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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Two Mega-bytes (MB) of RAM in an *8 GB World...and AOL


OK. Let's get techie for the moment. RAM, as you know, is Random Access Memory.
In 1987, I had a MAC II. You do remember that machine. It had a total RAM of 2 MB. It was 'dial up'...and it was oh so slow.

To add some perspective, Today's average RAM is somewhere between 512MB and 8GB (gigabytes). Far cry from 1987.

In 1987, I was a beta of AOL, and probably one of its first 100 subscribers. I still use the e-mail: digital01@aol.com today. Yep, a newbie in the world of digital media. AOL charged by the minute usage at that time. It went 'off air' around midnight and didn't return, if it did at all, until sometime the next morning. If you recall, AOL competed against the likes of Prodigy, CompuServe, and GEnie ... all long gone.

Additionally, different management personas took the company at different break points, into areas not seen before in the new digital environment, without even knowing what they were doing actually.

Nevertheless, after 20 years I still remember a MAC II with 2MB of RAM talking to a software platform that could potentially change the world. In some ways it has. However, we all know that AOL is 'road kill' at the moment, milked of substance, corporate and personal abuse and ambition. Milked to death, so that individuals who knew very little about the new age technology, could take advantage, and take the money and run.

And that has not changed for AOL. Since its merger with Time Warner the value of AOL has dropped significantly from its $240 billion high. Its subscriber base has seen no quarterly growth since 2002. AOL has since attempted to reposition itself as a content provider similar to companies such as Yahoo! as opposed to an Internet service provider. And they have failed miserable at it. From my perspective an 'anolog mind' (TimeWarner) cannot not effectively direct a 'digital future'(aol).

As someone said: “It is an unsustainable economic model. AOL is charging limited rates for unlimited access to a resource that is essentially limited.” And aside from MB, GB, that is a R.I.P for a company that had everything going for it...including greed. Unfortunetly, there were a lot of gigabytes of that.

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