We’ve made our secrets easier to find

Brian livingston By Brian Livingston

The Windows Secrets Newsletter and the online periodical it merged with in 2006, the LangaList, have published thousands of tips over the years.

Now we’ve made it more convenient for you to browse through our brainstorms and find exactly the article that you’ve been needing.

Surf our articles just the way you like

Some people like to use a site’s search box to find the info they seek. Others prefer to cruise navigational links until they run into just the right page.

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As for me, I find myself thinking, “I saw that in Windows Secrets about four weeks ago — how do I get back to that article, now that I really need it?”

I’m pleased to announce that we’ve made it easier for you to find all the dirt we’ve ever published on Microsoft Windows. Just visit our new Windows Secrets Library, where quick summaries of every article are available at the click of a mouse.

As shown in Figure 1, our library page starts out by displaying a compact listing of every top story for an entire year. An icon to the left of each story — and to the left of the “Summaries” heading — allows you to expand one date or all dates in a 12-month period.

Windows secrets library collapse all
Figure 1. Our library initially appears in a collapsed view showing the titles of all the top stories we published in a particular year. (Click the image to visit the page.)

One click on the “Summaries” plus sign and a short summary of every column we posted that year will expand before your eyes, as shown in Figure 2. It’s a fast way to skim the page and jog your memory about the tip you’re trying to dig up.

Windows secrets library collapse all
Figure 2. Click the plus sign to the left of the word “Summaries” to get the expanded view: a capsule description of every article we published on each date.

File-management dialog boxes in Windows have used plus-and-minus signs this way for years. I’m glad we’ve been able to convert our content to use this kind of intuitive interface.

Brent schefflerA lot of credit for the library should go to Brent Scheffler (left), the program director of WindowsSecrets.com. Months ago, he was able to parse out all of the articles from each of the e-mail newsletters we’ve published over the years, posting each article on a separate page.

These days, every paragraph by one of millions of bloggers gets its own page immediately. But dissecting the long e-mails that we’ve used for years to transmit the Windows Secrets Newsletter to you was a daunting task. The result has made it easier for you to search our library of material and hone in on the individual article you want.

Vickie stevensThe actual code base of our expand-and-collapse interface was developed by Vickie Stevens (left), our research director. It’s not as easy as it looks to perfect a system that instantly displays just the right set of articles when you click a link. Vickie has succeeded in making most of our content easily findable, year by year, in our new library.

That goes for our LangaList content, too. We’ve partially finished breaking down the many years of newsletters that were written by our editor-at-large, Fred Langa, into bite-size pages. We also plan to add a new interface to the newsletter that Woody Leonhard published as Woody’s Windows Watch before it merged with Windows Secrets in 2004.

Our library page will probably be a bit slow when 275,000 of you start clicking the links at the same time on Mar. 20. If so, I apologize in advance. Try out the library now, and then visit it again next week after the wave has receded.

To access our library, enter WindowsSecrets.com/library into your browser, or simply use the following link to be transported there:

Surf the Windows Secrets Library


We hope you like the way we’ve laid out as much content as we can. Next month, we’ll announce an improved search engine so you can query every article from Windows Secrets, the LangaList, Woody’s Windows Watch, and even my old Brian’s Buzz on Windows newsletters from 2003!

Brian Livingston is editorial director of WindowsSecrets.com and the co-author of Windows Vista Secrets and 10 other books.
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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2008-03-20: