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nlinecomputers

AOL hacking into end user computers.

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Cluttermagnet
Completely off-topic...  I had to take some of my antennae down - airplanes were mistaking my back yard for a locater beacon... :) d|:^)Dick
I used to have a 2el triband quad on my 120ft tower. Spreaders were fiberglass painted white. My younger brother, a private pilot, told me the guys at the local airpark had all taken to using my quad as a visual navaid on final approach just prior to taking that last 180 and beginning descent. That white "X" visible to starboard just before that final turn was probably a welcome sight to some of those guys and gals. I almost hated to take it down but the winds broke all the wires eventually, so I finally got smart and just put a yagi up there instead.

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Prelude76

dicknite, you raised good points. which leads me to my biggest beef with the entire computer industry:make 2 types of windows; one for 'techies' and one for ... ah, whats a good term... not newbies, or illetrates... just people that dont have time, motivation, energy, to even THINK about *patching* and *viruses* and customizing windows. they dont want to learn, and its ok. but the way windows is these days, its not easy and self-maintaining enough that complete non-techies can use it well for many years without accumulating a dozen viruses and spywares in the meantime. and on the other hand, us techies these days have a HUGE list of mandatory tweaks we have to do to a fresh install of XP to restore back to what we want. kill the stupid WELCOME screen, kill the idiotic new START menu, zap that annoying "i've hidden your desktop icons" tool, disable the moronic built-in zip folders. i've decided to stick with win2003 SERVER on my home system only because many of those 'features' are all turned off by default. saves me a lot of headaches during re-installs. so come on, microsoft. make 2 windows. one thats a fully automatic XP box that can even slice your bread for you, and one that comes with a plain no-option windows on which we can build from scratch. maybe even a windows we compile ourselves like Gentoo linux. :)

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Ed_P

I think we crossed into Water Cooler territory aways back. In fact quite aways back. o:) Maybe Scot can start a new forum called AOL for all our AOL visitors and issues and move this there. While that's kinda tongue-in-cheekish it's not a bad idea. When I get support calls from folks needing help with AOL issues I'm hard pressed to help them since I don't have AOL, and have no intention of getting it for $24/mo just to answer a couple of questions every few months. So having a forum of AOL experts who can answer questions like "I can connect fine when I'm in the office but it doesn't connect when I'm at home. What's wrong?" and "How do I automatically add my name to my emails?". I've had both those questions within the pass 60 days and when I suggested to the caller to ask someone else that they know who uses AOL I usually get the answer that the AOL users they know know less about computers than they do.

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RichNRockville
"I do agree with you there.  But none of them are geeks and they rely upon me for all their computer problems.  That is the strong point of AOL - for those that know nothing beyond a GUI and nothing about their computer."
I agree completely with the Moderators regarding AOL and why some users are much better off with AOL than a shell account with a dial up ISP. Trying to remember when many of us first got involved in "internet", I recall that Unix Shell accounts using PINE were the cat's meow. :D (I still use Pine)Many non-techi types rightly think that the Internet is just another tool and learning all this techi stuff is a waste of time. They are correct. the easier it is, the less time they waste on figuring out what IP means and such.I have a client who is an international trade lawyer, and in the 6 figures easily. He travels all over the world and I setup his laptop with AOL, he is very pleased and remarks how easy it is to send and receive his email. He has to put up with the splash screens but that is a small price to pay for the convienience of not wasting time with configuring his email program continually.I have another friend who is in her 80's, AOL is perfect for her as she never wants to learn about computer guts or wierd stuff like IP and URL's. she could care less, she just wants to send and receive email from her grand kids. She gets the standard spam about body part extension, but she just laughs and feels good that someone would think she is interested. :P PS: This also means less Tech assist calls in the middle of my evening from friends who are having problems with outlook or some other email program. AOL just works for these people or they can call the AOL technical support line and fix their problem.

