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  • You can now ask questions on AskWoody

    Posted on January 31st, 2017 at 19:59 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’ve been waiting for this moment for years.

    The bare-bones forum framework just went up. You can post questions about Windows and Surface – and, soon, Office – by clicking on the links in the upper right, by looking at the How to ask questions in the Lounge FAQ, or by stepping through the forums themselves (hint: Use the AskWoody Support link on the right sidebar).

    We’re just getting started, so don’t be too surprised if some things don’t work right. The AskWoody MVPs have helped enormously. Anything bad you see is just my fault.

    Post away!

  • Windows Secrets Newsletter promotional mailing vs. reality

    Posted on January 31st, 2017 at 14:50 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Just got a message from an old friend:

    Are you back with Windows Secrets again?

    Today, I got an email that says I can subscribe to Windows Secrets for free. At the bottom of that email, it shows a picture of you as an editor of the Windows Secrets Team, but it also refers to your latest book as the Windows 8 one. Anyway, I thought you cut all ties with them before the Penton fiasco. Something change?

    Nope. Windows Secrets is using my name and picture to sell subscriptions, without my permission.

    I’ve heard from many of you that my old alma mater, Windows Secrets Newsletter, is pumping out promotional mailings with a link to the Windows Secrets Subscription page. (Here’s a link, but don’t click on it unless you absolutely have to.)

    There are six people listed as “The Windows Secrets Team: A combined 300-plus years of Windows expertise,” enticing you to sign up for their newsletter. Only one of them is left. Here’s what’s happened to the team:

    EIC Tracey Capen left the publication in December.

    Susan Bradley is still doing yeoman work, particularly with her Patch Watch column.

    Fred Langa is on a leave of absence, as of a couple of weeks ago.

    Robert Vamosi last wrote for Windows Secrets in Aug. 2013. He’s tweeting up a storm, mostly about the recent political shenanigans. I haven’t read anything from him in years.

    Denny Arar last wrote for Windows Secrets Newsletter in July 2014. She hasn’t tweeted since June 2016. No idea where she went.

    I last wrote for Windows Secrets Newsletter in Aug. 2015. I left when the new owners wanted me to sign a contract that gave them full control over what I wrote. Since then, those owners sold WSN to yet another new set of owners. The latest owners most definitely do NOT have the right to use my name or picture – or anything about me, for that matter – in order to peddle their newsletter. They bought my older blog postings, and that’s it.

    I’ve written to the Editor of Windows Secrets Newsletter, asking them to stop using my name, picture and bio to peddle their wares.

  • Microsoft rolls out Surface Pro 3 firmware and driver update

    Posted on January 31st, 2017 at 12:29 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    They’re still working on it. 🙂

    Intel(R) HD Graphics Family improves Miracast and docked video performance.
    Intel(R) Display Audio improves Miracast and docked video performance.

    Surface Pro UEFI

    3.11.2050.0 improves system performance for the latest Windows versions.

    The update is dated Jan. 30.

    Hat tip to Barb Bowman.

  • Microsoft releases Server 2016 update 14393.729 using new, superior hotfix distribution method

    Posted on January 31st, 2017 at 12:11 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’m really impressed. It took Microsoft two years to figure out that their Win10 patching method was unwieldy, but it looks like they’re slowly straightening it out.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • Update on the AskWoody Lounge

    Posted on January 31st, 2017 at 04:50 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    We’ve been up for less than a day, and already have 200 registered users.

    We’ve also had 3,658 posts moved from the old AskWoody to the new format. They’re indexed and ready for searching. Unfortunately, the nesting (threading) didn’t come across, so old comments (now called “Replies”) appear in chronological order. If you reply to one of the old comments, though, your reply is nested properly.

