#099, December 14, 2006

     Cruzio Newsletter - Number 99, December 14, 2006

1. The Spam Storm
2. January Classes and Workshops
3. Holiday Gifts, Part II
4. Donations to Second Harvest
5. Local Web Cameras
6. Is Your Computer Infected?
7. New Installatron Items
8. Small Business Fair Wrap-up
9. Wednesday Workshops in Watsonville
10. Buddy Bucks
11. Moving?
12. We'll Waive Late Fees If You Feed the Hungry
13. About This Newsletter
14. How to Reach Cruzio (Dial-in or Tech Support)

1. The Spam Storm
For the last couple of months, a huge increase in spam has hit
the entire Internet. The problem even made the front page of the
New York Times last week. For about a year and a half, filtering
technology was comfortably abreast of spam-spewing technology.
Now we're having to catch up again.

Spammers have crafted techniques which cleverly foil our barriers:

    Because ISPs block shady networks known for sending junk email,
    spammers no longer use their own equipment. They use viruses
    to take over innocent computers. Big-time spammers have
    thousands of these computers following their orders; the
    computers are called "zombies" or "bots" and spammers use
    their zombies as a group called a "bot-net." 

    Because we recognize the URLs in their spam as illegal
    or illicit, they are no longer putting URLs in the text.

    Because we search for certain words, spammers now embed
    their words into graphics. Humans can recognize a skewed or
    freckled letter that baffles machines. The computer
    can't read the word "Viagra" in the message, but you can.

Owners of the computers sending out all the spam are probably not
even aware of it. (If you suspect your computer may have a virus,
see item #6 below).

ISPs just have to dig deep into their pockets and buy mountains of
new equipment which can recognize and discard more spam, faster.

We'll soon catch up to the spammers and reduce the load to a
manageable level. In the meantime, we apologize for the extra
unwanted email. It's always a race when new spam technology 
emerges, between the spammers making their deliveries and ISPs
rushing to shut the doors on them.

2. Classes Coming Up
This week's Hands-On class, "One Night Web Site," was sold out.
We will be holding one again soon, probably in January.
Watch this space, or http://events.cruzio.com , for the date!

A Brown Bag workshop, "Blogging with WordPress," is scheduled for
Thursday, January 18th, 2007, from noon to 1:30 pm. Led by the
ultra-helpful and knowledgeable team of Jessi Hance and Mike Brogan,
the workshop will get you started on the latest Internet must-have:
a blog. 

Wordpress, one of the most popular blogging programs on the Internet,
comes free with Cruzio's Website Plus or Website Premium service.
If you'd like to see a WordPress blog example, go to

To learn more, and register for the Brown Bag workshop, go to

3. Holiday Gifts, Part II
Last month we mentioned how much your loved ones might appreciate
a computer tuneup ($129 for Cruzio customers -- that's $20 off!),
wireless network kit ($99), flash-ram drive ($29) and custom-setup
DSL ($25 for a custom setup, $22.95/mo) as gifts. After all, having
your computer upgraded or your computer hassles handled is a great
present. Not to mention the cute tee shirts and mugs we offer, all
with the Cruzio kitty on them.

But this month we'd like to highlight another gift idea that's unique
and fun: the custom domain name.

If you want to find Eminem, Barack Obama, or Thomas Pynchon on the
Internet, where do you go? eminem.com, barackobama.com, and
thomaspynchon.com. They all have their names immortalized as 
Internet domains.

Your loved one, too, can have his or her own name as a private
Internet address. Let's say your dad's name is Pedro Tweegle. You
could choose tweegle.com, or pedrotweegle.com, or thetweegles.org --
any number of possibilities.

He can then receive email at, say, pedro@tweegle.com. He can put
a Web site at www.tweegle.com.

It's like having a star named after him, but more useful in his
daily life. A custom domain name will be his forever -- he just
has to keep the registration current. He can own the address,
and keep it even if he leaves Cruzio.

To check if a domain is taken, go to
and select the Web & Domain tab. Choose a product level, put it in the
shopping cart, and continue. You'll land on a page where you can try
a number of different domain names. Try typing in names you like, such
as "hoobuzz.com" -- Cruzio will tell you whether someone already has
the name.

If you need any help, just call Cruzio's Sales department. We have
helped thousands of people get the domain names they like.

4. Donations to Second Harvest
There is still plenty of time to make a contribution to Second
Harvest, and when you send the donation through Cruzio it is
eligible for our annual matching campaign. We will match up to
$1500 in total contributions from our customers and staff to help
feed the hungry in Santa Cruz. 

If you'd like to qualify for the matching fund, send your check
(made out to Second Harvest) to Cruzio. We will bundle all the
checks together, match the contributions up to our limit, and
forward them to Second Harvest.

