Monday, August 19, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Aug. 19, 1999 -- Find an Outfit, TV Top 10 featuring "Buffy"

August 19, 1999: We started the day with online fashion (and what looks like a Banana Republic ensemble):
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For the PM update, we went back to a fall top TV preview, featuring Buffy's Sarah Michelle Gellar. The text headlines reference the aftermath of the Turkey earthquake, and President Clinton going on vacation for his 53rd birthday:
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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, August 18, 2019

#20YearsAgoOnAOLcom: Aug. 18, 1999 -- Lawyer Finder; "Roswell" Leads Fall TV

August 18, 1999: I think this is a first (or at least, a very uncommon) promo for legal services; in the Web Centers column, we see a new Legal item, which gives things a sort of sense; in the My News headlines, we see a set of not-quite-leadworthy headlines following up on the Turkey earthquake:
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For the PM update, we went again with Back to School TV, in this case, Roswell:
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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, August 17, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: August 17, 1999 -- AIM Web Chats; London Calling

August 17, 1999: We started with AIM Web Chat; the headline captured the 1999 Turkey earthquake:
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For the PM update, we went with travel bargains, featuring a Clash reference that I probably had help with:
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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, August 16, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: August 16, 1999 -- Monday Money, Sonic, Love

August 16, 1999: Personal finance for Monday money; meanwhile, the top headlines were students returning to Columbine, and Lama Alexander quitting his presidential run:
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For the first PM update, we went with Sega Dreamcast and Sonic the Hedgehog, and then...
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For the later PM update, we went back to Love@AOL 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.]

Thursday, August 15, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: August 15, 1999 -- Fall TV Preview with "Angel"

August 15, 1999: Ready for fall TV? We were, with a TV preview gallery featuring Angel:
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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, August 14, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: August 14, 1999 -- Untitled Heather Graham Movie?

August 14, 1999: For Saturday, we went with the latest Heather Graham movie, which we didn't even bother to mention: Bowfinger, the forgettable and forgotten movie featuring Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin:
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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, August 13, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: August 13, 1999 -- Scary Movies: "The Blair Witch Project", "The Sixth Sense", "Detroit Rock City"

August 13, 1999: It only took about a month, but we finally realized we could leverage the impact of The Blair Witch Project; we also included The Sixth Sense in a scary movie package:
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For the PM update, we went (briefly) once again with AIM Web Chat:
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...and then a little bit later, we switched over to KISS and Detroit Rock City:
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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, August 12, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: August 12, 1999 -- Airfare Sale; Free Web Chat

August 12, 1999: For the Thursday after the LA shooting suspect surrendered and Salt Lake City recovered from its tornado, we were back to a normal Travel promo:
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For the PM update, we went back again to the AIM 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.]

Sunday, August 11, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: August 11, 1999 -- Buy A House; Solar Eclipse; LA Shooter Surrenders; SLC Tornado

August 11, 1999: Real state listings. Few words needed. For the LA Jewish Community Center shooting (which didn't even make the lead promo), police were still searching for the shooter:
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For the PM update, we went with a solar eclipse, even though it wasn't visible in the US. Also note that with eclipse gallery and news feature, we included Astrology Chat. Not astronomy; astrology. I would like to say that this was a mistake, but it wasn't.

In My News, we see the LA shooter surrendered to police, as well as news of a very rare tornado in Salt Lake City that ended up killing one and injuring 100:
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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, August 10, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: August 10, 1999 -- The Worst Promo to Date; Free Web Chat; LA Jewish Community Center Shooting

August 10, 1999: We started with a promo for AOL's web page builder that was... green. It just had "Favorite TV Shows" in white text on a pea-soup green box. And that was it. I can almost completely guarantee that there was no animation, no nothing. Terrible, simply terrible:
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For the PM update, we went to the AIM promo that was repurposed and indistinguishable from one of the AIM ads you'd see in the ad block to the immediate right.

In the My News headline, you see "Gunman Shoots 3 Kids, 2 Adults." This is a reference to the Los Angeles Jewish Community Center Shooting, where a mentally ill white supremacist (but then, I repeat myself) shot up said community center; he wounded five and later killed a mail carrier who he shot nine times because he thought he was Asian or Latino:
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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, August 09, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: August 9, 1999 -- Bulls, Bears, Browns

August 9, 1999: No surprises, with another Monday morning focused on market news and the standard trading floor photo; as noted, besides the promo block featuring two stock-related items and stock chat, we also have a stock portfolio link and a quote lookup box in the Daily Essentials:
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For the PM update, we went with preseason NFL action and the Cleveland Browns in the 1999 Hall of Fame Game (Spoiler: they lost):
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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, August 08, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: August 8, 1999 -- Who Are "The Cool Kids"?

August 8, 1999: For a boring, generic Sunday, we went with another TV style gallery, featuring some lovely young stars of some TV show, which one I have no idea. Probably a Fox or WB show, though.

Hrm, that sparked a thought; I guess it's Leslie Bibb and Carly Pope from Popular:
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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, August 07, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: August 7, 1999 -- Summer Sports Roundup

August 7, 1999: We went with a summer sports roundup, which meant stock car racing and the Brickyard 400, preseason NFL, and baseball news.

