Monday, September 18, 2006

AOL(#2) AOL(#2)

I did finally use my brand new AOL mail account, and it was not a disappointment. It was almost as kludgy as the sign up procedures, though it wasn't quite as bad. The sign up seems to be doing something very weird with either HTML or Javascript, so that its resonse is abysmal. In the actual email interface, the text still isn't placed right, but it isn't quite as hampered by text in text boxes only being 3/4 visible. My guess is that they write to IE, and to heck with anyone else (and for any number of reasons, I refuse to use IE unless absolutely necessary).

One cute little feature is that when you sign on to mail the first time, they automatically try to launch a feature to import your datebook, in order to notify everyone there of your new AOL account, and then to set up to forward all your correspondence from your old email account to your new AOL account.

Sounds like a nice feature, if anyone would actually think of moving permanently in that direction. Of course, AOL's big business model problem is just the opposite - it is considered by many to be Internet training wheels, and when you learn enough to navigate on your own, you jump ship. And if the board at Time Warner had actually tried AOL before allowing themselves to be bought out by them, they should have known that this interface is at best, horrible.

Someone like me, who is more cynical, and less charitable, would probably think that this was a way to lock people into AOL. Of course, the company doesn't help its side of the argument by making it almost impossible to drop their services.

Finally here, I thought, what the heck, I will get set up for Instant Messanger. That was until it told me to disable my pop-up blocker. As if. The constant stream of constantly changing advertisements is bad enough using their email system. The last thing I want is for them to start magically appearing on my screen.

Which brings me to another AOL gripe about it being obviously designed for IE. Everything you do there pops up new windows. One after another. I am used to Mozilla tabs, where I can have a dozen sites up at once, in only two windows (I average 6-8 tabs per window). And this is with pop-ups blocked.

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