Time-Warner Chairman Richard Parsons
: "'If (AOL) is going to live, and I think it is, it will be somewhat like HBO,' the company's cable-television division. He added that AOL would need to schedule programming that people were willing to pay for." Does this strike you as weird? I thought AOL was an email and instant messaging service. Programming like HBO? I like the Sopranos and Six Feet Under. Great stuff. But what does that have to do with AOL? I must be missing something. [Scripting News
I know exactly what they mean Dave. Maybe my insight comes from having been on the inside at AOL, indirectly. My web writing career started with The Motley Fool. The Fool started out as a message board community on AOL. I think we tend to forget that the net was in its embryonic stage back then and communities like Compuserve, The Well, and AOL were where communities were collecting.
AOL then developed a strategy of nuturing its own content. They actually were an early investor in The Motley Fool. After posting actively in the community, I was eventually asked by Tom and Dave to become a staff writer. I had access to the tools used to create AOL content, called "Rainman".
At one point the Web started to take off. The Fool made the decision that they had to have a website as well. Apparently, their deal with AOL was non-exclusive, so they started migrating their content to the web. Soon after, the Fool went to a professional staff. I didn't have the time, so I dropped out.
Around this time, AOL started to abandon their concept of having exclusive content. In AOL, you were more and more often getting linked out to the Web. Soon, AOL was an ISP and web portal, with very little interesting exclusive content. It became the Internet with training wheels.
Once there was no important content that wasn't available for free on the Web, I dropped my AOL access. Haven't thought about it since.
Knowing this history, I wouldnt be at all suprised if they were formulating a strategy to return to their roots of developing content for distribution. As a media company, they should know how to produce content.
Now that the web is free, can the genie be put back into the bottle? Subscription web sites don't have a great track record so far.
Yet television was free and cable became a large industry by creating exclusive content. Email and other web services are free but Apple is now charging for it. Even Userland moved from the free EditThisPage to the fee for service Radio hosting.
For me, AOL would have to provide a package of content to get me back. Video and audio are obvious hooks, but content from magazines, if exclusive, could pull me back. It's a matter of total value for the fee.
These are the post dot.com bust business models. Things are getting interesting again. 11:13:36 PM
Big moment here tonight as I've finally set up a wireless network in my house. I bought an Airport Card for the G4 Cube and I'm using the OS X 10.2 software basestation ability. It's well integrated into the system, so its simpler to get going than I suspected. One simply turns on internet sharing then activates the Airport Card and the network is up and running. The firewall built into OS X blocked the Radio feed on port 8080 until I created a new service in the firewall
Right now, I've got a Compaq iPAQ wireless card running. I picked it up at RadioShack on sale for $70 with a $20 rebate.
Next up is to see whether I can get the card up and running on the old WallStreet G3 Powerbook. 9:06:11 PM