Saturday, April 20, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 20, 1999 -- A High School Shooting Becomes... Columbine

April 20, 1999: Tuesday started out as a regular day; the morning lineup was a bright and sunny weather forecast promo, with market news (that to the previous day's stock movements but still managed to sound generic), and pet shopping:
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Around mid-morning, we got word of a shooting at a school in Colorado. I seem to recall doing the content update and going to lunch not soon after.
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By the time I got back from lunch, there were more reports of what had happened. And that's when Columbine became... Columbine.
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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, April 19, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 19, 1999 -- Dow Surges, NASDAQ Plunges, One Month to "Star Wars: Episode 1"

April 19, 1999: We started the day with investment advice. As noted, I am seeing a correlation between our Personal Finance promos and big spikes in the stock market because...
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...we did a morning update recycling our "Stocks Jump" headline and graph spike image:
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However, the Dow jump was met with a plunge in the tech-heavy NASDAQ, leading us to do another update with "Buy, Sell, or Hold."
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We ended the day with another "Star Wars: Episode 1" promo, and of course, a double ad jackpot because why not?
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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, April 18, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 18, 1999 -- Love@AOL Free Personals

April 18, 1999: I've said it before, but the research (Match.com's, I believe) showed that Sunday was a big day for online personals, presumably from people looking back at the wreckage of their weekends and lives. There were "free" personals in the freemium sense -- you had to pay for a Match.com subscription to get the good stuff.

We also featured the Health & Fitness Web Center and the Sports & Health Shopping channel:
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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, April 17, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 17, 1999 -- NFL Draft News

April 17, 1999: For a spring Saturday, we went with NFL draft news, genealogy, and the Home & Garden shopping category:
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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, April 16, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 16, 1999 -- Free Web Chat, Dow Highs, "Hideous Kinky"

April 16, 1999: We started Friday with yet another animated GIF AIM promo, along with car buying, and "Do You DVD Yet?" In the My News headlines, we see the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia continues, while the Dow ended the previous day with a new high.
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For the PM update, we switched to the Kate Winslet movie Hideous Kinky, which I have never seen and know nothing about.

Note the headline that broke to the second line, the "Don't Be Home Alone" headline for photo personals, and the double "JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!" ad jackpot. The Dow ended Friday at another high:
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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, April 15, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 15, 1999 -- Tax Day, AIM, and Online Classifieds

April 15, 1999: For Tax Day, we went with taxes, AIM, and free online classifieds:
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For the PM update, we kept the same lineup, just adjusting the stock photo and color scheme:
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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, April 14, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 14, 1999 -- Free Maps and Directions; Tick, Tock, Taxes; Quayle for President

April 14, 1999: We went again with Maps and Directions (Mapquest in the pre-Google Maps era), along with the Computing Web Center and CD buying online:
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For the PM update, we went with another last-minute tax promo; in the My News headline, we see Dan Quayle declares his run at the presidency; his campaign lasted 6 months:
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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, April 13, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 13, 1999 -- Online Comics, Free 411, Clinton in Contempt, Kevorkian Sentenced

April 13, 1999: In a first, we led with Doonesbury for online comics, along with text promos for free 411 lookups and buying the perfect gift. In the My News headlines, we see a story about Bill Clinton being held in contempt of court for lying in the Paula Jones case:
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In the PM update, we switched to airline bargains (using one of my favorite airplane stock photos), along with last-minute tax mistakes. In the My News headlines, we see that Dr. Jack Kevorkian was sentenced to 10 to 25 years for second-degree murder for administering a lethal injection to a man dying from ALS:
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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, April 12, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 12, 1999 -- Tax Refunds, Another Kind of Jackpot, Kosovo Gallery

April 12, 1999: We started out the day with advice on how to invest your tax refund (or any money, really), though check out the double ad jackpot in the right ad block ("I did it and I'm not sorry!" -- no idea what it was pitching):
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For the PM update, we moved the Kosovo war back into the graphic spot:
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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, April 11, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 11, 1999 -- Star Wars Quiz and Episode 1 News

