AOL closing down Xdrive, Bluestring and AOL Pictures by Dec. 31st.

Last updated 12-6-08 with new information on transferring Xdrive files to Elephant Drive.

*sigh*

This post does not change the fact that I’m currently on hiatus from blogging (update: I’m back as of 11-19), but people will stop believing me if AOL doesn’t stop dismantling their entire business.

As part of AOL’s previously mentioned restructuring plan, Xdrive, Bluestring and AOL Pictures will shut down by Dec. 31st.

Any files not removed from these services by Dec. 31st will be deleted, and all links and special online tools (called “APIs”) for displaying them will become unusable.

Here is a reprinted AOL FAQ from the Washington Post that explains what’s going on.

What to do?

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AOL Journal Users: How to get your files when all else fails.

The options you’ve been given for preserving your years of writing, photo-swapping and friendship-making on AOL Journals are not all that great: you can either download your files or transfer them to a new web host named Blogger. That’s all.

Not only are your options limited, since AOL put little thought into helping you move elsewhere, some of you are also having problems transferring your files.

This post is about how to capture your data if every other method has failed you.

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“AOL Hit List” Examined

Last updated 12-06-08 concerning which AOL message boards are being shut down.

11-22-08 Just discovered that Joe Manna had the same idea I did and expanded the hit list using information gleaned from years on the inside. Check it out…helps my post make more sense in many respects.

Silicon Alley Insider recently posted an ““AOL Hit List”, saying: “We’ve got an internal list of 50+ projects AOL has shuttered or plans to shutter.” I thought I’d try to break it down more specifically.

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How to import your blog from AOL Journals to Blogger.

Hi, J-Land members. Good news for you today – instead of downloading your journals using FTP, a traditional web browser, WGet or Backstreet Browser (methods that all have their drawbacks) as of this morning you can now export (that is, “transfer”) your journal directly to Blogger by following the simple steps on this Blogger Help page. If you want to then export your blog to WordPress, just follow these instructions. As I find more platforms you can export your new Blogger blog to, I will add more links to this post.

How to download your AOL Journal or Hometown with BackStreet Browser.

Last updated 10-15-2008 with “Copy To” steps.

AOL Hometown and Journals will close down on Oct. 31st. All journals and uploaded content will be deleted, so download your files from AOL’s servers as soon as possible. What follows is a tutorial for Windows users on how to use BackStreet Browser to download your files from AOL.

UPDATE 10-8-2008: Hi, J-Land members. Thanks for stopping by. Good news for you today – instead of downloading your journals using FTP, a traditional web browser, WGet or Backstreet Browser (methods that all have their drawbacks) as of this morning you can now export (that is, “transfer”) your journal directly to Blogger by following the simple steps on this Blogger Help page. If you want to then export your blog to WordPress, just follow these instructions. As I find more platforms you can export your new Blogger blog to, I will add more links to this post.

The best way to back up your AOL Journals and Hometown websites is with an absolutely free website downloader called BackStreet Browser. I tested this downloader on the Magic Smoke Blog at AOL and my own blogs and it worked perfectly. Downloading your files is fast, easy and does not require any action on your part once you set BackStreet Browser up. Let’s get started…

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Help for AOL Hometown and Journal users.

Vish, the Editor of AOL Journals who runs the Magic Smoke blog, has written repeatedly that AOL is working with the people who run Google’s Blogger platform to get all of your content imported to them by Oct. 7th at the earliest. I have no idea if this is true. I’ll try to contact both Vish and other Editor at AOL writers for more details. To quote Vish’s most recent post on it:

To Paul, yes a copy of your journal will be made on Blogger. Your journal will still be available till Nov 1st. Also, the migration will be opened up to Journals users starting on or after Oct. 7th. We will be using this week to iron out any kinks in the process.

To Sherri – I would not worry about the migration too much. It should be fairly straightforward. Blogger will also have a helpdesk that you can send email to, if you have any issues and a live real person will respond and help out. So, all efforts have been made to minimize the pain.

To Yasmin (cayasm) and everybody else – Your journals will be copied over in its ENTIRETY (entries, comments, about me). So, anything else you hear is not true.

10-3-08, an update: Not much of an update, just more information found here concerning the alleged migration of AOL users to Blogger:

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AOL Hometown and Journals shutting down.

AOL has announced that AOL Hometown and Journals are shutting down on Oct. 31st. The first I heard of it was in an email today from “C”:

This morning me and the millions of other AOHell users who have Journals at AOL received an email saying effective Nov. 1, there would not longer be an AOL Journals. Do you know of any blog sites (free or for a fee) that would allow me to transfer my current AOL Journal to their site?

Hope you can help me. Your site is awesome.

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Work for AOL? Please read this.

I had a hard time finding out what happened to Laura Peterson. As a few readers might recall from a deleted post on Anti-AOL last week, she was the AOL Product Manager who wanted me to let my readers know she was offering help to those of you with questions about using AOL.

I was happy to hear from her since I get a lot of those questions myself and would love to defer them to someone else (since I don’t really know how to answer them) so I wrote a post on Anti-AOL (since deleted) that let AOL users know about her and Lee Givens, who wants to help people use AOL on Mac.

Three or four days later I got my first hint that something was wrong when a long-time reader and friend of mine left a comment asking me if Ms. Peterson had been fired. Not knowing what he was talking about, I reproached him for his comment (because even if I had known what he was talking about, I think it would have been more polite to address his question to her, not me).

I got my first hint that at least it was an honest question when I looked Ms. Peterson’s blog over last week and saw the most recent post was Goodbye! Whoops. What was going on here?

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