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.]

Monday, March 25, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 25, 1999 -- Kosovo Strikes Continue; Then Britney

March 25, 1999: We led with the second day of the NATO strikes (using a photo of a NATO Tornado fighter-bomber), along with calorie calculators and spring flowers:
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Then, for the PM update, for some reason we switched to Britney Spears. No idea why she was in the news.

I neglected to notice that we put a promo for AOL Quick Buddy in the Community column; it was a predecessor to AIM Express:
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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 24, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 24, 1999 -- NATO Launches Air Strikes Against Yugoslavia

March 24, 1999: We started out with fantasy baseball and a pic of Mark McGwire; that didn't last long, because we then switched to NATO air strikes against targets in Yugoslavia:
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Look, a B-52!
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For the PM update, we switched photos and referenced the NATO name for the strikes, Operation Allied Force:
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The last update of the evening added a link to a photo gallery:
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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 23, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 23, 1999 -- Top Mutual Funds, Stocks Sink

March 23, 1999: We started off the day with a Personal Finance promo for the top 25 mutual funds, along with online job listings and clothes shopping:
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Then, midday, we swapped out to cover a stock market dip. You can see previous notes about our over-indexing on stock news... also, I'm not saying there was causation, but it seems there was a curious correlation between starting the day with a Personal Finance promo leading to either a stock market bounce or dip that required an update:
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We kept the stock dip in the PM udpate; in the My News headline, you can see the Dow ended down 218.68 points, while the other headline said that air strikes against Serbia were imminent; stay tuned:
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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 22, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 22, 1999 -- Benigni's Big Night and More Oscar Highlights

March 22, 1999: Taking a break from female actors in evening gowns, we featured Roberto Benigni, fresh off his chair-climbing win for Life Is Beautiful:
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For the PM update, it was back to evening wear and Oscar gowns:
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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 21, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 21, 1999 -- Finally Oscar Time, Plus the Final Four Set

March 21, 1999: We started off Oscar Sunday with a pic of presenter Liv Tyler, along with text promos for 10-day weather forecasts and clothes shopping:
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For the PM update, as with the Grammys, we monitored the winners and worked with the News and Photo teams to get updates for the website. As a result, to this day, I can't bring myself to care about the big awards ceremonies.

We also updated the text promo for the Final Four: Ohio State, Michigan State, Duke, and UConn: 
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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, March 20, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 20, 1999 -- Oscars Preview with Whoopi

March 20, 1999: Oscars preview, tax help, and sports gear:
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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, March 19, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 19, 1999 -- Oscar Countdown, Duke's NCAA Run Continues

March 19, 1999: The end of the incessant Oscar previews is finally in sight, along with spring travel and tax software:
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For the PM update, we switched to NCAA Sweet 16 action; once again, Duke somehow managed to make it into the photo promo 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.]

Monday, March 18, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 18, 1999 -- Online House Hunting and More NCAA Action

March 18, 1999: We featured online home-buying (which pushed the promo to five lines), along with more Oscars trivia and Home & Garden shopping:
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For the PM update, we went back to NCAA action, asking "Can Terps keep it going?" (Nope.)
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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 17, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 17, 1999 -- Cruise Finder and More Oscar Polling

March 17, 1999: Seems odd, but we didn't have any programming on the home page for St. Patrick's Day. Instead, we went with a cruise finder Travel promo, along with fantasy sports and CD buying:
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For the PM update, we had a Best Actress poll leading with Cate Blanchett versus Gwyneth Paltrow; there's also a My News headline with the shocking-for-1999 story, "Study: Marijuana Helps Fight Pain":
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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 16, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 16, 1999 -- Dow Breaks 10K (Briefly)

March 16, 1999: Another lame AIM promo, another lame Oscar poll, another lame car-buying promo. In the My News headlines, we have a fatal Amtrak train derailment in Illinois, and reference to a new Dow record:
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We did a mid-morning update for the Dow breaking 10K for the first time (in intraday trading); we can also see some sort of glitch in the My News headlines with two generic placeholder headlines:
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For the PM update, we recapped the Dow news (not the typical PM 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.]

