Asking why AOL screws up nearly everything they touch is like asking why the sun shines on a clear day, but I’m a sucker for tradition, and for two years running I’ve done so, so why not a third? It’s reasonable to expect this is the last Top 5 I’ll ever do on AOL since the company is dying. With no further ado, AOL’s top five blunders of 2008:
Updated 2-26-09 with a separate review of AOL 9.5 and again on 2-28-09.
AOL has a new desktop client in Beta called AOL Classic. What’s exciting about it is…tabbed browsing! Do I hear you ask, “What else?” That’s it. What else do you need? Don’t tell me you “need” stuff like browser skins and add-ons…hey, I remember when people used Gopher and Archie to surf the Web…this is really modern compared to that. AOL even did something with the menus. After I got down rolling around in strong spasms of tremendous joy at the thought of being able to open…new tabs…in a classic AOL client, I installed the damn thing. That ended even the flimsiest notion of AOL Classic offering me much more than deja vu of why I canceled AOL three years ago.
Republished 12-30-08. Last updated 12-03-09.
If you are getting error messages when you try to remove AOL from Vista, please see this post, or see this post for error messages on Windows 7. If AOL won’t shut down before you remove it, or if keeps running after you remove it, see this FAQ.
Note: This tutorial will also help you remove AOL OpenRide, AOL Desktop Search and AOL Explorer 1.5. Unfortunately, I can’t fit that many versions of AOL into the title of this post, or into the sidebar.
This is interesting: Joe Manna happened to catch a comment on the PeopleConnection blog from the Ficlets creator, Kevin Lawver, a long-time AOLer who left the company in May. Kevin wrote about Ficlets:
I knew this was coming, I just didn’t know the day. I tried, with the help of some great people, to get AOL to donate ficlets to a non-profit, with no luck. I asked them just to give it to me outright since I invented it and built it with the help of some spectacular developers and designers. All of this has gone nowhere.
Just got a comment on my blog from “Frank” saying:
I just found out – not sure if this is true – that AOL has sold off (is selling off) all its international operations. This has already happened to the Uk and Australia. If you use webmail or have set up a free webmail post box (as suggested on every AOL home page) – and are not an AOL paying subscriber, you will suddenly be ‘cut off’ leaving you with a sign in screen message saying that you’re not in the US and your account has been cancelled. This applies to everyone who has a .com email address originally outside the US (about 50M people). They will now be moved to .co.uk (for the UK) and .com.au (for Australia).
Updated 12-7-08 with more information for Ficlets users and 1-13-09 with new information on importing Circavie timelines to Dipity.
OK, I’ll admit it: I feel bad for my readers. Some of them are already feeling down over the loss of their small but beloved community and their old photo, video and storage sites. Breaking more bad news for them all the time – which is all I do anymore – is not fun for me, either.
The title of the post was inspired by Twitter’s mringlein, who does not give the phrase “on fire” too pleasant a connotation.