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ISSUE 17.29.0 • 2020-07-27

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The AskWoody PLUS Newsletter

In this issue

COVID-19: Technology in a pandemic

LANGALIST: Tales from the trenches

SMALL-BUSINESS WEBSITES: Choosing an email provider: Your biggest decision

SHORTS: Family plans: Good and not-so-good deals

ASKWOODY PLUS INDEX: 2020 articles — January through June


COVID-19

Technology in a pandemic

Susan BradleyBy Susan Bradley

We all have good years and bad, but 2020 has been rough on everyone.

The pandemic has damaged world economies, caused untold disruptions to our education systems, put millions in financial peril, and tested our ability to socialize responsibly — and it’s not over yet.

In the face of those difficulties, I’ve been impressed and encouraged by how people have adjusted their personal lives, their work, and their businesses. And much of that adaptation involves technology. Interestingly, quite a bit of that tech is not based on Windows.

1918: My family’s history with pandemics

The outbreak of 2020 has an especially personal side for my family. On the last day of 1918, my great-uncle, Gideon Gouge, died of complications from the influenza that swept the world that year. I grew up listening to my grandmother’s stories about Gideon — and how there was something of him reflected in me.

Gideon Gouge
Figure 1. Great-uncle Gideon Gouge in happier times

So today’s events are a bit of family déjà vu. I can’t help pondering the similarities and differences between 1918 and 2020 — how my grandmother endured the experience back then, and how we’re coping with the epidemic now.

There are some peculiar similarities. For example, my grandmother had an early form of home delivery: ice, milk, and eggs arrived on her doorstep, even in normal times. In those days, the grocery store would drop off goods. And maintaining social distancing was just as much a problem then as it is now.

2020: How technology changed things

As you probably know, technology is an important aspect of both my personal and business life. And as with many other businesses, my accounting firm has had to adapt to life under COVID. Technology helped with that transition.

Here in the U.S., we just wrapped up a tax season that was extended from April 15 to July 15. Over the past few months, we effectively banned clients from delivering or picking up tax information and returns at our office. Interacting with our clients went virtual — via phone, fax, email, and other types of digital communication.

We also continued old-school methods such as using the Post Office to deliver paperwork back and forth. Some of our less technically advanced clients mailed in their paperwork, leaving sticky notes where they needed to add more information.

Sending documents back and forth with clients was relatively simple, but what about signing those returns? For that, we relied heavily on DocuSign eSignatures. Approved by the IRS, this service eliminated the need for in-person autographs. Instead, our clients reviewed their tax returns online at their home or office and then entered a secure and authenticated digital signature.

The client’s identification can be verified in a variety of ways, including text message, access code, and challenge questions. Documents can be signed on almost any device, including iPhones and Androids — no PCs required.

(Did you know? When you answer those seemingly random questions in Facebook surveys, they are often the same questions used for identity-verification purposes. For example, “Where did you live as a child” might seem innocent enough, but it may also be used when verifying your ID. So I strongly suggest that you never answer surveys that ask about your personal history, locations, habits, and so forth — questions that might help an organization tie collected information to your identity.)

Video-conferencing: Along with accounting services, my office handles “litigation support” — i.e., assisting attorneys with court cases. During the lockdown, our staff took depositions online via RingCentral or Zoom. (Yes, Zoom took considerable heat for its lax security, but it has reportedly upgraded its platform to prevent new scourges such as “Zoom bombing.”)

Not all of our clients have sophisticated IT support. So we relied (and still do) on relatively simple video-conferencing technologies to continue our legal activities. Here again, Windows isn’t the only platform that supports video meetings. We know that some attendees are using mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. In fact, during a recent court deposition, I noticed that the court reporter was using her iPad.

Last week, I gave a presentation on Microsoft 365 for Quest’s The Experts Conference (and will do so again later this year). In normal times we would have gathered in large meeting rooms. But this year the seminars were, of course, held online. In this case, I used my Windows desktop and a web camera to give my talk.

Likewise, Microsoft has moved its annual Ignite event online, and the popular Black Hat security conference will be held virtually as well. It’s good that these affairs have not been canceled, but I will miss the “hallway” meetings — the ability to chit-chat (i.e., talk off the record) face to face with folks who have valuable information. I’ll probably use both my PC and iPad for viewing these presentations — depending on whether I’m sitting at my desk or on the couch!

