Q: Who is Woody Leonhard?
A: I’ve been wondering that myself. Most people know me for my books. My first computer book, Windows 3.1 Programming For Mere Mortals, appeared in 1992, and it’s been downhill ever since: Hacker’s Guides to Word and others; The Mother of All Windows Books in various flavors, spanning many versions; Underground Guides to Office, Word, and many more; Woody Leonhard Teaches Microsoft Office for a couple versions; Special Edition Using Microsoft Office 2000, Office XP, Office 2003 and Office 2007 – the four truly definitive guides to Office.
My most popular books (and most recent ones) have carved out new niches in the Dummies line: Windows XP All-In-One Desk Reference For Dummies; Windows XP Timesaving Techniques For Dummies; Windows XP Hacks & Mods For Dummies and Office 2003 Timesaving Techniques For Dummies, followed by Windows Vista All-In-One Desk Reference For Dummies and Windows Vista Timesaving Techniques for Dummies. Now there’s Windows 7 All-In-One For Dummies and Green Home Computing For Dummies, and Windows 8 All-In-One For Dummies will be out as soon as Win8 hits the stands. I’m really proud of those books because they’ve helped a lot of people take control of Windows and Office — without toeing the Microsoft Party Line. They’re kinda fun, too. I hate books that put people to sleep.
Roughly 2,000,000 people have read my books and articles, in a whole lotta languages.
Q: What is AskWoody.com?
A: Most of all, AskWoody.com gives you the news you need to keep Windows and Office working right. There’s a little bit of gossip and occasional insight to boot, all delivered with a fiercely independent attitude. People tend to think of Microsoft as a monolith. It isn’t. Many Microsoft employees are embarrassed by the stupid things the company tries to do. My best tips come from current and former employees who want to make their voices heard — anonymously.
There’s more. AskWoody.com offers the only one-stop, independent analysis of Microsoft patches available on the Web. With the rate of patches from Redmond approaching a dozen a month, you need a reliable resource to find out which updates work, and which treat your system like a wringer washer in a minefield.
AskWoody.com also provides a window into Woody’s Lounge, the number-one cyberplace to ask and answer questions about Windows and Office, with some of the nicest people you’ll find anywhere. More than 70,000 Loungers and 850,000 posts make the Lounge an incomparable source of information, advice, and commiseration. I started the Lounge way back in 1995. It’s stronger than ever now, under the auspices of Windows Secrets Newsletter and iNet Interactive. Good people.
Q: Why AskWoody?
A: I used to write newsletters to keep folks abreast of the latest developments in Windows and Office. The old Woody’s Windows Watch merged into Brian Livingston’s Windows Secrets Newsletter, which is the best Windows newsletter in the business. I contribute to Windows Secrets Newsletter when I have a story to tell that fits the weekly format.
I like having a Web site. AskWoody.com gives me much more flexibility than I ever had with the old newsletters. I can post news items when they’re still hot, and issue follow-ups, warnings and corrections in the blink of an eye. You can send me your feedback, via the news comments, in real time. And by using a Web site, I’m not clogging up your inbox with more mail.
Q: Why should you believe me?
A: My opinions are more than a little controversial at times. (I still won’t set foot on the Microsoft Campus without a bodyguard. That’s only a slight exaggeration.) There’s a reason for my ongoing skepticism about Microsoft and its motives: I’ve been around the Windows block a few times. I calls ‘em like I see’s ‘em, and that makes me very unpopular in some circles. I don’t pull any punches, and I’m not accustomed to kowtowing to the Redmond deities.
Q: Who pays for AskWoody.com?
A: I do. If you order something from the site, I get a small percentage of the proceeds. Other than that, I keep AskWoody.com going as a public service, primarily as a way to say “thanks” to the folks who read my books.
Q: How do I contact Woody?
A: You can send mail to me anytime: woody at ask woody dot com.
If you have a question about Windows or Office (or just about anything else), hit Woody’s Lounge. The Lounge has thousands of people waiting to help, and they have expertise in an enormous number of areas. Once upon a time, I used to try to answer all the questions that came my way. Nowadays, that just isn’t possible. Sorry. But the folks on the Lounge do a tremendous job.