The only way to access your email without modifying your settings is to use your web browser to access Cruzio Webmail.
Q. I have a million questions. A. We’re happy to answer them. If you ask a good one we’ll add it to this FAQ! Contact us.
Over the course of the last year, we’ve been very busy placing new access points for our fiber-backed Wireless Pro service throughout Santa Cruz – from Alta Vista on the Westside, to the Faculty Housing at UCSC, to the area near Dominican Hospital in the east. Now, we’re happy to announce that we’re bringing service to an area that’s been one of our most requested by far: Capitola!
If you see your home or business in the colored shape above, let us know! You’re now ready to get connected to speeds up to 100Mbps, with average speeds network-wide of around 75Mbps, for both uploading and downloading! On top of that, your speeds will automatically get better as technology improves. All of this comes at a flat $99.95/month, with no taxes, no hidden fees, no data caps, and no contracts.
So if you live in this area, let us know! And if you’re in Capitola but not in this area, stay tuned. We’re excited to bring our fiber-backed network to Capitola, and we’re looking forward to building better service throughout the city in the future. This is just the starting point for our fantastic fiber-backed services in Capitola. We are constantly assessing tall buildings and structures to further improve and extend our network. If you know of any, let us know and we can check it out for free!
Now that so much of the world runs on the internet, we need to make sure the rules are working for everyone.
When companies are as big, powerful, and well-funded as the cable and phone corporations, it’s hard to refuse them anything.
But there’s good news: as the federal government succumbs to lobbying pressure, some cities are standing up and saying “no.”
Santa Cruz can be one of those cities.
If local governments can’t overrule federal regulations, we can at least make sure that our public dollars don’t support the loss of an open internet. Cities like Santa Cruz, under the leadership of Mayor David Terrazas, are leaning towards a meaningful commitment to only do business with ISPs who are net neutral. (More about the pledge here.) Mayor Terrazas has signed the pledge (yay!).
The Santa Cruz City Council today approved a declaration supporting Net Neutrality in general terms. We hope the Council will take the next step and codify the pledge signed by our mayor.
We hope that other entities will take the pledge, too. When you pay for internet service, you should be the one who decides what you can watch, listen to, or read. Information services are not a good place to put a highest-bidder or corporate-crony filter. All ISPs are currently net neutral, since the change has not yet been implemented. Let’s give all ISPs a reason to stay that way.
You’ll often hear us Cruzio folks talking about how important privacy is to us, an ISP. We’ve spoken at length about how we won’t mine or use your data, or how we won’t ever sell your data to third parties. But what exactly does that mean? What data’s being collected, and who exactly is affected? You might’ve seen the much-retweeted post recently from @iamdylancurran outlining all the things tech juggernauts like Google and Facebook were keeping and tracking. Well, we were so blown away by that, we decided to go through the steps ourselves.
Below are 8 links and settings that you can look at on Google and Facebook that will tell you exactly what data they’re getting from you, so you can take a look for yourself.
If you have a Google account, and location services is on (most of Google’s services require location services to be turned on, so you most likely do) then Google can show you exactly where you’ve been since it’s been on. If you click through the above link while logged into your Google account, it’ll show you on a map all of the places you’ve been throughout your account’s/mobile device’s history, and even how long it took for you to get between places.
If you don’t like this timeline, you can turn it off by hitting the “Manage Location History” button and switching the feature off at the bottom of the screen. Note that this means it just stops plotting the data on a map for you to see. It’s not stopping Google from collecting the data through location services however.
As a quick aside, Google Location Services is what allows Google’s apps and apps that use Google’s account services to know where you are. Google Maps’ navigation, for example. Of course, Google can use this data to advertise to you. For example, seeing an ad for a nearby restaurant when you’re close by.
