Wednesday, October 16, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Oct. 16, 1999 -- Saturday Love

October 16, 1999: We went back to the usual close-face, near-kiss stock photo for photo personals and romance chat:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Oct. 15, 1999 -- "Fight Club" Opens; Nobel Peace Prize; Lara Croft Returns

October 15, 1999: For the Fight Club opening, we went with a photo of Brad Pitt, in the least Fight Club photo imaginable. In the My News headlines, we see that Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) won the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize:
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For the PM update, we featured the return of Lara Croft in Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Monday, October 14, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Oct. 14, 1999 -- AIM 3.0; New Cars for Y2K

October 14, 1999: The morning was the standard AIM 3.0 chat promo; not sure why I have "Free Web Chat" penciled in on the printout. I guess "AIM 3.0 - New!" wasn't descriptive enough:
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For the PM update, we went with new cars for Y2K, leading with a... Ford Focus?
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Sunday, October 13, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Oct. 13, 1999 -- Airline Fare Drop; Wilt Chamberlain Dies; Test Ban Treaty Defeat

October 13, 1999: We started the morning with the usual Travel Airfare bargains, though as you see in the My News headlines, Pakistan was still dealing with the previous day's military coup, then...
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...for the PM update, we switched to a package on Wilt Chamberlain, who died at 63. Also, we see a headline about the US Senate rejecting the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Saturday, October 12, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Oct. 12, 1999 -- Invest Smarter; Build Your Own Web Site; Pakistan Coup

October 12, 1999: We started out with investing resources and personal finance news, fitting the bubble times we were in.

Also note the ad for "iParty.com" in the ad block; it was an online party supplies store. It would later be bought out by Party City:
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For the PM update, we went back to the Build Your Own Home Page promo, in blue once again. In the My News headline, we learn about the 1999 Pakistan coup:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Friday, October 11, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Oct. 11, 1999 -- Wedding Bells; Fall in Love

October 11, 1999: We started off the workweek with a wedding feature. Also, for the remainder of this feature, you're going to see a lot more of these preview-only blocks, instead of full-page previews. Not sure why:
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For the PM update, we went with another generic Love@AOL photo personals promo, though I notice we hadn't used the actual Love@AOL branding in the most-recent promos.

In the corporate links section on the bottom, we see a link to the AOL 5.0 Launch Webcast archive, which I'm sure was gripping viewing:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Thursday, October 10, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Oct. 10, 1999 -- Another Sports Roundup

October 10, 1999: Sunday sports roundup, this time focusing on baseball. With the timing of the postseason, the photo is of either a Cleveland Indian or Atlanta Brave, I can't say I know my 1999 MLB rosters well enough:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Oct. 9, 1999 -- Get a New Ride

October 9, 1999: For Saturday, we went with new and used car buying, with a pic of a red Xterra:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Oct. 8, 1999 -- Be a Homeowner; Fall Game Guide

October 8, 1999: For Friday, we went with homebuying (not coincidentally, I was in the market as well):
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For the PM update, we went back to fall video games (Fall Harvest 1999) and Lara Croft; in the My News headlines, we see a delay on a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in the US Senate, as well as Chile's Pinochet losing an extradition ruling:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Monday, October 07, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Oct. 7, 1999 -- Stock Watch; Find Online Love

October 7, 1999: Green meant personal finance (the Dow had just jumped the previous day); in the My News headlines, we referenced the House (that would be the Republican-controlled House) passing health care tax breaks, and a Hindu alliance winning in India:
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For the PM update, we went with faceless kissy woman stock art for Love@AOL photo personals:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Sunday, October 06, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Oct. 6, 1999 -- Build Your Own Home Page; Get a New Job

October 6, 1999: Didn't we just use this home page builder promo? Yes, yes we did (okay, we changed the headline a teeny bit); the My News headline shows the rising London train crash death toll:
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For the PM update, we went with "Get a New Job," kind of an odd choice for a weekday evening lineup:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Saturday, October 05, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Oct. 5, 1999 -- Express Travel; London Train Accident; "Buffy" Season 4 Premiere

October 5, 1999: We lead with a pretty generic travel deals block (check out that teeny laptop); the My News headlines reference a London train crash that killed 8 -- the ultimate death toll was 31, with 258 injured:
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For the PM update, we went back to TV premieres, with the Season 4 premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Friday, October 04, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Oct. 4, 1999 -- Watching the Fed; New PC Games (Can you name that goblin?)

