• Update on the AskWoody site update – your thoughts, please

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    #49382

    The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, / Gang aft agley.I tried and tried experimenting with new WordPress themes, and didn’t like them any better tha
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    • #49383

      Woody,

      I feel fixing the search and threading issues should be the focus. Heck, the current layout is quite readable on different platforms, and the site, to me anyway, feels familiar–not stale. If you do change the appearance, I’ll continue to check in every day, as I’ve done for years, but I’ll miss that “comfortable old shoe” feeling I get when the AskWoody page comes onscreen.

      Jim L.

    • #49384

      Woody,

      Somebody has to say no to the upgrade insanity. I like AskWoody just as it is. It would gladden my heart if you decided enough is enough, and leave things as they are.

      Today (Saturday) I am unable to do any online banking with my financial enterprise because they are upgrading the online banking part of their site. I have lived through many of this business’s upgrades. I just wish they did not feel like they need to keep up with today’s mind set of change, change, change.

    • #49385

      Umm, can’t agree with you when you say, “Eileen’s Lounge goes down quite a bit.” I’ve been a regular there since it launched in Jan 2010 and I can count on the fingers on one hand the number of tikes it has been down.

      Of course I’m not an Admin there so perhaps I’m not aware of the full picture.

      Ken

    • #49386

      @Woody

      I think “Easy” should be the top priority for any web site. Right now, Ask Woody is fairly easy. Yeah, maybe Search could be enhanced. And you could put a sticky directly under “Recent Comments” saying something to the effect that “if you are directing your comment to someone other than Woody, please precede it with @ and the person’s name”.

      I appreciate the fact that we don’t have to login to leave a comment and we don’t have a Captcha. However, if a Captcha becomes necessary down the road, it should be “Easy” to decipher for us human-types!

    • #49387

      My Dad used to say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

    • #49388

      You can leave things as they are, no complaints from me. If you want to change, go right ahead, I trust you.

    • #49389

      Woody,

      I don’t know about anyone else, but I like this site just as it is.

      By all means, fix the “innards”, but please don’t change the format.

      Thanks for all the good info,
      Mike

    • #49390

      @CyGuy

      Most of the spam posted on the site gets intercepted by a program called Akismet.

      That said, I still get dozens of spam posts some days. I have to sift through them and delete them manually.

      I’m going to be enlisting my wife’s help in getting rid of the spam. That’ll reduce some of the time burden.

    • #49391

      @Ken

      Interesting. Maybe it’s me, but I’ve been unable to log on several times in the past couple of weeks.

      Just tried it again, and had no problem logging in at all.

      In the best of all worlds, I’d like to work with Eileen’s Lounge – but I’m not sure what a collaboration would look like….

    • #49392

      @flavet –

      I hear ya.

      The problem with web sites is that they have to be maintained constantly. The more customizing you have, the harder it is to apply security patches. It’s kinda scary.

    • #49393

      Woody,

      I’d like to add my 2 cents for leaving things as they are. The site is easily readable, easy to navigate, and just feels “comfortable.” But I’m partial to woodgrains. I personally hate the way websites are changing of late. It’s hard on my old eyes to read such things. I’m a desktop user and probably always will be, and so much changing makes me want to turn off the internet.

    • #49394

      I like what you have. It is informal and I like the ‘recent posts’ section that you added. I guess the background color is ‘woody wood’ – kinda man cave-ish but it hasn’t deterred the occasional Lady from dropping in. Nice.

    • #49395

      I too would favour leaving things substantially the way they are. It’s a great site and it serves its purpose very well. Thanks for all the time and hard work you put into it Woody. I’m not sure that a proper forum would add anything to this site, it would simply duplicate that which already exists elsewhere – e.g Windows Secrets, Windows 7 Help, etc.

    • #49396

      The current format works for me! I personally dislike the more “modern” type of format, complete with graphics. a summary and a “cont’d” url. They waste time and space (both yours and mine!).

      I have found your books on WIN versions to be clear and concise, never neglecting the humor which Microsoft has entertained us for the past 20 years. Whenever I’m forced to upgrade, your book is my first purchase.

