Newsletter Archives

  • Stumped for gift ideas this holiday season?

    Are you racking your brain trying to think of a gift for Aunt Betty? For your brother’s birthday? And is that super-duper cool thingamabob that should be the best present EVER for your niece Kathy stuck on a container ship outside Long Beach?

    Forget all that stuff. We’ve got the best present EVER – us! Give the gift of a one-year subscription to the AskWoody Plus newsletter. That’s a full year of newsletters brimming with tips that will remind your special person that you care about them and their tech.

    Following in the footsteps of our regular memberships, gift subscriptions are based on our donation model. Visit the subscription page, choose an amount, add a personalized message if you like, and we’ll take care of the rest!

    Happy holidays!

  • Freeware Spotlight — Preparing your PC for Windows 11

    AskWoody Plus Newsletter Logo
    ISSUE 18.38 • 2021-10-04


    Deanna McElveen

    By Deanna McElveen

    Nothing can ruin the excitement of a major Windows upgrade like an error message halfway through installation.

    You know — that pit in your stomach when you don’t know if you now have your old Windows or the new Windows. Are you stuck on a transitional plane? Have you created a half-breed, mutant operating system? Are your personal files gone!!? Let’s try to prevent all that with some good old-fashioned housecleaning before you are offered Windows 11 this month.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.38.0 (2021-10-04).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Free Newsletter 18.38.F (2021-10-04).

  • Is your smartphone giving you brain cancer?


    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


    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


    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


    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

    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


    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

    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



    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

    For those of you that donate to the 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

    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.