Saturday, October 23, 2004

The AOL Sphere --

At last check there were 23 million dial up users accessing the AOL service. This total does not reflect the boardband users who also access the service. I too have access to an AOL account. As some of you may know, my promotional site, Wired Pages is hosted on the AOL platform.

AOL is a veritable marketplace yet largely untapped outside of its own sphere. What does this mean -- people are not setting up outside forums and message boards to discuss AOL related issues. That's a lot of users!!!

When I ran a Google search of the term "AOL Forum", I was surprised to see how sparse the results were. I have added an AOL topic area to the News, Software, & Java Forum, where users can discuss AOL related issues, problems and solutions.

I did read an article earlier this year, that claimed AOL was going to abandon the proprietary development language it has been using for years in favor of HTML to develop web pages and interfaces. Several reasons were given for this, including the inability to view pages in browsers outside of the AOL environment and the cost associated with maintaining the proprietary language that is outdated and cumbersome, or so the article claimed [sorry cannot reference the article directly]. This change could also help to make AOL more accessible and discussed more outside of its own sphere. Keep in mind that I am a developer and tend to look at programs and interfaces in terms of cohabitation in a larger environment. What works with what and not how to change a screen name. [However feel free to ask how to change your screen name in the forum if you like.]

The question that prompted me to look for a solution to an AOL problem was my inability to successfully port my demonstration blog, QiSoftware Demonstration Blog to my AOL account. AOL does have a journaling interface, however it is not compatible with the Blogger Calendar. Preliminary tests indicate that directory reads are achievable through AOL, thereby making it an attractive hosting location for blogs created by third parties, such as Blogger.com that can also integrate the calendar.

AOL Problem Details: I am currently able to connect to the AOL account via the Blogger.com FTP interface, but it appears to go into a perpetual hang state. I issued a general question in several venues as to whether anyone had successfully ported a blog via FTP to an AOL account. To date I have received no replies. I would love to hear from you if you have been able to achieve this.

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