Shopping from home

Because my 91-year-old dad shares my home with me, I’m extremely careful about where I go in public. But even before the official shelter-in-place orders, my long work hours made shopping difficult. So I started using services such as Instacart to order groceries. Surprisingly, my grocery bills dropped because I was forced to put together a real shopping list — and thus avoided the normal “hunger” shopping.

With the pandemic, many customers are counting on “contactless” shopping. If you’re in a grocery store, and you see someone busily texting on their phone, there’s a good chance they’re confirming some item substitution with an Instacart customer. (That was especially evident when people started hoarding toilet paper early in the pandemic.) Delivery folks didn’t even need to knock on my door; they sent photos of my groceries on my front steps.

And the tech used by the delivery shoppers? Not Windows — it was handled entirely on smartphones. Sure, you can put together your order on a PC, but services such as Instagram have built dedicated apps that simply work better on Apple iOS or Android.

Virtual socializing

I work and live in California’s Central Valley, one of the premier locations for growing fruit. This past June, we participated in the local Stone Fruit Jubilee — virtually. We went online to order a box of peaches, plums, and nectarines grown by local farmers. The box was delivered to a location of my choosing: a local ice cream store. (It gets hot in the Central Valley, so ice cream is a major food group.) The store had contactless purchasing, too, via a drive-up lane. A young woman wearing a clear visor came up to my car with an iPad, with which I could review the menu and she would place the order. The iPad had a Stripe app for my credit-card payment, and my ice cream arrived in a bag.

Back in May, we celebrated my best friend’s birthday with a Zoom cooking class presented by chefs located in the Tuscany area of Italy. Because of the impact on tourism, these culinary artists have developed novel ways to generate income. Using an iPhone and iPad, our chef provided videos of his meal preparations and action shots of his performance at the stove.

Tour guides for Rick Steves’ Europe who used to escort travelers in person now do so virtually. Some are providing online tours and others are selling local artwork. Some former guides are setting up Facebook groups with regular meetups, managing subscriptions via the Patreon site. Here, too, most of the online activity appears to take place on smartphones.

My family is attending church “virtually.” Those houses of worship that already had an online presence are doing the best moving to virtual assemblies. They often use YouTube or Facebook for presenting live services. I’ve even started to go to a “virtual gym,” using Facebook Live and Zoom meetings presented by HB Pilates. The company has switched to all-online classes, with the instructors typically using smartphones and iPads.

Every week, my sister and I launch GoToMeeting to connect with our girlfriends. We use the occasion to talk about our week, discuss how the pandemic is impacting our offices, and generally keep in touch. It’s been a pleasure to actually see them for a change, rather than just hearing voices on the phone. In this instance, I start the meeting with my Windows-based Lenovo ThinkPad X1 that sits on the family-room desk where I bang out my AskWoody articles. But the other participants are on iPads and phones.

With theaters closed or limiting attendance, the entertainment industry has been forced to make changes. Movies that would have gone into theaters are being released immediately on various streaming platforms. Other movies have had their release dates pushed out. Most important, we now have dozens of streaming options providing an endless array of entertainment in our living rooms.

Still looking for solutions: Schools

Many businesses are adapting to the pandemic, but our educational system is struggling with tactics for remote learning. Even though it’s possible to have Zoom-based classes, schools are inherently social places. Older children might be able to adapt to online instruction, but it’s much more difficult for younger students. As a kindergarten teacher will tell you, it’s all about learning to mesh and collaborate with other children. Remote learning can be extremely rough on parents, too.

Adding to the crisis is the so-called “digital divide” — the gap between technology haves and have-nots. While some of us have gigabit Internet connections, multiple computers, iPads, and smartphones, many others have nothing more than a cell phone.

At this point, there’s a patchwork of quick fixes. For example, my school district has parked school buses with Wi-Fi devices in neighborhoods needing reliable access to the Web (read more). And, reportedly, Chromebooks are in short supply because school districts are purchasing huge quantities for students.

Technology has already rewired our brains, and that extends to learning. This is an area where tech still needs quantum advancements — and we need them soon, not several years from now. It will require a major investment on the federal, state, and local levels.