    Several of you have already started asking questions… which is kinda what you would expect from a site called “AskWoody,” eh? My next goal is to set up the Forum superstructure so there’s a place for you to ask questions. With luck, if my coffee holds out, I’ll have that up today. By tomorrow morning, I hope, there will be links in the upper right corner of this page, pointing you to where you can ask custom questions.

    Then the next goal, later this week, is to kick off the AskWoody Knowledge Base, add forums for Windows veterans who are trying other operating systems, and to generally flesh things out a bit.

    Thanks to all of you. If you have suggestions for the Lounge, post ’em here:

    Suggestions about improving the Lounge

  • Paul Thurrott nails the Office 365 subscription numbers

    Posted on January 30th, 2017 at 12:57 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    His article on Thurrott.com is behind a paywall, but as I’ve said several times before, the $64/year is well worth it.

    Bottom line: The Office 365 situation isn’t as rosy as you probably think. Paul reported in October that Office 365 had 85 million active users at commercial sites and 25 million active users among consumers. In its most recent financial report, Microsoft said it had 25 million consumer active users – and they didn’t report commercial active users.

    That’s distressing in no small part because Office is widely considered to be the “best” office app for Android and iOS. For example, JRRaphael has a detailed look at the Android story in InfoWorld.

    Office 365 has 100 to 120 million monthly active users. Microsoft has said for years that Office itself has 1.2 billion users.

    You can do the math.

    UPDATE: Better yet, look at Gregg Keizer’s numbers on ComputerWorld. He only has consumer numbers – the only ones Microsoft has released – but the tale is not good.


  • How to log in to the Lounge

    Posted on January 30th, 2017 at 09:12 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    We’re up and running. I’m still getting the cosmetics ironed out, so bear with me please. There’s a lot to flesh out. If you want to get set up with a username and password, here’s how to proceed.

    Step 1. In the upper right corner, click the tab marked Register.


    Step 2. Choose a username, and provide an email address. Click Register. Both the username and the email address have to be unique – you can’t use another user’s username, and you can’t have the same email address assigned to two different accounts.

    Step 3. Look in your email inbox. You’ll get a message from me that starts “Welcome to the AskWoody Lounge!”

    Registration confirmation

    Step 4. Click on the link, near the bottom, that says Password: Click to set. You end up on the (old fashioned!) WordPress signon page.

    Password confirmation

    Step 5. Type in your new password (or accept the automatically generated password, which can be a real mouthful). The suggestion says you should use 12 characters, but that’s overkill: Just don’t reuse a password on AskWoody that you use on important sites. Click Reset Password. You get a notice that your password has been reset.

    We use the WordPress standard encryption, which includes salting and eight passes of MD5 hashing. That’s very secure, unless the NSA is after you.

    Step 6. Click the link to log in.

    In the future, you can log in or log out by using the block in the upper right corner.

  • Switchover to Phase 1 of the Lounge happening soon

    Posted on January 29th, 2017 at 19:36 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    With a little luck, in the next 12 hours the transition to the AskWoody Lounge should be complete. I hope.

    When the Lounge kicks in, you’ll be given an opportunity to Register and Log In. Many of you are concerned about passwords and how they’re stored. We’re using the WordPress encryption method for salting and multi-pass hashing – phpass and eight passes of MD5 hashing. It ain’t perfect, but it’s very good.

    You can continue to post anonymously, no sweat – and your posts will be moderated (approved), one by one, by me and the AskWoody MVPs.

    But if you register, respond to the registration email, and then login, your first reply (post) will be moderated, and all subsequent replies will appear immediately.

    We’ll start off with two forums.

    AskWoody Central is for FAQs, suggestions and general Lounge stuff.

    The AskWoody blog forum will contain entries for each of the posts in the blog.

    I think you’ll find that searching in the new Lounge will be much, much easier than the search we have now.

    As time goes by, we’ll expand to include general question-and-answer forums, a Knowledge Base, and a whole bunch of additional goodies. But we’re going to start very, very slowly.

    So hold onto yer hats, folks. Here we go.