2. Turns Out Deleting Your History Doesn’t Delete Your History On Google:
If you’ve ever deleted your browser history and thought it was over and done with, that’s not quite true. Google stores all of the activity that’s been done on your Google Account, and you can see a record of that on the link above. And this stays around even after you delete your search history. Keep in mind this isn’t just searches, but also stuff like app usage, video history from sites like YouTube, and more. It’s surprisingly thorough.
If you don’t want this data displayed, you can change these settings on your Google Account so that it won’t show this stuff in your timeline. You can find all of these options right here: https://myaccount.google.com/activitycontrols. This will let you pause the timeline feature, or even delete your entire timeline history from being shown on your account. It will also stop them from being able to use this data to affect your search your results though, so your search results will no longer be personalized based on your previous usage patterns.
3. Google Knows What You Like, and Targets Ads Toward You:
Google’s biggest money maker is its advertising business, so it’s no surprise that Google’s algorithm uses all the information it knows about you to can target ads that you’ll probably want to click on. If you want to see what Google “thinks” about you, you can click through to the link above and it will show you demographics that it thinks you fit into and subjects that it thinks you like.
On this page, Google actually does give you the option to turn this off. It even lets you delete and add topics that you may or may not be interested in, if you want to make the targeting more or less specific.
4. Google Keeps A Record of Every App You’ve Given It Permissions For:
Have you ever opened an app and signed in using your Google account? Or allowed it to access parts of your account, like Location Services or Contacts, when you opened it? Most apps these days require some sort of permissions, so the answer to that is likely yes. At the link above, you’ll find Google’s list of all of the apps you’ve given permissions to, and it lets you edit or delete those permissions. Keep in mind, if you do decide to change these permissions, it could affect the ability to log into or use these apps.
5. Google Keeps Track of Your YouTube Search History:
Google knows every search you’ve made, video you’ve watched, comment you’ve left and community you’re a part of on YouTube, and keeps a record of it. At the link above, you can take a look for yourself and see their history of YouTube videos you’ve seen. You can also delete that history if you wish, and pause/stop the site from showing this history on this page.
6. You Can Get A Copy of ALL of Your Google Data (Spoiler, it’s big):
If you really want to know everything Google has on you all in one place, Google’s takeout feature is what you’re looking for. Google will send you a copy of all of your data from its many services (with some exceptions: they’re not sending you all your emails from Gmail, for example) in a series of folders. In them you’ll find records like your search history, all the YouTube videos you’ve uploaded, your Contacts, and your transaction history on Google Pay, among many, many other things.
7. Facebook Also Lets You Download A Copy of Everything You’ve Done
Moving on to Facebook, this site also lets you download a copy of all of your information, though you’ve got to jump through a couple of hoops to get there. If you want to download it yourself, log in to Facebook, click the down arrow in the upper right of the screen, then click on settings, then find the link on the page marked “Download a copy.”
Once you have it downloaded, you’ll have a folder that contains logs of all of your Facebook chats, every file you’ve ever been sent on Facebook, all your photos, and even every sticker you’ve ever sent, and much more.
8. You Can See What Facebook Thinks Your Interests Are
By checking Facebook’s settings, you can also see what interests and personality traits Facebook thinks it knows about you, for the purpose of targeting ads on your Facebook feed. To take a look at these, click the down arrow again, and go into Settings. Then, in the left-hand column, click Ads. From there, click Your information, then Your categories.
There, you’ll see a list of traits, such as what Facebook thinks your political leanings are, what devices you use Facebook from, what interests you have, and when your birthday is. Facebook lets you delete these traits if you think they aren’t relevant to you as well.
These 8 things you can look at are just the tip of the iceberg as far as what data about you that’s left on the internet. This is what Google and Facebook are being transparent about, as these are publicly accessible tools on their respective platforms. It’s quite likely that there’s a lot more data out there about you from Google, Facebook, or other websites that isn’t quite as transparently available.
Listen, don’t get us wrong, we love the openness of the internet and we think Google and Facebook are fantastic, innovative companies who have developed world-changing platforms.
