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  • Is your smartphone giving you brain cancer?

    Posted on August 9th, 2021 at 02:43 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    PUBLIC DEFENDER

    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    A group of scientists and researchers is actively promoting findings that the use of smartphones is associated with an increase in brain cancer and related tumors.

    Joel Moskowitz, director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Berkeley News on July 1: “More than 250 scientists … have signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal, which calls for health warnings and stronger exposure limits.” He added that the new 5G standard, which is replacing the old 4G network, “is an even bigger reason for concern.”

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.30.0 (2021-08-09).

  • The Trusted Platform Module has just become important

    Posted on July 12th, 2021 at 02:43 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    HARDWARE

    Ben Myers

    By Ben Myers

    Microsoft has said that the Trusted Platform Module 2.0 is a firm requirement for Windows 11. Why?

    The leak of an early version of Windows 11 forced its hasty announcement by Microsoft, rather than the usual smooth, well-orchestrated effort supported by thorough technical information about the requirements to run the new operating system. The eye candy of a perky and pretty Mac-like desktop wallpapered over many technical details, some still unclear. It is somewhat ironic that an operating system intended to be trusted was leaked.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.26.0 (2021-07-12).

  • Computing should adapt

    Posted on April 26th, 2021 at 01:00 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    PATCH WATCH

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Even though the 21H1 version of Windows is not yet officially released, Microsoft is already planning on changes for the next feature release.

     We’re getting hints of what Microsoft has in store for 21H2. BleepingComputer reports that many of the changes will be in the Start Menu, Taskbar, Action Center (notification center), and File Explorer, among others. One of the most visible changes will be to icons, as Microsoft itself has hinted. In fact, if you want to obtain the icons without going through the insider program process, there are websites where you can download the bundle of icons and install them on your computer running 20H2 and perhaps earlier versions.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.15.0 (2021-04-26).

  • Known Issue Rollback

    Posted on April 12th, 2021 at 01:00 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    PATCH WATCH

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Patches that fix themselves

    Every month we receive updates to keep us secure, but sometimes they cause other side effects. If only Microsoft had a mechanism to roll back the side effects of any update. But wait — at least for some updates, it does.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.13.0 (2021-04-12).

  • MS-DEFCON 4: Install the February updates, skip that Secure boot

    Posted on February 27th, 2021 at 22:12 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    More details will be in tomorrow’s newsletter along with a Plus membership only video that discusses my patching recommendations for the month.

    I always use the weekend for maintenance tasks, so for those of you that were waiting for the Defcon 4 green light I just flipped the beacon so you can do so anytime this weekend.

    As a reminder I am not recommending installing KB4535680 and recommend you to use Wushowhide (or your favorite patching hiding tool).

    If you aren’t a plus member, you can sign up now and you’ll get not only the private video but all of the other great newsletter articles coming out tomorrow.  Hope to see you on the Plus side!

  • The latest vulnerabilities in the network stack

    Posted on February 22nd, 2021 at 01:02 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    PATCH WATCH

    The latest vulnerabilities in the network stack

    By Susan Bradley

    Focusing on business risk

    For this week’s security focus, I’m going to home in on the impact of three security vulnerabilities considered by Microsoft the most critical security issues of the month and on their impact on businesses. Microsoft even released a specific blog post to focus on these risks; it urges installation as soon as possible. But I disagree with that assessment. I urge you to test first, ensure there are no issues with your systems, then patch as normal. I’m not yet ready to give the go-ahead for consumers to patch just yet.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.7.0 (2021-02-22).

  • Keeping the spammers away

    Posted on February 2nd, 2021 at 23:34 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    First off, my goal here is to protect the regulars and keep out the spammers.  I’m using a specific spam service that is designed to keep known spammers off of discussion web sites.  I’ve set the settings such that if you are a registered user, or an AskWoody plus member you shouldn’t see the filtering software or the count down that it does to keep denial of service attacks at a minimum.   My goal is to get it so that the regulars won’t see any change at all, but anyone who is a spammer will be throttled and kept away from the site.

    Clearly I’m still tweaking the settings because I’ve seen a couple of folks get caught by the spam engine and they shouldn’t be getting caught.  If you need me to whitelist your IP because it’s flagging you as a spammer even though you are not, let me know.  I know that with Wordfence sometimes you need to try another VPN connection.

    As always with technology that makes things more secure there’s always hiccups and false positives.  Thank you for your understanding.

  • The new management wants to get to know you

    Posted on December 20th, 2020 at 21:15 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    Logo

    SURVEYS

    By Susan Bradley

    As most of you should know by now, Woody Leonhard has retired from AskWoody operations, and I’ve taken over the reins.

    Transitions of this level are an excellent time to take stock of where we’ve been and where we’re going.

    So I’d like to get to know more about you, the AskWoody member. And the best way to start that process is with a survey. I’d love to learn about the technology you’re using, what tech you’re interested in, and how the AskWoody newsletter can help you navigate our digital world.

    The survey — AskWoody newsletter – what do YOU want? — is quick and simple; it should take no longer than a few minutes.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.50.0 (2020-12-21).

  • Getting ready for changes

    Posted on December 20th, 2020 at 11:45 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    For those of you that donate to the Askwoody.com site, first off thank you.  Without you we wouldn’t be here.  As Woody and I (Susan) get ready for the official change over you’ll notice a few changes.  For those of you that donate by check there is a change of address where you mail your checks to.  For those of you that pay electronically – or has the cloud overloads do it automatically (better known as paypal automatic renewal) – there’s no need to do anything.  The “changeover” is done on the back side with nothing that you need to do on your side.

    One change will come this week that you will notice.  We’re getting ready to move to a new hoster so on Tuesday (I’ll let you know the exact time) you’ll see us go offline for a short time.   Fingers crossed (and in technology I cross my fingers and toes and eyes and hope for the best) everything will go smoothly with no hiccups.

