Cruzio Newsletter - Number 112, January 16, 2008 1. Power Outage Lacks Drama at Cruzio 2. Buying Local Online 3. Web Site Classes This Month 4. Tech Tip of the Month: Remember to Log Out 5. This Thursday, Intro to the Internet 6. Second Harvest 7. Surf Is Up 8. Gizmo of the Month 9. Wireless at Santa Cruz City Hall 10. Immunity for Telecom Companies? 11. Class Schedule Through March 12. Moving? 13. Buddy Bucks 14. Correction 15. About This Newsletter 16. How to Reach Cruzio (dial-in or tech support) 1. Power Outage Lacks Drama at Cruzio Some lucky folks kick back and read by candlelight when the power goes out, but not Cruzio. Our members depend on our service no matter how widespread or prolonged the blackout. So when the power goes out, we get going. Even if our local members can't use their computers, they rely on their Web sites being read by out-of-county, out-of-state and international visitors. They expect their email to be delivered and their online store orders to be taken despite any local power interruption. When their computers come back on, businesses will log in to collect their orders, Web site administrators will count the Web visits they got during blackout hours, and everybody will want their email. Because Cruzio has its own backup systems, all will be there. It would be fun to make our outage response procedures sound thrilling: "It was a dark and stormy night," we might begin, "and Cruzio's brave techs dangled by cables from treacherous catwalks, batting away giant centipedes as they restored power..." But reality has no such drama. We rehearse outages regularly. Our backup power turns on automatically when the power goes out -- at all our locations. Last week, customer service continued to answer the phones while Internal Support calmly unspooled cable and connected generators. Although the outage lasted half the day, Cruzio caught every email and answered every call. Most customers probably had no idea we had lost power. And though that's less fun to describe, that's the way we like it. 2. Buying Local Online Retail sales around the country were down this last holiday season, with one notable exception: sales on the Internet were up over 20%. That's an increase any business would like to see. And the lucky thing is, the Internet works for small companies as well as large ones. We suggest that this year, local businesses resolve to lose less of their sales to big national online competitors and use the Web as an effective sales outlet. Cruzio can show you how. We've designed a class schedule (see below) that will take you from the basics (even Internet 101) through the creation of an attractive, easy-to-use Web site; from making sales online to developing your new, bigger sales market. In other words, the whole enchilada. An online presence is not expensive. All the software necessary is included in your Cruzio Website Plus or Premium account and some extra features are provided free of charge in the classes. By the way, it's perfectly acceptable to take the class a second time, and you'll get a substantial discount if you choose to do so. The Advanced Class has been less popular (let us know if you're interested in that one) but sometimes people feel they'd like an instructor to look over their progress without having to push much further. If that describes you, you're welcome to join us again. 3. Web Site Classes This Month Next week, we're rolling out the red carpet for those who want to create and market a commercial Web site. We start on Tuesday, January 22nd, with "One Night Web Site" -- our most popular class, where Cruzio's experienced instructors Mike and Chris work with just 8 students on 8 computers to set up Web sites. You'll be creating your real site -- not just a phony one you'll soon forget. When you get home, your site will be started and you'll know how to add to it, edit it, and keep it up to date. Next Thursday, January 24th, expand your Web presence by learning how to "Market Your Web Site and Get New Customers." Cruzio's clever Class Program Manager Mike will show you how to take advantage of free techniques for getting your site noticed and highly rated around the Internet so that users will find you. (If you'd like to see an example of a high rating, go to Google -- http://www.google.com -- and type in "dialup accelerator." Who's number one on the general list?) Complete the hat-trick the following Tuesday, January 29th, by attending "Start Making Money Online." We can't be any more blunt about the purpose of the class. Every business should reap the advantages of online sales: automation, huge market reach, convenience for the customer, a 24-hour sales day. Cruzio does more than half its sales online, and so can