October 4, 1999: We started off the workweek with the ever-lovely Alan Greenspan leading a stock market-focused lineup (the My News headlines reference waiting for a Fed interest rate decision):
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For the PM update, we went with a PC games lineup, including some sort of orc or goblin for a game I don't recognize. Also, a My News headline references the beginning of the Supreme Court's new term with Ruth Bader Ginsburg back on the bench; the Notorious RBG had had colon cancer surgery the previous month:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Thursday, October 03, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Oct. 3, 1999 -- Sunday Sports Roundup (Same Promo, Different Photo)

October 3, 1999: Once again, an NFL pic (the Cowboys' Troy Aikman) led a sports roundup lineup":
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Oct. 2, 1999 -- Once More with the Love@AOL Personals

October 2, 1999: We went once again with Love@AOL photo personals and generic stock photo couple almost kissing:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Oct. 1, 1999 -- Plan a Wedding; "American Beauty"

October 1, 1999: Welcome to October with Plan a Wedding; the My News headlines references a Japanese nuclear plant advisory and China's 50th anniversary (pretty sure they were around prior to 1949). Also check out the "And check out" link dumping ground at the bottom of the Web Centers listing: "Pick a Pet" and "Are You Too Fat?"
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Heading into the weekend with the PM update, we led with Mena Suvari from American Beauty, which opened wide:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Monday, September 30, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Sept. 30, 1999 -- Build Your Own Home Page! Loud Noises!

September 30, 1999: Get noticed by building a free web page. It's fast! It's easy! Share photos! Post a resume! Why isn't there a PM update?! I have no idea!
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Sunday, September 29, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Sept. 29, 1999 -- Find People; "Dawson's Creek" Season 3 Premiere; Another Date Screwup

September 29, 1999: We went with the loosely themed "Find People," with White Pages (which were a thing), email finder, and genealogy (spelled out as "family research" in case that was too opaque) and tied together with a generic, multigenerational white people stock art family:
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For the PM update, we were back to fall TV, with the Dawson's Creek Season 3 premiere.

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You can also see the penciled-in date correction, which means I screwed up the date again: The data was hard-coded into the HTML of each promo block. I believe I kept the HTML snippets as text files stored on my computer.) I'd just copy, paste, and modify each block, then paste them into the publishing tool (the Java-based Shakespeare), into blocks that were handled by a promo rotator/scheduler.

Those blocks would also be reused, though they had a version history you could dip into if you needed to look back. And I think we had two full sets of day blocks (consisting of day and night blocks for each weekday), so we could schedule out more than a week, although we did still schedule content pretty hand-to-mouth.

Despite our best efforts, I could never get more than a few days out, and when I did, there'd inevitably be some news event that upset our lineups. I hated Fridays and long weekends, because those were just extra days that had to be pre-scheduled.

[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Saturday, September 28, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Sept. 28, 1999 -- Help Wanted; Find Love

September 28, 1999: We went with some bold colors and basic calls to action; for the morning, we started with a find a job promo:
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For the PM update, we switched to Love@AOL personals. Oh, look in the My News headlines: "GOP Health Bill Aims to Help Uninsured." Truly, the 1990s were a strange time.
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Friday, September 27, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Sept. 27, 1999 -- Watch Wall Street; Fall Fares; Quayle Drops Out

September 27, 1999: For Monday, we went our standby of Personal Finance; it did not usher in a day of market unrest, though we see in the My News headlines that former VP Dan Quayle would end his presidential candidacy:
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For the PM update, we went with another fall airfare promo, this time with a stock photo of a passenger jet... from behind!
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Thursday, September 26, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Sept. 26, 1999 -- AIM 3.0