April 11, 1999: Another Star Wars: The Phantom Menace promo, pointing to our Star Wars prequel package and featuring news and quizzes, along with car shopping and tax software:
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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, April 10, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 10, 1999 -- Spring Baseball; Time for Taxes and Prom

April 10, 1999: More baseball for a spring Saturday, more tax help, and a prom-themed Apparel 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, April 09, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 9, 1999 -- Kosovo Crisis Continues; "Never Been Kissed" Opens

April 9, 1999: We led with the continuing Kosovo crisis (featuring a news photo of an Apache attack helicopter), last-minute tax help, and a "Tulipmania Strikes!" promo that was not a self-aware commentary on the dotcom bubble:
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For the PM update, we led with Drew Barrymore for the opening of a movie of hers that we didn't even bother to mention (Never Been Kissed, for the record):
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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, April 08, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 8, 1999 -- Cheaper, Faster, Better PCs, Then Love@AOL

April 8, 1999: For the morning, we had online computer shopping in the top spot, followed by the continuing NATO strikes in Yugoslavia, and 40% off the "Latest Stephen King." (Presumably it was The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon... I didn't remember it either.)
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For the evening, we had a "Got Love?" promo for Love@AOL, the AOL personals product powered by Match.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, April 07, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 7, 1999 -- Don't Mess with Taxes; the Return of Sports-Bra Stock Art Fitness Women

April 7, 1999: We started the morning with "Don't Mess With Taxes," a play on the world's most famous anti-littering campaign (the Kosovo War and accompanying refugee crisis [big for its time, the late 2010s laughs, hollowly] remain in the top text spot):
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For the PM update, we were back to spring fitness, featuring the return of spandex sports-bra stock art fitness women (though did they truly ever leave?):
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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, April 06, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 6, 1999 -- Home Buying, Cheap Flying, NATO Bombing: Week Two

April 6, 1999: We led off with a basic home buying and mortgage info promo; the top text promo reflects the fact that NATO's air campaign against Yugoslavia entered its second week:
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For the PM update, we switched to the Airline Directory (which I guess was less boring and more useful than it sounded?):
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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, April 05, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 5, 1999 -- Time Running Out for Taxes

April 5, 1999: Morning and evening promotions telling people to do their taxes now. (This is also a message for me in 2019.)

The top text promo references the NATO code name for the Kosovo mission, Operation Allied Force:
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In the PM update, we ask if ground troops are next for Kosovo; the second My News headline also references Libya handing over for trial two suspects in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland:
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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, April 04, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 4, 1999 -- Fantasy Baseball (oh, and the war is still on)

April 4, 1999: A generic Sunday baseball sports promo, though the spin is for getting scores and stats for fantasy baseball leagues.
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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, April 03, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 3, 1999 -- A Very "Baywatch"-y Vacation Promo and Tae-Bo Tapes

April 3, 1999: For Saturday, we have an apparently Baywatch-inspired vacation travel bargain promo; the Kosovo war and captured U.S. soldiers remain in the top text spot. Also, dig that promo for Tae-Bo tapes. Hard to get more '90s than that:

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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, April 02, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 2, 1999 -- What Is "The Matrix"?

April 2, 1999: The story of the three U.S. soldiers captured near Yugoslavia continued to evolve, but it was Friday, which meant it was back to movies. The movie in this case was The Matrix, which no one really knew much about, thanks to cryptic marketing built around the phrase "What Is the Matrix?"
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We kept it in the top spot for the PM update.

I seem to remember that we'd had some sort of reorganization (with layoffs, which was the whole point--they happened somewhat regularly, and I was probably too used to dealing with them), and I was feeling kind of down, so I went to see The Matrix (I think at Reston Town Center).

