Cruzio/The Internet Store Newsletter - Number 56, June 13, 2002 1. Cruzio Upgrading Equipment 2. Internet Interference 3. Cruzio DSL Sale Successful, Another One Coming 4. Buddy Bucks 5. Cruzio Upgrades E-commerce Software 6. ShopSite Brown Bag June 20th 7. Spam Filters 8. Yes You "CAN" Donate to 2nd Harvest Food Bank 9. Pajaro Chamber Business Expo Today 10. Of Political Interest: Monopolies and the Internet 11. Please Use Cruzio's New Suite # 12. About This Newsletter 13. How to Reach Cruzio (dial-in or tech support) 1. Cruzio Upgrading Equipment Today's shiniest, newest computer becomes obsolete quickly in the Internet industry, and replacing equipment is a constant process here at Cruzio. Our members may not see the hardware, but you experience the speed and reliability. When we replace equipment, we make any required outages short (we don't like to cause any interruption at all, but sometimes we have to remove one machine and plug in another.) Affected customers are informed in advance, and we make most replacements after midnight, when traffic is low. We cycle quickly through equipment. Recently Cruzio upgraded most of our Web servers and swapped out a main e-mail server to handle the huge job of spam filtering -- it takes a mighty effort to block all that spam! We've also improved performance by upgrading our routers. We keep our engineers busy around here: many thanks to the inimitable Chris, Mark, and Julianne! 2. Internet Interference On June 8, 9, 10 and 11, Cruzio was subjected to a Denial of Service (DoS) attack from persons unknown over the Internet. As the name implies, a DoS attack is a barrage of data aimed at a network or server with the intention of drowning the device with so many packets that it is unable to process normal Internet traffic. The attacks were launched from dozens of points on the Internet, our engineers were able to backtrack the attacks to systems in Italy, Japan, Germany and Australia. Fortunately, Cruzio engineers were able to implement defensive countermeasures. Our service was slowed several times, but never halted and never lost data. The way DoS attacks work is that hackers have programmed viruses and worms which have infected millions (yes, _millions_) of systems on the Internet with malicious programs known as "trojan horses". These programs enable hackers to take control of the infected systems and launch DoS attacks on other devices over the network. The computer's owner may not notice or suspect the computer's activity! Anti-virus programs can detect and remove these malicious programs from infected systems. Cruzio recommends that people using computers connected to the Internet (that would be all of us members at Cruzio) acquire anti-virus software and regularly scan their computers for malicious programs. It's part of being a responsible Internet user. Virus software is cheap and easy to use. It doesn't harm systems and can be helpful in many ways to prevent damage to your own files as well as the Greater Internet. For more information about anti-virus programs, please refer to the following web page: http://www.cruzio.com/support/security/virusinfo.html 3. Cruzio DSL Sale Successful, Another One Coming We know some of you with dialup service are thinking of making the switch to high-speed Internet. Cruzio is one of the top providers of high-speed DSL in Northern California, and we recommend Cruzio DSL to you as an economical, reliable upgrade. Oh, and it's super-fast! Normally, we recommend (and sell) DSL equipment for a reasonable price. But for those of you who are extra price-sensitive, we want to let you know that Cruzio's DSL equipment blowout sale in April was a big success and will be repeated, probably in August. So if price is a major issue for you, check our newsletters and ads this summer. We are planning to have equipment sales on a fairly regular basis. Wish we could lower the price all the time: the way technology progresses, that will probably be possible in the not-too-distant future. Right now we think Cruzio DSL is well worth regular price, and when there is a sale it's an extremely good deal. 4. Buddy Bucks Would you like $10 credit on your Cruzio account? Tell a friend, family member or acquaintance about Cruzio. If they give us your name, email address, or account number when they sign up (as a new customer), we'll credit your account $10. Would you like $20, $30, $40, or more credit on your account? Just recommend us more than once. 5. Cruzio Upgrades E-commerce Software Business on the Web is a low-cost way to reach a big market, or a specialized one. We have customers who sell everything online from fresh flowers, organic produce and veggies, clothing, gifts and cds to tickets for live concerts, books, auto parts, art and software. Cruzio provides nifty software, called ShopSite, to help folks set up stores online. Recently, we've upgraded to ShopSite 6.0 which has tons of new features, including: 1. Real-time UPS shipping integration & address validation 2. Digital coupons--use a discount to generate sales 3. Downloads--allow customers to download software, art or music after payment 4. Direct downloads of your secure orders into your Quickbooks 5. Automated inventory tracking and e-mail notifications One new service we're pleased to offer is ShopSite Starter. For just $15.95 per month (please compare that with renting a brick-and- mortar store location!), you can start up a small online store and do realtime credit card transactions, too. The whole process has become easier. To learn more about ShopSite itself, please visit http://www.cruzio.com/support/shopsite/ And to see lots of local stores using ShopSite, check out our Online Mall at the bottom of Cruzio's home page. Many stores use ShopSite: http://www.cruzio.com 6. ShopSite Brown Bag June 20th Next Thursday, June 20th, from 12-1:30 pm, Cruzio will hold a FREE Brown Bag Workshop on "E-commerce: Easy and Inexpensive with ShopSite." As usual, the Brown Bag is at Cruzio's downtown Santa Cruz location, 903 Pacific Avenue. Reserve your seat by going to: http://www.cruzio.com/support/business/brownbags.html This Brown Bag will be led by our own Director of Marketing, the personable Kathy Bisbee, who's set up several stores and knows the ins and outs of the program. She does an excellent presentation and is in big demand from our ShopSite customers, so it's a good opportunity to learn -- and bring questions. 