But this is why we here at Cruzio Internet and Santa Cruz Fiber don’t mine your data: we believe that what you do on the internet is your business. It’s not our business, and certainly not some other company’s business. We don’t track what you’ve been searching or what pictures you’re messaging your friends, because we don’t think that’s right. We know that you’re an actual human being, and not a collection of data that can be used to sell a car.
By changing your privacy settings, voicing your opinion and supporting companies who share your ethical concerns you’re helping build a better internet for everyone.
Mayors David Terrazas and Lowell Hurst and County Supervisor Zach Friend are strong supporters of Net Neutrality
When it comes to Net Neutrality, two local mayors and a county supervisor are among our nation’s leaders.
These Mayors Support Net Neutrality
Santa Cruz Mayor David Terrazas and Watsonville Mayor Lowell Hurst are early signers to a pledge requiring internet providers who do business with their cities to adhere to Net Neutrality principles.
Why’s the pledge needed? Because a protracted fight in Washington has Net Neutrality on the ropes. It looks as though Congress may not muster the needed votes to reverse the FCC’s pro-lobbyist decision repealing Net Neutrality — though we can still try to apply pressure.
Since the repeal of Net Neutrality isn’t fully processed yet, every ISP is presumably net-neutral right now. What this pledge does is to say, if an ISP starts pulling shenanigans, and slowing some websites or apps down in favor of others, there will be a price to pay.
The mayors’ strategy: If we can’t fight the enormous lobbying money of big telecom providers in Washington — and it appears we can’t — we can use local spending to keep the internet honest.
Plus a County Supervisor…
And look who else has signed on — the only non-mayor in the entire list of dozens of mayors nationwide — Zach Friend, the County Supervisor from Santa Cruz County’s Second District! Congratulations to Aptos, La Selva Beach, Seacliff, Rio Del Mar, and the rest of Zach’s constituents, who are lucky enough to have a supervisor who cares about an open and fair internet for all of you.
Cruzio Internet is a big supporter of Net Neutrality and privacy protection on the internet. Our employees and customers live all over Santa Cruz County.
We hear from friends in government offices that lobbyists from big telecommunications companies call them constantly. It can be tough to stand up. And these folks are. We’re proud of them.
We know there’s a lot going on. But this is important. It affects the public’s ability to access and publish information.
What’s at Stake
Prospects for a neutral, open, and fair internet have taken a bad turn. In December 2017, the FCC changed its ruling and lifted the requirement for ISPs to be Net Neutral — which means that ISPs can choose what to speed up or slow down on the internet.
How long do you usually wait for a website to load before you click away? The effect could be devastating for media competition and especially for smaller companies that can’t afford to pay.
Of course, the ISP’s customers have already paid for internet. We think ISPs should not be charging both the customer (you) and the vendor (Netflix, or YouTube, or little startup company X).
Cruzio’s view is, if you’re paying for a connection, you should get to watch whatever you choose.
Where We’re At
So back to the beginning of this blog. There’s a chance to save Net Neutrality if we really try.
The FCC’s decision was in December, but it takes a while for such things to be official (“entered into the Federal Register”). That just happened February 22nd.
Once recorded, the Senate can rescind the regulation if they vote to do so within 60 days.
50 senators have already indicated they’d vote to overturn the recent decision. We just need one more senator.
Our California senators are already on board. And California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra has joined 22 other attorneys general to sue the FCC and prevent the change. So in general California is already pro-Net Neutrality, though certainly they’d all appreciate a “thanks!”.
The most effective action: if you know someone in a state with Republican senators, contact your friend and get them to give their senators a nudge! Net Neutrality is very popular with the general public. Reminding senators of that has worked well in the past.
We need just one more senator.
By the way, the NRA awarded a rifle to Trump administration’s FCC Chair Ajit Pai for his work killing Net Neutrality. The award came just about a week after the Parkland shooting.