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epp_b
They just plain don't care because computers and the Internet just does not mean that much to them.
Bingo! The less you know, the less you care! Most users don't know the difference between the Windows registry and the DuPont registry :P

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epp_b
I can not imagine any AOL user who would visit this site.
I agree.
None of the ones I know would, they are VERY non-technically orientated.
As are 99% of them. Anyone who has any technical knowledge whatsoever would know better than to use AOL, because of the system changes it makes.
And there's nothing wrong with that. Most people who drive cars don't know how the engine relates to the transmission, and there's nothing wrong with that either.
My sister told me that one of her friends had bought a car from a relative without even test driving it first. There were 3 cars to choose from. You know how this person chose it?"eenie meenie minie moe...." :D :P :o :D I could say the same for computers. Most people don't the difference between Mhz and a hard drive. That's why we have big-time computer businesses selling computers that are 4 times as powerful and expensive as they need to be for the end-user's purpose (No there is no reason that you need a 1.7 Ghz machine for typing up Word documents, web surfing, and checking e-mail -- a PII 400 would be plenty sufficient for that...and much cheaper) Edited by LilBambi

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havnblast

Great Topic! Many great points!One thing I find sad is that even with public awareness MS and news advertised over and over again about sobig and yet look how many got hit. I couldn't hardley go to a news source and see it in big bold letters - update now. With that much awareness and people still didn't update is not a good thing. Did they learn their lesson? I hope so.AOL is evil for computers, but I understand why people use it. Like many said here - it is an easy way to get online with a trusted company and for the convience of people traveling. I myself if I travel I will get into town find a ISP and hook up for a one month plan. ISPs are glad to help people out that are travelers.AOL is not going away and I will tell people to avoid it.

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Ed_P

So, how is that count of AOL users visiting this thread going? This forum? This website? :)

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Guest Paracelsus

Ok...I just had to jump in here.I've used computers since the '70s, but didn't bother with getting online 'til the mid '90s. At that time, I was transferred from SoCal to Texas. Furthest away from Family & Friends that I had ever lived.At that time, most of them were using AOL, so I went with the flow. By the time I decided I hated AOL enough to leave, I found (at least, FELT) myself entrenched... due to all the Newsletters, Registrations (Banks; Brokerages; CC's and other billings), List-Servers, etc., to which I subscribe. The thought of changing ISP and consequently, e-mail addies, seemed as daunting as physically changing address.Fortunately, I finally yielded to the temptations of DSL. I kept AOL (at the lowest billing rate) just long enough to make certain I had registered my new addy(s) with everyone.I'm now weaned of AOL... And I find I don't cuss while at my PC as much as I used to. :) :)

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bjf123
I can not imagine any AOL user who would visit this site. None of the ones I know would, they are VERY non-technically orientated. And there's nothing wrong with that. Most people who drive cars don't know how the engine relates to the transmission, and there's nothing wrong with that either.
I can think of one, me. I still use AOL for a couple of hobby related forums that I participate in. I don't really use it for anything else, and only pay $4.95 per month so it's not breaking the bank. I keep an older version of AOL on my system that lets me do what I need, but without a lot of their newer "features" that I can do without.
As are 99% of them. Anyone who has any technical knowledge whatsoever would know better than to use AOL, because of the system changes it makes.
See above. There are reasons why some of us with some technical knowledge still keep AOL around. On the same system where I use AOL, I also dual boot to Linux (SuSE 8.2). I'm running a software firewall on that system that restricts AOL to only a few ports and a few IPs. I've also got a Mac running OS X. [editorial comment]I get really fed up with the broad statements that the "holier than thou" types feel they have to make. I find there are a few Mac users who do the same thing, wondering how anyone could possibly use Windows for anything. After all, it crashes multiple times every day (according to them). Come on, people. Let's use a little common sense here.[/editorial comment]