So that’s just some of the ways technology has helped us through this pandemic. And much of that tech doesn’t rely on Windows. I hope all AskWoody members are hanging in there. Take a moment to consider the ways you’re using technology differently than you were just a few months ago — much of it with Android and Apple devices. Will that have a long-term impact on the company we love to hate and hate to love? As they say, only time will tell.

These days, more than ever, stay safe out there.

Questions or comments? Feedback on this article is always welcome in the AskWoody Lounge!

In real life, Susan Bradley is a Microsoft Security MVP and IT wrangler at a California accounting firm, where she manages a fleet of servers, virtual machines, workstations, iPhones, and other digital devices. She also does forensic investigations of computer systems for the firm.


LANGALIST

Tales from the trenches

Fred Langa

By Fred Langa

Following my recounting of decommissioning a failing hard drive, readers share their real-world tips on drive destruction.

If there’s a creative way to ensure that an old drive never gives up its secrets, it would appear AskWoody readers have tried it. But a nail gun?

More on do-it-yourself hard-drive destruction

My recent column on temporarily losing 5TB of data on a malfunctioning hard drive struck a chord with many readers — especially the part about how I destroyed the drive to ensure that its data could never be recovered. (See “‘Moving house is great fun,’ said no one ever,” AskWoody PLUS 2020-07-13.)

Subscriber Tony Gore’s perspective was well put:

  • “It always seems sacrilegious to physically destroy a disk after having spent many years protecting it.”

Yes! You have to flip your mental setting from “Let no byte perish!” to “Nuke it from orbit.” Weird.

Tony might be the better person; I must confess to some warped pleasure when running a drill bit through a drive that’s eaten my data. “Bad drive! Bad drive! You deserve this!”

Tony’s solution?

  • “If you take an angle grinder to the disk and cut a slot into it, it’ll never spin again — and [the data] will be completely irrecoverable.”

And subscriber Bob Shrager described a similar approach — though with a significantly different power tool.

  • “Fred, I have even more fun when tossing out old drives. I have a power hammer, a tool that uses .22 blank cartridges to drive nails into hard materials such as concrete and brick. When I toss out an old drive, I shoot a couple of nails through it.”

(I really hope Tony and Bob are wearing good face shields.)

Slots, holes, nail punctures, and similar kinds of major physical damage will ruin the drive’s mechanism and destroy some of the data. This is more than enough to prevent casual attempts at data recovery.

But it’s worth noting that data can still reside in the undamaged portions of the drive platters. With persistence and the right equipment, a sufficiently motivated snoop might still recover sensitive information.

For that reason, mechanically disabling a drive should be the final step in the drive-sanitizing process — employed after the drive has been thoroughly stripped of its data using techniques such as overwriting (Wikipedia info), degaussing (i.e., demagnetizing; Wikipedia info), or other means.

The combination of a thorough data wipe and severe mechanical damage will ensure that a drive’s contents are effectively gone … for good! (Want to know the experts’ recommendations? See the U.S. National Security Agency bulletin “Media Destruction Guidance.”)

An unusual way to wipe any functioning drive

Subscriber Geoff Hart’s note focused on the overwriting portion of disk sanitizing.

  • “Greets! And sympathies on your loss of the main backup drive, as reported in the latest newsletter.

    “In addition to data-erasing passes, I usually copy multiple instances of the U.S. tax code to my old hard drives before selling them. So even if someone does decide to go spelunking for the erased data, they’ll have to dig through the U.S. tax code to find it. I find this suitable punishment.”

Ha! That’s a creative use of the tax code, for sure.

I’d heard of people pasting copies of movies or other very large files to completely fill drives that were failing but still somewhat operable. (If a drive won’t work at all, degaussing and physical destruction are the only remaining options.)

Indeed, overwriting an HDD’s original files with anything else — ones, zeros, or the contents of large junk files — will foil most routine data-recovery tools. It’s usually sufficient for consumer-level data-wiping purposes.

But for cases requiring a higher level of security, multiple overwrites with random ones and zeros make the old data much harder to recover, even with lab-quality forensic tools.

The commercial option: Drive shredders!

