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Issue #234: January 15, 2012

Q: I’m a neighbor of yours in Bluewater and was quite interested in your recent column (I.G.T.M. #230 – Dec 18, 2011) since it sounds like a problem I was having last week.

I teach a Braille class in Niceville with 4 adult students, 3 of whom have AOL e-mail addresses. I was receiving their homework but not able to send critiques since my mail was getting bounced back. After 2 hours on the phone with a neophyte Embarqmail employee I finally gave up, but after thinking it over I figured out that the one student who was NOT AOL was receiving my mail. I called the Embarq manager and asked him if there could be a problem with AOL. He said they had just received confirmation that AOL was instituting a new security system that was causing them and other IPO’s a lot of headaches. Since then, some days the mail goes through and some days NOT but the problem is always with AOL subscribers. One of my students is lucky enough to have a Gmail address so half of my class can receive my homework critiques.

Bettie D.
Bluewater Bay, Florida

A: Well that’s interesting news, Bettie, and information I’m sure some of my other readers appreciate knowing. It has been many, many years since I’ve used AOL, so I don’t know what AOL even offers these days. But back when I did have an AOL account, what they offered was aimed essentially at people who didn’t (and didn’t want to) understand computers very much. To achieve that, AOL often did things a little bit differently than everyone else. I joined AOL when they were the best solution to accessing online information, games, and e-mail. I quickly dropped them as a provider as the Internet’s popularity increased, and local providers began offering affordable dial-up, and then broadband connectivity. I don’t know if AOL still offers the rich online content they used to have, but with all that is widely available on the Internet, it seems to me like these days, their usefulness is pretty much limited to being an Internet Provider (IP). That assumes, of course, that they are offering high-speed connectivity, and that their price is competitive. Based on your e-mail, it also seems like they still have some unresolved issues with doing things differently than everyone else. By the way, Gmail addresses are free, so I don’t think that “lucky” student of yours is any luckier than any of the others – just better connected. My advice to your other students would be for them each to go get a Gmail account of their own. They can do that even if they continue to use AOL as their IP.

Q: Hello and thanks for all the help your column has provided in the past. We are snowbirds and stay in Miramar Beach for five months. Please forgive us if you have answered this question while we were at home. Our HP laptop (Vista) seems to do most everything we ask of it until we open Windows Live Hotmail. The page comes up and displays our messages but when we try to open a message, we get notification at bottom, left side of page that says “Done, but with errors on page.” When I click on that, it says “Object Doesn’t Support This Property or Method.” And the message does not open.

When we access our mail on a different computer, it works fine.

Bob H.
Miramar Beach, Florida

A: It sounds like a problem with the security settings for JavaScript on that computer, Bob. Try doing the following from within IE: On the “Tools” menu, click “Internet Options”. Select the “Security” tab, and click on the “Internet” zone. If you don’t have customized security settings, or don’t know if you do, click “Default level”, and get out of the dialog here. If you do have customized settings, click “Custom level…”. Scroll down the “Settings” list until you find “Scripting”. Under “Active Scripting” select “Enable”. Click “OK” a few times to back out, and go enjoy your newly working e-mail. Then go and spend some money in our Emerald Coast economy! Yay, Snowbirds!

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