Cruzio Newsletter - Number 103, April 17, 2007 1. Spam: A Status Report 2. Hands-On Class Next Tuesday: "One Day Blog" 3. Hands-On Class Next Thursday: "One Night Web Site" 4. How Do You Use Your Extra Mailboxes? 5. Cruzio Wins Gold Again 6. Computer Care Drop-in Clinic Speeds Up Computers 7. Ever More Cyberhubs: Now Watsonville Too! 8. Free Classes for Beginning Computer Users 9. Class Schedule for the Next Two Months 10. We Appreciate Referrals 11. Moving? 12. Feed the Hungry, Get Late Fees Waived 13. About This Newsletter 14. How to Reach Cruzio (Dialup or Tech Support) 1. Spam: A Status Report We know our customers hate spam. So do we: most of the equipment Cruzio buys and a great deal of our engineering and support time is spent dealing with email our customers don't even want. This month we are adding two more servers to our network just to dispose of spam. And we're already planning the next upgrade after that. We are constantly upgrading both the intelligence and the capacity of our spam-disposal systems. Reports about the Internet at large say that spam levels have risen 125 percent in the last six months -- the amount of spam is increasing and the rate of increase is rising. Many of us are now accustomed to cleaning dozens or more messages from our mailboxes every Monday morning. (Spammers are most active on weekends, when they think the system administrators are at home). Microsoft claims that Google is to blame for the increase: http://blog.clickz.com/070320-145130.html because spammers put Google ads on their sites and use the recipients' click-throughs to generate ad revenue. If you click on a link, even if the context is phony, they get real income. But it's just as easy to blame Microsoft. Security holes in Microsoft's operating systems and email programs have allowed hackers to create the viruses responsible for most of the world's spam. Or blame the way the Internet is structured: assuming the best of its participants, allowing people to communicate at absurdly low cost. Anonymity and automation -- Internet hallmarks -- enable spam and viruses to proliferate. Computers can't stop spam because computers create it: it's an even match. One last word: be careful of phony email from banks, e-cards, MySpace, Pay Pal and the like. Most of the messages you get from these companies are faked. They look real, and statistics show the fake messages are very effective in getting people to follow links or even enter passwords into a phony form. Before you click on an email link -- and certainly before you enter a password or social security number -- be sure it's the real thing. Read the email carefully. Call your bank or your friend to be sure. For more tips on security see Cruzio's Web site: http://www.cruzio.com/support/security/ 2. Hands-On Class Next Tuesday: "One Day Blog" Tuesday April 24, 9 - 11 AM $99 903 Pacific Avenue, Downtown Santa Cruz Have you thought about sharing your experiences, opinions, and plans with other people through a blog? It's the easiest way we know to express yourself -- once a blog is set up, adding content is a breeze. Many local writers have started up their own blogs (see http://www.cruzio.com for many examples under "local blogs"). Blogs are more and more popular, perhaps because of their versatility. Visit http://www.sifry.com/alerts/archives/000493.html to see interesting statistics on blogging. To summarize the statistics in one sentence: Your friends, your family, and your customers are likely familiar with blogs and would be able to read and participate in one if you set it up. But many of us have trouble finding the time to get started with a new venture like this. To help, Cruzio presents a hands-on class in which you'll create a working WordPress blog in your own Web space with plenty of guidance from two of our most experienced instructors. Mike and Jessi themselves both have active, interesting blogs and know how to customize current technology to make your blog look and feel the way you like. Once your blog is up, you can post text, pictures and links, and get comments from readers and friends. We'll show you how. Like all Cruzio's Hands-on classes, each student is seated at their own computer, provided by Cruzio. There are only 8 students per class, and two teachers. You'll be using your own Cruzio account (call us if you don't yet have at least a Website Plus account at Cruzio) and we guarantee that you'll have a working blog by the end of the class. Anyone can blog -- it doesn't require specialized knowledge or an existing Web site. A blog can be a Web site all by itself. Register on our Events Page: http://events.cruzio.com or by calling us at 459-6301, ext. 231. To find out how to get a Website Plus or Premium account, call 459-6301 option 2. 3. Hands-On Class Next Thursday: "One Night Web Site" Thursday April 26, 5 - 8 PM $199 903 Pacific Avenue, Downtown Santa Cruz The Web is changing. Cruzio predicts that in the next few years most Web sites will be built with a new technology called CMS. If you are about to build a new Web site or upgrade an old one, it would be smart to use a CMS (content-management system). Whether you are just building your first Web site, or you're an experienced Web designer learning new skills, you'll appreciate the personalized instruction Cruzio offers. Our hands-on classes are limited to 8 students, and there are two experienced, helpful teachers. We guarantee that by the end of the class you will have a functional Joomla Web site up and running. You can keep and use that Web site, expanding it to your needs, for years to come -- we'll show you how. Because the bulk of the class is actually building your site with instructors' help, people often take this class more than once. To take the class, you'll need at minimum a Cruzio Website Plus account. Please call our Customer Service team, 459-6301 option 2, to find out how to move to an appropriate plan. Class space is limited, so register today at: http://events.cruzio.com or call 459-6301, extension 231. 