you. If you'd like to see more details on any of these classes, including our new instructor bio page ( http://classes.cruzio.com/teachers.html ) please visit http://classes.cruzio.com . If the dates and times aren't convenient for you, check the schedule on the site as the classes will be repeated soon. See you in class! One Night Web Site* Tuesday, January 22nd 5:00 - 8:00 pm, $199.00 Market Your Web Site and Get New Customers Thursday, January 24th 9:00 - 11:00 am, $79.00 Start Making Money Online Tuesday, January 29th 1:00 - 3:00 pm, $79.00 Sign up at http://classes.cruzio.com 4. Tech Tip of the Month: Remember to Log Out These days a bank, an airport, or even a movie theater is more likely to ask you to prove your identity than to require a ticket or token. (Anyone remember when you last needed your bankbook to make a withdrawal?) On computers, your identity is established by your login and password, which opens access to all the resources in your account. Your login is valuable. And you should not leave it lying around. If you're at a public computer logged in to your bank account, and you get up and leave without logging out, the next person who sits down at that computer within a couple of minutes will be... you. At least to the bank. The message here in a nutshell is: remember to log out from your online accounts. We find people logged in to various sites on our rental computers every day (and we log them out). 5. This Thursday, Intro to the Internet Tomorrow, learn the basics of what the Internet is and what it can do for you. If you or a friend is always cursing or sighing at the computer, now's the time to take a low-cost class on how to stop fighting and learn to love the machine. Our teachers are experienced, friendly, and non-judgmental so you're welcome to pull out all those weird questions you thought were too foolish to ask. At Cruzio we're very fond of computers but we understand the frustrations they cause -- and we can help. (This is late notice for the January class, but it is offered again in March.) Internet 101 Thursday, January 17th, 9:00 - 11:00 am $29.00 Sign up at http://classes.cruzio.com 6. Second Harvest As we ended 2007, Cruzio was impressed by the generosity of our members and staff. The customers gave more than $3,500 to the Second Harvest Food Bank to feed local people. The owners of Cruzio matched $1500 of that money, and then were inspired to add even more, making the total donation $5,300 and counting. Since Second Harvest can make the money go further than most of us, this will enable them to provide tens of thousands of meals to people in need. This year, Cruzio went an extra step and on December 15 offered customers a free domain name in exchange for a 3-can donation to the Food Bank. Our members filled two large donation cans in one day! For more information about Second Harvest, visit: http://www.thefoodbank.org Remember that as always, if you are late on a payment to Cruzio you can avoid the late fee by bringing three cans of food for our food barrel. Or just bring canned food to us any time. People are hungry all year round. 7. Surf Is Up At last the waves are big and wet-suited surfers are all over them. Every morning crowds of people in their work-clothes stand, often with a cup of coffee, sniffing at the wind off Monterey Bay and staring at the waves with a wistful look. It's winter, the best time to surf, and even if you don't go in yourself it's exciting to watch. At last week's fabled Mavericks Surf Contest, Greg Long from San Clemente was the ultimate winner but a good number of the elite contestants were Santa Cruz locals. The contest was broadcast live on the Internet and clips can be seen on http://www.myspace.com/maverickssurf . Basically it looks like the surfers are plunging down the side of a 3-story building made of water. Then, the building sometimes falls on them. Amazing. 8. Gizmo of the Month This month, we are upstaging the Academy Awards(tm) by nominating as Gizmo of the Month our Netgear USB Wireless Adapter, just $49.99 plus tax. Got an older computer, but still want to go wireless? No need to delve into your computer's innards to add wireless capability. Plug this little baby into your USB port and you're ready to take your computer to the couch or the backyard and log in. http://shopcruzio.com/equipment.html#adapters 9. Wireless at Santa Cruz City Hall We're fortunate to live in a city with picturesque hills and lush trees. Lovely as these features are, they make wireless Internet access a difficult thing to achieve on a large scale. Cruzio has addressed this problem by creating cells of wireless Internet as a free service at 35 "hot spots" or cyberhubs all around Santa Cruz County. (We figure