Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Hate AOL

I used to be a loyal AOL customer. Had an AOL address. Used AOL as my homepage. But I gradually grew tired of them.

I know, it's trendy to hate on AOL, but that's not the reason I disliked them. What did it for me was the celebrity-rag AOL front page. Every time I went online, Britney Spears was staring at me. Or Justin Timberlake. Or Cameron Diaz. AOL's front page was attempting to be a "news and information" portal, but it seemed the only news they thought I wanted was entertainment news. I emailed customer service, asking them if I could set my preferences to "literature" or "science" or "anything not related to pop culture," but nope. I was stuck with what I got.

So I took advantage of free internet access through my place of employment, switched to gmail, cancelled AOL, and never looked back.

Except that I kept Instant Messenger. Enough of the youth group kids did AIM that it seemed worth keeping, especially since it was free and relatively unobtrusive.

I still have AIM on my computer, and every once in awhile I'll see a former youth group member on there and we'll chat for a moment or two. But other than that, AOL is out of my life.

This morning, I got a "you need to upgrade AIM" message. And dutifully I clicked the "upgrade" button. I de-clicked all the options, like "make AOL your home page, your default search engine, the beneficiary on your life insurance, etc." Just trying to upgrade AIM, that's all I needed.

Once it was loaded, it restarted my Firefox browser. And guess what?

They've taken over. The first thing I see is this monstrous, black-trimmed AIM box taking up the right 1/4th of my screen. But even worse, my browser went right to the AOL homepage, where I was confronted with - guess who? - Britney Spears. and Paris Hilton. and "The Hills cast pics." and "Did your fav hottie get snubbed?" It's like opening up my latest edition of Harpers to discover it's been taken over by Entertainment Weekly. And to top it all of, there, crowding the top of my browser, is the AOL task bar that I had chosen NOT to install.

It's like the antichrist has invaded my computer.

With a little work I got AIM to close, and I removed the task bar. But I turned off the computer, rebooted, reopened firefox, and once again, the AIM Dashboard (read: AOL homepage) popped back up.

Seriously, this is why people grew to hate AOL in the first place - they don't respect the boundaries of their customers. No wonder they're going under. I just hope I can purge this computer of their insidious presence. Anybody know of a liturgy for computer exorcisms out there I can use?

1 comment:

Brad Boydston said...

Try doing a system restore for a time marker before you upgraded. OR completely remove all AIM programs from your computer. Then just use Gmail chat to chat with your AIM list. Gmail has it integrated in there.