Cruzio Newsletter - Number 70, November 18, 2003 1. Free Cruzio Brown Bag This Thursday: "Safety & Speed" 2. Mail Server Issues 3. Checking Network Status on Cruzio 4. PHP/MySQL Now Available on Many Web Servers 5. Dialup Improvements 6. Working on Dialup in SLV 7. DSL Upload Speed Increased, No Extra Charge 8. Ben Lomond Can Now Get Cruzio DSL 9. Cruzio Will Match Donations Up to $2,000 10. Thanks to the Small Business Fair 11. Cruzio DSL Still Low Priced: $29.95/mo 12. Buddy Bucks: Sign Up a Friend for Cruzio Credit 13. Turn Late Fees Into Food 14. About This Newsletter 15. How to Reach Cruzio (dial-in or tech support) 1. Free Cruzio Brown Bag This Thursday: "Safety & Speed" Cruzio members often ask us how best to keep their computers safe, and about ways to speed up their Internet connection. Join Stephen and Mike from Cruzio's Technical Support staff on Thursday, November 20th, from 12-1:30 pm for a free lunchtime seminar on "Safety & Speed Online". This event will cover how users can protect their computer from worms, viruses and spam, and preventative and maintenance measures to keep computer systems safe from outside influences. Registration is available online at http://www.cruzio.com/services/business/events.html or by calling (831) 459-6301. 2. Mail Server Issues Last Wednesday night, Cruzio's central mail server was upgraded. It ran for a day or two, then sputtered several times, was revived, and finally experienced serious hardware failure late Friday night. Each change was closely attended by the Cruzio Engineering staff, who had to work long hours all weekend long to restore service. We take the job of delivering email very seriously. A backup server had been standing by and was deployed. The engineers revived the crashed server sufficiently to recover the most recent email and transfer it to the working server. While we put the replacement online within hours, service was affected for many of our customers, especially on Saturday morning. Mail delivery was slowed during the data recovery process, but email is reaching customers normally now. The volume of spam on the Internet has more than doubled since the end of summer. This increased tide of email requires that ISPs across the globe must continually upgrade to ever faster machines and constantly deploy programs and staff in an effort to adapt. This hardware failure, although not unprecedented, was unusual for Cruzio. In general, our upgrade programs have worked smoothly. We have replaced 8 of our more minor mail servers in the last 6 weeks with barely a ripple. We did not expect this week's problems and we will be even more vigilant and wary next time. Many thanks to the engineers who stayed up all night working to fix the problem, and to the Technical Support and Customer Service folks who came in on their days off to help answer the many calls. And most of all, thanks very much to all of you Cruzio members for your patience and understanding. Your Internet experience is important to us; it's our highest priority. We'll be continuing to upgrade and build for the assaults of the spammers and hackers. Please forgive the bumps in the road forward, there's heavy weather blowing on the 'net. 3. Checking Network Status on Cruzio If you want to check what's going on at Cruzio, especially if it seems like there is a problem, please have a look at our Network Status Web page. Cruzio Engineers and Support staff put messages about unusual occurrences which could affect your service onto this page. Just look at our home site at http://www.cruzio.com and you'll see a box on the upper right hand corner of every page: "Network Status." Click here to see what's up. We also put a message on our phone system every day, whether anything unusual is going on or not. This message, too, is updated by Support staff or engineers when they encounter a system problem. To get to the status line, call us at 459-6301 and choose option 3. 4. PHP/MySQL Now Available on Many Domain Hosting Servers Many have asked for expanded Web hosting capabilities, and we're moving toward that goal. PHP and MySQL are now available on many of Cruzio's domain hosting servers. When your server has been updated, you'll find the PHP/MySQL options on your Cruzio Control Panels. We expect all Domain/Web accounts to carry the new services by the end of the year. 5. Dialup Improvements Here are some initiatives that Cruzio is currently taking to improve our dialup service: * We have purchased new V92 modem servers and will be deploying them soon. * We recommend Propel, which speeds up dialup Web surfing as much as 500%. For details, see http://www.propel.com/partners/1220/ * We are currently working on a nationwide dialup plan. * Slower connections suffer the most when there is a lot of spam. Our new filters are very effective, and free of charge. 6. Working on Dialup in SLV Some San Lorenzo Valley dialup customers have complained of difficulties dialing in late at night. Cruzio has investigated and tested (some of our own employees live in the affected areas.) Some other Internet Providers, especially local ones, are experiencing the problem as well, and Cruzio is working with the telephone company to locate the problem. We've had several hypotheses so far, but found no complete solution. Many thanks to our persistent Engineering Manager Julianne who refused to be brushed off or ignored. Please contact Cruzio (email email@example.com or give us a call) if you are experiencing late-night connection problems from a location in the San Lorenzo Valley. We'd like to get more data on the issue, and we do have a workaround to suggest. 