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!

  • High praise, indeed!, and its eponymous factotum (…Woody), have made it to Martin Brinkmann’s Tech Sites We Love, over on offers news, tips, and support for Microsoft Windows, Office, PCs and other tech. It is run by Woody Leonhard and one of the prime news sources for Windows administrators and users on the Internet…
    It is a must-visit site in my opinion as a system administrator, regardless of whether you administrate a single Home PC or PCs in a company network.

    @martinbrinkmann is a trusted MVP here (but of course, with the roles still not 100%, you may not always see a correct indication on any account!), and his articles have often been linked here on AskWoody. Judging by the number of mentions he’s received here, you must respect him too.

    In this case, I am 100% in support of Martin’s opinion – Well done, Woody!

    Thx @Microfix

  • A special thanks to last year’s AskWoody donors

    We’re almost ready to roll out the AskWoody Plus membership system. Still have one technical hurdle — a bug in one of our partner’s signup routines — but it’s getting there.

    Before we go into high gear, I wanted to give a special shout-out to those of you who contributed to AskWoody last year, or earlier this year. Your name (or an Anonymous hash mark) should appear on the Thanks, Patrons! list — and if you donated before the 3rd edition of Windows 10 All-In-One For Dummies went to press, your name’s also on the thanks page in the book.

    For those of you who donated in the past year, I’m offering a free one-year AskWoody Plus Membership. I’ll have more details about Plus later this week, but for now suffice it to say that it includes a one-year subscription to the AskWoody Plus Newsletter (a revamped and greatly expanded version of the Windows Secrets Newsletter) plus a one-year subscription to AskWoody Plus Alerts (the email notification many of you have requested that goes out when there’s an important news story). We’ll have more benefits, but those are the immediate ones.

    If you donated to AskWoody in the past year, and you want to claim your free one-year AskWoody Plus Membership, here’s what you need to do:

    • If you have an AskWoody username and password, use it to log on. (If you forgot your password, use the Lost Password link in the upper right corner.)
    • If you don’t have an AskWoody username and password, create a new one using the Register link in the upper right corner of this page. (You’ll have to respond to an email that confirms your email address.)

    Once you’re logged on, click on this link:

    At that point, you can choose any contribution amount and click Join Plus Now.

    Up at the top, where it says Have a coupon? click on Click here to enter your code.

    Enter the coupon code


    Then click Apply coupon. It’s a 100% discount coupon.

    IMPORTANT: Make sure you use a “real” email address, so you can receive your Newsletters and Alerts.

    You’ll end up with a free one-year subscription, with our compliments. If we have any questions, we’ll email you.

    Thanks once again for keeping us at AskWoody afloat. We couldn’t have done it without you.

    UPDATE: We now have direct credit card support. That was the last big stumbling point. Watch for the rollout shortly.

    Didja notice the new Newsletter/Alerts and About menus, up above?

  • AskWoody Plus coming soon

    I’m having trouble getting the credit card payment processing connected. PayPal is working, but it’s triggering a “recurring payment” that expires after 1 occurrence.

    Computers. You gotta love ’em.

    Hang loose. Enlightenment approaches. Or, at least a little bit of bug catching.

  • An update on the Windows Secrets/AskWoody transformation

    We’ve been busy over the holidays….

    I hope to have the new Plus Membership routine up and working by tomorrow. Once we’re set for Plus donations (remember, you get to choose how much), I’ll post instructions, then slowly dismantle the advertising on AskWoody, and keep my fingers crossed.

    Tracey Capen is working furiously on the first AskWoody Plus Newsletter, which is on schedule for an early Monday morning release. All of the original crew is back — Brian, Susan, Fred and Tracey — and we have some original surprises afoot as well.

    Once again, sit tight. The transition won’t happen overnight, and the first few days (weeks? months?) are bound to be overwhelming, at least on this end. There’s a dynamite tech team pulling this through, and the software foundation’s rock solid.

    If we need you to do anything, we’ll let you know.

    The transition won’t be easy, but the results will be worth it. Guaranteed.

  • The mechanics of merging AskWoody, Windows Secrets Lounge and Windows Secrets Newsletter

    The devs are almost done with the first step in the merger, which is moving the plumbing over to support “AskWoody Plus” — the superstructure that’ll be tied into both the new Lounge, and the new Newsletter.

    I’m intentionally building the whole thing with tested, solid pieces — as little customization as possible. I’ve had many, many headaches over the past two decades with forum software that goes bump in the night. The Windows Secrets folks feel the same way, I’m sure. This time, I’m going to do it right. Or at least better.