September 26, 1999: Another low-effort AIM 3.0 promo for generic Sunday:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Sept. 25, 1999 -- Saturday Sports Roundup

September 25, 1999: For Saturday, we led with a sports roundup featuring... I'm not sure which college football player's photo we featured. Or even the team... is that Florida State?
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Sept. 24, 1999 -- Ashley Judd in "Double Jeopardy"; Love@AOL Photo Personals

September 24, 1999: We started off Friday with the Ashley Judd movie Double Jeopardy, which once again, we didn't even bother to name (though we also didn't name the actor this time around):
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For the PM update, we went with Love Games and Love@AOL photo personals; the My News headline references the 1999 Ryder Cup, which was controversial for the behavior of American fans and competitors:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Monday, September 23, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Sept. 23, 1999 -- Fall Fares Fall; "Friends" Season 6 Premiere; New "NEW"

September 23, 1999: Thursday saw a purposefully repetitive "Fall Fares Fall" headline; that was about as much room for wordplay that we had in the limited space. The My News headline references the Mars Climate Orbiter crash -- you know, the one caused by the mixing of metric and non-metric units:
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For the PM update, we went with the Friends Season 6 premiere; Thursdays were still very much "Must See TV." Also, in the search bar, we added NEW! in big, all-cap red letters, though I'm not sure why. (We also updated the Shop@AOL column text header, removing the little shopping bag image and adding .com):
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Sunday, September 22, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Sept. 22, 1999 -- Build Your Own Home Page!!! Free Web Chat!!!

September 22, 1999: Build your own home page! It's Fast! It's Easy! Exclamation points!

We included a few web page use cases, for sharing photos, posting a resume (LinkedIn wouldn't exist until 2002), and more:
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For the PM update, we went back to AIM 3.0:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Saturday, September 21, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Sept. 21, 1999 -- Investing for Y2K; Fall '99 Top TV

September 21, 1999: Here's our first real feature reference to Y2K (I think), which we'll start to see more of, using a stack of gold bricks and focusing on investing. In the My News headlines, we see that the death toll of the Taiwan earthquake jumped from 15 to 1,500:
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For the PM update, it was back to fall TV (shocker), looking at Dharma and Greg, while the quake death toll continued to climb:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Friday, September 20, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Sept. 20, 1999 -- Max Your 401(k); Fall TV with "Ally McBeal"; Taiwan Earthquake

September 20, 1999: We started out the week with a Personal Finance promo that focused on how to Max Your 401(k), which didn't seem incredibly hard during a bubble:
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For the PM update, we went with more fall TV, featuring a photo of Calista Flockhart, since we were still at peak Ally McBeal. The My News headline references the 1999 Taiwan earthquake; this first news article cites 17 dead, though the final toll would be much, much higher. (Skipping ahead to future days, we let the News headline cover the story; we didn't give it the feature treatment.)


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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Thursday, September 19, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Sept. 19, 1999 -- Sports Roundup

September 19, 1999: Sunday's promo was a generic sports roundup feature, with a pic of the Miami Dolphins' Dan Marino:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Sept. 18, 1999 -- Breaking Free of Floyd with Free Web Chat

September 18, 1999: We finally got out fully from under the thumb of Hurricane Floyd (after focusing on it for the better part of a week) with the usual AIM 3.0 Free Web Chat promo:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Sept. 17, 1999 -- Headed Into the Weekend Like a Hurricane

September 17, 1999: With a slightly more crooked scan than usual, we went with another flood picture to ponder how Hurricane Floyd might alter your weekend plans:
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For the PM update, it was back to Love@AOL photo personals, with the requisite closeup imminent kiss stock photo:
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[Series note: In the late 1990s, I programmed the content for the AOL.com home page, which relaunched with a new design on July 14, 1998. I printed screencaps and saved them. 20 years later, I'm scanning them in and posting them with a little commentary under the tag #20YearsAgoOnAOLcom.]