Destroying a drive or two doesn’t take much time or effort. But what if you manage dozens or hundreds of PCs, and the data on every machine’s drive must be 100 percent unrecoverable? That’s the task subscriber Bill Sampson faced.

  • “Fred. About two years ago, I was helping a colleague close a law practice. There were many old desktops scattered about the building, and, naturally, every one of them had a hard drive.

    “I discovered a place (undoubtedly, there are others) that would run the drives through a large and satisfyingly noisy grinder. It cost only a few bucks per drive. I was able to watch the entire process — from handing the drives to the machine operator to seeing them chewed into small bits.

    “So while applying a power drill makes sense for a single drive, having multiple drives professionally destroyed right before your eyes is justifiable.”

For sure, Bill. A mechanical shredding service makes a lot of sense when you need to take a bunch of drives out of service.

These shredders are awesome! A completely intact drive goes into their maws … metal, glass, and plastic confetti come out (YouTube video).

Most urban centers have commercial data-destruction services. Use this Google search to see what’s available nearby: hard+drive+shredding+near+me.

Shredding costs vary widely. But as a general rule, figure on approximately USD $10 per drive for small quantities and somewhat less for larger orders. Additional services such as degaussing before shredding, providing certificates of destruction, picking up drives, mobile shredding, and so forth will typically cost a bit more.

When it comes to making data unrecoverable, turning a hard drive into a pile of degaussed confetti is about as thorough as it gets!

Send your questions and topic suggestions to Fred at fred@askwoody.com. Feedback on this article is always welcome in the AskWoody Lounge!

Fred Langa has been writing about tech — and, specifically, about personal computing — for as long as there have been PCs. And he is one of the founding members of the original Windows Secrets newsletter. Check out Langa.com for all of Fred’s current projects.


Small-business websites

Choosing an email provider: Your biggest decision

Will Fastie

By Will Fastie

Despite the popularity and widespread use of texting, email remains critical for business communications.

Business email is universal, ubiquitous, and not necessarily tied to a specific person or phone number. Its long-form nature, broad capabilities, and nearly automatic communications archiving are unmatched by other forms of correspondence.

All of which makes choosing an email provider one of the most important decisions you’ll make when establishing your business’s online presence.

Professional appearance matters, and an important branding tool is using your firm’s domain name in your email addresses. Sure, this seems obvious — but some mail services won’t allow it. Here’s what you should know when choosing your email provider.

(This is the third installment in my series on Web presence for small businesses. If you missed the first two, see “What is your Web presence?,” AskWoody Plus 2020-06-22, and “Getting the perfect domain name,” AskWoody Plus 2020-07-06.)

Four ways to set up business email

There are umpteen venues for establishing a business email system, but they mostly fall into the following four categories:

  • Free accounts offered by services such as Gmail, Outlook.com, or Internet service providers (ISPs);
  • In-house email servers;
  • Email systems managed by website-hosting companies;
  • Subscription-based third-party email services such as Microsoft, Google, and many others.

Let’s dispense with a couple of these right off the bat.

Just one among millions: It’s tempting to use a free email service. Don’t! They typically require the use of a master domain name — for example, “[my name/business]@gmail.com.” An ISP often has the same limitation — e.g., “[name]@comcast.net.” Reject any service that doesn’t let you use your firm’s domain name as part of the email address.

Using an ISP-provided address is especially problematic because it effectively locks you into that company. If, say, you change from Comcast to Verizon, you’ll lose the comcast.net address. The switch will be costly for you and confusing for your customers. It means changing all marketing materials and all online references to your business, plus transferring archived email from the old ISP to some other mail service — usually a tricky proposition.

Most importantly, there’s no obvious connection between your email address and your brand.

DIY email: This is the antithesis of the free email services. Setting up your own email server gives complete control over your email environment. It can also be cost-effective in settings that require a large number of email accounts/addresses (typically, 50 or more) for staff or other purposes. However, small businesses typically don’t have the resources needed to manage their own email system.

Supporting an in-house mail system is complicated, to say the least. You should put the server on a separate computer and have a highly reliable Internet connection with a static IP address and sufficient bandwidth. What happens if power to your business fails or the connection to the ISP gets cut? Your entire email system is down until service is restored. You must also be capable of managing email security — a hacked server could be a disaster.

