From: (Haydie)
Newsgroups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.2600,alt.hackintosh,,
Subject: Re: Why AOL doesn't suck - was AOL via TCP/IP
Date: 11 Sep 1995 21:34:22 -0400
Organization: Widomaker Public Access Unix, (804) 221-8070

In article <431b6g$>, Gene wrote:
>In message <42v62c$>
> (Richard) writes:
>> You're saying that AOL has never overbilled, they hire trained
>> professionals as forum guides, tech support is never rude or slow in
>> response to questions, software is not buggy/slow and internet access
>> is the best you'll find anywhere. Is that what you're saying Gene?
>> We're all here just making it all up and lying about AOL for no reason
>> at all?
>Nope, I'm saying the claims made in that signature are highly exaggerated
>and inflammatory and do not necessarily represent actual user experience
>with America Online (even existing features are not correctly described).

Gene does not believe that any negative story about AOL told by actual people on represents "actual user experience." Amoung the things he claims did not happen: Mimi's hard drive being trashed by the AOL browser, my CJ and other accounts being cancelled because I reported problems with busy signals and later told them that I needed 2 weeks of lightened workload because I had graduate school exams.

>I provided a point-by-point rebuttal in private e-mail to the person who
>has that signature, who was not able to refute anything I said (other than
>respond with the sort of childish insults you read in the AOL flame

Most of Gene's "point-by-point rebuttal" was simply "You're wrong, you're lying, you're making it up, you're not even a current customer so how would you know?!"

G>I won't answer all of your questions except very briefly, because a lot
G>of it is wrong.

G>1. Terms of Service are clearly displayed. If you choose not to honor
G>the terms, you don't have to be a member. If you don't use vulgar
G>language, and know your netiquette, you shouldn't have a post removed.

LINGERIE is not a vulgar word, Gene. You can't create a chat room with the word LINGERIE in the title because AOL thinks it's OBSCENE to talk about CLOTHING. TEACHER is not a vulgar word, yet I've been in chat rooms taht have been closed because "TEACHER" was considered a dirty word by the TOS freaks. COWBOY is not a dirty word. The word BOY is not obscene.

You can have posts removed for expressing anti-AOL sentiments, or asking critical questions of AOL, or touching upon sensitive areas that AOL doesn't want discussed. You can have posts removed if they are anti-Scientology. Posts referring to something called "Unique" are apparently regularly removed from one forum on AOL. You forget, Gene, I used to work with the people who removed these posts. They aren't concerned with etiquette, freedom of expression, or the marketplace of ideas. They're concerned with their agenda, making sure that only the "correct" ideas have a place for display.

G>2. AOL's pricing is competitive with all the major online services,
G>such as CompuServe, and eWorld. You need to study the industry a little
G>better. As to high-speed access, it is being added around the country
G>through AOLNet (the list of future cities is incredibly large). There's
G>also an 800 number (just like CompuServe), where you can get 800
G>dialups at a higher price (because of what it costs for AOL to offer
G>it) at 28.8K anywhere in the US.

(a) AOL's pricing is outrageous for the content and service that it provides. Most people use AOL for the nuts and bolts: chat, email, internet, some financial or periodical services. For the most part, these services are offered better, faster, and cheaper (and uncensored) by local Internet providers.
(b) AOLNet is coming to these cities "Real Soon Now," eh? When I signed on last June, they told me telnet was coming RSN.

G>3. No proof of most of these claims in terms of reason for loss of
G>remote staff status.

I do have the actual letter, Gene. I forwarded it to you. I quote:

"For the reasons listed below, I'm afraid I must remove you from the CyberJockeys program as of today, April 20, 1995. ... Due to constraints of school and problems with your access to AOL, you are unable to fulfull the time requirements of the position."

G>4. FTP upload exists, Archie exists, automatic signature exists, e-mail
G>service description about the rest of the service (in terms of how long
G>mail stays) is also wrong. The news reader has its limitations, but the
G>facts in your description are even more limited in terms of accuracy.