      I really don’t like it that new versions of Windows come out so frequently (heralding the ‘orphaning’ of older versions). There are only a handful of newer version features (by new, I’m referring to WIN 7) that I use at all, and the time it takes to arrange my desktop, menu and files to fit my work habits, get both harder and more complicated and time consuming each time. I wish they would choose a stable Windows version, such as 7, to continue to maintain for those of us who like working without lots of graphics and buried commands in ribbons of space-taking screen space which one has to change repeatedly in the writing process!

      I also wish more help functions would stress the actions needed to perform a function, rather than assuming that everyone now thinks in a visual framework! You manage to do this admirably.

      I would have been content with WIN2000 and MS Word 2001! It’s becoming all to complicated to just do something – whether it may be a “simple” task or not. Take templates, for example. Templates are only valuable to those who don’t know how to construct something. If one has done certain things in a certain format and font for years, and they know what they want to say, in what order, They should be able to do it, rather than having to tinker with default templates to adjust spacing, margins, fonts, etc., or even search for a template which sort of looks like they want for their finished product.

      I started out on typewriters and developed my own ways of formatting, which differ from MS’s just enough to be a real pain! I’m not a person who can type the bulk of a document and then copy it into a format. I’m visionary just enough to want to see what I’m typing in the way it will be printed as I’m typing, I have no patience with templates because many of their formatting rules contradict what I learned in typing class, and from my Mother who was an executive secretary in Chase Manhattan Bank!

      My main uses for my computer are correspondence, web browsing, simple games and simple spread sheets (whose formulas and how they’re handled are largely still a mystery to me). Every time versions change, command access moves the commands I need to different ribbons or else buries them in series of menus. I’m old enough that I really don’t enjoy this continual change. Since most of our population is reaching retirement, there must be a lot of people who, like me, do not want to upgrade, have software that works for them, and who would have to re-invest in lots of ancillary programs to do what they want to do. I can’t begin to tell you the investment in CD programs I’d collected (Complete NatGeo Magazine Maps series, Audubon Birds, and several other large compilations) which will not install on my WIN7-64 machine. Ditto my drawing & photo programs, graphic compilations, printer, many games, etc., some of which I don’t have urgent need of, but it frosts me to see all that money down the drain, plus upgrading to favorite utilities and games so they would run on my new machine. I abhor the new WIN 8. 8.1 graphic interface, and for my purposes, WIN 10 doesn’t seem any better. I need to maintain a certain read-write ability for some files which get updated periodically, but I don’t even know if that’s possible going on from MS Office 2010!

      I know you’ve heard (or thought) much of this as well, but I needed to vent! Thanks for the opportunity. Keep the format of ‘Ask Woody’ as it is, and keep the realistic comments and articles coming!

    • #49397

      As Jim Lasch’s father said if it ain’t broke…..
      I agree.

    • #49398

      @Woody

      Count me in on the site works fine just as it is. Sometimes less is more.

      The one suggestion I had made last time this was discussed was to create a W10 Tab and place all the W10 relevant posts in that tab. The Home Tab could cover all other topics including W7-W8-W8.1 and any topic other than W10.

    • #49399

      As it is, this site is very dialup-friendly. No broken images, no improper rendering, no premature terminations with blank spaces where content is supposed to be, etc. I see that sort of nonsense on far too many sites around the Web, and I very much appreciate the reliability of this one. I’m happy with it just the way it is, but if you do decide to make changes, please keep us dialup users in mind. There are still some of us out here.

    • #49400

      @Woody,

      I don’t place very much importance on cutting edge presentation features. I come to this site for two reasons — informative content and an independent viewpoint.

      There are many forums presently available where users with questions can seek a solution for their issues. I don’t think it is necessary for this site to move in that direction.

      As a practical matter, the resources that might have been devoted to cosmetic upgrades and forum implementation could be directed towards spam filtering.

    • #49401

      Woody,

      It’s odd that you had trouble reaching Eileen’s Lounge recently. There are no similar reports from other users over there. In fact, having checked with one of Admins at Eileens, I can report that the total down time since the site was launched in 2010 is only about 6hrs! It is certainly not in the same perilous state that was last days of the last incarnation of ‘Woody’s Lounge’.

      I can’t comment on your desire for a collaboration, that’s above my pay grade but I do know that even with out a formal collaboration anything you were to direct to Eileen’s would be received with the calm and considerate principles that Eileen first laid down all those years ago in the very first version of Woody’s Lounge.