4. How Do You Use Your Extra Mailboxes? Nearly all Cruzio email accounts include free extra mailboxes. You can set up and tear down the mailboxes easily. Some people use their extra mailboxes to share a Cruzio account among family members. Some businesses use the mailboxes for individual employees, or use mailboxes for company functions like sales, bookkeeping, or customer service (even if those functions are all performed by one person). There are more unusual uses, too. Since publicizing an email address can invite spam, some members set up a special mailbox to enter contests or to publish on their Web site, keeping their personal address private. Some folks abandon a main mailbox if it gets too encumbered with spam and switch to a spare mailbox as their new main email address. If you've never used an extra mailbox, it's easy. Just log in to your Cruzio control panel via our login page: http://login.cruzio.com Click on "Manage Mailboxes." This is where you add and remove extra mailboxes from your Cruzio email account. If you have an innovative use for your extra mailboxes that might help other Cruzio members, or if you'd like help using your mailboxes, please email us at email@example.com . 5. Cruzio Wins Gold Again For the thirteenth straight year, Cruzio was voted Best Internet Provider in Metro Santa Cruz's local reader poll. We've worked hard this year, introducing new Web site tools and features, decreasing latency on DSL, and fighting spam. We've introduced our "Hands-on" class series, where small groups of students work with instructors to publish their work on the Web. We have more members than ever before. We're happy that the community recognizes our efforts. Many thanks to our customers from Bonny Doon to Salinas and beyond! And congratulations to our much-loved staff. 6. Computer Care Drop-in Clinic Speeds Up Computers Although we were coming off a very busy week, our indomitable computer specialists Chris and Mike were on hand on a Saturday to look at dozens of computers and offer expert advice. Customers brought in computers from all ends of the spectrum, from the "beloved but obsolete" to brand new and unfamiliar. We were able to give sound, sensible advice in every case, although we did have to deliver the bad news ("She's dead, Jim") a couple of times. We were able to speed up most machines free of charge, and worked with customers to develop a plan for further improvements, such as cleaning up infections, beefing up security, or adding more memory. We served coffee and cookies at the clinic, and met lots of nice folks. There was even a small dog in attendance, not perhaps the computer's primary user but interested nonetheless. It's part of our Internet lives to care for our computers -- from purchase to performance to responsible disposal -- and Cruzio can help many times along the way. If you're sorry you missed the clinic, please remember that Cruzio Computer Care is available for an appointment at your convenience. If your computer is experiencing a problem we will give you a brief diagnostic (up to 15 minutes) free of charge. 7. Ever More Cyberhubs: Now Watsonville Too! When you're out on the town with your laptop, you can stop in at one of the dozens of locations where Cruzio provides free wireless Internet access. Welcome to the newest cyberhubs in our network: Catz Alley (our first in Watsonville!) Santa Cruz News Cafe Lena The Blue Lagoon Capitola Book Cafe There are many more cyberhubs around the Santa Cruz County -- over 30 locations. To find the one that's convenient for you, check our map at: http://www.cruzio.com/local_info/wireless.html If you have a business which would benefit from being a cyberhub, send us your information: http://www.cruzio.com/services/wireless/cyberhub_application.html 8. Free Classes for Beginning Computer Users Tuesday and Thursday, April 24 & 26, 6 - 8 PM FREE 23 East Beach Street, Plaza Vigil, Downtown Watsonville Nearly every month, our Watsonville store manager Gershom teaches computer classes for beginners free of charge. Even more impressively, one set of classes is in English and the other in Spanish. If you or a friend need to know about computer security; creating, saving and retrieving email and other files; or want to learn the pieces of a computer and how to tell they're all working correctly, check into these friendly, low-pressure classes. We recommend taking both classes in a series. This month's remaining classes: April 24th and 26th, 6-8 pm, Intro Series in English Next month: May 8th and 10th, Intro Series in Spanish May 22nd and 24th, Intro Series in English Please let us know who's coming by calling our Watsonville store: 722-6200. 9. Class Schedule for the Next Two Months We've highlighted this month's classes above, but here is a brief summary of classes in April and May. New: if you'd like to be emailed in advance of every class, sign up for Cruzio's Events Mailing List by going to http://events.cruzio.com -- click on "mailing list" near the top. Here's a quick listing of classes in the next two months: April: 24th - Hands-on Series: "One Day Blog" 24th & 28th - Intro to Computer and the Internet, in English 26th - Hands-on Series: "One Night Web Site" May: 10th - Hands-on Series: "Advanced Blogging" 17th - Brown Bag Workshop: Security 24th - Hands-on Series: "One Day Web Site" Find details on the current month's classes and register at: http://events.cruzio.com 10. We Appreciate Referrals 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 http://www.cruzio.com/services/highspeed_access/move_dsl.html 12. Feed the Hungry, Get Late Fees Waived 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 http://www.thefoodbank.org 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 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. 14. 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). Dialup (in Santa Cruz County): 459-9408 Nationwide Dialup: Look up local number on our Web page: http://www.cruzio.com/support/dialup_isdn/nationwide_numbers.html 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: email@example.com ......for technical support firstname.lastname@example.org .......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, Nikkie, Mike, Don, Bruce, Edgar, Brian, Westi, Andrew, Jaime, another Chris, yet another Chris, Reema, Diana, and Maria; our awesome interns, Brian, Cindy, and Helen; Jake, Annika, and Carly (the kids) Annika, age 12: "Anyone who can open this container doesn't need vitamins"