Since family and friends rely on me for advice and tips on the computer, I’m also the designated installer for them. When I go to their house, I take CD’s with me of programs they could use, and fix whatever they need fixing. They all use AOL, so when a new version of AOL is out, they want to know if it is worth installing.

I’ve decided to install AOL 9.0 Optimized tonight to see if it is anything my family/friends should use. First off, it wants to install some files, and then wants me to reboot, otherwise I won’t be able to use the service. Okay, so I let it install whatever it wants, then reboot. I come back, and it wants to do it again, install files and reboot. I do that, and when I run it again, I got the same message again. Then it’s official; AOL still sucks. To add insult to injury, it froze my computer when I try to remove it from Add/Remove Programs. It also installed 4 folders worth of programs in C:\ that I won’t ever use. It forces me to right click the AOL icon on the desktop and choose Delete. The delete key doesn’t work on it. I can’t imagine what it would do if I decided to print something. It would probably use up all my brother toner trying to print just one document!

Is it worth it when a program makes you jump through hoops like this? Absolutely not. It’s even more not worth it when you read stories like this and this.

Conclusions? My family and friends should pursue other avenues of internet service. Choices are MSN, EarthLink, PeoplePC, or just a local ISP. The sooner people realize there are better alternatives out there, the sooner we get the service we deserve on the internet, and not what corporate high-rollers dictate.