In short, a small business can’t expect to match the redundancies, backup capabilities, and security offered by dedicated, outside email services.

Web-host services: It can also be tempting to use the mail-hosting services provided by the company that hosts your firm’s website. Most plans offer at least 25 email accounts — more than sufficient for a small business.

But email can consume vast amounts of storage space, and website hosts have limits — even those who claim “unlimited” space. You might have to systematically and routinely clean out older email to stay within the storage limits you’re allowed. That can be a problem because your firm’s email represents business documentation. Constantly deleting it is not a good practice.

More importantly, if you decide to change ISPs, transferring email to the new host could be costly and complicated.

Best option: Third-party email services: I recommend this option to all of my clients for these key reasons:

  • You can use your own domain name — a must for any business that wants to look legitimate to customers and other businesses. (Business-to-business relationships are almost as important as business-to-customer.)
  • The monthly expense is relatively modest, though it will probably be the biggest budget item for your Web presence.
  • Most of the heavy management lifting is handled by the provider. And if something goes wrong, you’ll almost always have someone with the needed expertise to call on.
  • Security and SPAM protection are critical for business email. Third-party services are highly proficient at both.
  • Your subscription will include more capacity than most small businesses are likely to need. For example, Microsoft 365 email accounts provide 50GB of storage per address. (And that cap will probably go up over time.)
  • These services will usually allow you to add extra domain names, should you find that necessary. This is an often-overlooked benefit.

I recommend budgeting USD $5 per month per email address for a third-party email subscription. Popular services include G Suite (Google), Microsoft 365, Rackspace, and Zoho. But again, there are many others to choose from, as an online search will show.

Ancillary email accounts

You now know why a firm’s primary email addresses should include its website’s domain name. But there are some good reasons for setting up one or more email accounts that have a more-anonymous address. And in all cases, I suggest using a free service (e.g., Gmail) for these adjunct accounts — here’s why.

First, domain-name ownership is often public information, including personal data such as name, mailing address, phone, and email address. You can purchase “Domain privacy” (more info), but I typically don’t recommend it. Still, you don’t want your primary business addresses to be easily scraped by spammers, identity thieves, and other evildoers.

To avoid that problem, use a free account from Google or Microsoft for your domain-ownership information — and don’t use that address for anything else. If it becomes compromised, or it becomes a spam bucket, it won’t affect your normal business communications.

Second, you might need a specific email address for obtaining other services. For example, I equip all websites I build with Google Analytics, and that service requires a Gmail account. So I ask my clients to set up a generic account such as “web-services-[mydomain]@gmail.com” and use it exclusively for this purpose. A generic Gmail account is also handy when acquiring paid Google services such as the Maps Platform.

The general rule of thumb is to keep ancillary email addresses away from your public Web presence. They are simply an administrative convenience.

I think you’ll find that using a third-party email service works best for your small business — once you get accustomed to the monthly charges.

Next time, we’ll look at choosing a web-hosting service.

Questions or comments? Feedback on this article is always welcome in the AskWoody Lounge!

Will Fastie is a Web developer specializing in self-service websites for small businesses. Trained in computer science at Johns Hopkins University, he has held positions as a transaction processing systems programmer, magazine editor, newsletter publisher, Wall Street analyst, CTO and systems consultant.


SHORTS

Family plans: Good and not-so-good deals

Tracey CapenBy TB Capen

As our tribes spend more time together, some tech vendors are offering better prices for shared products.

Dropbox: Dipping from the same pot

I’ve long felt that one of the best deals on the Web is Microsoft’s MS 365 Family plan: it’s USD $100 for six members and 1TB of online storage per user. So my curiosity was piqued when I saw a notification for the new Dropbox Family. I’ve had a personal account with the service since it crawled out of the digital ooze.

Dropbox now lets six people share 2TB of storage space for $203.88 a year. Each member of the “family” gets a separate Dropbox account — as in, you can’t see my files unless I share them with you.

Is this a good deal? Sure, if you have more than, say, two “family” members, each of whom wants their own private Dropbox folder. Dropbox doesn’t make this clear, but I assume each member would need to have a separate device (computer, tablet, and/or smartphone) or operating-system account. If, for instance, several family members share the same PC and Microsoft account, DB Family isn’t likely to work.