the more the county uses the Internet, the more our members will benefit: more to see and do online, and more readers for local content.) Cruzio spoke with the cities of Santa Cruz and Watsonville -- really, to any public agency who would listen -- about opening up more shared areas to wireless Internet access. We've donated to the cities before, and to the county library system, and countless other worthy public causes. So we were surprised to hear that the City of Santa Cruz had contracted with a Texas corporation -- AT&T -- instead of a local company like Cruzio to provide City Hall's courtyard with wireless Internet access. Worse yet, we'd offered to do it for free, and we read in the newspaper that the City was paying for the service. We spoke to members of the City Council and the City's IT department, repeating our offer. Everyone we spoke to in city government was very receptive to the idea of Cruzio's involvement once it was brought up. We're now discussing whether Cruzio or some other local company can take over the task at some point. We are happy for the opportunity to serve the public, and just want to remind people that "Think Local" is more than lip service. It really takes a bit of thought and care. It's all too easy to unintentionally overlook even a well-known and well-qualified local company. Cruzio buys local and we're glad you do too. If you're interested in setting up a wireless hot spot at your business or community location, let us know at http://www.cruzio.com/local_info/wireless/cyberhub_application 10. Immunity for Telecom Companies? Telecommunications giants such as AT&T and Verizon were asked by the Bush administration -- beginning in early 2001 -- to intercept their customers' data for detection of criminal and terrorist activities. Most of the corporations complied, doing so without any public notice. Their practices came to light only recently. Now, as Congress rewrites the FISA bill to outline the rules by which the federal government can eavesdrop on its citizens, many in Congress are calling for retroactive immunity for those telecoms. The argument is that they were only trying to do right. Many of us agree that these companies were often trying to do right. However by preventing lawsuits by the ACLU and others, the bill will leave us forever in the dark about exactly whether it was right and why. No one will be able to subpoena witnesses or records. That seems... wrong. Information carriers are responsible for maintaining the privacy of their customers' data (Cruzio is a strong believer in privacy). Companies should obey the law, no matter who asks them to break it -- a constitutional concept called "the rule of law". Senator Chris Dodd stood up to strong pressure and did not allow the immunity clause to pass last December. The "blogosphere" also helped, with Internet chatter prompting many thousands of calls to senators on the day of the vote. However, this issue will likely be up for another round of consideration. If you have a strong opinion, feel free to contact your representatives. A good place to follow this case is the Electronic Freedom Foundation: http://www.eff.org/nsa . 11. Class Schedule Through March A brand new class schedule with lots of new offerings is up at http://classes.cruzio.com/schedule.html Check it out! Already we've seen an increase in students this year -- new year, new Web site? 12. 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 cancelling 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 13. 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 or more credit to your account. If two friends sign up, $20. Three friends, $30. It just goes on and on. 14. Correction Many thanks to alert newsletter reader, Ms. Cynthia Mathews, for pointing out that "administrate" is not, as she put it, a proper verb: the correct form is "administer." She's right: look it up in the dictionary box on the Cruzio home page, where "administrate" pales beside its definition-laden cousin. Thus, we have changed the name of our Hands-on Class to "Administer Your Domain Like a Pro." We feel much better now. Thanks again Cynthia. 15. 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. 16. 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, 25 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, Paul, Gershom, Jessi, James, Juana, Nikkie, Mike, Don, Bruce, Westi, Andrew, Jaime, another Chris, yet another Chris, Diana, Jake, Tommy, Shawn and Zachary; our awesome interns, Jeremy, Anna, Michele, and Rodney; Jake, Annika, and Carly (the kids) "My friend Shiraz has a new pet. Her parents won't let her keep it at home so she gave it to me. It's a moth named Austin." --Carly, age 10, explaining what is on her pillow.