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bjf123
Well hopefully someone who uses AOL,  will join this discussion and give us all some insight on why they decided to use AOL as their service provider. And how they feel about AOL snooping around on their computers.  :D OK - Any AOL users out there reading these posts?  :D
I don't use it as my ISP; I have a DSL connection with the phone company for that, but I do still have AOL after being online for almost 10 years. I also still have a CompuServe Classic account. My previous post outlines why I still use it. I don't like AOL snooping around my PC any more than I like Microsoft doing it. That's why I have my firewall (Kerio) set up to be very restrictive as to what happens. That's also why I'm moving more of my computer needs to my Mac and to Linux, though I don't think I'll ever be completely AOL or Microsoft free, but I'm working on it. :D

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LilBambi

Paracelsus and bjf123,Thanks for pointing out that even some tinkerers use AOL for valid reasons.And it took some courage for any AOL user to say anything in this thread after some of the comments that were made. Bravo! :D

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Ed_P
only pay $4.95 per month
!! How are you doing that? I think I use to pay $9.95/mo for Compuserve for 5 hrs a month usage; and with signing on, downloading email and signing off, reading email, creating replies then signing back on and sending them then off again was reasonable to do within 5 hrs/mo. I started with Compuserve about 10 yrs ago, was even a beta tester until release 3 (couldn't stand release 3 or 4) and all beta testing was free of charge. When they developed their Internet interface I really liked that option and went that route. I kept Compuserve as a backup to my regular ISP for years, in fact I think I only dropped it last year when RoadRunner offered a dial backup option, which I think is using the same lines as Compuserve.Compuserve users disliked AOL users even 10 yrs back, the two services were MAJOR competitions, and we really took a burn when AOL bought Compuserve even though at that point it was becoming clear that ISPs were the new future.While there are some posters here that still use AOL they are not using AOL as their primary means of access to the Internet or this forum. I think the search for "AOL users" accessing this forum was for visitors whose sole or primary Internet access was AOL to which I still don't think there are any that visit here. ;)

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bjf123
only pay $4.95 per month
!! How are you doing that? I think I use to pay $9.95/mo for Compuserve for 5 hrs a month usage; and with signing on, downloading email and signing off, reading email, creating replies then signing back on and sending them then off again was reasonable to do within 5 hrs/mo. I started with Compuserve about 10 yrs ago, was even a beta tester until release 3 (couldn't stand release 3 or 4) and all beta testing was free of charge. When they developed their Internet interface I really liked that option and went that route. I kept Compuserve as a backup to my regular ISP for years, in fact I think I only dropped it last year when RoadRunner offered a dial backup option, which I think is using the same lines as Compuserve.Compuserve users disliked AOL users even 10 yrs back, the two services were MAJOR competitions, and we really took a burn when AOL bought Compuserve even though at that point it was becoming clear that ISPs were the new future.While there are some posters here that still use AOL they are not using AOL as their primary means of access to the Internet or this forum. I think the search for "AOL users" accessing this forum was for visitors whose sole or primary Internet access was AOL to which I still don't think there are any that visit here. ;)
I've only got 3 hours of AOL access each month. I use their "Automatic AOL" feature to log on, get the mesage threads from the forums I subscribe to, and log back off. I then compose any replies / comments I have and run another Automatic AOL to upload my messages. I only do this about once a week, so I'm never anywhere close to my 3 hour limit.My CompuServe Classic account provides 5 hours of access. There, I use an offline reader called OzWin II to log in and get message headers from the forums I subscribe to. If any of them look interesting, I'll flag them to read and run OzWin again to get the message bodies. I can then reply offline and run OzWin a third time to upload my messages. Again, I get nowhere near my 5 hour limit. I also wasn't too happy when AOL bought CompuServe. They served different markets, and I would have preferred them stay separate. I always found the threads on CompuServe to be more professional.Between the two accounts, I pay $14.90 ($4.95 and $9.95). Then, I have my DSL charge of about $35.00, which is part of a package combining home phone, long distance, DSL, and cell.

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Guest ThunderRiver

Microsoft will shoot down Messenger service in SP2, so it is either AOL doing it, or Microsoft will.