      Ken

    • #49402

      @Woody,
      I just wrote two paragraphs describing another forum I participate in. Then I realized that one is very similar to what you already have!

      So, I’m in the Ain’t Broke party. Maybe with some enhancements to handle a larger traffic load.

    • #49403

      Woody, your site is clear and simple: please leave it that way! I really appreciate the RSS facility to keep up with your posts – so many are dumping it in favour of Twitter etc. But it would be good if Search had a better hit rate across previous posts (and in comments).

      FWIW, my contacts tell me that maintaining a full forum is a massive time sinker.

      Thanks again.

    • #49404

      Your site is fine the way it is. One improvement would be to change the article font and comment font to black. Don’t use that hard to read grayish font that people use to distinguish the title from the body. Use black and make the titles some other color. My two cents.

    • #49405

      I’m happy with the current site and just tinkering with a few things that will make it better. It would be a relief not to have to learn one new interface. It ain’t broke for me. Put your time where you have the most fun and energy.

    • #49406

      Dear Woody,

      I’m in agreement with the majority – your site is easy to use, easy to read. However, you know what changes you need to make, even to keep it this way.

      I trust you’ll make a good decision, either way.

    • #49407

      Ken –

      It must be me, then. Odd.

      I’m worried about sending a firehose sized volume of traffic to Eileen’s…. Let me think about it….

    • #49408

      @Louis –

      Good idea, but it ends up that’s pretty hard to do technically. For starters, there are lots of posts that touch on all the versions of Windows – even the Win10 nagware stuff.

    • #49409

      I think Forum is nice the way it is. Easy/simple why to read and Answer questions. It’s up to you what you do.

      I just started coming on the forum. Another forum brought me here.

    • #49410

      Woody,

      Thanks for all that you do.

      miladytn took the words right out of my mouth or fingers as it were. Some of these new fangled layouts on websites I just HATE. I don’t want anything fancy, just plain and simple. The KISS method has always worked for me.

      I am also a member of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” crowd. Like others have said, I feel very comfortable here. When I come here, it is like I am coming home to a very familiar place and this day ‘n time there are not too many of these places left.

    • #49411

      As Jacqui said:

      “Dear Woody,

      I’m in agreement with the majority – your site is easy to use, easy to read. However, you know what changes you need to make, even to keep it this way.

      I trust you’ll make a good decision, either way.”

      +1

      And, for what it’s worth – I wouldn’t go to the trouble of setting up a forum.

      Keep up the good work!

      Regards,

      John

    • #49412

      Woody
      Maybe a simple enhancement for search is to add another search box that goes to Google and limits results to your domaain?

      Google used to have a specail version for this called Google Custom Search, but I think it’s pretty easy to setup even without this.

    • #49413

      I have another suggestion Woody that would be helpful for folks like myself that do comment regularly in threads of interest.

      On each thread you post the number of comments in the thread, it would also be helpful to those following specific threads if you could also add “last updated” info there too.

      I’m regularly opening threads of interest and then scrolling to the bottom to see if there were any “new” comments added since I last checked.

      Keep up your insanely awesome work Woody, you’re highly respected by scores and we GREATLY appreciate what you do for us!

    • #49414

      @Ed

      I’ll see if I can get that built. Good idea.

    • #49415

      Woody,
      I like the yellow woody character as your picture.
      It makes for ease to scroll down on my phone
      to see where you have answered.
      I trust what you will do with the site, but for me
      the site works well. I don’t need any more
      complicated answer in my life. Humor folded into the answer
      to the question or topic makes for easy of learning.
      Thanks for your hard work and time.

    • #49416

      @Randall –

      That’s my “Plan B” if I can’t get the current search to work….

    • #49417

      Woody-
      I like the site as-is. Tho- it would be helpful if it were easier to identify the comments that you’re responding to. Looking through all the comments to find “@name” is tedious. Perhaps if the comments were numbered consecutively, you could refer to the number as well as the name.
      Keep up the good work.

    • #49418

      My 2 cents – stick with your current format. I’m not a Word Press fan, and having attempted to get it to connect to a database and display results from said DB is a royal pain. Can be done, but it isn’t easy.

