In sunny weather, Cruzio’s all-pro field team installs fast new connections to our independent network. We also spend a lot of time and investment upgrading the parts of the network nobody sees, making it more robust and redundant.
We do a lot of preparation when the weather’s good because sometimes the weather is challenging, as it has been the last few weeks.
When it’s rainy, dark and cold — even snowy in some spots! — Cruzio is out there making sure all our equipment is working properly. That can mean sudden calls, late nights, and cold, wet conditions.
We take our responsibility as a lifeline service very seriously. And we’re proud to have a crew committed to making things work, even when the going is tough. Special thanks to Ali, Dan, Jay, Frost, and the rest of the team. That’s a 24/7, all-weather group.
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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.)
2018 has come to a close, and as we do every year we wanted to take a look back at what an incredible year we had last year. Of course our biggest achievement was completing our very first “fiberhood” in Downtown Santa Cruz, bringing Gigabit Fiber to hundreds of homes and businesses, but we’ve done much, much more on top of that. Come join us as we take a look back, and look ahead to 2019.
We Built Gigabit Fiber to Homes and Businesses in Downtown Santa Cruz
After years of development, construction, planning, and perseverance, we were proud to announce this year that our first fiber build in our downtown neighborhood is complete! On August 30th, we lit up our very first all-fiber customer in the El Rio mobile home park. Of course, we immediately ran a speed test and saw unbelievable speeds of 956.20 Mbps for downloading, and 942.49 Mbps for uploading.
Since then, we’ve installed dozens more Fiber users, and introduced them to the same kind of speeds, for only $49.95/month. And we’re just getting started! Over the next few months we’ll be hooking up the rest of the folks in our first “fiberhood.” The first, we hope, of Cruzio’s many Santa Cruz Fiber neighborhood projects. If you’re living or working in downtown Santa Cruz right now, just let us know and we’ll be happy to sign you up as soon as we can!
Our Fiber-Backed Wireless Service, Wireless Pro, Has Expanded Even Further
In addition to our brand new in-the-ground fiber, we’ve also taken great strides in expanding our fiber-backed wireless service, Wireless Pro, to even more areas than ever, especially into areas that were previously well outside of range.
We built three brand new access points in 2018, including one along 41st Avenue that allows us to reach into Capitola for the first time with Wireless Pro. We’ve also built new access points near the Santa Cruz Elk’s Lodge and up at the UCSC Faculty housing up to the north in the Westside. Take a look at the maps above, if you live in any of these areas,let us know, and we’ll be happy to hook you up!And looking towards 2019, we’re planning to ramp up our new new access point construction even further, so keep your eyes open, as we may be coming to your area very soon!
Our Email System Is Safer, Slicker, and Better Than Ever
If you’ve got an @cruzio.com email address (or one of our many other domains like @baymoon.com or @ebold.com, for that matter) you’ve seen a big improvement in our email service this year. We dramatically increased mailbox capacity, the size of emails you can send out, and improved our spam filters exponentially when we switched over to our brand new email server. We even rolled out a brand new webmail client that looks and works better than ever. And best of all, our new email system still upholds our values of never harvesting your information and selling it like most providers would.
It was a massive undertaking all things told. During the upgrade we spoke with and met literally thousands of you all during the upgrade to make sure your email settings were correctly worked out ensure the upgrade was as smooth as possible. So make sure to give a big thank you again to our wonderful staff again for their hard work! And if you’ve still got any questions about your new email, check out ouremail FAQ, we’ve got answers for you!
We Built Out Free Public WiFi to Watsonville Plaza
Last year, we expanded ourWireless Pro services throughout Watsonville, and as a result this year we were able to bring services to South County like we’ve never been able to before. That’s why earlier this year, we started a new service to give back to the community. We began our new initiative to bring free WiFi to Watsonville Plaza in downtown Watsonville.
We partnered with The City of Watsonville, the Pajaro Valley Unified School District and the DigitalNEST to build access points throughout the Plaza, so families, students, and really anyone else, can sit in the park and have access to the internet.
Looking Toward 2019
2018 saw one of the biggest additions to our network in Cruzio’s history, with the completion of our Downtown Santa Cruz Fiber network. We’re going to ride that wave into 2019, a year which marks another huge milestone for us: our 30th Anniversary! We’re getting set to hold our biggest Open House Extravaganza ever to celebrate the occasion. We’re also looking to expand to more people than ever, but most importantly we’re going to celebrate tenants Cruzio was initially founded on those 30 years ago:
Do Right By Our Customers.
