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Tuesday November 13  8:34 PM EST

AOL 7.0 Features - Inside Scoop

By Brian Briggs

With all the new hardware and software appearing on the market, everyone is pondering the age old question, "Should I upgrade?"

In response to a growing trend of literacy reported by recent AOL surveys, we at BBspot Research Labs decided that a review of some of the new features in AOL 7.0 might be of assistance in answering that oft-asked question. We were amazed to discover that AOL 7.0 has been extensively enhanced, with many new features stemming from common complaints and customer service issues which have arisen over the years.

Through an inside source, we have managed to get a hold of a list of the issues and how they have been addressed:

"The interface is too complicated"
"The bright, flashing colors give me fits!"
"Those pop-ups are really annoying!"

The interface has been greatly simplified. There is now a single window, called The Desktop, in which information is displayed. A further simplification makes use of just one mouse pointer and a single button on the screen at any given time. "We codenamed it Interface-One and our motto during development was: One User, One Computer, One Window, One Mouse, One Pointer, One Button, One Mission. This was essential, because it all adds up to 7, as in 7.0!" stated our insider. (We were afraid to ask what their motto for AOL 8.0 was going to be!) Additional improvements include removal of all pop-up menus and a reduction to a 16-color pastel scheme for The Desktop.

"The computer should know what I want!"
Licensing’s one-click technology, AOL has built upon this remarkable technology to bring us their One-Button Interface. The single button is context sensitive and makes use of the most advanced AI algorithms to understand the user's intentions. For example, when clicking on the button after hearing the telltale "You’ve got mail!" alert, The Desktop may switch over to the integrated AOLmail application. In other situations, the One-Button will behave like a back button, or an "e-mail this to friend" button, or even an shutdown button depending completely on the intentions of the user. As someone uses it longer, AOL 7.0 will become more in tune with their personality, the better to serve to them the content they desire. We were interested to note that initial studies did indicate some early confusion amongst users, giving rise to complaints during the beta testing, but all of the users eventually came to the realization that the advanced AI truly understood their needs better than they themselves did.

"I'm too busy chatting to make dinner."
"I didn't have time to go get the concert tickets."
"I can't reach the radio to change the station."

One of the most remarkable additions to AOL 7.0 is their Comprehensive Needs Server. This incorporates such features as Radio@AOL, AOL Box Office, and AOL Grocer which allow the users to accomplish complicated tasks with just a few clicks of the One-Button. No more worries about deciding what to eat or listen to, let alone even driving somewhere, as the Comprehensive Needs Server, combined with the One-Button technology, automatically interprets the user's intentions and handles ordering and scheduling delivery automatically.

"Sometimes the screen gets blurry!"
"My eyes get tired."
"I've fallen and I can't get up!"

AOL 7.0 monitors the user’s reaction times to new information being displayed, and if the user starts to become sluggish or unresponsive, the Comprehensive Needs Server will automatically order an appropriate beverage from Starbucks for immediate delivery. If the activity still has not picked up within an hour, an ambulance will automatically be dispatched to the user's residence, making this a very popular feature amongst the elderly and users prone to psychosomatic illnesses.

That sums up our findings on the new enhancements to AOL 7.0, but in the interests of fair reporting, we need to state that not all issues have been addressed in this new version, although we are told that upcoming releases will take care of them:

"My arm gets tired moving the mouse so much!"
"i ca ;t typ."
"Sometimes the internet blocks my view of what's on TV!" [AOLTV users]
"Terrorists suck."
"AOL loads too slow."
"Politics are boring."


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