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“The founders of AOL—or really its predecessor, Quantum Computer Services— wanted to build a product that was a little friendlier,” he told me.
“And one of the specific things they discussed was how to sign on.
Consider the chat room, or the Instant Messenger buddy list.
Choose one of the categories on the left and double-click it.3. Type the name of the desired chat room in the search box at the top of the window.
In fact, for many of us—namely people who were born after Off the Wall but before Bad—America Online pretty much was the Internet. You went to your “computer room.” The den, the basement, wherever your family’s single PC—a big, clunky desktop—happened to be parked, blankly awaiting your return. Earlier this week, I asked my Facebook friends if they still used their Clinton-era AOL screen name to access other websites and services.
I decided to get in touch with a couple of experts to help me sort it all out.
Bill Cheswick is (as a former colleague once wrote) “a network-security god; he wrote the book, literally, on firewalls, coined the term ‘proxy server,’ [and] figured out how to map the Internet.” Earlier this week, I emailed Cheswick a simple question: why do adults continue to hang onto these (usually somewhat childish) screen names? “It is not surprising at all,” Cheswick wrote in response.This is who I am in a very real universe.’”Ditching a user ID is easy, in other words.