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End of an era: The AOL websites shutting down


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End of an era: The AOL websites shutting down
Topic: Web Design 10:27 pm EDT, Oct 29, 2008

As of November 1, 2008, all of the and websites will be no more.

I have mixed feelings about the closing of the AOL sites. I've been with AOL since the very early days, back before easy access to the internet. Back then, going "online" meant connecting to one of the individual services such as AOL, Prodigy, GEnie, or CompuServe, but there was no web, and no communication between the different services. Our Simutronics games started on GEnie, then we ran them off of 'nix servers from a basement in St. Charles, and then we opened portals to each of the services. To my knowledge, we were the first game company to ever have players from all of the different services all playing together in the same virtual world.

My first ever webpage was via my AOL site, back in the 90s. At first it was cool, but as AOL fell out of favor with the cyber-scene, I took a lot of heat for maintaining my AOL account. But I had loyalty to the service because of our games, because it was my "home" website, and because AOL dialup was often the most reliable way to get online, as I traveled cross-country and logged on from hotels while on the road. Even at hacker-cons, my AOL access would be enormously useful, as the hotel's network would often be down (or hacked), but I could dial onto AOL without a problem. On more than one occasion I'd have "leet" hax0rz standing in line in my hotel room to access the web via my lowly AOL dial-up connection, because it was the only way they could reliably check their email! And oh yes, having access to a dynamic AOL IP had its uses, too. ;)

The amount of FTP space that AOL allotted for each person's website was tiny, only 2MB per screen-name. For my Antarctica site, I remember splitting up my webpages, maintaining the HTML files in one screenname's space, the actual images under a different screenname, and anything geek-related (such as the PhreakNIC tutorial) under a different name, nova1337. :)

Eventually I of course outgrew AOL, and with HugMe's kind offer of webspace, I opened my site in 2001. But I continued to maintain the old AOL site, and also hid some stuff here and there, such as a couple things that were needed to solve the 2002 Elonka Code. In fact, I'd be happy to keep that AOL site going forever, except that AOL is pulling the plug. So, I have my bittersweet farewell. I'm still planning on maintaining my email address... Anyone care to place bets on when that will go away too?

Since I had a fair amount of (old) crypto information at my AOL pages, such as my PhreakNIC Code tutorial, I have now mirrored everything over to my site.

The page is now here

The PhreakNIC Code tutorial (which used to be at is now here.

Any of you that were really familiar with my site(s), knew that I had various sekrit files and pages and puzzles here and there. So if you want to know if I mirrored all of those too, the answer is, "Yes". :) Some of them may be a little tricky to deal with since the URLs have changed, but I think the general flavor is still there.

If anyone finds anything that's broken (or doesn't find something which you feel really should've been where you were looking), please contact me in IMs or email and I'll take a look.

In AOL-nostalgia,

Elonka :)

End of an era: The AOL websites shutting down

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