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2016’s Most Popular Articles

My, oh, my, but hasn’t 2016 been a year full of controversy and change?

And yes, I really am just talking about technology. :-)

As we start the new year, it’s good to review exactly what grabbed people’s attention in 2016.

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Most viewed articles

These are the articles that garnered the most “page views”, in web-speak; the articles that the most people visited.

In descending order:

10. Why am I getting spam from myself? – Getting spam from yourself? We all do. I’ll look at why it happens; what, if anything, you can do about it; and something unlikely but important to check.

9. What’s an “Internal Server Error” and how do I fix it? – An “Internal Server Error” is an error that happened within the web server attempting to show you an HTML page. It’s typically a server-side problem outside your control.

8. Why are pictures not showing in email? – There are many reasons you might find pictures not showing in email. I’ll review the complex world that is email, and some of the things that can go wrong.

7. What’s a browser cache? How do I clear it? Why would I want to? – “Clear your browser cache” is often the first response tech people give when you encounter web page problems. We’ll look at why that is and how to clear the cache.

6. Four ways to go back to Windows 7 or 8 from Windows 10 – Windows 10 is here. If, after trying it, you find yourself wanting to go back to Windows 7, there are a few approaches.

5. How do I get into my Hotmail/ account if I don’t have the recovery phone or email any more? – If you don’t have access to your account recovery phone number or alternate email address, there is a process to regain access to your account – maybe.

4. Can I use a charger that provides the same voltage but a different amperage? – Chargers and power supplies come in a wide variety of configurations. Choosing the right one is important. I’ll look at a few of the parameters.

3. My Taskbar is missing and I have no Start button. What do I do? – Both the Taskbar and Start button disappeared. We’ll look at solutions for several reasons why this might have happened.

2. How do I recover my Facebook login password? – If you’ve lost your Facebook log-in password, there are a couple of ways to recover access to your account.

1. What’s the difference between a hub, a switch, and a router? – Hubs, switches, and routers are all computer networking devices with varying capabilities. Unfortunately, the terms are also often misused.

2016 Most Popular

Honestly, there’s no real surprise here. If anything, this represents some of the articles that rank highly in the search engine, and hence are responsible for Ask Leo! attracting new visitors.

The hub/switch/router article in the top spot has done well since its first appearance all the way back in 2003! It’s been updated a time or two since then, but the concepts remain relatively unchanging (albeit clearly confusing for many).

The Windows 10 article is really the only truly new appearance overall. As you might imagine (and as you’ll see in a moment) Windows 10 garnered the lion’s share of controversy this year. It’s really no surprise that wanting to switch back to whatever it was you had before would be a popular item on the list.

The rest are a pretty accurate reflection of both the breadth and types of questions I get every single day.

Most commented-on articles

I find the number of comments on an article to be perhaps a more interesting measure of just how valuable – or perhaps controversial – an article is. There was no shortage of controversy this year – and one surprise … at least for me.

Once again, in descending order, based on the number of comments made in 2016.

We Need to Talk… – Sometimes done is done, and it’s time to move on. Put a fork in it…

  • A video discussing the demise of Windows XP, and that it’s time to move on. 100 comments. (Ironic, since “Four Options for XP Die-hards” was just published a week or two ago. :-) )

Why Do Websites Use Pop-ups? – Pop-ups driving you crazy? Let’s look at why they exist and how they “pay for” some of the best free information on the internet.

  • This falls into the “controversial” category simply because people love to point out how annoyed they are when they get the Ask Leo! newsletter popup. You know, the pop-up that you should see maybe once a month, and that I’ve repeatedly stated is absolutely critical to Ask Leo!‘s survival? That one. 106 comments.

What’s Up with Microsoft and Email? – In the wake of Microsoft’s announced withdrawal of support for synchronization with Windows Live Mail 2012, I reviewed some of the implications, including an update to my position on getting free email programs from Microsoft.

  • A video post lamenting Microsoft’s confusing approach to email, email services, and email programs, right down to their choice of names, and how great a disservice their approach has been to so many people. 117 comments.

Clearing Up Some Windows 10 Misconceptions – I recently had a question from someone that contained several common misconceptions about Windows 10. Let’s clear a few of those up…

  • Not surprisingly, Windows 10 is well represented in the “most commented on” list. With so much FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt), fueled by misinformation, in this video I attempted to clear up a couple of the major sources of concern. 139 comments.

