The Bash AOL Show

When we last enjoyed the Bash AOL Show here at NUblog, Time AOL was busy merging CNN’s online division with everything from TV to janitorial services, the ghost of a new shovelware portal was espied in the wheezing corpus of Netscape, and AOLTV remained the most viciously derided consumer product since the pet rock.

And the hits keep on coming!

[A]fter seemingly completing the installation, AOL began downloading a software upgrade. Twenty-odd minutes later, the service developed amnesia – I needed to re-enter all the information.... Scores displayed in the AOLTV “sports” channel were a day old; the TV shows being promoted had already aired. I also got the kind of annoying error messages common to computers: “AOLTV denied a request to send you elsewhere so that you could view this page.” Huh? Or when trying to read a series of headlines in “news”: “Unable to load, system cleaning up, please wait.” “That is too large for AOLTV to display or play. This problem can occur with very large pages, sounds or movies.” Why even offer me the chance to click on it?

It is a mixed blessing to learn that this abomination may well be the first “convergent” product, the first electronic TV program guide, that will eventually be accessible to blind and visually-impaired users. AOL is spending some of its own money to work with the National Center for Accessible Media (who in turn enjoy a U.S. government grant for this specific purpose) to make the damn thing work through voice output. Soon you won’t have to be able to see to know just how bad AOLTV is.

Posted on 2001-02-27