We give to Second Harvest every year because it helps people
in our community in a direct and effective way. Cruzio's
owners and staff all live in Santa Cruz County and it's our
responsibility -- and our great pleasure -- to help the needy
around us. This time of year, when we are especially grateful
for warm homes and full tables, we also want to remember
those who aren't so fortunate. So please, join us in making 

5. Local Web Cameras
Have you visited our page of links to local Web cams recently?

Since our last newsletter, we've added slideshows of images from
our world-famous BusCam and a selection of other local cameras.

Be sure to check out the links to Ivy's Deer Cam for some beautiful
wildlife closeups and the just-added link to the Santa Cruz Flying
Club's camera at Watsonville Airport. Both feature pan/tilt/zoom
cameras which allow you to take control of the camera remotely, 
via your Web browser.

If you know of any other local Web cams not listed, please drop
us a line at webmaster@cruzio.com with the URL.

6. Is Your Computer Infected?
Your computer is likely to be infected if:
	- You have a broadband connection
	- You run Windows
	- You don't run current anti-virus software regularly

Experts have shown that if an unprotected PC is connected to the 
Internet, it has a 50% chance of being infected with a virus within
12 minutes.

You may notice your computer's disk light flashing when the
computer sits idle, or that your programs are running slowly.
That's because the spammer is using it as a "bot" (see item #1,
above). But some bots only send their spam in a trickle, and
it may not be obvious.

Cruzio looks for zombies on our network, and will contact you if we
identify your computer as infected. We provide free information for
you to download and install protective software. We can also repair
infected computers, remove all viruses and adware, and install
protective software for a very reasonable fee. For more information,

7. New Installatron Items
Cruzio's new Website Plus and Website Premium services include the
Installatron, an interface for installing fancy features on Web
sites with just a few clicks.

The Installatron -- great name -- offers state-of-the-art software
used by top professionals. The list is often updated when new software
becomes available.

Since the last newsletter, four new features have been added:
	Gbook - An easy-to-use guestbook
	phpSurveyor - An advanced survey creation program
	iTron Clock - A javascript clock for your website
	Code Igniter - A framework for writing php programs

We test all the software before making it available. Also, many
of us at Cruzio have Web sites and we use the features ourselves.
We've already put the survey software to use in personal sites, and
it works quite well.

For a full list of Cruzio's Installatron features, see

8. Small Business Fair Wrap-up
We had a great Small Business Fair in mid-November. It was our
eighth straight year introducing local small businesses to 
each other and getting them useful information in an easy-to-digest
format (including wine, food, and workshops).

This was Marketing Manager Westi Haughey's second year running the Fair,
and she deserves a big hand for her excellent work. Many thanks to Westi
and her team for helping out local businesses -- like Cruzio!

9. Wednesday Workshops in Watsonville
Every Wednesday afternoon from 3 to 6 pm, our Watsonville Store
Manager Gershom opens the doors for anyone to come in and ask
questions about the Internet. He generally covers basic computer
operations (your computer has to function to reach the Internet,
after all), how to use Web browsers, find information on the
Internet, and use Cruzio's Web mail program. You're welcome to
stop by, no registration necessary and it's free of charge.

10. Buddy Bucks
Recommend us to friends, family, colleagues: if a new customer
gives us your email address, registration 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. 

11. Moving?
If you are moving your home or office, please contact Cruzio.
We're here to help the Internet portion of your move go smoothly.
It's best to let us know several weeks ahead of time, especially
if you have DSL or if you're canceling a phone line. We can often
save you from an interruption in Internet service and prevent
costly fees -- but you've got to let us know. For more information,
please see

12. We'll Waive Late Fees If You Feed the Hungry
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 Bank barrel. Learn more about this charity at

13. 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 support@cruzio.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.

14. How to Reach Cruzio (dial-in or tech support)
To reach the Cruzio Information Center, for online technical and
sales information:

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).

   Dialup (in Santa Cruz County): 459-9408

   Nationwide Dialup: Look up local number on our Web page:
   or call Cruzio toll free, 1.800.303.3302

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.
         722-6200 .......... Cruzio's number in Watsonville.

To send email to Cruzio, use one of these addresses:
   	support@cruzio.com ......for technical support
	office@cruzio.com .......for billing and ordering information

Cruzio's locations:
	Santa Cruz: 903 Pacific Avenue, Suite 101, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
	Watsonville: Plaza Vigil, 23 E. Beach Street, Watsonville, CA 95076
Cruzio's hours:
	Sales hours: 10am-6pm, Monday through Friday; 10 am - 2 pm Saturday
	Technical support: 8am to 6pm, Mon to Fri, 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, Mark, Stephen, Paul, Gershom,
	Jessi, Michael, James, Juana, Krissie, Nikkie, Mike, Don,
	Bruce, Edgar, Brian, Westi, Andrew, Jaime, another Chris,
	yet another Chris, Reema, and Diana; our fab intern, Christi;
	Jake, Annika, and Carly (the kids)

Jake, age 14, relays this excellent idea:
"This is what to do if a telemarketer calls. Let them talk
a bit and then tell them that something has come up but you are
very interested and could you please have their home number so
you could call them back later at home?"