Newsletter Archives

  • Lunch with Brian

    EDITORIAL

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    Brian Livingston was on the East Coast a few weeks ago and took the opportunity to make a side trip to Baltimore.

    Brian called in advance to set up the meeting, saying he preferred to meet the people he was working with face to face. He graciously paid his own way, and we had a nice afternoon.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.06.0, 2023-02-06).

  • Apple announces new Mac products

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    ISSUE 20.05 • 2023-01-30

    APPLE NEWS

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    The MacBook Pro and Mac mini are upgraded to new versions of Apple’s M2 system on a chip.

    All models became available last Tuesday.

    There’s not a lot of news here. The move to the M2 series of Apple silicon was inevitable and expected for both product lines, so the new products are not much of a surprise. But it’s important to keep up, because Apple silicon keeps evolving.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.05.0, 2023-01-30).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Microsoft to lay off 10,000 workers

    MICROSOFT NEWS

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    Microsoft will reduce its worldwide workforce by 5% due to economic uncertainty.

    On January 18, 2023, Satya Nadella sent to all Microsoft employees a letter titled Focusing on our short- and long-term opportunity. The note contained his explanation for the contraction of the workforce.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.04.0, 2023-01-23).

  • Saving history

    PERSONAL MEDIA

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    Nothing lasts forever. Or does it?

    The readership of this newsletter is old enough to have used, if not embraced, a host of analog technologies for documenting memories. Today we’re taking photos and videos using our omnipresent “phones,” but as recently as two decades ago magnetic tape and film were our primary tools.

    We know this to be true because in our attics, basements, and closets we have trays of 35mm and Instamatic (127) slides. We have strips of black-and-white negatives, and perhaps strips of color negatives. We have boxes of video tapes in Sony Video8, Hi8, Betamax, VHS, VHS-C, and the crossover format MiniDV. We have albums of printed photos. We have quarter-inch audio tapes, cassette tapes, and maybe even the elusive 8-track cartridge format. We may even have vinyl LPs, and older 45s and 78s.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.03.0, 2023-01-16).

  • Dymo declines

    HARDWARE

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    One of my favorite brands is headed for extinction.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been as dismayed with a Christmas gift as I was a year ago. I just didn’t know it at the time. My wife gave me the gift because I asked for it, but even my reason for wanting it was askew.

    The gift? A Dymo LabelWriter 550 Turbo. Faster than a speeding bullet. Able to leap buildings in a single bound. And, designed to disappoint.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.02.0, 2023-01-09).

  • How our little business is run

    FROM THE EDITOR

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    The operation of a small business isn’t usually the subject of a paper in the Harvard Business Review.

    Neither is AskWoody Tech LLC.

    In one of our regular and routine conversations, Susan and I talked about our respective operational roles, the things we regularly do, and — more to the point — the technology we use every day. The surprise was that despite common links, we do dramatically different things.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.48.0, 2022-11-28).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Behind the scenes: The newsletter

    COMMENTARY

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    When I took this job, I was surprised at the number of moving parts involved in publishing the newsletter.

    My predecessor, editor emeritus Tracey Capen, did an excellent job with general organization and collaboration. Tracey wrote a very comprehensive document in OneNote about how to produce the newsletter, which was extremely helpful in my early days. I was very grateful to have that guide because otherwise, I would have been at sea on day one.

    Publishing an issue of the newsletter involves a lot of steps.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.48.0, 2022-11-28).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Apple’s non-event fall event

    APPLE NEWS

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    The company went into stealth mode.

    On October 18, Apple announced some new products. This fall announcement, coming as it does just before the Christmas season, is usually one of Apple’s Hollywood productions. Not this time. The announcements were so stealthy that I didn’t realize anything had happened until two days later.

    I wasn’t the only one. Other commentators expressed surprise over the handling of these announcements. I can only conclude that these new products were not as dramatically exciting as others, although I found at least one of them notable.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.45.0, 2022-11-07).

  • “Which laptop should I buy?”

    HARDWARE

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    I thought I knew the answer to that question, but it’s changed.

    During idle chitchat at my podiatrist’s office recently, my involvement with computing came out and the nurse immediately asked me which laptop she should buy.

    Family, friends, and clients have asked me this question for decades. I thought I had a pat answer, but I found myself fumbling this time. Afterward, it occurred to me that my thinking had not completely evolved with the market. Here’s my new, updated answer.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.44.0, 2022-10-31).

  • Microsoft’s fall Surface event

    MICROSOFT NEWS

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    For once, Microsoft pulls off a professional event.

    For those of you who follow my coverage of significant Microsoft announcements, you know I’ve had a somewhat negative opinion of the presentations. On October 12, the company conducted its fall event to announce new Surface models. The presentation may not have exceeded my expectations, but it at least met them.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.42.0, 2022-10-17).

  • Windows 11 2H22 released, mostly

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    ISSUE 19.39 • 2022-09-26

    MICROSOFT NEWS

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    Well, it wasn’t really 2H22. It was 2022.

    The entire news cycle about Windows 11, starting with its announcement over 18 months ago, has been different. Maybe weird is a better descriptor.

    The announcement wasn’t an event; nothing was live. There wasn’t even a video from Panos Panay, who was simply noted as the author of a blog post. The surprise twist in all this, especially from the perspective of someone in the press, was that the announcement was not accompanied by a press release in Microsoft’s usual location. Instead, it was given its own microsite. The release was not mentioned on Microsoft’s home page and was noted only on the Windows page with an eyebrow link at the very top.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.39.0, 2022-09-26).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • The “Intel Processor”

    INTEL NEWS

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    For two decades, it’s been confusing to figure out what the name of an Intel processor or an Intel processor family meant.

    Now, Intel has thrown a real wrench into the works by announcing the “Intel Processor.”

    Funny — I thought that phrase referred to all Intel processors, not a family or a segment. I thought I could just write, “That PC has an Intel processor inside” and then wait for the inevitable question: “Which one?”

    No longer, apparently.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.39.0, 2022-09-26).