Dropbox has always had a one-account/one-device policy for individuals. (You can access multiple Dropbox accounts through a browser.)

Other restrictions: Each member must be age 13 or older, and the offer is available to a “limited audience.” In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find the Family Plan sign-up box on the service’s site. I ran across it only because I have a Dropbox Plus account (2TB of storage for $119.88 a year; see Figure 1) and found was a small link on my DB account page.

Dropbox plans
Figure 1. The Dropbox Family plan is nearly twice the cost of a single Plus account but comes with the same amount of storage space.

Bottom line: The price for the Family plan seems awfully steep, given that you get no more storage space than with a Plus account that’s nearly half the cost. It makes the Microsoft 365 Family plan look like the real bargain.

Spotify for two, please

I often listen to Spotify while I work. (No comments about the quality of my writing!) Many of those I know under the age of 40 do, too. Recently I’ve been subjected to endless promos for the new Premium Duo plan. For $12.99 per month, two people “under the same roof” (Spotify apparently uses Google Maps to check) get their own account. You share playlists only if you want to. That’s $3 a month more than a single Premium membership — not a bad deal.

But if you have a bigger clan — again, all at the same address — you can set up six accounts for just $14.99.

If you have a good tip on shared tech services, post them on the AskWoody forum using the link below.

Questions or comments? Feedback on this article is always welcome in the AskWoody Lounge!

TB Capen is editor in chief of the AskWoody Plus Newsletter.


AskWoody Plus Newsletter: 2020 articles — January through June
     
17.25.0 — 2020-06-29
Patching @PKCano A Win10 guide for Windows Update settings
Best Utilities McElveen Freeware Spotlight — ScreenToGif
Patch Watch Bradley June updates crash printing
Small Business Segal Eight ways to grow email lists for small businesses
 
17.24.0 — 2020-06-22
Web Development Fastie What is your Web presence?
Android Spector Three of the best Android file managers
On Security Bradley Wanted: Your views on Windows/Office patching
Best Utilities McElveen Freeware Spotlight — Deanna’s list
 
17.23.0 — 2020-06-15
Small Business Computing Babinchak Office tools: Something old, something new
LangaList Langa Unexpected shutdowns suddenly plague Win10 laptop
Patch Watch Bradley Windows 10 2004 is slowly rolling off the assembly line
Best Utilities McElveen Freeware Spotlight — Spydish
 
17.22.0 — 2020-06-08
Woody’s Windows Watch Leonhard Coming to a PC near you: Win10 2004, the ‘May 2020 Update’
LangaList Langa Is Windows’ ReadyBoost worthwhile in Win10?
Upgrading Windows Bradley Determining what’s blocking Windows 10 2004
Best Hardware Lasky Helpful items for working during the pandemic
 
17.21.0 — 2020-06-01
Hardware Fastie Terabyte update: The hard-drive price advantage
LangaList Langa ‘I hit my laptop ’cause I got angry’
Patch Watch Bradley Windows 10 2004 has left the barn
Best Utilities McElveen Freeware Spotlight — Marxio Timer
 
17.20.0 — 2020-05-25
Windows 10 Hay Cheap Windows 10 product keys — Are they legit?
LangaList Langa Security risks: Wired Ethernet vs. Wi-Fi
Windows Basics Bradley Setting up a new PC: The first steps
Website Development Segal Security basics for small-business websites
 
17.19.0 — 2020-05-18
Social Networking Spector Zoom: Is it safe?
LangaList Langa How USB booting leaves a digital trail
Patch Watch Bradley .NET Framework oddities and ESU issues highlight May patching
Best Utilities McElveen Freeware Spotlight — Open Hardware Monitor
 
17.18.0 — 2020-05-11
On Security Bradley BSoDs can be a good thing — really!
LangaList Langa A weird “Known Folders/Event 100” error
Small Business Computing Babinchak COVID-19: Protecting your customers
Office Spector The new Office for Android
 
17.17.0 — 2020-05-04
Safety Parker Simple ways to receive severe-weather alerts
LangaList Langa 750MB of undeletable log files!
Patch Watch Bradley Is it safe yet?
Windows 10 Capen Controlling Windows update downloads
 
