Wednesday, February 07, 2018

What Is Up With AOL?

When the Internet first became a "thing," my only access was through America Online. At the time, it was a dial-up service with an 800 number and that is how I first accessed this new technology. My local phone service did not offer access, and I live out in a rural area that still has limited Internet connection.

So my first experience with the Internet was that EEERRRRR  WWWOOOOO DWEEEE sound that one used to receive upon connection, followed by, "You've Got Mail."

That was, as best as I can tell, on June 20, 1994 (according to my AOL account information). I set up a main account and two other accounts, both of which I still use, because I think at the time you were allowed three. Then it went to five, then to seven.

So I've been with AOL for 23 years, and I've had the same email accounts for 23 years. For a long time I paid a monthly fee for Internet access, and then about the time AOL became "free" (with advertisements) my local provider finally offered DSL in my area, so I switched to that and kept the free email accounts.

Over the years AOL has been, more or less, reliable. The stuff surrounding AOL has changed - there used to be active groups you could join, a closed community sort of thing. I made some friends online during that time, a few of whom I still keep in touch with. Never met them in person and probably never will, but we've followed one another from AOL to gmail to Facebook or whatever.

I stopped using AOL software a long time ago (and recently threw away a bunch 3.5 disks that had American Online 2.0 on them). I access it via my browser. For the longest time it has worked fine - a little menu came down so I could select which email account I wanted, it remembered my password, I went in and did my business, and came back out and went to the next account.

Now AOL seems to not want me to do that. It wants me to sign in constantly. This wouldn't be such a big deal if my password was something easy, like "password" but AOL, you may recall, had a breach in 2014. I changed my passwords and they are the most convoluted things you ever saw.

I am hoping this is a hiccup in what used to be a fairly decent email service, but if it continues I may have to look for something else - or somehow stick with a single AOL account. That will be difficult but not impossible. One of the accounts I use for the junk stuff that businesses want to send out; the other I use for personal mail, not business mail. I have yet another account (not AOL) for that. (At one time I had 11 email accounts. Whew.)

Other people use AOL because it is familiar. It still says, "You've Got Mail" to me sometimes (not every time, which is kind of weird). I have adapted as the thing has changed, but after a while you get tired of typing in long passwords.

I did every search I could think of to see if there was something up with these recent quirks in AOL but nothing satisfactory came up as an answer. There is a problem going on - I see other references to it in various places, but not sure what is happening.


  1. I LOVED AOL back in the day. I was part of several communities and loved the message boards.

  2. always loved AOL When I first go internet I had a 4 party line (that was very interesting to say the least.
    we live rural our supposed DSL isn't as fast as much and sometimes it is just like dial up all over again.

    I need to toss some of those 3.5" disc as well, they have tons ( or so we thought in the day) of pictures on them. I do still have a computer that reads them that will be a project for another day as I literally found a box that is about 12X12 completely full of those rascals. Hope you get you internet issue fixed
    have you tried resetting your modem? sometimes it can be simple like that

  3. Hi there.... Just call me Barbie! To be honest I did not know that AOL was even a thing anymore. I'm surprised to know that for some people it is, and was even more surprised to find out that a next door neighbor has AOL email. Seems forever ago when we were always getting AOL discs in the mail wanting us to use it, but we never did. Have always used email supplied by our internet provider for the most part. Sure do remember that dial up tone! LOL


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