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Corrine
:D My goodness! I had no idea people paid AOL or CS that much for only a couple of hours service! Since my budget limits me to dialup, I'll stick to my regional ISP. The service started out as free then went to $25 for 6 months and has stayed at $24.95 for 5 months unlimited access for some time now. I've been with them for three years now. They've expanded to national service but use a wholesaler for the national accounts so I can't vouch for that part of their service.You might consider looking at Access4Free. For a one-time $4.95 setup fee, you get 10 hours per month with no additional charge unless you go over the 10 hours. Then you're charged $1/hour up to a maximum of $10. They've added v.92 and its a straight DUN connection (no more AOL or CS software). I use Acess4Free as a backup.If anyone is interested in more information of this nature, send me a PM. I could go on & on listing ISPs that charge under $10/month with a minimum of 150 hours service, but that's another forum and not appropriate here!

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nlinecomputers
Microsoft will shoot down Messenger service in SP2, so it is either AOL doing it, or Microsoft will.
Well it is one thing to apply a patch yourself that turns features off. It is another to without asking have your ISP slip in "for you own good" and do it for you.

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Temmu

aol users are technical imbeciles... he he.as a long time a-o-el-er, here's a bit about me...went to school 8hrs/day for many months to learn to repair electronics to the component (transistor, chip, resistor) level and then maintained comm/nav systems on aircraft for years.got into using databases and pc's by accident and eventually made a living at it. (used the internet before the www was popular...)i certainly know all the faults and flaws associated with aol, both its corporate policies and its software's heavy handedness.have maintained a gawd-awful expensive account for years because everyone had that as my email addy.i too eventually succumed to cable modem and allowed my aol membership to evaporate.aol is THE solution for millions; it is self configuring, and when it does not destroy the os, is pretty easy to get on line with.

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Corrine
it is self configuring, and when it does not destroy the os, is pretty easy to get on line with.
That is a major key to the problem. People figure they need AOL to get to the internet so they install one of those coffee cup coasters that they got in the mail and off they go. They're surfin' the net! Problem is, no firewall, no AV, nothing. If they're really lucky, they have a computer at work and have heard about computer security. Otherwise, they pay the local techies a bundle to clean up their machine every time a new worm starts circulating.

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LilBambi
You might consider looking at Access4Free.  For a one-time $4.95 setup fee, you get 10 hours per month with no additional charge unless you go over the 10 hours.  Then you're charged $1/hour up to a maximum of $10.  They've added v.92 and its a straight DUN connection (no more AOL or CS software).  I use Acess4Free as a backup.
Cool! Glad someone else uses Access4Free as a backup ISP ... I knew I couldn't be the only one! LOL! :ph34r:

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Ed_P
It is another to without asking have your ISP slip in "for you own good" and do it for you.
How exactly would you like AOL to phrase that msg to their users? How's this? Microsoft has a function within their Windows operating system that we believe to be a source of popup ads as such we will disable it if you click Ok. No longer will you receive these ads from the Internet. This of course will not interfere with the ads we at AOL provide or with any of the ads from the sites we will allow you to link to. If you find that you miss these ads or suspect that any function of your pc environment is no longer functioning due to this change please call the following AOL 800 number. Due to overwhelming volumes you may have to call repeatedly over the course of several days and may be put on hold for up to two hours at a time but we will walk you through the steps needed to restore your pc's harddrive to the point it was when new 2 years ago. All data, addresses, email, favorites and a like will be lost and you will have to restore them from your backups. (NB For the definition of "backups" and why you need to do them please click on this link.)Please click on the Ok button now to continue. Plus the Accept agreement that the AOL lawyers will require.Or you can just put the code in to deactivate the service and be done with it. AOL modifing the pc environment with minimal user intervention or involvement is what AOL has been doing for YEARS. This really isn't that different.The inability to control the features and function of AOL is the main reason why I don't like it. By the same token, it's their main reason for being.

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Ed_P

bfj123,

I've only got 3 hours of AOL access each month.
Is this a special deal that you got or is it a current offering?It might be worth it to me for the people that have AOL problems and ask me for help. I remember OzWin. I never really used it but it was popular with the forum admins.
I always found the threads on CompuServe to be more professional.
And friendlier. This site reminds me a lot of the old CIS days. Ed

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LilBambi

CIS ... Boy does that bring back memories! One of my first and most memorable experiences with the brave new Internet :ph34r: CIS, GeNIE, Delphi ... thanks! They were good memories.