    My major headache at this point is merging the data from many different sources:

    • The AskWoody username database, which will be the foundation of the new Lounge database. Many people signed up using throw-away email addresses. If they want to subscribe to the Newsletter or Alerts, I’ll have to get a valid email address out of them.
    • The Windows Secrets Lounge user database. There are going to be naming conflicts — situations where usernames in both databases match and they belong to the same person, and other situations where they match but they belong to different people. More than that, there’s no way to move the passwords from the Windows Secrets Lounge to the AskWoody Lounge user database. Two completely different systems.
    • The list of MVPs from Windows Secrets. They’ll become “Plus” members, but the potential for username conflicts carries over in spade.
    • The list of people who have already contributed to AskWoody – the Patrons list, which I just updated with the latest contributors. All of those people will become “Plus” members… but I only have the names you see on the list, no email addresses, no usernames. (That’s 100% intentional by the way. A story for another time.)
    • The list of subscribers to the Windows Secrets Newsletter. Again, I don’t have usernames. I only have email addresses.

    Those five sources have to combine to work with two separate databases, post-merger. The AskWoody username database, and a second linked database to drive MailChimp, our newsletter/alert distribution channel. The Lounge uses usernames. MailChimp only knows email addresses.

    I’m expecting to bring on a number of Customer Support people, because a lot of this is going to require human intervention. They’re going to be overwhelmed at first (I will be overwhelmed, too!) so be patient please.

    If you have any experience with merging big databases – or any words of wisdom – I’m all ears.

  • Big changes ahead for AskWoody and Windows Secrets

    As of the end of the year, Penton/Informa media group is handing the Windows Secrets Newsletter and Lounge baton over to the people who started Windows Secrets years ago.

    Many of you will remember the original Windows Secrets “dream team” — Brian Livingston, co-author of 11 Windows Secrets books; Susan Bradley, Patch Watch diva; Fred Langa, author of LangaList, the ultimate tech Q&A; and yours truly with Woody’s Windows Watch and a bunch of books. All of us, along with former editor in chief Tracey Capen and many current and former newsletter contributors, are joining forces once again to launch a new AskWoody Plus Newsletter. Those of you who subscribe to the Windows Secrets Newsletter will see your subscriptions carry over, uninterrupted, to the AskWoody Plus moniker.

    We’re also merging the AskWoody and Windows Secrets Lounges. The new combined Lounge will sit on a software foundation that’s solid and reliable unlike, ahem, what we’ve had in the past. We’re implementing some of the features you’ve requested — email Plus Alerts, downloadable Patch Watch files, a reconstituted MS-DEFCON system, and much more. All of the AskWoody and Windows Secrets Admins and MVPs will make the trek. It’s a massive effort that’s going to bring all sorts of benefits to AskWoody and Windows Secrets Loungers.

    Both the new Newsletter and the new combined Lounge are tied together with a membership program called AskWoody Plus. If you join AskWoody Plus, you get the new Newsletter, the news Alerts, and full access to everything on the new combined Lounge.

    You’ll also get our thanks — and recognition, via a gold flare on your Lounge avatar — for helping us keep everything going. We’ll continue to hold Microsoft’s feet to the fire. We’ll keep you in the loop on important developments, and help you with palliative care on the demise of Windows 7. We’ll give you the straight story on where Windows and Office are headed, without the clickbait and garbled explanations you find on many other sites.

    AskWoody Plus works on the donation model — you can join for whatever amount you think fair. If you’d rather not join, that’s fine. New Loungers are most welcome, and there’s no charge.

    Changes in the plumbing are being tested right now. The hardest part of the transition will be merging databases, which won’t be easy, but we’ll take it in steps, and we’ll have human support available at all times. We’ll let you know if you need to do anything.

    For those of you who already get the Windows Secrets Newsletter, you’ll be automatically continued as a subscriber to the AskWoody Plus Newsletter. For those of you who have donated to AskWoody in the past year, we’ll set you up with a Plus Membership as well — no charge, with our thanks. Those of you who haven’t contributed are also in good hands — we’re carrying across both the AskWoody Loungers and the Windows Secrets Loungers of various stripes to the new combined Lounge.

    For now, sit tight. We’ll let you know if you need to do anything.

    Lisa Schmeiser, editor in chief, Windows Secrets Newsletter
    PKCano and Kirsty, AskWoody MVPs
    JoeP517, JWitalka, Rick Corbett, Satrow, Windows Secrets Admins

    Woody Leonhard, Eponymous Factotum