    Again thank you all.  YOU are what makes this site successful.

  • A housekeeping note about the Free Newsletter

    Posted on July 21st, 2020 at 07:48 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The AskWoody FREE Newsletter went out about 12 hours ago, and there are several outstanding questions that keep cropping up. Here’s a quick FAQ:

    Why am I getting both the Plus Newsletter and the FREE Newsletter? That’s by design. You can keep your FREE Newsletter subscription as long as you like, even if you’ve made a donation and become a Plus Member. Some people find it worthwhile to have the FREE Newsletter to remind them that the full Plus Newsletter arrived earlier (spam filters are such a pain!). Others want to have something they can forward to friends. In any case, the two subscriptions are maintained in two separate databases. Neither affects the other.

    How can I change my email address on the FREE Newsletter? It’s a two-step process. You can click Unsubscribe in any FREE Newsletter and have your email removed from the list. (Or you can write to me and I’ll remove it.) But I can’t add a new address to the list – our list management software is very picky about new addresses, and it should be. If you want to subscribe to the FREE Newsletter, you (or everybody you know!) can head over here to our signup page.

    The FREE Newsletter is, uh, free. We don’t sell, rent, give away or otherwise monkey around with the mailing list. We support the FREE Newsletter by running one ad, at the top of each issue. It’s the only ad in all of AskWoody-dom.

    How can I ask a technical question? You can shoot email to me, but I’ll recommend that you post your question here on the site, so everyone can benefit. With well over 200,000 subscribers, you might imagine that I get a lot of questions. I talk about that in the FAQ. Posting questions (and viewing them and answering them) is completely free. No obligations at all.

    A shout-out to our Plus members. Thanks a thousand times over to our Plus Members – the ones with gold ribbons on their pictures/avatars. I know times are tight. Believe me, I feel it too. Donations have been running slow this summer — a natural consequence of the economic times, I s’pose. If you aren’t yet a Plus Member, please consider joining us. It’s easy – and you get to choose how much to pay.

    We run things differently around these parts.

  • AskWoody FREE Newsletter is out

    Posted on April 22nd, 2020 at 09:46 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The second edition of the AskWoody FREE Newsletter went out yesterday, to more than 200,000 subscribers.

    I’ve had lots of good questions. Here’s a handful:

    I have somehow managed to acquire two accounts on AskWoody: one a paid-up Plus account, the other an old one just receiving the free newsletter, which is superfluous. They are tied to different email addresses. I tried to log in using the old, free-only account but nowhere can I find ‘Delete account’, ‘Cancel’, ‘Unsubscribe’ or anything. Not one — compared to approx half a million saying how I can sign up. What, again? It ain’t in the FAQs and neither can I find a search feature. It’s like Hotel California in there.

    There’s a reason why. The AskWoody FREE Newsletter operates quite independently of this site, and the Plus Newsletter. If you were a subscriber to the old Windows Secrets Free Newsletter, you’re now on the AskWoody FREE Newsletter mailing list.

    Several of you have suggested that I create an AskWoody.com account for everyone who’s getting the FREE Newsletter, but I’d rather not. Those who receive the FREE Newsletter and are interested in getting involved on this site only need to click Register in the upper right corner of this (or any other) page, and set up an AskWoody account.

    Why can’t I change my FREE Newsletter email delivery address?

    Short answer: We haven’t figured out how to put a link in the FREE Newsletters to make that possible. I’m also painfully aware of the fact that the Unsubscribe link in the FREE Newsletters doesn’t always work. No idea why. For now, if you want to change email addresses for the FREE Newsletter, send me a message (FreeNewsletter@AskWoody.com) and I’ll delete the old address. You can sign up your new address on our usual FREE Newsletter signup page at any point.

    What’s the hook – how can you afford to send out a FREE Newsletter, especially if you don’t sell or rent the mailing list? After all, putting together a free weekly mailing for 200,000 subscribers can get a bit, uh, pricey.

    The answer’s simple — and it’s the same motivation that led to the Windows Secrets Free Newsletter decades ago. We’ve found that a substantial percentage of the people who get the FREE Newsletter are interested in reading the whole Plus Newsletter. They discover that they can become Plus Members for a price that they think is fair (not $39 or $59, as was the case 18 months ago), scratch their heads, and sign up.

    If you’re getting the FREE Newsletter and want to move on up to the Plus Newsletter (and get emailed Alerts, and access to Susan Bradley’s Master Patch List), there’s a simple three-step process:

    1. Get an account on AskWoody.com. Click Register in the upper right corner, and connect the dots. It’s free.
    2. Sign on with your new account.
    3. On the right, under Plus Membership, click the link to sign up for Plus Membership. You can make a donation that you think is fair, with a credit card or with PayPal.

    We don’t store any of your payment information. (PayPal prompts for theirs; Stripe handles our credit card payments.)

    No, we aren’t like all the other sites. We don’t have a corporate overlord — we’re 100% donation based. Everything you donate goes straight to paying the bills. If that seems weird, well, OK, I guess it is. But that’s how AskWoody works, how we sink or swim, for better or worse.

    Tell your friends.

  • Running down bugs in our renewal notice system

    Posted on January 4th, 2020 at 10:23 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    We just hit one year of AskWoody Plus memberships, and newsletters. And the bugs are crawling out of the woodwork.

    For some reason I have yet to discern, many of you are getting renewal notices, even though you’ve already renewed. Rest assured that the membership expiration date that you can see in the upper right corner of this site (after you’ve logged in) is the one we have on file.

    If you got an erroneous renewal notice, could you forward it to me? CustomerSupport@AskWoody.com

    Oh boy.