(a) FTP upload exists?  Good.
(b) Archie exist?  This is new, but if it's so, then good.
(c) Automatic signatures are available in mail?  Does it allow a monospace
    font so that ascii-graphics may be used (on all platforms)?
(d) I find it difficult to believe that AOL has stopped auto-deleting
    user mail.
(e) You have failed to quote ANY of my article back, so I find it 
    difficult to remember exactly what I wrote.  Are you telling us that
    the AOL newsreader now supports monospace fonts, forwarding of
    articles, editing of headers, crossposting, titlesearching, killfiles,
    Cc: to author, and satisfactorily distinguishes between reply and
    reply to author?  I also find this difficult to believe.

G>5. All large companies have occasional customer service issues, but AOL
G>is working at adding a lot of new customer service representatives to
G>help deal with larger need.

We hear that they're opening TechLive sweatshops down in Texas. Seriously, however, the staff don't seem to have to meet any qualifications for their positions. TOS are randomly and arbitrarily enforced. (One guide will tell you to 'ignore' the person, but another will yank the offender's account.) TechLive is even worse, with reps not even knowing the definitions of simple 'net terms or how the Internet works. As a CJ, I was actually booted from a TechLive room for trying to explain some point about the Internet to teh rep and a customer.

G>6. Advertising of available services is absolutely on the money.

"Here's your chance to explore the whoel enchilada-- the Internet, And you can do it FREE for ten hours. ... Everything!" Bullshit. AOL does NOT provide the Internet. I waited for almost a year and did not see telnet. Finger and Internet chat programs are not supported. AOL uses outdated figures and conveniently omits information not in its favor.

G>7. The Internet is not a public service. You pay for your access too.

I'm not sure how this relates to "Net Leech Philosophy," but suffice it to say that heck yeah, I pay for my access. Around $20/month gets me unlimited access-- time and contentwise-- on SLIP. This doesn't change the fact that AOL takes a whole heck of a lot more from the 'net than it gives back. (And it also leaves behind a large mess.)

G>8. The final item about "frivilous legal threats" is totally false.
G>Most of the claims I've read in the so-called "flame" groups are simple
G>misunderstandings (or deliberate ones) of things people have written or
G>made up.

I guess you just choose to ignore the letters from Jason Mitchell, AOL's Webmaster, threatening James Egelhof and his provider with a libel lawsuit. How about Bob Hirsh's threats against at least two members of this newsgroup? What about your trying to get our access yanked? (I know that it's not a legal threat exactly, but it's still an effort by an AOL staff member to try to silence those of us who would dare speak the truth.)

G>You can believe as you wish, but your signature is still science
G>fiction. You seem to be far removed from your knowledge of what AOL
G>does. Maybe you should use one of those free 10-hour disks and learn
G>how it really is (and adjust your signature accordingly).

Yeah, I guess I could add a line like this:

AOL Sucked * Quit After 1 Hour * 6 mos. later, AOL Still Charging my CC

>It is true that any large service will make mistakes, ranging from billing
>to customer support. Perfection is beyond all of us. But to take typical
>corporate missteps and make them into a gigantic conspiracy is a leap of
>illogic that defies description.

You're calling rounding 1:45 to 3 minutes for each customer on every call a simple "billing mistake" and a "corporate misstep?" Geez. Call in the Feds, he's been brainwashed by the Cult of AOL.

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --
                      BOYCOTT AMERICA ONLINE
Censorship * Excessive Pricing Schemes * Unfair Employment Practices
* Inadequate Features * Poor Customer Service * False Advertising *
     Net Leach Philosophy * Frivolous Legal Threats to Critics

Subject: Gene's Challenge (was: Why AOL doesn't suck)
From: (Ken Williams)
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 01:53:47 GMT
Organization: Tuxedos for Penguins International

In article:<439l6g$> (Gene) wrote:

>In message <4378n9$> (DAwn
>McGatney, (cv)) writes:
>> By "all available newsgroups," Gene means, of course, "all newsgroups
>> carried by AOL."
>> AOL does NOT carry all available newsgroups.
>Name me one newsgroup available to other services (such as eWorld,
>CompuServe, Netcom, etc.) that I cannot access through AOL. is an example of AOL staff propaganda in action. Writing about AOL and being a forum leader puts him in a position of knowing a lot of things that go on behind the scenes at AOL. Yet, he continues to insist that there isn't anything going on there that isn't quite moral and/or illegal to the standards of the general public. I haven't YET seen a large organization CLOSE to being as wonderful as he portrays AOL to be. Also, his conspiracy theories about conspiracies against AOL are a little weird to say the least.