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nlinecomputers

Oh I remember GEnie CI$, and Dephi too. I'll even throw in Q-Link which was for Commodore 64s it became AOL back when AOL was a private network that had nothing to do with the Internet.

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Ed_P
CIS ... Boy does that bring back memories! One of my first and most memorable experiences with the brave new Internet  :D ....
CIS was a private network, like AOL, with it's own servers, software, protocol and etc. Developing an interface between the new up coming Internet and the old forum system took some effort. In fact I kept WinCIM around for a long time as it was the only way to get into the accounting system to check logs and etc. In fact I think it was what I used to close my CIS account. I still have the WinCIM wav files and love those sounds. Fond memories indeed.

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bjf123
bfj123,
I've only got 3 hours of AOL access each month.
Is this a special deal that you got or is it a current offering?
I'm pretty sure the 3 hour plan is a standard offering of theirs. If CompuServe offered the same thing, I'd take it, too, but I think their least expensive offering is the 5 hours / $9.95 deal I'm using. I agree, this site reminds me a lot of the old CIS forums.

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bjf123
That is a major key to the problem.  People figure they need AOL to get to the internet so they install one of those coffee cup coasters that they got in the mail and off they go.  They're surfin' the net!  Problem is, no firewall, no AV, nothing.
That problem exists for people buying a Dell or Gateway that comes with a trial to Earthlink, too, so it's not just AOL. The average home user has no idea about AVs or firewalls. I can't believe the number of people I've come across who have no idea that their AV needs to be updated, and that's assuming they even have an AV.

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Stonegiant
As reported on Slashdot, AOL is "hacking" into end user systems to shut down the Windows Messenger service.  For those that don't know, Windows Messenger Service (not to be confused with MSN messenger or Windows messenger, which are IM clients like AOL Instant Messenger) is used in LANs for network broadcast messages.  Spammers have used them as a way to send "Pop up" messages to your system.  It is a feature that should, IMHO, be turned off by default but having AOL slip in and "help" end users is kind of frightening.OTOH, most AOhelL users are so ignorant, indifferent, and dumb that maybe this is a good thing.
Hmmm... XP is going to be shipping with the Messenger service disabled by default now and they are being applauded for this. Why is it 'hacking' for AOL to do this and 'a good thing' for Microsoft to do it? :D

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nlinecomputers
Hmmm... XP is going to be shipping with the Messenger service disabled by default now and they are being applauded for this. Why is it 'hacking' for AOL to do this and 'a good thing' for Microsoft to do it?
Because SP2 is software I download and I can choose if I want to install it or NOT. AOL is without permission entering your machine and disabling features. Note this is NOT a software patch by AOL. They are simply using the Remote admin rights "feature" that the AOL software gives them to invade your system and do this.The point that has been lost by everyone is this: AOL got caught doing this. What ELSE do they remote access your system to do? What else will our AOL overlords decide is best for the AOL sheep, ur, user base?Epp up stream made a rather smart mouthed comment about a warning box, but his humor aside, that IS exactly what I want. I have no problem with AOL providing the service. Just tell the user base about it when you do it.AOL could simply put up a box that says "We have noticed that your system is running messenger services. Running that service makes your system vulnerable to pop-up spam advertising. For your protection may we disable this service for you" YES NO DETAILS The detail box can have the techno explanation of what messenger service is and how it is bad and how AOL is working to help stop messenger spam.If AOL feels that the user base is too indifferent, ignorant, or timid and will answer NO then they could be draconian and simply change the terms of service and require you to disable messenger before using AOL and simply state that beyond day X AOL software will disable messenger services. Don't like it, don't use AOL. But at least they would tell the users what they are doing. If the users are too lazy to read a EULA then whos fault is that?

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Stonegiant

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you also have the choice to install AOL or not.

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