Friday, March 15, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 15, 1999 -- NCAA Roundup and One Month Until Tax Day

March 15, 1999: We kept up with the NCAA roundup, and couldn't stay away from the Ides of March references:
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For the PM update, we moved taxes up to the top spot. Look at that classy JOBS! JOBS! JOBS! ad:
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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 14, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 14, 1999 -- NCAA Sweet 16

March 14, 1999: We did another NCAA promo for the end of the first weekend of the tournament. That's about it.
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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, March 13, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 13, 1999 -- More NCAA Coverage

March 13, 1999: The NCAA tournament rolled on, along with another Oscars poll, and a "pre-perennial tension" gardening shopping promo:
1999_03_13
[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 12, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 12, 1999 -- "Deep End of the Ocean" and the NCAA Tournament

March 12, 1999: We featured Michelle Pfeiffer in The Deep End of the Ocean in a hideous brown color-schemed top block, along with another Oscar poll and sports memorabilia. You can also see a My News headline referencing the Dow flirting with 10,000 (stay tuned on that):
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For the PM update, somehow Duke ended up in the graphic promo spot again:
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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, March 11, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 11, 1999 -- Oscar Poll, Church Shooting, NCAA Tournament Kickoff

March 11, 1999: Another Oscars poll, featuring a pic of Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth in Elizabeth, along with free tax help and CD shopping. The My News headline, "Church Gunman Kills Four," references this Louisiana multiple homicide, back when mass shootings with single-digit body counts were still big news:
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For the PM update, we featured the start of the NCAA tournament, starting with a generic promo, then switching to a wire 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 10, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 10, 1999 -- Free Classifieds, Drawstring Pants, Liddy Dole

March 10, 1999: The morning home page featured retro stock art for free classifieds, as well as travel bargains and drawstring pants (remember when they were a thing?). The news headline, "Furor Grows Over Fired Scientist" refers to the Wen Ho Lee affair:

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For the PM update, we went with warm weather getaways, and another Oscar poll. In the My News headline, we see "Dole Forms Presidential Committee." The Dole in question is Elizabeth, and her campaign didn't last very long:
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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 09, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 9, 1999 -- Ready, AIM, Snow

March 9, 1999: We started out the day with the already horrendously-overused "Talk Is Cheap. Chat Is Free" AIM promo in the top spot, as well as online genealogy and pet stuff. The news of Joe DiMaggio's death remained in the My News dynamic spot:
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Then, suddenly, surprise snow hit; we added it to a text promo:
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For the PM update, we featured this narrow band of unexpected East Coast snow (which was something not at all a parochial interest and clearly deserving of main page consideration) to hang a weather promo on: 
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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 08, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 8, 1999 -- Avoid Tax Mistakes; Joe DiMaggio Dies at 84

March 8, 1999: We started out the day with stressed stock-art guy for tax help (as mentioned yesterday), along with text promos for an airline directory and software bargains, though you can see the My News headline: "Baseball Great Joe DiMaggio Dies at 84":
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We soon bumped the story up to the top spot ("Remember the Yankee Clipper"):
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Then refreshed the spot for the PM update with a photo from his playing days:
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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 07, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 7, 1999 -- NCAA Tournament Preview, and a Possible Preview Mistake

March 7, 1999: Sunday's lead was a preview of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, which would begin the following Thursday:
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Now, I have a preview screenshot that suggests we did a PM update that featured tax help, though I'm not convinced that it ever went live on Sunday, since it features the same content as the following Monday AM slot:
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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, March 06, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 6, 1999 -- "The Thin Red Line" versus "Saving Private Ryan"

March 6, 1999: We went with Oscar-nominated war movies for Saturday, featuring Sean Penn from The Thin Red Line (and pitting it against Saving Private Ryan in whatever silly Oscars poll we were running). The other text promos were for AIM chat and 40% off Monica's Story:
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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, March 05, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 5, 1999 -- Oscar Votes, Stocks Soar, "Cruel Intentions," Kick Butt's Butt Kicked

March 5, 1999: We started out the day with a meaningless member (AOL, not Academy) voting poll for the Oscars featuring a Gwyneth Paltrow pic from Shakespeare in Love, along with Local fun and NCAA apparel:
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We did a mid-morning switch to feature the soaring Dow (which broke through 9,700); we might have done this even if we weren't overly focused on tech stocks:
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For the PM update, we switched to a pic of Sarah Michele Gellar in Cruel Intentions. However, look at the "Kick Butt" headline for Tae-Bo workout tapes and gear...
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...which we had to reword not long after to "Kung-Fu Fighting"—apparently, "butt" was too spicy for our audience (or at least our leadership):
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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, March 04, 2019

20 Years Ago on AOL.com: Mar. 4, 1999 -- Travel Bargains, March-ish Madness, and News Snapshots

March 4, 1999: For the morning, we went with Travel, along with Hometown AOL and free online classifieds. In the My News headlines, we see another Lewinsky item, as well as followup to the killing of eight western tourists in Uganda:
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For the PM update, we featured college basketball. In the headlines, we also see the acquittal of the Marine EA-6 Prowler pilot who struck a cable car line in Italy, killing 20, as well as the death of ex-Supreme Court justice Harry Blackmun:
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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.]