      On directing traffic to Eileen’s Lounge, I would tread carefully there. Hans Vogelaar seems to be the prime mover of it, though I understand there are others who manage the hosting of it in the background. I would suggest you contact him and see what his reaction is. I know he and several of the moderators at Woody’s Lounge were unhappy with some heavy-handed actions by the Windows Secrets folks (I still moderate there), and that drove the development of Eileen’s Lounge.

      Another unrelated question on security and Win10: I purchased a new laptop for myself and a desktop for a friend and it came with Win 10 and McAfee AV. In recent years I’ve depended on the MS Essentials and not been disappointed. What’s your take on the AV situation – maybe a new article for your Woody on Windows on InfoWorld????

      Wendell

    • #49419

      Count me in as another fan of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Simple seems to work on the most platforms out here. Keep your maintenance headaches to a minimum. Extra bells and whistles can’t eclipse the excellent content/value of your site. Luv the wood grain.

    • #49420

      Woody, I am firmly in the “Keep the Format” camp. Fixing the Search feature and other internals is fine with me, but your time is better spent, and appreciated by us, in maintaining your quality content, and keeping the site clean and clear.
      I have been following and recommending your site for many years. It is easy to read and use just as it is. Please keep this good thing going!

    • #49421

      I can attest that the current layout of AskWoody.com does render well on my ASUS TransformerBook tablet. It runs Windows 8.1 With Bing, so it’s still a Widnows environment, using either IE 11 or Chrome as the browser.

      Changes to the right-hand panel at the current site look good. Recent Posts and Recent Comments are good additions.

      Threading and Search issues do in fact need some attention.

      Maybe the answer to whether a forum is appropriate is that there are other forums which cover virtually the same ground as AskWoody. Microsoft Answers is one such community, and there are places within the Windows Secrets Forum where patching issues and related items can be posted. WS also has a dedicated and expert staff of volunteers, as well as well-informed and (usually) well behaved contributors and users. Maybe that’s enough for those who want something a bit more interactive.

      Eileen’s Lounge looks to me superficially as very similar to the Windows Secrets Lounge. Maybe the best answer is some sort of collaboration between Windows Secrets, AskWoody and Eileen’s Lounge. But I’m guessing that would mean trying to pull together too many disparate business models. It’s a nice thing to imagine anyway.

    • #49422

      Hi, Wendell!

      Yeah, there’s bad blood between Eileen’s and the old management of the Windows Secrets forum. Now there’s bad blood between me and the new owner of the Windows Secrets forum.

      I dropped a line to Hans. Not sure if referring people to Eileen’s would be good for him or bad…

      As for McAfee. Blarck. Get rid of it, drive a stake through its heart, just as soon as you can. MS Essentials is good enough, and it’s completely free.

    • #49423

      Keep the format just as you are and with the noted upgrades. “New/modern themes” too often just mean non-relevant clutter and/or a stucture heavily favouring swiping on small phone screens.
      Five minutes of your time on content is worth an hour spent on format tweaks for this type of site.
      In a similar vein,I feel the world has moved on from forums a little for technical help/advice resources. They still have a place but there are lots of additional or complementary sources now. So many forums all too quickly become inhabited by just a few regulars(obsessives?!) with some axe to grind or other and ghost towns for “normal” users. They are massively labour intensive to be any good for any length of time.
      Woody – you know it – it’s content, content, content for a site like this. That’s where AskWoody wins.
      Thank you for what you do and, if the site looks a bit the same for a few years, well it’s a help site not a prettiest garden competition isn’t it!
      All the best, Brian

    • #49424

      Hi Woody, A view from across the pond in the UK. I have used AskWoody for some 10 years or so and often found your comments helpful.

      Is’nt it true that change for change sake simply to be seen to be keeping up with the latest fad is a never ending pointless project?

      We swing from minimalist uncluttered interfaces, to maximalist everything on scree. You can never please all of the people all of the time.

      So as has been said by the majority of the previous comments, I agree that your site suits it’s purpose just fine. Why change it, to do what exactly?

      Many thanks for your tireless efforts and good advice. Much appreciated. NormJ.

    • #49425

      Woody: I’m with the majority of posters on this issue in thinking that your site is very good the way it is. Unless “modernizing” it brings you huge advantages in terms of presentation and site management, and/or gives your readers an easier to use interface, then there’s nothing to be gained by changing it just be different. But regardless of what you do, I am sure that your regular readers will still be here for the long run.

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