1. Reliable Backup Power at Cruzio 2. Obama, Benjamin Button, Vampire Weekend: Write Your Own "Best Of 2008" 3. Holiday Gifts for Geeks, Artists and Grandpas 4. Heads Up! Internet Explorer Security Alert 5. The Battle Against Spam: One Victory 6. A Cuddly Cruzio Bear: For You. Free. 7. Easy Way to Do a Holiday Letter: Blog It! 8. Progress on Email Upgrades 9. Smart Investments Go Local 10. Cruzio Will Match Your Donation to Second Harvest 11. Upcoming Classes at Cruzio 12. Help Shakespeare Santa Cruz 13. Moving? 14. Get Cruzio Credit with Buddy Bucks 15. About This Newsletter 16. How to Reach Cruzio (Dial-in or Tech Support) 1. Reliable Backup Power at Cruzio When the lights go off, Cruzio is on. We have substantial automatic power backup on our communications equipment and in our offices. We will deliver your email and keep your website up and running through power outages. Recognizing that we're in an area with frequent power fluctuations, not to mention earthquakes, Cruzio has prioritized emergency preparedness since our earliest days. And now that wind and rain are in the forecast, you can rest easy knowing your email, your sales orders, and your Internet data are waiting for you, dry and safe. Best of all, if you have a website on Cruzio, even if your office is without power, the whole world can still do business with you through the Web. 2. Obama, Benjamin Button, Vampire Weekend: Write Your Own "Best Of 2008" What did you like best in 2008? What were your favorite songs... most-loved movies... most significant events? List them in your mini-blog and hundreds of people will check them out on Cruzio's central blog page. To see other people's writing, pictures and videos, visit our site: http://www.cruzio.com/index.php?option=com_myblog&Itemid=276 And here are instructions on how to get started blogging (it's easy): http://www.cruzio.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=38&topic=95.0#write_mini_blog 3. Holiday Gifts for Geeks, Artists, and Grandpas Okay, it's officially the last minute. And perhaps there are some presents you still need to buy. Turn the obligation into an opportunity to improve someone's life: -- Buy a friend a Cruzio class. They can redo their Website with cutting-edge tools and the patient help of an expert. If your friend is starting a new venture, what better gift than putting the business online? Buy your friend a Classes gift certificate at http://classes.cruzio.com -- If your friend already has a site, get them ranked high in Google. Cruzio will compile a customized report, detailing how to get their site to the top of the search engines. http://classes.cruzio.com -- The ultimate unique gift: a personal domain name. If his name is Bob Tweegle, get him bobtweegle.com. He can get email at his own name. Yes, that is cool. Try out names at http://www.cruzio.com and order one on the spot. (The box says the name is for a website, but you can use it for just email or even just bragging rights). -- Gizmo? How about a cool little flash drive? Lots of memory, tiny package. Teens love them for carrying homework to and from school. They're on sale at Cruzio -- prices are lower than ever. -- More cool electronic gizmos, like a box that plays your iPod through your car stereo (simple and easy -- it works great!). -- No matter what you select, you'll also get our cuddly Cruzio teddy bear. We're giving one away with each account. Even if the gift you choose is invisible, like DSL or Web hosting, the bear will look cute under the tree. Come in to our store in downtown Santa Cruz and pick one up! 4. Heads Up! Internet Explorer Security Alert Microsoft recently announced a serious problem with all current versions of its Internet Explorer browser. The flaw may allow Internet criminals to take control of your computer and gain access to financial information like passwords and bank account numbers. Security experts, including Cruzio, have long recommended you use another browser, such as Firefox, rather than IE. If you currently use Internet Explorer, we recommend you download Firefox free from Cruzio's website: http://www.cruzio.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=183 Just click the green "Firefox" button in the right column to start the download process. 