Should I Upgrade to Windows 10? – The most common question related to Windows 10 seems to have been “Should I upgrade?”

  • To upgrade or not to upgrade, that is the question. In fact, I’ll call it the question for 2016. Not surprisingly, there’s no shortage of opinions on the answer. 160 comments (and counting).

Edge Versus Internet Explorer – How Microsoft’s strategy for pushing Edge seems to be dooming both Edge and IE (and how you can get IE back in Windows 10).

  • A Windows 10 discussion by another name, in this video I discuss how Microsoft’s having pushed a less-than-complete Edge to the foreground while hiding Internet Explorer in Windows 10 effectively doomed them both. 170 comments.

4 Alternatives for Windows Live Mail and – is dropping support for Windows Live Mail 2012. I’ll look at what that really means, and outline some options Microsoft failed to mention.

  • As I mentioned above, Microsoft has missed the mark repeatedly. When Windows Live Mail 2012 connections to were confusingly crippled, people were in search of clarity, and not surprisingly, alternatives. And, apparently, a place to vent. 196 comments.

Encryption, Padlocks, and Back Doors – Government agencies are increasingly pushing for a “back door” to encryption. I’ll look at what that means, and why it’s such a horrible idea.

  • I suspect that 2017 might be the year of privacy and security, but it got a head start in 2016 as the (completely flawed) concept of encryption back doors made the rounds in various political circles. I discuss why it’s such a bad idea in this video, which garnered 196 comments.

More Focus on Windows 10 – Focus is slowly shifting to Windows 10, and I’m curious what you think of it these days. Likes? Dislikes? Things you can’t find? Not so much complaints, but opportunities where I can help?

  • In this video, I asked for your concerns about Windows 10. I was not disappointed. 203 comments.

Windows 10 Behaves Like Malware – Windows 10 is a fine operating system, but it’s being tarnished by the over-the-top tactics Microsoft used to get people to upgrade.

  • There are many things that stand out about Windows 10’s rollout, but nothing – and I mean nothing – got people more riled up than the approach Microsoft took to getting people to upgrade, whether they wanted to or not. The process literally used techniques commonly attributed to malware. Naturally, this video discussing the situation resonated with a lot of people, and made it the most commented-on Ask Leo! article in 2016, with 274 comments – a full 33% more comments than the runner-up.

That Windows 10 might be responsible for most of the commentary left on my site is really no surprise. The five Windows-10 related articles listed above generated 946 comments in all – roughly 10% of all non-spam comments left this year. Given that those five articles represent less than one half of one percent of the content on which people can leave comments, you can quickly see that Windows 10 definitely got disproportionate attention.

My surprise? That the video posts got this much attention. In part I suspect it has as much to do with topic selection as actual presentation format, but it’s something I’ll be factoring into my future video plans.

And now … onward to 2017!

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7 comments on “2016’s Most Popular Articles”

  1. With 175 comments in 4 days and growing fast, the last article of 2016 (To Video? or Not to Video?) is becoming the most commented one of the year. The results seem to indicate it’s the content not the medium which is generating the comments, as the videos tend to be the more editorial kinds of articles. Most technical articles tend to get mostly questions or “it worked for me” comments.

    I somehow find it surprising that “What’s the difference between a hub, a switch, and a router?” is number one, as other subjects seem they would apply to a wider audience. It’s one of the geekiest articles on Ask Leo! It’s probably because it’s the best article on the subject and Google recognizes that and sends people there. Maybe an SEO technique would be to do some articles on things which others are not writing about, even though they might appeal to a narrower audience.

    • The hub, switch, router article does not surprise me. In fact, that’s the article that first got me to Ask Leo! 4 or 5 years ago. I suspect most people are like me and are looking to do something different with the internet in their house. They’ve got smart phones and want to go wi-fi, or just bought a laptop or a second computer. They start looking at networking options, and as Leo says, networking is hard. They get easily confused over whether they need a hub or a router. And maybe someone told them that either would do, but get wondering about security.

      I forget exactly what it was that I was searching for, but Ask Leo! came up at the top or near the top of my Google search 4 or 5 years ago. I liked the title, read the article and decided to subscribe.

  2. “These are the articles that garnered the most ‘page views’ … In descending order:”

    I hope this isn’t too smart-alecky, but wouldn’t this be *ascending* order, with #10 (which you list first) being less accessed than #1?


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