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  • Freeware spotlight — 3 tiny tech tools for your flash drive

    Posted on January 11th, 2021 at 00:15 Will Fastie Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Best Utilities

    Freeware spotlight — 3 tiny tech tools for your flash drive

    By Deanna McElveen

    Today’s computer service toolbox is less about screwdrivers and wrenches and more about
    handy software utilities tucked into a flash drive.

    Back in the day, I carried a zippered CD holder for all of my tools on service calls . I also had a box of floppy disks, Zip disks, and even SuperDisks (who remembers those?) with tools on them. Today, it’s all about flash drives for computer techs, so I’m going to share a few simple tools to keep on your flash drive — tools that will make your geek life a little easier.

    All these tools are click-to-run (aka zero-install), which means all you need to do is run them. This portability is important; without it, they would not be suitable for your flash drive toolbox.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.1.0 (2021-01-11).

  • Understanding Section 230

    Posted on January 10th, 2021 at 11:00 Max Stul Oppenheimer Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Legal Brief

    Understanding Section 230

    By Max Stul Oppenheimer, Esq.

    Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, over two decades old, is top-of-mind once again.

    In order to understand the current debate over limiting or repealing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, it is necessary to take a brief detour back to high-school civics and the Constitution — specifically, the First Amendment. Among its provisions is the protection of free speech. A century ago, no less a figure than Oliver Wendell Holmes observed in a Supreme Court case that, although extremely important, the protection of the First Amendment was not without limit. As he put it, “the most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing panic.”

    While the First Amendment is often cited as guaranteeing the right to free speech, it actually is much more limited than that.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.1.0 (2021-01-11).

  • Tech Author Brian Livingston returns

    Posted on January 8th, 2021 at 09:02 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    PRWEB link

    Tech Author Brian Livingston Returns as “Public Defender,” Weekly in


    Author of “Windows Secrets” and “Muscular Portfolios” is Back in Business, Solving Crimes of Technology at

    Well-known and sometimes beloved technology author and investigative journalist Brian Livingston has been appointed columnist at the Ask Woody newsletter. His new weekly column, entitled “Public Defender,” will offer insights to help consumers resolve technology frustrations.

    “If it’s irritating you, and it has an ‘on’ switch, I’ll take the case,” said Livingston. His first column will focus on the recent ruling that stops cable companies from charging customers a fee to use the equipment they already own. “I’ll go beyond reporting. I’m going to help solve the crime. In this case, you’ll get specific answers on how to easily fix the problem. I see myself as offering consumer protection from technology.”

    As technology continues its pervasive march into our lives, we are now not just frustrated and exasperated by Microsoft Windows, where Livingston spent his early career. Instead, we’re frustrated by our appliances, our tele-healthcare, and our watches. They’re all just technology, after all.

    The column can be read in the Ask Woody newsletter, which is free but supported by donations. It can be read at starting January 11, 2021.



    About Brian Livingston
    Mr. Livingston is an award-winning journalist with more than three decades of experience covering the tech industry. He founded the “Windows Secrets” Newsletter, which grew to 400,000 subscribers, and co-authored 11 books in the Windows Secrets series (John Wiley & Sons), which sold 2.5 million copies. In 2018, he turned his attention to the investment industry as a contributor to MarketWatch and StockCharts, and the author of “Muscular Portfolios.”

    About Ask Woody is a reader-supported website that focuses on news, tips, advice and support for Windows, Microsoft Office, personal computers, the Internet of things and other technologies. receives its support through reader donations. Readers can sign up for a free newsletter at

  • MS-DEFCON 4 – reminder for December updates

    Posted on January 4th, 2021 at 00:27 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Just a reminder – it’s time to install the December updates.  If you received a bit of an unusual alert tonight/this morning that had a heading of November updates but content regarding December updates that left you slightly scratching your head, blame yours truly (me!) that clearly didn’t read the manual well enough to get all the parts of the alert template right.  Like a typical geek I missed a step or two.

    For those WindowsSecrets former newsletter subscribers who are receiving unusual renewal reminders saying that their subscription is about to expire on November 10, 2206, no we having been drinking the leftover egg nog a bit too much, clearly the technology gods are slightly freaking out on the year change.  Apologies for any unusual emails you may be receiving, have received or will be receiving as we work through the issues.  I have someone looking at that.

    Ah isn’t technology fun?

    Remember we are taking a break this week from the newsletter and will be back next week with some exciting new content and authors.  Stay tuned!

  • Signing off from AskWoody

    Posted on December 27th, 2020 at 21:10 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    By TB Capen

    The smartest call you can make in business is knowing when it’s time to leave.

    After some thirty years in tech journalism, it’s time I put the cap on the old digital inkwell. To wit, this is my last issue as editor of the AskWoody newsletter.

    It’s been a fun and interesting ride. Back in 2010, Brian Livingston convinced me and Riley the cattle dog to move 1,000 miles up the West Coast and become the editor of Windows Secrets. I retired from the newsletter seven years later during the Penton years.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.51.0 (2020-12-28).

  • Drive-dense system suffers from sub-par performance

    Posted on December 27th, 2020 at 21:05 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    By Fred Langa

    The final LangaList for 2020 takes a look at a subscriber’s PC with a strikingly unusual configuration.

    It’s a high-capacity machine, but the owner reports slow boots and RAM use that never drops below about 17 percent — even at idle!

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.51.0 (2020-12-28).

  • Windows 10 and chkdsk issues?

    Posted on December 27th, 2020 at 21:00 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    By Susan Bradley

    Yikes! Say it isn’t so!

    Günter Born reports that a small number of Windows users whose systems have solid-state drives ran into serious trouble with the classic chkdsk tool after installing KB 4592438, the December cumulative update for Win10 20H2. When they kicked off chkdsk c: /f, their systems crashed with a blue screen of death. The problem appears to be limited to machines with SSDs.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.51.0 (2020-12-28).

  • The new management wants to get to know you

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


    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).

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