7. Spam Filters Some Cruzio customers have not yet turned on their spam filters, which block out junk e-mail. Since many customers are getting unfiltered mail, I decided to leave my mail unfiltered, too, so I can experience what it's like. The spam out there is awful. When you decide to take action against spam, Cruzio provides free, effective relief. We really recommend using this popular service. Over 2,000 Cruzio members are blocking spam already! Our engineers estimate the filters block more than 95% of junk e-mail. And the filters can block out viruses, too. And did we mention it's free? It's easy to use filtering: just go to your Cruzio Account Control Panel (it's listed at the top of Cruzio's home page, http://www.cruzio.com ) and push the "Junk Mail Filtering" button. If you've already got some filtering on, but want to use our improved filters (we strengthened them two months ago), click "Enable Features" in the Advanced Features box. Thus far, the filters are provided just for addresses ending in "cruzio.com". But more is on the way. We're currently upgrading all our servers to handle the heavy workload of filtering and expect to have filtering on ALL our accounts by the end of the summer. Hang on, we know it's spammy out there. 8. Yes You "CAN" Donate to 2nd Harvest Food Bank If you are late on a payment to Cruzio, you can avoid paying the late fee by donating 3 cans of food to Second Harvest Food Bank. Just bring the cans in to our storefront. If you want to donate a few extra while you are at it, or want to drop off some cans for no reason but kindness of heart, please feel free to do so any time. Kudos to our community-oriented General Manager Barbara, who won Cruzio an award for the cans-for-late-fee innovation. By the way, sorry about the pun, couldn't help it. 9. Pajaro Chamber Business Expo Today 3-7 pm on Thursday, June 13th at Watsonville Community Hospital Cruzio will be in Watsonville today, Thursday June 13th, from 3 to 7 pm at a Business Exposition at the Watsonville Community Hospital. Cruzio's President and co-founder, Peggy Dolgenos, will be speaking about Women in Business. Since she has been operating for many years in the male-dominated Tech industry, this promises to be an interesting talk. Other speakers include Annie Morhauser from from Annieglass and Carol Schmidt from Quail Mountain Herbs. 10. Of Political Interest: Monopolies and the Internet Cruzio, in providing Internet service locally, has to be a major customer of the local phone company. Since we do so much business with them, we're very aware of their political maneuvering. Pacific Bell, our regional phone company, was bought a few years back by Southwestern Bell Corporation (SBC), based in Texas. SBC is a rich and powerful influence in Washington and Sacramento and frankly manages to manipulate the political climate greatly to its advantage. To a normal consumer the effects don't look that large, at first. But the changes are similar to what happened to the energy industry few years ago, as regulated monopoly morphed into ... unregulated monopoly. Unregulated monopolies don't have natural motivation toward creativity, choice, or low prices, and can't often be forced to behave in consumers' interests (they are "unregulated" and can't be forced to do much.) We'd like to commend Congressman Sam Farr for voting against the heavily-lobbied-for Tauzin Dingell bill earlier this year. That bill, which passed by a wide margin and is now in the Senate, would remove requirements for the Bells to allow other companies' service over Bell lines. In other words, the assets they acquired as regulated monopolies would not be available for free market use or for regulation to ensure fair use. That's anti-competitive. Let's fight it in the Senate. Another bill is in the California State Senate right now. The State legislature passed it as AB 2958. Until now, when Pacific Bell was found to overcharge customers, it was required to pay them back. The bill removes that requirement: they can keep the money. No one will be checking. Pacific Bell has served us, and our customers, well. We wish them the best of luck in their business and enjoy fine relationships with their employees on a personal level. We want to continue having a great relationship with them. But it's hard to work with a monopoly, and we are hoping that some sane examination of deregulation pressures will help build a better system overall. 11. Please Use Cruzio's New Suite # Cruzio's address has changed from Suite 204 to Suite 101, still at 903 Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz. The post office has been forwarding our mail but won't much longer. The correct address is on all of our bills and newsletters, in case you forget. 12. About This Newsletter Cruzio doesn't like to waste bandwidth with extra email, but we sometimes have events and announcements that users need to know about. This seems like the most efficient way to let people know what's happening. Hope it's helpful. Please email email@example.com with any comments or questions. By the way, we would love to have a regular, predictable schedule for this newsletter...but we simply do not send it unless there is real news enclosed. Thus the haphazard datelines. 13. How to Reach Cruzio (dial-in or tech support) To reach the Cruzio Information Center, for online technical and sales information: http://www.cruzio.com/support To dial in to Cruzio, set your software to dial one of the numbers below (note: we've expanded and joined modem pools, so you may be using another number. If so, don't worry, it still works just fine). 56k: 459-9408 33.6 kbps and under: 459-6230 To call Cruzio: 459-6301............Use this number to check Cruzio's system status, pay your Cruzio bill, find out more about our hours and location, or to reach someone in customer service and technical support. To send email to Cruzio, use one of these addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org ......for technical support email@example.com .......for billing and ordering information Cruzio's location: 903 Pacific Avenue, Suite 101, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Cruzio's hours: Sales hours: 10am-6pm, Monday through Friday; 10 am - 2 pm Saturday Technical support: 10-6 pm, Monday through Friday, 10am - 2pm Saturday System monitoring, including customer-alerted emergencies, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year (leap years, 366 days) Thanks very much from Cruzio: Chris, Peggy, Julianne, Kathy, Mark, Martin, Georgette, Tapati, Pedro, Brittany, Alec, Barbara, Stephen, Paul, Gershom, Phil, Laura, Jessi, Alice, Edgar, Alex, Michael, another Kathy, Bhag, and another Chris (the grownups); Jake, Annika, and Carly (the kids) Jake, age 10, who takes a dim view of his mother's desire to walk rather than take the car: "Mom, if we go any farther this walk will turn into a hike!"