5. The Battle Against Spam: One Victory Year after year, Cruzio fights the increasing mountains of spam. Sometimes we've got it under control. Other times the spammers make a technical leap and we're rushing to put up newer, stronger barriers. We're part of a large community of ISPs working together against junk email, and every so often we can point to a significant, though often impermanent, victory. Last month was such a time. In early November, the Washington Post reported on a vast spam-spewing network, publicly naming (and shaming) the Internet backbone carriers who'd been turning a blind eye to the conduct. The inquiry centered on a company called McColo, which was finally shut down on November 11th, 2008. Spam immediately dropped 70% to 75% worldwide. The spam house was located right under our noses -- in San Jose. This shows the difficulty in identifying and apprehending spammers. After being kicked off their network, McColo's management looked for other places to settle. In the month since their shutdown spam volumes have crept back up to nearly their old levels again. But this effort has shown that the very vastness of the botnets sending spam and viruses around the Internet makes them big targets. When they fall, they fall hard. Spammers' income comes mostly from fraud and identity theft. From Cruzio's perspective, the more spam we can prevent from getting delivered, the harder spammers will find it to make money and the more secure our customers will be. We'd love to put them out of business. The more spam *you* filter out and the more careful you are about opening too-good-to-be-true offers or fake postcards the better off we'll all be. If you suspect you may have a compromised computer, please let Cruzio know. One computer can infect thousands of others. Our experts can tell you if a scrubbing is needed. We can then provide you with instructions to do it yourself or we can complete the cleaning and protection for a reasonable fee. To make an appointment with Cruzio Computer Care, go to //signup.cruzio.com/index.php?formname=ccs.html To read about the Wild West world of spam attacks and hot pursuits, we recommend Brian Krebs's blog on the Washington Post: http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/ 6. A Cuddly Cruzio Bear: For You. Free. It took us over a month to select the perfect bear. Cuddly, definitely. Soft. Carryable. With small brown eyes and a wrinkly nose. It's a primal need, a teddy bear. Extensive research concluded in a result that will satisfy even the most cold-hearted bear snob. Small enough to take camping with you but cuddly enough to make all the difference. Wearing a Cruzio t-shirt. And it's free for you because you are a Cruzio member and we appreciate you. Please come in and get your bear, one to a customer. Happy holidays! 7. Easy Way to Do a Holiday Letter: Blog It! Your family and friends really do want to see what you're doing these days. They'd love to see your pictures and chuckle at your stories. In the long-ago past of a few years ago, this meant making color photocopies of family newsletters, laboriously assembling and mailing. It all had to be done -shudder- well in advance. And the holidays have a way of sneaking up, don't they? But now it's so much easier. Just blog it. You can use your free mini-blog: log in to http://www.cruzio.com and click the mini-blog tab on your profile page. Or set up a more personalized blog with Cruzio's Website Plus or Premium (WordPress blog software included). 8. Progress on Email Upgrades Cruzio has just purchased ten new multi-terabyte units to increase email capacity. Greatly expanded storage will soon be available to all cruzio.com email customers at no extra charge. This is just the first step in our major email upgrade. Soon you'll be seeing a new Webmail interface. Lingering quirks and oddities of our current system will be cleared up. We're closely following the items mentioned by members who took our customer survey earlier this year -- we're addressing all the issues mentioned and we think you'll be very happy with the results. Our engineers and designers are working on the email upgrade even as we write. They expect to have improvements in place in the first quarter of 2009. 9. Smart Investments Go Local Hard economic times can be a reminder that investment need not be an anonymous check sent to a faraway broker. Maybe it's better to put our money into real progress that we can see close to home. Better roads, better schools, better buildings, better parkland. One of the best investments we can make is to feed hungry people and support cultural institutions in our own community -- see items 9 and 12 below. Cruzio is also investing in our community through infrastructure improvements: we're bringing more of our equipment and spending into Santa Cruz County with major upgrades completed in 2008 and more planned for 2009. Stronger communications and data capabilities help our community grow and prosper, and Cruzio will be playing a part. 10. Cruzio Will Match Your Donation to Second Harvest Cruzio is matching donations to Second Harvest Food Bank until December 31st, 2008. When we see the check from a Cruzio member, we'll match the amount (up to a total of $2,500) and send the checks along to the charity where the money will be used to buy food. Simply make out a check to "Second Harvest Food Bank" and send it to: Cruzio 903 Pacific Avenue, Suite 101 Santa