Do Right By Our Team.
Do Right By Our Community.
We wish you a Happy Holidays, a Happy New Year, and we hope your 2018 was as good as ours, and we wish you an even better 2019.
Chris, Peggy, Mark, James, another Chris, Sandi, Colin, Adia, Jesus, Alison, Dan, Justin, Andrew, David, Alex, Brooke, Ani, Max, Iasha, Laurie, Alana, Brian, Cameron, another Cameron, Dillon, Jay, and Jason;
Our fantastic apprentices, Spencer and Jessica, and intern, Lidia;
When we first started Cruzio Internet back in the eighties, we were excited by the promise of the emerging new digital communications medium. If everybody was linked through this new network, the old gatekeepers and filters of publishing would be rendered moot! Everyone would have the power of a printing press, a radio and television station at their command!
Thirty some odd years later, yes and no.
From one perspective, this is the golden age of digital publishing. Through blogging and email newsletters, millions of new authors ply their words for a previously unavailable readership. Millions more publish their visual and photo art, and multitudes of talented filmmakers, podcasters, musicians and performers are reaching a vast global audience, sometimes with little more than the camera and mic of their mobile phone.
But over time, the corrosive effects of the advertising and marketing-driven attention economy upon civil society have been revealed, and the rapaciousness of some players in the attention industry have aroused concern.
Consider the current state of the local daily newspaper business: trapped by an obsolete business model under predatory ownership, unable to meet the needs of the community, and oblivious to the rise of its successor on the near horizon.
Our local newspaper is the Santa Cruz County Sentinel. It used to be owned by the McPherson family, but was sold and resold and resold over the years as many local dailies were, until it is now owned by Digital First Media which is itself owned by Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund.
There’s ongoing concern about the water supply here in Santa Cruz County because of the drought cycle. Some years there’s plenty of water, and for long stretches, not enough. As a citizen, I want to know more about the state of the local water supply. How does it work? What’s the plan to keep it working? What’s in play right now? What are the citizen inputs?
This information is collectively “known” to the Santa Cruz County Sentinel reporters who have written stories about the issue over the years, and to various members of the community. But the only way to use the newspaper website to access that collective knowledge is to go to the site search box and enter the word “water” and then read through previous stories which have the word “water” in them. As an alternative, one can pull up an article about “water” and work the “related article” links at the bottom to the same effect.
So after 30 years of Internet, the digital experience of trying to acquire knowledge about a topic through the local newspaper website is the exact same as having to thumb back through a stack of dead tree newspapers.
Newspaper websites are the way they are because it satisfies the customer requirement, and the advertiser is the primary customer in the attention economy.
Attention being a finite resource, advertisers pay a lot of money to capture a slice. All of the innovations of the attention industry are focused on better capturing human attention and better delivering a more effective payload to human eyeballs.
This is touted as “creating a more personalized user experience” and manifests, when I go to Amazon and look at a power saw, as an ad for that power saw thereafter chasing me across every website I visit until I die, and then continuing to harass my descendents.
Meanwhile, my needs as a citizen to understand how something works in my community is represented exactly nowhere in the attention economy.
Compounding the poor fit of that business model with the ongoing mission of local journalism are the interests at play in hedge fund ownership.
It’s not in the interest of the hedge fund ownership to invest in evolving the local news business in any other direction because the hedge fund is not interested in the local newspaper as an ongoing concern or invested in any way shape or form in its mission.
Hedge fund ownership considers it a win if the local newspaper folds as long as a large profit over the equity investment is made within an appropriate (short) window of time. This leads to a death spiral of cost reductions leading to a reduction of reporting leading to lower readership until the newspaper dies. The hedge fund will just strip the corpse for parts to sell and move on.
To survive, local journalism needs to make the jump to an alternative business model under alternative ownership.
Humans are social animals. We’re also civic animals. Over 60 million Americans volunteer every year. People want to do more than share content. People want to share their knowledge and energy for the good of the community. People want to raise barns.
While much is made of the size and success of the attention economy, one of the more interesting things to come out of the Internet is the rise of the online participation economy. Specifically, platforms offering tools with which people collaborate and coordinate their efforts to do good.
Change.org claims 200 million users. On Kickstarter, 5 million users have backed 15 million projects. GitHub has 28 million users and an estimated annual revenue of $300 million. Meetup.com has over 30 million users, Stack Overflow over 9 million. Survey Monkey has 25 million users and $240 million in annual revenue. Wikipedia, one of the most visited sites on the Internet, has over 25 million registered users.