Of course, AOL is part of his 'livelihood'.

Anyway, here are a FEW of the groups (he only asked for one) that are not available to customers of AOL but are on other services such as Netcom. For the high price of using AOL, there isn't any excuse for why we cannot get these groups. If Netcom can do it for $20 / 400+ hours, AOL can do it for $20 / 8.39 hours.

Here you go:

>Name me one newsgroup available to other services (such as eWorld,
>CompuServe, Netcom, etc.) that I cannot access through AOL.

Try them with "Expert Add" or the misnamed "Search All Newsgroups".

I would like to add that I am not interested in exchanging email with Gene Steinberg. My main reasons are that he uses it as a weapon by not _actually_ posting the received email (ala Alison) but uses innuendo which forces the sender to either post what they sent to show where he is twisting their words or let him play his games.

He also alludes to what he (supposedly) sends which puts the receiver in a 'checkmate' where they cannot dispute his claims without posting the email he sends. That is hitting below the belt as far as I am concerned.

My not responding to his email does not in any way mean I don't have a defense. It means I would rather discuss it in public on 'even ground'.

-- My other signature is a Rolls Royce Finger for PGP Public Key

From: (Steven J. Burr)
Subject: Re: BEWARE: AOL deceptive phone practices
Date: 25 Jun 1995 19:35:51 GMT
Organization: Primenet (602)395-1010

Gene ( wrote:

: Ah, you must be thinking in terms of the ability to download a file while
: doing other tasks online, which is (for the benefit of others who want to
: know the real facts) available in Mac 2.6 and Windows 2.5.

I was under the impression, perhaps erroneous, that version 2.6 of the Mac AOL software was in beta. If it is, then I do not think it appropriate to point to Mac 2.6 as support for your argument that multitasking is available with the current versions of AOL software.

Steve Burr
Kids' Web:

From: (Kathryn Newkirk Graham)
Subject: Re: BEWARE: AOL deceptive phone practices
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 1995 14:26:18 -0700
Organization: Lineage Pursuits

In article <3skdqn$>, (Steven J. Burr) wrote:

> Gene ( wrote:
> : Ah, you must be thinking in terms of the ability to download a file while
> : doing other tasks online, which is (for the benefit of others who want to
> : know the real facts) available in Mac 2.6 and Windows 2.5.
> I was under the impression, perhaps erroneous, that version 2.6 of the Mac
> AOL software was in beta. If it is, then I do not think it appropriate to
> point to Mac 2.6 as support for your argument that multitasking is
> available with the current versions of AOL software.
> --
> Steve Burr
> Kids' Web:

The Mac software (version 2.6) is, indeed, still in beta. The release changes every ten days or so and if you want to continue using 2.6 and the *bowser* that goes with it you must download the whole package all over again. Perhaps if Gene spent a little time on the Mac MHM board he would have a better grasp of just how buggy this software is. Many of the users who answer questions on that board wouldn't touch the new package with a 10ft mouse cord. As to the multitasking question - I note that you can do other things while downloading, etc. but only on the $$$$ side. Moving to the free side of the service while doing anything screws up the software. Instant messages are sort of available on the free side (a new *feature*). The software will show you the message but you must copy the screen name of the sender, exit the free side, launch the IM feature and send your reply. You can't just hit reply and expect to get anything but frustrated.

The download is free if you do it correctly and very expensive if you don't. The whole package requires 8 megs to run which neatly chops the users of older equipment out of the running. No WWW for them unless they wise up and get a local ISP or pony up the $$$$ for the equipment upgrade.


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