Q: Who is Woody Leonhard?
A: I’ve been wondering that myself. Most people know me for my books. My first computer book, The Hacker’s Guide to the Univers – a massive compendium of bugs in Word 1.10a – made its way around CompuServe in May 1991. Andrew Schulman saw it, used it, and coerced me into writing Windows 3.1 Programming For Mere Mortals, a real-live printed book, which appeared in 1992. 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, Windows 8 All-In-One For Dummies, Windows 8.1 All-In-One For Dummies and Windows 10 All-In-One For Dummies. 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.
I’m currently Senior Contributing Editor at InfoWorld, where I have a blog called Woody on Windows. I also put together reviews, features and slideshows at InfoWorld, frequently to Microsoft’s chagrin.
Roughly 3 to 4,000,000 people, possibly more, have read my books and articles, in a whole lotta languages. I’ve hit 4,500,000+ monthly pageviews on the web. This site, AskWoody.com, runs more than half a million a month.
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 hundred 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.
All of the comments posted on AskWoody are moderated. I do that to keep the site from degenerating into the kind of street brawls you see on other sites — sorry, but I know your time is too valuable to waste sorting through other peoples’ personality issues. You’re welcome to post anonymously, though – I don’t store any information about anyone, don’t keep email addresses, don’t even have passwords.
Q: Why AskWoody?
A: I used to write newsletters to keep folks abreast of the latest developments in Windows and Office. But blogging suits me better, I think. 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: You do. I paid the whole bill for many years, but keeping the site going has turned into a near-full-time job. I’m experimenting with ads and donations — with the hope that AskWoody.com will become self-sufficient. Jury’s still out, but anything you can do will be greatly appreciated. See the upper right corner of the main page.
Q: How do I contact Woody?
A: You can send mail to me anytime: woody at ask woody dot com. There’s a link in the upper right corner of the site.