Monday, November 14, 2005

Thoughts about AOL

My first account with AOL was in 1998.  My then-daughter-in-law insisted it was the best thing for someone with her first computer, since it was "user-friendly".  Along the way I learned to use Internet Explorer rather than the AOL browser, and came to prefer it.  There were cheaper Internet providers around, and I would have left AOL except for one thing:  The Christian Senior chat room, and all the lovely people there.

By the time that chat self-destructed, I had gone to cable-modem, so without that room, I had no reason to keep AOL.  I'd downloaded AOL Instant Messenger, which meant I could still keep in touch with my AOL friends, and even make an AIM chat room where we could all meet together.  I had no regrets.

When I bought a new computer in 2002, I got six months of AOL free.  I wasn't even going to bother with it, but one day in a fit of boredom, I signed on and made myself a new screen name.  I'd use it a few minutes a day, then an hour or two; and before long I was using AOL most of the time.  I found out a lot of things had improved.

E-mail, for instance:  Five years ago, my AOL mailbox contained mostly junk mail.  I got offers of Britany Spears nude pictures, chances to enlarge body parts I don't own, and invitations to meet singles.  "Delete" was the main mail function I used.

They've fixed that now.  If I hear, "You Got Mail", I really do have mail, not porn!

Then there's the free firewall and anti-virus.  I was using AVG antivirus before, and was surprised one day when AOL's McKafee caught a Trojan that AVG had missed.

Two years ago, when I first returned, I tried AOL radio and found it lacking; they advertised too much.  I was working at the time, so I subscribed to commercial-free Yahoo Radio.  When I joined the ranks of the unemployed, I gave up Yahoo and went back to AOL radio.  I was happy to find they've cut way back on the advertising.  And there are so many genres, I can find one to fit any mood.  Today I'm listening to folk:  Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul andMary... wonderfully soothing music that takes me back to the days when I first learned to do a C-chord on my guitar.

Last but not least, there are AOL journals.  This is what will keep me with AOL.  I know there are lots of places on the Internet where you can blog, but this is where I started, and I'm used to it.  Besides, most of the new people I've met are right here, in J-Land. 

If I need help with a journal, there are a couple of real people who will answer my questions:  John Scalzi and Joe, of Magic Smoke.  For instance, this morning I decided to unblock some people I long ago shut out of this journal, and couldn't figure out how to do it.  I e-mailed John and received my answer in short order. 

Most computer experts seem to hate AOL, saying it bogs down computers, puts spyware on your hard drive, and causes a myriad of problems that are beyond my feeble understanding.  And don't forget the intellectuals who say AOL is for idiots who are too lazy or too stupid to learn anything else. 

Personally, I feel AOL is making a great effort at improving themselves.  And I hear there are more, and better, things coming.

Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.  AOL feels a lot like home, these days.

Oh, and for you folks I've had blocked, you won't have to switch names now to read my journal.  I do feel honored that people would take such pains to see what I'm up to, though. 


amy122389 said...

I always hear the 'AOL is for idiots' line, too!  Oh well....I guess MENSA will just have to live without me....  <g>


firestormkids04 said...

Yep, I'm with you 100%.  I wouldn't give up my AOL for anything.  I love J-Land and the rest of AOL has helped my family get involved with my favorite past-time - cruisin' the internet.  Blessings, Penny

robinngabster said...

I admit the aol journals is what keeps me here. I do have lots of frustration with trying to get real tech support or someone who speaks english well enough for me to understand...but I have been with AOL so long now it is part of me.

lordofbutter said...

You know, I got cable. I don't have to have AOL, and I was all set to give it up until I found journals.

Now, I'm tethered to AOL. Anchored like a ship in a dock. Freakin' journals.

amiragabrielle said...

I get a sort of warm feeling, when I read your journal. It sometimes takes me back to my own childhood at my Grandma Howard's in East Tennessee. I love horses and country folk. Don't you? You go over and whom ever it is will ask you if you want something to drink. I have always felt at home with county folk. It's the mentality I guess. Some of us live in the cities now. blaa.. I am working on that though. God bless and thank you for the recipes.


deslily said...

I've been with AOL since the very beginning of my computer days also.. I see many improvements but still have a gripe.. "ads".. until my recent purchase of the new computer i was still using aol 6 and got teased about it.. but now when i see this new one and go back to see version 6.. i wish there was a way i could use it again lol.. gawd i really hate ad's.. and even moreso when they are "animated".. they are sooooo distracting!  I guess i will have to put up with them, I know ads mean money and i know they are in the money making business.. but i still would like it if there was a way to "hide" them once you see them... maybe someday, who knows?  

I may be forced to leave aol just for money reasons but i'm gunna hang on as long as i can.  I've seen some of the others like net zero and they don't thrill me lol...

tropicallanterns said...

AOL is for idiots.  There's nothing on AOL that isn't available on the internet.  So what if AOL has a senior christian chat room--the internet probably has a hundred of them.  Learn how to use the internet for christs' sake.