I went in not knowing much about the movie. In 1999, even with the internet and sites such as Ain't It Cool News, you could still manage to avoid knowing much about movies that were coming out. I never saw the trailer, just the TV commercial that ended with the Neo rooftop bullet-time shot with a voice over by Morpheus saying, "Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is... you have to see it for yourself."

As a result, I remember having my mind blown.

I'd go on to see The Matrix a bunch more times, at matinees and at the 2-dollar-theater in Sterling.

1999_04_02a
[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, April 01, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Apr. 1, 1999 -- 3 U.S. Soldiers Missing, Captured

April 1, 1999: We didn't do April Fools Day jokes (lingering affects of the April Fools Day 1996 prank where the AOL Welcome Screen announced that NASA had discovered proof of life on Jupiter); even if we did, it would have gotten displaced by news that 3 U.S. soldiers had gone missing while patrolling in Macedonia, close to the Yugoslavian border:
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Not sure why I took another screenshot:
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For the PM update, we updated the headline block with confirmation that the soldiers had been captured by Serbian forces, complete with 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.]

Sunday, March 31, 2019

This Is 47: 47ish Facts About the Number 47

I haven't been very present on Facebook lately (not for any principled stance on personal data privacy, I just haven't), but for my birthday, I resumed my practice of responding to Facebook birthday wishes with bits of trivia about the number corresponding to my birthday.

However, because I value my alarmingly rapidly diminishing time, I decided this year to limit it to the first 47 respondents.

As always, the bits of trivia are mostly taken from the wikipedia page for the number 47, and the first 10 or so pages of Google search results, posted with no human judgement, in the order in which they are presented here.

Also, because I was finishing up in a bar, I messed up the count and actually posted 49 items:

1. Agent 47 is the protagonist of the Hitman video games.

2. 47 is the 15th prime number.

3. District Council 47 of AFSCME (the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) represents Administrative, Professional, Technical Employees and first level Supervisors employed by the City of Philadelphia.

4. 47 is a safe prime, or the product of twice another prime number (23) + 1.

547 Ronin was one of the biggest box office bombs of 2013.

6. The atomic number of silver is 47.

7. +47 is the international calling code for Norway.

8. 47 is a favorite number of Pomona College.

9. 47 Metres Down is a 2017 scuba diving thriller starring Matthew Modine and Mandy Moore

10. Pub 47 is a casual neighborhood bar and grill located on Route 47 in Huntley, IL.

11. 47 is a Carol Number, an integer of the form 4^n − 2^n + 1 − 1  (for 47, n=3)

12. In mathematics, 47 is a number representing a bunch of other numerical concepts no one except mathmeticians know, but I will just provide the link and spare you.

13. 47 appears frequently in Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes and beyond (too many to mention, thankfully), due to writer Joe Menosky, a Pomona grad.

14. During the 2012 election, Republican candidate Mitt Romney made a comment claiming that 47 percent of Americans do not pay any income tax.

15. A recent Medium article was entitled, "My Life at 47 Is Back to What It Was Like at 27." While I generally agree with the sentiment (for different reasons), I don't feel it was a great article.

16. Of course, the AK-47 got its name because the prototype for the iconic design was developed in November, 1947.

17. The CH-47 Chinook is an iconic, twin-rotor US military cargo helicopter.

18. The P-47 Thunderbolt was a World War II fighter plane.

19. Messier object M47 is a magnitude 4.5 open cluster in the constellation Puppis

20. Japan is divided into 47 prefectures.

21. 47 in Roman numerals is XLVII.

22. Oregon Ballot Measure 47 was passed in 1996 and limits property tax assessments.

23. In binary, 47 is 101111.

24. Nairobi is in Kenya's 47th county

25. There's a 47 Society online. It seems kinda... lame.

26. 47 is "IS" on a touch tone keypad (4 is G-H-I, 7 is P-Q-R-S)

27. U.S. Code: Title 47 deals with Telecommunications

28. 47 is halfway to 94

29. Next47.com is some sort of marketing website run by Siemens.

30. 1947 was the first year of the Cold War.