Also, I'm not sure if mentioned this before, but for AIM Betas, we made sure we supported all your Mac, Windows 95+, and Windows CE device needs:
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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, August 06, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: August 6, 1999 -- "Mystery Men"

August 6, 1999: I guess the summer movie lineup was light, because we went the whole day leading with Mystery Men, a superhero comedy that was maybe a bit before it's time -- superhero movies weren't the phenomena they are today. In the morning, it anchored a generic summer fun promo:
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For the PM update, we actually mentioned the name of the film, using a photo of Janeane Garofalo's character:
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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, August 05, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: August 5, 1999 -- Drought of '99; Back to School

August 5, 1999: So the summer heatwave hit actual drought status for parts of the US:
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For the PM update, we went with a Back to School feature, with a TV Style Gallery (an excuse to post celebrity photos, in this case, Jennifer Love Hewitt in Party of Five), as well as two web chats (which I think meant we were light on actual content):
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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, August 04, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Aug. 4, 1999 -- Easy Car Buying; Dodging "Dick"

August 4, 1999: For the morning, we went with car buying and the silver Mazda (is it? I thought it was, but the front end doesn't look like a 1999 Miata...)
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For the PM update, we went with the political comedy movie Dick starring Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams, which we referenced with the headline "Tricky Flicks" so we didn't have to deal with the double entendre (though if you do "Flicks" in all caps and bad kerning, you get visually close to another F-word, as seen in an earlier 1999 election movie, Election.)
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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, August 03, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Aug. 3, 1999 -- Heat Wave, Europe on Sale

August 3, 1999: Apparently, August is hot. The lead was another stretch of hot weather, plus a drought headline in the My News section (along with updated headlines about the Indian rail crash):
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For the PM update, we switched to a Travel promo for European airfares and destination guides, with a pic of the Roman Colosseum (or at least "a" colosseum, I can't be definitive from the pic):
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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, August 02, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Aug. 2, 1999 -- Market News; Get a Web Page; India Train Disaster

August 2, 1999: Another Monday saw another stocks and portfolios promo, with the most generic of generic market photos: The "Wall Street" street sign:
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For the PM update, we went with another "Get a Web Page" promo, for either 1-2-3 Publish or AOL Hometown (probably the former), with the "My name is Sue" graphic which was either an animated gif or just really lame.

The My News headline, "190 Killed in India Train Collision" refers to the Gaisal train disaster, which killed at least 285 people and barely rated a mention in the US:
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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, August 01, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Aug. 1, 1999 -- Photo Personals

August 1, 1999: For Sunday (remember, peak day for personals), we went with Generic Close Face Couple stock art and photo personals, with Romance Chat for a modicum of interactivity:
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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, July 31, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 31, 1999 -- Pokemon

July 31, 1999: For the last Saturday of July, we led with a Pokemon package, featuring Pikachu. I wonder whatever happened to that obscure old game?
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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, July 30, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 30, 1999 -- Shooting Aftermath; Shopping; "Runaway Bride"

July 30, 1999: For Friday, we began with the aftermath of the previous day's Atlanta spree killings...
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...but by mid-morning, we'd switched back to commerce with a fashion and apparel Shopping promo. (At least, I think so, according to this post-dated image from the preview server a few days later. As previously noted, if I needed a screenshot of a prior page, I could essentially change the clock on the publishing tool to get it to show me content from that date.)
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For the PM update, we switched to the Julia Roberts movie Runaway Bride:
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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, July 29, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 29, 1999 -- Find People; Atlanta Spree Killing

July 29, 1999: In a pre-Google, pre-Facebook era, it wasn't always easy to find people. For a Find People promo, we went with White Pages, E-Mail Finder, and somewhat jarringly, Search Personals:
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We then did a mid-morning update following a mass shooting at two Atlanta brokerage offices, with 9 dead:
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We stayed with the story for the rest of the day, with a PM update showing the shooter--a real winner--killed himself, as well as annihilating his family before the office shooting. (He was also the lone suspect in the murders of his first wife and mother-in-law 6 years earlier.):
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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, July 28, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 28, 1999 -- Get a Better Job; $99 Fall Fares

July 28, 1999: We started out with another passive-aggressive promo author's "Get a Better Job" promo; not sure why the ads printed in black and white, I don't imagine that actually happened in production; the second headline references the safe return of the Space Shuttle Columbia (the mission was STS-93):
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For the PM update, we went with Last Chance for $99 Fall Fares (good luck with that); oddly, although the screenshot was printed at 6:36pm, we still had the morning top block format (with the sock quote lookup box). Probably human error (mine):
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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, July 27, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 27, 1999 -- Hot Cars, Hot Women, Cool Kids, and the Yosemite Murders

July 27, 1999: We went back to car shopping and the Corvette stock art; the My News headlines reference the deadly US heat wave, as well as a motel handyman near Yosemite National Park who confessed to (and was later convicted of) four murders:
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Mid-day, we switched over to a hot woman:
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For the PM update, we switched to a little kid trying to cool off in a sprinkler:
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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, July 26, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 26, 1999 -- Kennedy Curse Fully Broken with Personal Finance and Another Heat Wave

July 26, 1999: We started the first full workweek of the post-JFK-Jr.-era moving back to the predictable and prosaic Monday morning Personal Finance, with loan and stock tools and investing chat:
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For the PM update, we went to another July heat wave:
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Incidentally, I posted this using my phone; OMG, what a chore; not only were the Blogger and Flickr apps not up to the task, but using the full desktop sites on mobile, I kept accidentally refreshing the page when trying to scroll around, losing my changes.

[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, July 25, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: July 25, 1999 -- Get a Web Page With 1-2-3 Publish (namechecking Johnny Cash)

July 25, 1999: For Sunday, we went with AOL's web site builder, 1-2-3 Publish (not to be confused with AOL Hometown, which was specifically for home pages built off templates). The pictured bit of the animated gif promo is "My name is Sue," clearly a reference to the Johnny Cash song; we can't know the rest of the promo gif, though there's no way we used the rest of that quote:
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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.]