It’s clear the local newspaper I want will be born of this burgeoning economic sector because it will focus on my participation and my requirements. Empowering me is the whole point of the participation economy.
So my future local newspaper won’t just stream information about what’s happening, it will also accumulate knowledge. The knowledge I want about the local water supply will be presented as something like an up to date Wikipedia article, with links to related information such as water commission budgets and commissioner contact information.
It will include current and historical water quality information collected from local creeks, beaches, school drinking fountains and kitchen faucets, presented in tabular, map and other modern information visualization formats.
It will include an online forum where members of the community can discuss water policy or argue about the cost of different approaches or trade water quality test results.
It will maintain a directory of local civic groups including those active and interested in promoting a better water supply.
It will maintain a calendar listing upcoming meetings of the water district and water invested community groups, and it will let me sign up for reminders and alerts.
The local newspaper I want will utilize an information architecture in which I am not a member of an audience or a product, I am a member of the community and a participant.
The local newspaper I want won’t display any commercial advertising.
It will be crowdfunded.
It will develop an internal online platform to manage and administrate reporting, knowledge accumulation, community building, ideation, workflow and policy development, and support itself by selling subscriptions to those tools to outside civic organizations such as Elks, Indivisible, the California Association of Realtors, the Santa Cruz County Business Council and other groups working in the community.
It will develop and monetize civic intelligence through paid newsletters and advanced analytics for premium subscribers.
It will make alliances with the local library, museum, schools, public radio and community television groups.
It will collaborate with community members hosting Internet-connected weather stations, web cams, and air, water and other environmental quality sensors.
It will foster a community of correspondents, wiki editors, contributors and participants.
The local newspaper I want won’t be a newspaper anymore. It will be a knowledge base and knowledge exchange.
But sadly, it doesn’t yet exist, and local journalism following the business model of the attention economy and the ownership of hedge funds is clearly doomed.
This is brought home by the fact that now 30 years later Cruzio owns the building in downtown Santa Cruz originally built by the Santa Cruz County Sentinel.
Thirty years ago, we never dreamed how ubiquitous the Internet would become. We had high hopes, some since fulfilled, some yet to be achieved.
The evolution of the business of local journalism is among the yet to be, but there is hope for the near future.
While ownership might be sanguine about the relentless rounds of firings and layoffs and reduction of coverage, journalists and j-schools are not, and are leading the discussion about next generation business models and methodologies.
Blogging is growing up and the blogging platform ecosystem is overlapping more into newspaper publishing and community building. The development roadmap of Automattic, maker of WordPress, looks especially promising for the next generation of local journalists.
And perhaps most important, Internet users are not only becoming more comfortable with crowdfunding and paid subscriptions to tools and reliable information, they are demanding to participate in the economy not as passive customers but as active stakeholders.
It’s inevitable that as the digital community building ecosystem and the participation economy grow, someone will finally put the pieces together.
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?
Future Motion choose Siklu’s EtherHaul 8010FX to provide 10Gbps speeds in downtown Santa Cruz
Future Motion is a high-tech startup based in Santa Cruz, California, a beach town just a short drive from the heart of Silicon Valley. Future Motion makes the Onewheel, an innovative powered board that is ridden like a skateboard but with one wheel and a suite of technology “bridging recreation and transportation.”
With the university, the boardwalk, world-class surf and a thriving creative culture, Santa Cruz is far from your typical small town. But until recently it did have one thing in common with a lot of communities of its size – it lagged a generation behind its larger neighbors in access to high-speed connectivity. Regional and national fiber and DSL providers don’t see a huge opportunity in Santa Cruz and as a result are slow to deploy, leaving gigabit access a hit or miss proposition for not just residents but business entities.
Many times this situation results in a young up-and-coming company being forced to relocate to a more densely populated area where gigabit connections are available at affordable prices. Hence the founders and much of the culture that the company was based on are uprooted and transported, all in search of affordable high-speed internet access.
Future Motion was in this exact situation – their success seemed to be driving them away from their roots resulting in the city losing not only a burgeoning tax base but the innovation and creativity that started Future Motion in the first place. Searching for a way to remain in Santa Cruz, Future Motion reached out to Cruzio, a local and award-winning independent ISP who was already leveraging mmWave wireless systems from Siklu to bring multi-gigabit access to the city. Future Motion had a fiber feed to their existing building, with an EtherHaul™ 1200 series serving as a 1Gbps wireless redundant link.