31. WMDT is a dual ABC/CW+-affiliated television station licensed to Salisbury, Maryland, United States. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on virtual and UHF channel 47 from a transmitter in rural Wicomico County northeast of Mardela Springs.

32. '47 is a clothing brand based in Boston.

33. The MBTA's 47 bus goes from Central Square, Cambridge to Broadway Station.

34. The US is the 47th friendliest travel destination for LGBT travelers.

35. New General Catalogue object NGC 47 is a barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Cetus. (This object is also designated as NGC 58.)

36. The SFMTA 47 Van Ness bus goes from Townsend & 5th St to Powell St & Beach St

37. NYPD's 47th Precinct serves the northern part of the Bronx.

38. Lotto 47 is a Michigan Lottery game.

39. Crystal Lake Elementary District 47 is in Illinois.

40. Here is a Buzzfeed article on 47 Ridiculously Clever Ways To Store Anything And Everything

41. 47 in hexadecimal is 0x2F

42. In Euclid's Elements, Proposition 47 posits, "In right-angled triangles the square on the side opposite the right angle equals the sum of the squares on the sides containing the right angle."

43. The Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn are located 47 degrees apart.

44. The Voyager 47 Club is a lounge at the Outrigger Resort in Waikiki

45. AK-47 is also a hybrid strain of marijuana

46. Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort received a 47-month prison sentence for tax and bank fraud related to his work advising Ukrainian politicians.

47. The U.S. version of the Price Is Right is in its 47th season.

Bonus items because I forgot how to count:

47a. 47 is very much closer to 50 than 40

47b. In the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 47 deals with selecting jurors.

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 31, 1999 -- Investment Tips, Headless Torso Beefcake, Missing US Soldiers

March 31, 1999: We started off the day with investment tips, plus AOL White Pages and flowers:
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For the PM update, we switched to headless torso beefcake stock art. Which should have been it for the day, except...
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Three US soldiers went missing in Yugoslavia. As it turned out, "missing" meant "captured."
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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, March 30, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 30, 1999 -- Huskies Win; Kosovo Refugee Crisis; Melissa Virus

March 30, 1999: We started off with a continuation of the UConn NCAA victory...
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For the PM update, we bumped up the Kosovo refugee crisis to the top spot; we also featured the Melissa computer virus:
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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, March 29, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 29, 1999 -- Tax Help, Duke vs. UConn in NCAA Final

March 29, 1999: We started Monday with free tax help; Operation Allied Force (the NATO air strikes in Kosovo) remained in the top text spot and My News headline:
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For the PM update, we went with the NCAA men's final (Duke vs. UConn):
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And, in a personally painful note, I had to do a realtime update after UConn beat Duke to take the title:
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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, March 28, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 28, 1999 -- "Star Wars: Episode 1" Preview

March 28, 1999: Remember the excitement around Star Wars: Episode 1? Meesa don't. (Also note the Ann Landers house ad in this page preview):
1999_03_28
[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, March 27, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 27, 1999 -- NCAA Semis, Stealth Fighter Shot Down

March 27, 1999: The Saturday lineup for Final Four weekend should have been static... and then a US Air Force F-117 stealth attack jet got shot down while prosecuting targets in the Kosovo campaign:
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We updated the lead promo spot with a stock photo of a stealth fighter, swapping Kosovo into the lead and demoting the NCAA semis into the top text promo:
1999_03_27x
[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, March 26, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 26, 1999 -- "The Mod Squad" versus "EDtv", Star Wars Quiz, Kosovo Crisis Continues

March 26, 1999: The Friday lineup led with movies: The Mod Squad versus EDtv (with, as 20 years of hindsight shows, neither having much lasting cultural impact), as well as a Star Wars quiz to whet peoples' appetite for Episode 1.
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We kept the same lineup for the PM update, though considering that NATO was still bombing Yugoslavia, we put the Kosovo Crisis back in the top text spot.
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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.]