Yes, there is life after e-mail newsletters

Fred langa By Fred Langa

After more than 30 years of battling tech-writing deadlines, I found last May that it was time for something completely different.

A hair-raising encounter with a tornado is just one of the adventures I’ve experienced since then.

In andout of the world of Windows

Test, test … is this thing still on? Can you hear me in the back? It’s been a while since I appeared in these pages, but it’s nice to drop in. I thought I’d give you a brief update on what I’ve been doing for the past months since I retired from full-time writing.

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With regard to Windows: Like many of you, I’ve experienced some frustrations with Vista. My primary, XP-based PC has several subsystems for which there are no Vista drivers. I can’t upgrade it to Vista without trashing some perfectly good hardware, and I’m not going to do that.

My laptop can run Vista, but it’s just a bit too underpowered to run Vista at a speed I’m comfortable with. After using Vista on it for many months, I finally reverted to XP Pro.

It’s too bad, because I like Vista (it’s visually gorgeous, with a number of useful improvements). But for now, the benefits of upgrading simply aren’t worth the costs to me.

Chasing tornados and video-blogging about it

Most of what I’ve been doing has nothing to do with Windows. For example, this spring I went on a tornado chase in the American heartland and got within about 1,000 feet (300 meters) of a major tornado outside Quinter, Kansas. I posted some videos of our storm chase on Google Video. It’s in segments: parts One, Two, Three, and Four.

There’s more information and links to a ton of still photos (including a real-life encounter with the tank-like Tornado Intercept Vehicle, or TIV, that you may have seen on the Discovery Channel) on a small blog I’ve started.

After 30+ years in tech writing, I’ve also been using the blog to experiment with other forms of writing including science essays, humor pieces, and more: all with an eye toward finding what I’ll do next, now that I’m not under the gun of the constant deadlines of newsletter publishing. It’s been fun to try new things.

Those of you who remember the eight-part Housecall series that I published in this newsletter might enjoy reading one of my larger writing experiments: a photo-essay of the rest of the ocean-to-ocean motorcycle trip I took last summer. It’s posted on Adventure Rider, a free motorcyclist site.

Although I’m no longer routinely writing about Windows, I’m very glad Windows Secrets is doing well and growing so spectacularly. Congratulations to everyone involved, especially you, the readers of Windows Secrets and Support Alert, who should benefit from being served by such a large, healthy publication.

If you feel like it, drop by my blog and say “Hi!”

Fred Langa was editor and editor-at-large of the Windows Secrets Newsletter from November 2006 to May 2008. He was editor of Byte Magazine (1987–91), editorial director of CMP Media (1991–96), and editor of the LangaList e-mail newsletter (1997–2006), which merged with Windows Secrets.
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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2008-07-24:

Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.