Sunday, September 05, 2004

AOL: Don't go there...

Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about Internet Service Providers like AOL and WebTV. Commonly disparaged by the technorati as Internet for Dummies-type services, I find them no easier or cheaper to use than conventional ISPs. They are, however, infinitely more frustrating in their propensity to overload the experience with a torrent of badly-designed and slow pop-up windows and other mindless sludge that destroys the user experience.

WebTV - which dispenses with the PC entirely in favor of a television set-top box - is even worse because it doesn't allow pages to be cached locally. Combine the bloat of today's typical web site with a slow dial-up connection to arrive at one really frustrated power user.

Incidentally, you need not be a power user to experience a doubling in systolic blood pressure while using one of these services. A mere mortal with a need to get a bit of work done sometime before the current millenium runs out and/or the HMS Titanic is refloated from the floor of the North Atlantic will feel similarly thwarted.

And that, in a nutshell, is my research analyst's rant. Which brings me to this latest find, the AOL CD Preservation Guild and Museum. If your mailbox has been assaulted by unwanted AOL CD mailers over the years, or, worse, if you've ever received a panicky phone call from a relative because he/she received an AOL CD and thought it would be cool to put it into the PC, this site's definitely for you.

Other anti-AOL resources that have brought a lewd little smile to my face include:
- Reasons to hate AOL (& Compuserve & Prodigy)
- Things to do with your AOL disks
- Tech Support Guy forums on why you hate AOL
- Article: AOL sets new record for (in)security
- Usenet Newsgroup:


Rich Rosenthal II said...

I always hated that "Goodbye" right before it booted yas from whatever you were working on.

carmilevy said...

It's a nasty interface. They obviously never studied how the great unwashed who subscribe to their service actually interacted with the software. Each release represented another chaotic process of piling on features that no one asked for and no one needed.