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500 and change

This week marks the publication of issue #500 (Five Hundred!) of The Ask Leo Newsletter.

I’m taking the occurrence of this fairly random round number as an opportunity to make a few tweaks to the newsletter and what I do here at Ask Leo!.

Things are a’hoppin here at Ask Leo! world headquarters, that I can tell you.

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The Ask Leo! Answercast

With last week’s edition #160 I’ve decided to put The Ask Leo! Answercast on hiatus for a while.

As simple as it was in concept – I talk for 45 minutes or so and crack team of assistants and editors1 turn that into half a dozen published articles each week.

The original goal was to be able to answer more questions than if I had to write each one by hand. The problem is that not all questions can be answered just by talking. In fact, more and more questions really called for showing you the answer rather than just talking at you. That typically means articles written to include screen shots, and occasionally also step-by-step videos.

You may have noticed a couple of videos already making their way onto the site as a result.

So while I might not be able to get quite as many questions answered each week, the hope is that those I do answer will be answered more completely and clearly.

One of the other reasons the Answercast is on hiatus is to try and free up more time for publishing books. As I mentioned earlier this year, due to declining advertising revenue, it really is a key component to Ask Leo!’s survival.

The Ask Leo! Website

I’ve made a not-so-subtle change to the Ask Leo! web site; in part to make it more mobile friendly (the number of visitors coming to Ask Leo! from mobile devices has slowly been growing), and in part to make it simpler and easier to read.

There’s a trend in website design to do away with columns. And I have to admit that I really like the feel of visiting a site that simply shows you content. So that’s what I’ve done. Ask Leo! article pages are now single-column. The right hand column that included a newsletter subscription form, as well as an ad or two, is history.

Now, I can’t promise that they’ll stay this way. Newsletter subscriptions are an incredibly important part of what keeps Ask Leo! viable, and I’ve removed one of the ways that people can sign up. However the pop-up subscription form that you should only see once every 180 days, (though this may change to once a month) is, by far, the most effective way that I get subscriptions; so we’ll see if I can survive on that alone.

The same holds true for the lost ad revenue for the ads that had been displayed to the right. I’m hoping that the cleaner design will bring more visitors, and that the increased book efforts will help compensate for the loss.

Hopefully you’ll appreciate what feels like a cleaner and lighter feel to the pages.

The Ask Leo! Newsletter

When I changed the website design last year I didn’t follow through completely on the look-and-feel of the newsletter, so I’ve made a couple of simple tweaks that make the newsletter resemble the site a little more.

In addition to the departure of Answercasts from the newsletter, I’ve re-instated the featured glossary item. Be sure and let me know if you have a word that you’d like to see defined.

The future

This last week I had a non-tech, non-Ask Leo! opportunity made available to me. I’m not ready to be more specific just yet, but I’ll absolutely be announcing it here when it’s more fleshed out. I think that many of you will appreciate what might be happening.

I’m also investigating making an https site, in part to support your privacy and in part to simply make a statement. No, there’s nothing particularly sensitive about the data presented and exchanged on Ask Leo!, but https thwarts a certain level of snooping nonetheless. It also makes administration of my site just a tiny bit more secure when I’m out and about.

The bottom line resulting from this weeks changes simply boils down to this:

  • More in-depth, how-to and illustrative articles
  • A cleaner look and feel
  • More books
  • Continued Ask Leo!

Thanks, as always, for your continued interest and support. It’s truly appreciated.

And yes, I’m looking forward to hitting newsletter #1,000 some day. :-)

Next week: survey results – some of which actually factored in to this week’s changes.


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Footnotes & references

1: OK, OK, lest you think things are way bigger than they are, that would be my crack team of assistants Connie (audio processing & article posting) and Andrea S. (transcript), along with editor/re-writer Andrea M.

30 comments on “500 and change”

  1. {{ More in-depth, how-to and illustrative articles }}

    Wohoo, I welcome this. At least 90% of what I’ve learned about fixing my own (and others) computers, I’ve learned from you Leo. As long as you have a newsletter and website, I’ll be here.

  2. I do enjoy the Answercasts, but I couldn’t find the time to listen to them, so I’m barely finishing up the 2013 Answercasts! I do plan to listen to all of them and I hope the archives remain available…if for no other reason, to have a “plea for common sense” available in case someone I know really needs to hear it :).

    • Answercasts and their transcipts will remain available at The articles that resulted from the answercasts will remain at as well. :-)

  3. i got a computer for the first time a little over 2 years ago at 56 years old. i was completely green. everything i know about keeping it running and keeping it safe i learned from you Leo. i have even
    helped a few people with the basics. i`m gonna stick with Leo as long as he`ll have me.

