While waiting for Tom (PC Guy) this morning, I search the Internet to see if anyone else was having the same problems. It didn’t take me too long to find out that I wasn’t the only one by a long shot. Back at the beginning of the year there were quite a few postings to a Microsoft forum about other users who could not install AOL 9.0 or AOL 9.1, or even AOL 9.1 VR (Vista Ready) on their computers that had a Vista operating system.
I printed out the postings from that forum and gave it to Tom when he came in this morning. Tom had asked me to call AOL for support but I didn’t because I knew that would be an exercise in futility. Many people on the forum reported that they called the AOL Help line. That’s an oxymoron, AOL Help. Of course AOL was of no help. I even called Smart Computing for help. I’m a long time subscriber so I thought for the first time I would take advantage of their much advertised tech help line for subscribers. That was a waste of time. The guy on the other end of the line blew me off.
The postings on the forum dropped off after March of 2008 so I came to the conclusion that AOL finally figured out how to make their version 9.01 compatible with Vista. Tom and I downloaded the latest version. Right away we noticed that this was going to be a SLOW DOWNLOAD. It was. It took about 2 hours to download. Tom couldn’t wait. He has a life.
Tom fixed my HP Photosmart All-in-One printer problems (I couldn’t’ use the scanner) by uninstalling and reinstalling the software. It now works, for the time being at least. This is about the fourth time this software has been uninstalled and reinstalled.
Tom left the premises. I continued to monitor the SLOW AOL download. If this was downloading to Windows XP, it would only take minutes. But no, this is downloading to an upgraded version of Windows. What has this upgrade done for me? If anyone knows, let me know.
When the download was almost done, I got an error message. My heart dropped. But, there was hope. A button appeared that said “continue?” I said ‘YES!”. It picked up where it left off. This happened three more times. Man oh man. What is it with the upgrades? Don’t they test these things before they put them on the market? Of course they don’t. This is the new business ethic, throw it out on the market and let them work out the kinks. Thank you Mr. Softee.
The download finally completed and the Welcome screen of AOL appeared on my widescreen Dell computer. Nirvana! I love the user interface and icons on AOL. I have one friend who constantly criticizes me for staying with AOL. I know AOL has problems and has no support for its users but it does have the most user friendly Internet portal. It is the one I prefer.
My joy was short lived. I got an error message. Ugh! I turned of the computer, hoping it only needs a reboot. I wait a minute and, with bated breath, I turn the Dell back on. AOL came up! My computer didn’t blow up! It works! Hosanna!
How long this will last, I don’t’ know but I was had AOL up for three hours, catching up. Right now I’m on my old Gateway computer. I have AOL version 9.0 (which I reinstalled myself without any problems.) After dinner, I’ll turn on my Dell. Oh I hope I don’t have any more problems.
What did I learn from this whole episode? I should have listened to those who said Vista sucks. I’ve also learned that the Help lines also suck. What works now is going to forums on the Internet for others who have the same problem. This is the only place where you will find anyone who has the knowledge and can help. There are good people on those forums who are unselfish and willingly help those of use who aren’t techies.
This is something I discovered last week where I work. My boss had just completed two days removing Malware from the office network computers. After finishing he found he couldn’t get the printer to work. He posted the problem in the Google browser and discovered others who had the same problem. Within minutes he received an e-mail from a person in Russia who had the answer. The Russian user sent him an e-mail with instructions how to solve the problem. My boss keyed in the instructions. Immediately the printer began printing.
This episode opened my eyes. Don’t depend on AOL, Dell, Microsoft or Hewlett Packard. They’re too busy laying employees off and outsourcing work to India where they speak heavily accented English. The Help lines will never be effective because there is no money in it for the companies involved. The AOL’s, Dell’s, Microsoft’s, and Hewlett-Packard’s of this world don’t care about their consumer. They only care about making the sale. Their priority is how many stock options and bonuses they can give their executives. Perhaps the greatest failure perpetuated on the American public in recent years is this “upgrade” Vista. Someone please tell me how my life is better because I have Vista on my new computer. Please.
I say put a pie in the face of all those who are responsible for this travesty. Think different. I next time I get a Mac.