17.16.0 — 2020-04-27
Windows 10 Bradley 2020’s Windows 10 2004
LangaList Langa ‘Overprovisioning’ your SSD
Photo editing Spector Photoshop Elements: Fun with pictures
Best Utilities McElveen Freeware Spotlight — Staying at home edition
 
17.15.0 — 2020-04-20
LangaList Langa Unrelenting flood of EVTX files chokes 1TB drive
Patch Watch Bradley Microsoft Office gets a drenching of updates
Photo Editing Segal Comparison: Affinity Photo, GIMP, and PaintShop Pro
Index Staff AskWoody Plus Newsletter: 2020 – Q1 articles
 
17.14.0 — 2020-04-13
Woody’s Windows Watch Leonhard Office 365 becomes Microsoft 365: Less here than meets the eye
LangaList Langa Hardware settings mess up Chrome and Firefox
Small Business Computing Babinchak Managing remote workers
Social Networking Whitney How to make friends with Skype
 
17.13.0 — 2020-04-06
Social Networking Spector Keeping in touch — from a distance
LangaList Langa When File Explorer stutters, loses focus
Backup Tannard Simple and cheap data backup and storage
Photo Editing Segal Review: Affinity Photo
 
17.12.0 — 2020-03-30
On Security Bradley COVID-19: The challenges of working from home
LangaList Langa Win10 update breaks a USB modem?
Patch Watch Bradley Win10 optional updates placed on hold
Best Utilities McElveen Freeware Spotlight — A Thousand Words
 
17.11.0 — 2020-03-16
LangaList Langa Hard drive runs almost continually
Security Lasky Conference showcases a tsunami of security products
Patch Watch Bradley Win10 cumulative update gets an update. Don’t panic!
Apple Mac Parker Switchers: Taking a bite of the Apple — Part 2
 
17.10.0 — 2020-03-09
On Security Bradley How small businesses are easy ransomware targets
LangaList Langa Is your deleted cloud data really gone?
Apple Mac Parker Switchers: Taking a bite of the Apple — Part 1
Utilities Capen Updates to the AskWoody Ultimate Utilities List
 
17.9.0 — 2020-03-02
LangaList Langa How to tell if software truly needs updating
Patch Watch Bradley Questions on controlling Windows 10 updating
Office Whitney Managing multiple email accounts in Outlook
Best Utilities McElveen Freeware Spotlight — KillEmAll
 
17.8.0 — 2020-02-24
Woody’s Windows Watch Leonhard Windows 10X: Future fireworks or another dud?
LangaList Langa Say goodbye to Windows’ screen-saver app
Win7 Extended Support Bradley More help with Windows 7 extended support
General Computing Whitney Comparing three file-compression tools
 
17.7.0 — 2020-02-17
Small Business Babinchak RIP FTP: There’s a better way to share files
Patch Watch Bradley The trials and tribulations of Windows 7
Virtual PCs Capen Making an old PC virtually immortal
Best Utilities McElveen Freeware Spotlight — eToolz
 
17.6.0 — 2020-02-10
Woody’s Windows Watch Leonhard Important developments in the world of Windows
LangaList Langa PC screen continually goes dark
Small Business Babinchak How we automated the Win7 ESU-purchase process
Best Utilities McElveen Freeware Spotlight — security.txt
 
17.5.0 — 2020-02-03
Troubleshooting Whitney Tools for monitoring drive health
LangaList Langa Locked out due to one broken keyboard key?
Patch Watch Bradley Microsoft agrees to clean up a small Win7 mess
Yearly TOC Staff AskWoody Plus Newsletter — 2019 articles
 
17.4.0 — 2020-01-27
LangaList Langa Another January casualty: Windows Media Center
Best Utilities McElveen Freeware Spotlight — ForensiT Transwiz
Security Lasky Remedies for common password pains
 
17.3.0 — 2020-01-20
Windows 7 Bradley Closing the book on Windows 7
LangaList Langa Win10’s default lock screen is a wasted opportunity
Patch Watch Bradley 2020 patching starts with a bang!
Woody’s Windows Watch Leonhard Say hello to the latest and greatest Microsoft Edge
 
17.2.0 — 2020-01-13
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