7. DSL Upload Speed Increased, No Extra Charge Good news! In the last month, Cruzio DSL speeds were increased and now instead of upload speeds up to 128 kbps, you can look for speeds up to 256 kbps. No action is required on your part -- you'll just notice the improvement if you send files up to the Internet for any reason. Double the upload speed, for the same low price as before. Enjoy! 8. Ben Lomond Can Now Get Cruzio DSL Another piece of good news. We've been waiting for this one. While other nearby towns, such as Boulder Creek, Felton, and even Brookdale (as one of our staffers, who lives in Ben Lomond, griped) all could get DSL, Ben Lomond had been left out in the cold. That's over now. Give it a try, there are still limitations on distance from the remote terminal but many Ben Lomond households are now eligible. See http://www.cruzio.com/services/highspeed_access/qualify.html to find out if DSL is available at your location. 9. Cruzio Will Match Donations Up to $2,000 This year Cruzio will once again match customer and staff donations to the Second Harvest Food Bank. The money helps local residents who can't afford to buy food. Last year, we were overwhelmed by the generosity of our staff and customers, and doubled our matching fund from $500 to $1,000. Even then, we couldn't keep up with all the donations. So this year, we are raising the bar and doubling our matching fund once again. >From now until December 23, 2003, Cruzio will match staff and customer donations to the Food Bank up to a total of $2,000. That's a lot of money for a small company. But it's a difficult year for the county. Many folks are out of work and services are shrinking as government budgets decline. Here's how to get Cruzio to match your donation: make out your check to Second Harvest Food Bank and send it to Cruzio. We will send it on to the Food Bank, adding the same amount to our own check until we reach our limit. In addition, as always we have the food barrel in our downtown Santa Cruz storefront. We've got Second Harvest piggy banks on our front counters. We'll take donations large and small and pass them on to the Food Bank. Please give what you can. If you'd like to see what the Food Bank is all about, here is their Web site: http://www.thefoodbank.org 10. Thanks for the Small Business Fair Last month, Cruzio held the 5th annual Small Business Fair. The event was crowded with people from all sorts of businesses around the county, and we heard from the kinds of professionals -- accountants, telephone and computer experts, Web designers, community leaders -- who really help us out. Many thanks to Kathy Bisbee, our Marketing Director, and the rest of the Marketing staff for making this event so fabulous! Cruzio holds the Fair every year because we work with thousands of local businesses. Since we provide friendly, accessible sales and technical support, we're asked for all sorts of advice, some of which is beyond our expertise. So we gather the experts together every year to help. Cruzio does not make a profit on the event, we just hope it helps small businesses to survive and thrive. With big corporations moving offshore, small businesses are employing more and more Americans these days and are creating the most new jobs. We're very enthusiastic about small businesses. Many thanks to the other businesses who helped us put on the event by contributing time and dollars. We'd especially like to thank the Museum of Art and History for providing a great venue. 11. Cruzio DSL Still Low Priced: $29.95/mo Get a low-priced, high speed connection to the Internet with Cruzio DSL. It's still just $29.95 per month, plus tax (FUSF tax, about $2.82.) To learn more, visit http://www.cruzio.com/services/highspeed_access/ 12. Buddy Bucks Recommend us to friends, family, colleagues: if a new customer gives us your email address, id number, or full name when they sign up you'll get $10 credit to your account. If two friends sign up, $20. Three friends, $30. It just goes on and on. 13. Turn Late Fees Into Food If you're late on a payment to Cruzio, turn it into a donation to hungry folks in our community. We will waive your late fee if you bring 3 cans into our office for our Second Harvest Food Bin barrel. Learn more about this charity at http://www.thefoodbank.org 14. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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. 15. 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: email@example.com ......for technical support firstname.lastname@example.org .......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, Alec, Stephen, Paul, Gershom, Jessi, Michael, another Chris, Maria, James, Juana, Krissie, Nikkie, Mike, Mario, Don, Bruce, Jason, & yet another Chris (the grownups); Jake, Annika, and Carly (the kids) Annika, age 8, got a huge lollipop from her violin teacher. I had to ask her to put it away for dinner and she protested: "No, Mommy, I'm trying to make a dent in its vastness."