Cruz, CA 95060 And remember, throughout the year Cruzio will waive your late fees if you bring three cans of food to our barrel. To learn more about Second Harvest Food Bank, see: http://www.thefoodbank.org 11. Upcoming Classes at Cruzio Unlike many computer learning centers, Cruzio continues supporting you after class is over. You are welcome to return for an individual session with an instructor afterward. Those sessions are called "Cruzio One on One" and they're held on Wednesday afternoons. As for (slightly) larger classes, our most popular are coming up in the next few months. One favorite is "Search Engine Optimization Secrets," where our experts examine your website in advance and give you a list of recommendations for improving your rank in Google and Yahoo. We then discuss our analysis in class. Learn from your own site, and from your classmates'. Another popular class is "One Night Website" (or "One Day Website," offered earlier in the day). If you want to create or update your Web presence, this is the class for you. We'll train you in the latest Web 2.0 technology that makes creating and maintaining a website much more flexible and expandable. And if you'd like to add a shopping cart to a new or old website, try "Start Making Money Online." If you know anyone who gets nervous around computers, send them to Cruzio's "Internet 101" class. We've got patient, knowledgeable instructors who'll walk people through basic Internet tasks and answer any and all questions. Browse the schedule for the next few months below. Check http://classes.cruzio.com for more up-to-date information; schedules occasionally change. January Class Schedule Internet 101, Thursday January 8 9:00-11:00am Plan Your Web Presence, Thursday January 8 12:00-1:15PM One Night Website, Tuesday January 13 5:00-8:00pm Start Making Money Online, Thursday January 15 9:00-11:00am One Day Website, Thursday January 22 9:00am-12:00pm Search Engine Optimization Secrets, Tuesday January 27 5:30-7:30pm February Class Schedule Plan Your Web Presence, Thursday February 5 12:00-1:15PM One Night Website, Tuesday February 10 5:00-8:00pm Internet 101, Thursday February 12 9:00-11:00am Start Making Money Online, Tuesday February 17 5:30-7:30pm Search Engine Optimization Secrets, Thursday February 26 9:00-11:00am One Day Website, Saturday February 28 9:00am-12:00pm March Class Schedule Plan Your Web Presence, Tuesday March 3 12:00-1:15PM One Night Website, Tuesday March 10 5:00-8:00pm Internet 101, Thursday March 12 9:00-11:00am One Day Website, Thursday March 26 9:00am-12:00pm Search Engine Optimization Secrets, Tuesday March 31 5:30-7:30pm 12. Help Shakespeare Santa Cruz For years, Cruzio has sponsored Shakespeare Santa Cruz. During that time we've enjoyed Hamlet, Lear, Shaw, and Beckett. We've picnicked in a redwood glen while human-size fairies sang and danced around us. Now SSC needs help, right away: $300,000 in donations are required by Monday, December 22nd, or the whole program may be shut down. As of this writing, $224,216 has been raised -- great progress given the short lead time. If you care about Shakespeare Santa Cruz, please donate here: http://shakespearesantacruz.org/ If SSC does not reach its goal of $300,000 by December 22nd, your gift will be refunded. Many thanks from our community. See you at the next show! 13. 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. Call us at 459-6301 or email email@example.com. 14. Get Cruzio Credit with 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. 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 the left side of the page: http://www.cruzio.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=183 or call Cruzio toll free, 1.800.303.3302 If you've got a problem, but can still surf the Web: Most questions are answered in Cruzio's Support Forum at http://www.cruzio.com/support 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 Member services contact form: http://www.cruzio.com/index.php?option=com_contact&task=view&contact_id=6&Itemid=310 Support Contact Form: http://www.cruzio.com/index.php?option=com_contact&task=view&contact_id=5&Itemid=312 Or leave a message for us in the forums: http://www.cruzio.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=183 Cruzio's location: Santa Cruz: 903 Pacific Avenue, Suite 101, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Cruzio's hours: Sales hours: 10 am-6 pm, Mon to Fri; 10 am - 2 pm Saturday Technical support: 8 am to 6 pm, Mon to Fri, 10 am - 2 pm 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, Jake, Shawn, Zachary, Carlos, another Jake, Sandi, Amber and McKinley; Jake, Annika, and Carly (the kids) Welcome to the twins, Emmett Steven and Grace Ann! Annika, age 13, when asked wouldn't she prefer a fruit smoothie to a milkshake: "I am not going to waste this time of my life on healthy foods."