Create an Account
username: password:
  MemeStreams Logo

MemeStreams Discussion


This page contains all of the posts and discussion on MemeStreams referencing the following web page: End of an era: The AOL websites shutting down. You can find discussions on MemeStreams as you surf the web, even if you aren't a MemeStreams member, using the Threads Bookmarklet.

End of an era: The AOL websites shutting down
by Elonka at 10:29 pm EDT, Oct 29, 2008

As of November 1, 2008, all of the and websites will be no more.

I have mixed feelings about the closing of the AOL sites. I've been with AOL since the very early days, back before easy access to the internet. Back then, going "online" meant connecting to one of the individual services such as AOL, Prodigy, GEnie, or CompuServe, but there was no web, and no communication between the different services. Our Simutronics games started on GEnie, then we ran them off of 'nix servers from a basement in St. Charles, and then we opened portals to each of the services. To my knowledge, we were the first game company to ever have players from all of the different services all playing together in the same virtual world.

My first ever webpage was via my AOL site, back in the 90s. At first it was cool, but as AOL fell out of favor with the cyber-scene, I took a lot of heat for maintaining my AOL account. But I had loyalty to the service because of our games, because it was my "home" website, and because AOL dialup was often the most reliable way to get online, as I traveled cross-country and logged on from hotels while on the road. Even at hacker-cons, my AOL access would be enormously useful, as the hotel's network would often be down (or hacked), but I could dial onto AOL without a problem. On more than one occasion I'd have "leet" hax0rz standing in line in my hotel room to access the web via my lowly AOL dial-up connection, because it was the only way they could reliably check their email! And oh yes, having access to a dynamic AOL IP had its uses, too. ;)

The amount of FTP space that AOL allotted for each person's website was tiny, only 2MB per screen-name. For my Antarctica site, I remember splitting up my webpages, maintaining the HTML files in one screenname's space, the actual images under a different screenname, and anything geek-related (such as the PhreakNIC tutorial) under a different name, nova1337. :)

Eventually I of course outgrew AOL, and with HugMe's kind offer of webspace, I opened my site in 2001. But I continued to maintain the old AOL site, and also hid some stuff here and there, such as a couple things that were needed to solve the 2002 Elonka Code. In fact, I'd be happy to keep that AOL site going forever, except that AOL is pulling the plug. So, I have my bittersweet farewell. I'm still planning on maintaining my email address... Anyone care to place bets on when that will go away too?

Since I had a fair amount of (old) crypto information at my AOL pages, such as my PhreakNIC Code tutorial, I have now mirrored everything over to my site.

The page is now here

The PhreakNIC Code tutorial (which used to be at is now here.

Any of you that were really familiar with my site(s), knew that I had various sekrit files and pages and puzzles here and there. So if you want to know if I mirrored all of those too, the answer is, "Yes". :) Some of them may be a little tricky to deal with since the URLs have changed, but I think the general flavor is still there.

If anyone finds anything that's broken (or doesn't find something which you feel really should've been where you were looking), please contact me in IMs or email and I'll take a look.

In AOL-nostalgia,

Elonka :)

RE: End of an era: The AOL websites shutting down
by Decius at 10:14 am EDT, Oct 30, 2008

Elonka wrote:
At first it was cool, but as AOL fell out of favor with the cyber-scene, I took a lot of heat for maintaining my AOL account.

I, too, was an early AOL user. Back before Microsoft Windows 3.0 became the ubiquitous desktop, AOL had one of the cleanest, most usable user interfaces of any online service. They also had real internet email addresses early on, without CompuServe's annoying addressing scheme and free from Prodigy's ridiculous constraints on email and their editorial censorship of discussion forums. I had email addresses on systems that are still historically considered cool, such as The Well and Mindvox, but I actually used my AOL email address far more frequently. It just worked better, and early on no one thought it was "lame." In the early 1990s anyone using Internet email was ahead of the curve.

There is a reason that AOL was so successful in the mid 90's when the web took off, and that is because they built a service that worked really well and served the needs of most people. Eventually, it was crawling with n00bs and there was a certain guilt by association for coming from there, but the historical revisionism that goes on where people assume that it was "lame" to have an AOL account in 1989 is hypocritical. If you were really around back then you don't have that attitude.

I never hosted a web page there but my family still has our AOL dialup account and I still use it when I travel.

Powered By Industrial Memetics