Newsletter Archives

  • Are Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) good or evil?

    PUBLIC DEFENDER

    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    A programming technique that Google says will speed up websites is actually slowing them down, according to major Web publishers and browser makers who are actively blocking it or working around it.

    The technology is called Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP. The search giant has been working on the technique since at least 2015. But AMP has become a hot potato only recently.

    Last year, publishers and Web developers began realizing that Google was favoring its own AMP systems and silently diverting to itself a large cut of websites’ advertising revenue, according to a lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of 16 US states.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.19.0, 2022-05-09).

  • A lifetime of achievement

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    ISSUE 19.18 • 2022-05-02

    EDITORIAL

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    We are pleased — and excited — to announce the creation of the TameYourTech Crystal award.

    We are even more pleased to present the inaugural award to Fred Langa for his lifetime of achievement in the field of personal computing journalism.

    As a further celebration of Fred’s career, we are happy to bring all our newsletter readers four of Fred’s LangaList columns, previously available only to Plus members.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.18.0, 2022-05-02).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Removing MFA

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    ISSUE 19.17 • 2022-04-25
    Look for our special issue on Monday, May 2!

    MICROSOFT 365

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    How many times have articles in this newsletter told you that multifactor authentication (MFA) was a good idea and suggested that you turn it on?

    A lot. It’s good advice.

    Just the other day, I turned on Microsoft 365 MFA for one of my clients. It’s too embarrassing for me to describe the mistake I made. Suffice it to say that it was an accident, because I didn’t intend to turn it on.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.17.0, 2022-04-25).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • The Last Langalist

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    ISSUE 19.15 • 2022-04-11

    EDITORIAL

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    Fred’s retiring.

    I don’t know where to start, but people keep telling me I should start from the beginning. For me, that was about 30 years ago, when I visited Fred at CMP in search of an editing job after PC Tech Journal unexpectedly shuttered. We knew each other by reputation, of course, but had never met in person — remarkable because we both endured the same, endless trade shows, and most editors knew one another.

    He didn’t hire me. I forgive him.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.15.0, 2022-04-11).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • The M1 Ultra debuts

    APPLE NEWS

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    Keeping to schedule, Apple drops the next shoe in its master plan to get all its products running on its own, proprietary, silicon.

    It’s been about 18 months since Apple announced the original M1 system on a chip (SOC), introduced several products based on it, and laid out its plan to transition to its own silicon in roughly two years.

    At its spring event last week, the company took its next step in that transition and went so far as to tease the last shoe. Perhaps “tease” is the wrong word because the company came right out and said it — the last brick in the wall will be a transition of the insanely expensive Mac Pro to Apple silicon.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 19.11.0 (2022-03-14).

  • $68.7 billion? Peanuts.

    MICROSOFT NEWS

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    Frenzy around corporate acquisitions is nothing new; but this time, for Microsoft, it seems overstated.

    Last week, Microsoft announced its planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the well-known maker of such game franchises as Candy Crush, Call of Duty, and World of Warcraft. Part of the frenzy surrounded the price — almost three times more than Microsoft’s previous large acquisition, LinkedIn.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 19.04.0 (2022-01-24).

  • Software gems: Paint.net

    SOFTWARE

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    Besides having a very interesting history, paint.net is a useful program.

    Paint.net has an unusual origin. It was written as a senior project by a computer science student at Washington State University, Rick Brewster. His project was to write a better version of Microsoft Paint, the ubiquitous program that has been part of Windows since the dawn of Windows.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 19.03.0 (2022-01-17).

  • We listened, we listened!

    Here’s the thing. Susan and I get a lot of email (we do our best to answer everyone). We grin and light up when complimented; we grit our teeth and bear it when our correspondents are less kind. And we listen.

    Unexpectedly, one of the top complaints we’ve both received has to do with the MS-DEFCON banner images we changed back in May. At the time, we conformed the colors of the levels to the US military DEFCON system, with white (level 1) being the most dangerous condition and blue (5) the safest. I thought that made sense because the origin of this site’s MS-DEFCON system was, in fact, the military’s.

    The question we kept getting, almost daily, was which was worse, one or five, white or blue? It was politely explained to us that we should have used red and green. We thought this would die down, but the tea leaves were speaking to us – change it!

    So we did. We did not quite return to the original colors, which used a shade of green for both levels four and five. Instead, we used blue for level four. What we’ve adopted now is, in effect, the same set of colors used by the US Homeland Security Advisory System (aka terror alert levels). The new images are in effect now, everywhere. They’ll even be updated in older emails if you happen to have saved them.

    Now maybe our inboxes will settle down a bit.

  • Special Edition: Building Opal

    AskWoody Plus Newsletter Logo
    ISSUE 19.01 • 2022-01-03

    EDITORIAL

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    Our writers have the week off.

    The AskWoody newsletters are published 48 times per year, leaving four Mondays on which we would have no issue. Last year we tried an experiment on one of those off Mondays, reprinting a few articles that we thought you would like to see in one place.

    That experiment went well; your feedback was positive. We ended up doing it twice last year and now we’re doing it again.

    This time, we’re bringing you the four published articles about Opal, my new Windows 11 PC DIY build. That is complemented with a brief new piece in which I describe my lack of progress.

    We hope you like it!

    Read the full AskWoody Plus Newsletter 19.01.0 (2022-01-03).
    Read the full AskWoody Free Newsletter 19.01.F (2022-01-03).

  • Opal: The Update

    HARDWARE DIY

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    It hasn’t gone as smoothly as I had hoped.

    Maybe I’ve just been lucky. Maybe I’m getting older and slower. Or dumber. Whatever it is, I’ve run into some problems getting Opal up and running.

    I’ve done the basic configuration steps and I’ve installed Windows 10 Pro. The computer is running fine. The UEFI BIOS sees all the hardware and I think I’ve done the RAID 1 configuration correctly. So what’s the problem?

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 19.01.0 (2022-01-03).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Free Newsletter 19.01.F (2022-01-03).

  • Reflecting on 2021

    EDITORIAL

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    We’re still alive.

    Don’t take that the wrong way. I’m not talking about the pandemic or my age. I’m talking about this venerable newsletter. Lest there be any doubt, I knew we’d make it this far. In fact, we have a future.

    I’d like to share some of my thoughts about this first year of AskWoody under its new management. As I mention these things, I’d like you to reflect on this year and let us know how you think we’re doing.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.50.0 (2021-12-27).

  • Not getting the Free Newsletter?

    Email Problems?We’re in the process of scrubbing our mailing list for the free edition of the AskWoody Newsletter. We took some initial steps this past weekend and we will be making some other changes in the coming weeks. Most of what we are doing is removing invalid email addresses (usually the result of misspellings such as “gmal” instead of “gmail”) and removing addresses that, for whatever reasons, are not being delivered.

    A few people expecting to get this week’s newsletter wrote to tell us it did not arrive. We regret any inconvenience. However, it’s a simple matter to sign up for the free newsletter again, after which delivery will resume. The link to sign up is in the top banner of the site, on every page. If you missed an issue, all the issues are here on the site and available to you at any time.

    This is important work for us because we pay for emails sent, whether delivered or not. We appreciate your patience while we perform this business chore.