  4. Have been a subscriber to your newsletter for 2 or 3 years now and have purchased several of your well written books. Thought I was pretty knowledgeable about computers until I started following your writings, so will continue reading your advise in what ever form it takes.

  5. Congratulations for your 500th Newsletter and thank you for being so dedicated to educating us about the sometime nebulous world of computing and the Internet.

  6. I Want to Thank you for many years of Service that you have provided for all of us. I have learned a lot from your website and just keep on learning. You are the “Go To” site when it comes to : How, What, Why, and nearly throwing my computer across the room. :-) Again? Thank you and I’ll always be here as long as there are Computers !!

  7. Just read your June 17 (approx.), 2014 copy of “Ask Leo.” If you need to send out another “fiscal support needed” message in your Newsletter, make sure I’m on that list of supporters. Keep up the good work, I love and need your newsletter. Bruce Leet

  8. Thanks for your past and future help. You are the reason I have Reflect Pro. The free version didn’t do what I needed and the Pro version has saved my bacon many times.

  9. I have been receiving your news letters over a few years now and many times your “Ask Leo” has helped with a problem I have had, and I will continue to read them as soon as they arrive in my inbox.
    By the way I am as they term it now a senior citizen approaching 80 years old and still update, upgrade and repair the computers of my own and my wife both of which I built, so to all your readers, yourself and staff, and just remember that age is no barrier to achieving any thing.
    My best wishes to you all

  10. Thank you for all the hard work and thoughts you put into your website, it really is so useful for those of us who need help in our daily use of the computer.
    Once again, thank you.
    Paul Hogan.

  11. Just thought I would comment on the changes. I think it is a great idea. Sleek and easy to read. In any event keep up the good work and good luck with whatever is to be in the future.

  12. Congratulations on achieving number 500. I have been a subscriber for around eight years now and I have read every newsletter that’s come my way. I may not read all of the associated articles, but I read the newsletter from top to bottom. Good luck on the next 500!

  13. On my latest desk top computer, which runs Windows 8.1 , I cannot find a way to access MS – DOS , if it’s possible to run ms-dos programmes in windows 8.1 , could you show/tell how?.
    Many thanks, Roger

  14. Thanks so much for all you’re doing to help all of us. When your newsletter appears in my email, it’s the first thing I go to. You’ve helped in so many ways, explaining in understandable terms, what this information revolution is all about. I’ve recommended your website and newsletter to many friends and they appreciate it as well.
    Keep up the great work!

  15. Leo, Why do you allow that ad stating in big letters that “Your computer is slow”. That is just so much BS and I would call it a scam. But perhap you haven’t seen it? .
    Please comment.

  16. At age 92 I feel that I have either invented or been an early user of all possible mistakes in using computers. My “get out of jail free card” is Leo.

  17. As another Leo I have been following Your newsletter for nearly a decade, always informative and useful .
    But whatever happened to “Buy Leo a Latte” ;-) . No more coffeebreaks ?
    Keep it up

    • It’s still around ( but I’ve been focussing on encouraging people to buy books. It feels like we both benefit more directly from the transaction :-).

      And, oh yes, coffee remains an important component of “Ask Leo! fuel”.

  18. You see, Leo, change for the sake of change! (b.t.w. I’ve been round the sun 57 times but who’s counting – and who cares? – but why change things just because of a number?)

    • This was not “change for the sake of change”. It was change to make Ask Leo! more readable, and a more pleasant inviting experience for those looking for their answers. The Answercast change wasn’t “change for the sake of change”, it was change to make more of my time available for more productive and personally enjoyable ways.

      I think that the common refrain of “change for the sake of change” more often than not overlooks that whomever is making the change has real, honest reasons. You may disagree with the reasons, but I’d absolutely think long and hard before you claim something is just “change for the sake of change”.

  19. Speaking of DOS, I cut my teeth on it on anew TRS 80 back in the 70s. I worked as a salesman for RS.
    I wrote a lot of DOS programs.
    Have a great day.

  20. Thank you for all your help. You are the first place I look when having problems. however, I have always looked at your newsletters even if all was going well. I appreciate that you will tell “why” in addition to just how. May you stay healthy and safe and can keeping working for many years to come. THANK YOU

  21. Great Job. I like the new Design. Awsome site.I subscribe, I don’t know how I found Your site in the first place.
    Thanks, Ric

  22. Leo: Would be VERY interested in reading an article that details your experience in moving your site to HTTPS! There is a cooperative that provides the online functionality for the public libraries in my area: catalog look-ups, item requests, etc. Surprisingly — actually, alarmingly — they do NOT support secure connections. Wondering if the cost and/or difficulty of making this change is what’s causing them to drag their a– … er, feet.


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