The business was booming, Future Motion was adding staff and had outgrown their initial facility and need to move in order to expand. Their choices were to stay in the middle of town where fiber might be available, and pay the extra rent or relocate to Silicon Valley.
Enter Cruzio and Siklu with a wide array of multi-gigabit mmWave solutions available. Freed from the constraints of incumbent telcos and fiber plants Future Motion was able expand the search to larger, cheaper outlying facilities still in Santa Cruz. Working closely with Cruzio, Future Motion were able to identify a new location and verify they would be able to connect at speeds up to 10Gbps using Siklu’s EtherHaul™ 8010FX to their POP in downtown Santa Cruz.
With access secured and the new facility identified Future Motion was able to stay in Santa Cruz, keeping the culture that started the company and providing a roadmap to other startups on how to blend high tech needs with a small town quality of life.
Cruzio, with mmWave as part of their offerings, have been able to expand rapidly throughout the county with less risk and at a faster pace. Before spending the money to lease or extend a fiber connection, Cruzio brings up to 10Gbps to a locale via Siklu. Over time as the demand grows the business case for a fiber link may be justified – but only once the customers are already there, greatly reducing risk.
“With Siklu’s mmWave solutions we have been able to grow our network organically, and deliver in days the multi-Gigabit connections Santa Cruz demands,” says Chris Frost, Director of Infrastructure & Technology at Cruzio, and avid OneWheel rider. “We fully plan to leverage this model and expand to other communities with similar needs, and Siklu will be our mmWave solution.”
This blog was originally posted on Siklu’s website:
Siklu delivers multi-gigabit wireless fiber connectivity in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Operating in the mmWave bands, Siklu’s wireless solutions are used by leading service providers and system integrators to provide 5G Gigabit Wireless Access services. In addition, Siklu solutions are ideal for Smart City projects requiring extra capacity such as video security, WiFi backhaul, and municipal network connectivity all over one network. Thousands of SIKLU carrier-grade systems are delivering interference-free performance worldwide. Easily installed on street-fixtures or rooftops, these radios have been proven to be the ideal solution for networks requiring fast and simple deployment of secure, wireless fiber. www.siklu.com.
Our first all-fiber neighborhood is complete in downtown Santa Cruz and we’re busily lighting up the first homes and businesses with scorching Gigabit Fiber Internet. It’s been a long and challenging construction project but it’s done, and now downtown Santa Cruz has a broadband infrastructure asset in place that will fuel creativity and growth for decades to come.
We’ve been super-stoked by all the positive feedback we’ve received from businesses and residents. It’s been really gratifying to hear how many local businesses and residents realize the value of competitive, Net Neutral, truly superior broadband to their homes and businesses, and see the long-term positive effect this new infrastructure is going to have on our downtown.
We’re on the lookout for neighborhoods who need better broadband – let us know!”
The City of Santa Cruz has been a helpful partner too, utilizing their own “dig once” policies to join the project and connecting several key City-owned sites. We love thinking big and we’re ready to revisit the city-wide partnership, or some other big project any time. If you think the City of Santa Cruz should prioritize broadband, let them know!
So what’s next? Well, a lot more network growth, a lot more broadband deployment and more and more gigabit speeds. Even as we’ve been building the downtown fiber, we’ve been expanding our fiber-wireless coverage in new areas and offering new 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps connections. We’ve already boosted and bolstered our fiber-backed network on the Westside, in Live Oak and in Watsonville, adding more and more redundancy and reliability and hooking up several big buildings and businesses to crazy-fast direct fiber.
More Gigabit Neighborhoods to Come!
Once we’ve hooked up the early adopters in the downtown neighborhood and we’re comfortable we’re seeing a successful business model, we’ll start looking for our next fiber ‘hood — which could be a residential neighborhood, an apartment complex or HOA, or another awesome mobile home park like trendsetting El Rio.
The best news is, new technology that’s emerging means we’ll be able to offer more and more gigabit service in an ever-expanding area. Where fiber makes sense, we’ll build fiber; where fiber-backed wireless makes more sense, we’ll use that technology. We’ve worked with businesses to link their separate facilities, city and county governments to bring free wifi to public places. We’re growing steadily and we’re also on the lookout for neighborhoods who need better broadband — so let us know!
We base our decisions on a simple question: what is best for our customers? To us, what makes sense is to use the best-of-breed technologies to connect as many people as we possibly can to the best possible broadband. Every Cruzio customer, whether fiber, wireless or Velocity, coworking or colo, helps build our network around the County. That’s the Cruzio way.