Help with AOL 3.0

I know that cheers roared out once America Online announced the new “Preview” of AOL 3.0 software! Finally, we thought, America Online was paying attention to its Mac users! Finally, we don’t have to be taunted and abused by our PC friends because we have such old-fashioned software!

Few have cheered since.

In fact, it seems to me that AOL would be wise to set up armed guards and barbed-wire fences. People fill the Members Helping Members message boards (my favorite place to visit) with posts about how they would like to do various acts of violence to America Online. Well, maybe they don’t get that graphic, but you get the picture.

Actually, you can achieve success with this version of software! Yes! Don’t be so quick to complain. In fact, it could possibly be your own fault that this screwy version of trash is wrecking your life, ruining your marriage, and leaving you hopeless on the edge of a high bridge!

It’s not just a matter of installing software. You have to install it correctly. You have to get it right! You have to remember that this is preview (giant beta test) software. There are bugs and features that need to be finished. Because of the blemishes and incompleteness of the software, there are certain things you have to remember in order to get the best possible experience.

So, I’m going to give you a list of instructions for installing the preview of AOL 3.0 as well as some tips to help you along. I feel AOL’s instructions fall way short of any real help. Their instructions are simply not good enough. So, I made up my own. Follow these, and you should have a good copy of America Online 3.0.

Here we go:

** NOTE: You will definitely want to download “TechTool v1.1.2” from AOL’s file libraries. You can also find it on the My Mac web site (under “Utilities” of software area). **

1) Move the installer from wherever it is to the desktop.

2) Rename your old America Online folder “Old AOL,” or whatever name you decide.

3) Restart your Mac and hold down the SHIFT key so as to restart with all extensions and control panels off.’

4) When ready, run the installer and install AOL 3.0.

5) It will ask you to restart again. Do so.

6) Hold down the space bar key as the Mac starts up. Soon the “Extensions Manager” will come up. Turn ALL OFF and then turn “Macintosh Easy Open” on. Close the window when you have done that. Your Mac will finish loading.

7) Run TechTool and tell it to rebuild the desktop. If you still don’t have TechTool (naughty-naughty), then you can do it the old-fashioned way (holding down the option-Apple keys when starting up). You really should use TechTool.

8) Let it finish this. Make a roast, do some barbecue, or sew a blanket during this time. When it’s finished, use your “Extensions Manager” panel to turn your extensions back on. Restart again.

9) Select the AOL icon and choose “Get Info” from the “File” menu.

10) Do you use Virtual Memory? If so, set the preferred size to about 8100 or 8200. If you have the real RAM, you can set it to 8500 or 9000. Somewhere in that range will do good for you. Remember, you can always add a little here and a little there to suit your needs (and your RAM).

11) Launch AOL, and choose CONTINUE. Yes, do not UPDATE. Although it can work for some, it will be best for you to make this fresh. It will make it speedier and more reliable.

12) Go through the initial sign-up steps (selecting an access number). During the steps, AOL will identify your modem. With some modems, the program will identify it as the wrong type. AOL gives you the chance to change the modem type. If it’s wrong, change it to the correct modem type. If your modem is not listed, try “Hayes Basic.”

13) AOL will then dial your access number and connect you to the service.

14) When you are asked for a certificate number and password, enter your screen name and password (respectively). You will see what I mean, because AOL kindly labeled these areas for this purpose. After you do that, your database will be updated.

15) Cheer for joy! You did it! You are now part of the great new AOL 3.0 family!

* * * * * *

Now, a few more pointers to help you along the way:

— The above instructions are mainly for the beta software. That is the reason to choose CONTINUE and not UPGRADE. Many users experience problems when using the UPGRADE choice.

— If you are having problems with your 3.0 software, you should do a full reinstallation (as opposed to a simple reinstallation). This was even necessary with 2.6 and 2.7, so you might need to do it at some point. If you do, make sure you trash the entire 3.0 folder (you should remove your downloads). Also trash the “AOL Link,” “ObjectSupportLib,” and “TCPack for AOL” extensions that are in your “Extensions” folder. You might also need to trash the “America Online” folder that is in your “Preferences” folder (see below). After you trash all of these items, you will install using the instructions above.

— Keep a backup of your working “America Online” preferences folder. Update this backup regularly. Your art and mail databases are stored in there, and you don’t want to lose those. You might decide to compress it with “StuffIt” and put it on a floppy or Zip disk.

— Update your modem software, if you can. Global Village (keyword GV) has updates for much of their modem software. Check with your modem’s maker and see if there are updates available.

— For best performance, use 7.5.3 or later of System software.

— Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.

— Keep that old AOL 2.6 or 2.7 program and folder. You want to have a backup in case you have problems with 3.0.

— If your modem supports error correction/data compression (most do, and you can usually set this in the modem’s control panel), set it to MNP5. If you have problems with that setting, set it to v.42bis.

— If you have fax software, screen savers, virus scanners or RAM Doubler, turn them off while you are online. If you need more memory, use Virtual Memory for best results. RAM Doubler and AOL 3.0 can conflict.

— Rebuild the desktop with TechTool about once every two weeks. It will help maintain a healthy AOL. Remember to rebuild with all extensions off except “Macintosh Easy Open.” Macintosh Easy Open uses the desktop file to do it’s work. If you rebuild while that panel is off, it will simply rebuild itself again when you restart and it loads.

— Before you try AOL, remember the recommendations. You need to have at least a 68030 processor or better. You also need at least version 7.1.1 of the MacOS software. 8 MB of RAM is enough, but you will need Virtual Memory.

— There are still bugs in the program, so do not be surprised by the occasional error.

— Don’t press that F10 key. It destroys the earth (joke).

— If you have a PowerPC, make sure you download the “PowerPC Interrupt Extension” from keyword MAC UPDATE. It fixes some freeze problems and is used with 7.5.5.

— Set the Web Browser’s cache to “No Cache.” Do this under the “Preferences” in the “Members” menu.

— Some “SoundMaster” versions can conflict with AOL 3.0 software. Version 1.8.3 of the panel seems to work. AOL might have fixed this problem by now.

— If you want to convert your Hot List from 2.6 or 2.7 to 3.0, you will have to do it manually. First, open your 2.7 Hot List and copy all the sites down. Then run 3.0 and hit the “Favorite Places” button in the tool bar (the one with the folder and heart). Press the “New” button, fill out the site, and hit “Create.” There, you now have a new favorite place. Do the same for the rest of your sites.

There ya’ go! Using those instructions and remembering those tips should help you get the most out of AOL 3.0. You should have a relatively trouble free trip with both the regular service and the Web Browser.

If you still have problems, there are places for help. The boards at keyword PREVIEW are the proper area to post questions. If you have trouble installing or signing on with the software, you can post a question on the Members Helping Members boards (keyword HELP) by signing on with 2.6 or 2.7.

Now you can go off and install the software! If all goes well, you should be happily cruising the Internet in a short time. Personally, I like the change, and the new browser (even though it is Microsoft material). The speed is increased, the features are great, and the browser actually functions.

Good luck!

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