Tuesday, December 01, 2015

My recent misadventure with AOL

A very odd problem happened on AOL last night.  My inbox reached 100,000 (partly because I don’t have time to open all the semi-spam from legitimate companies and organizations pleading for money), and suddenly emptied itself out.  About twenty minutes later, the emails showed up in the Sent folder, although I can no longer easily see the “sender” and search for it.

However, I thought I had lost the inbox completely.  I needed to save the stubs for the email addresses that I often send to.  I can do that by opening a hypothetical email and starting to spell the email address, when AOL will fill it in.  I did these for about 30 emails, and tried to send it to myself.  Unfortunately, I did it wrong, and it sent this list to one of the recipients.  My apologies to that recipient. (I’ll call soon.)

All of this shows the indirect cost of spam to everyone.

AOL was the leading provider in the pre-dot-com-bubble mid 90s (besides the rather clownish Prodigy).  It was one of northern Virginia’s largest tech employers, when Steve Case ran it.  It also cost a lot more, depending on time logged on, until it went to flat rate pricing.  One day, in 1996, it was down for 24 hours, putting out a lot of people (including me).  It started replacing its own content with regular web protocols (html) around 1997.  But I still used it, in dialup at 56K, as a main way to get on until about 2003.  It offered FTP as part of the account.  It started Hometown AOL (not allowing multiple text files as a pseudo-website until October 1996), but ended it in 2007, allowing Hometown accounts to be moved free to Blogger.  It rather fell into the midst behind the more glamorous social networking sites and, of course, Google.

Gmail is better, but I started AOL email in 1994 (on an IBM PS1) and have so many business accounts tied to it that I stay.
Now, the mail is free, but the subscription includes paywall news content (expanded upon Huffington) and various services (anti-virus, Loclkife, etc.)  

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