CompuServ or AOL?

Subject: CompuServ or AOL?
From: Lori Lathrop <76620 -dot- 456 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 25 Jun 1994 20:34:23 EDT

In response to Bridget Brett, who asks about CompuServe and AOL ...

I subscribe to *both* CompuServe and AOL because I got "hooked" after
getting trial subscriptions to both of them. However, I prefer using
CompuServe and, to be honest, I probably would have dropped AOL a long
time ago if it weren't for the fact that the Indexing Tools folder that
I started (about a year and a half ago) in the Writers/Non-Fiction area
became so successful. BTW, AOL will soon give us our own forum in the
Non-Fiction Area; it will be for Editing and Indexing. An aside ... the
best part of the American Society of Indexers (ASI) Annual Conference in
San Diego last month was getting to meet so many online friends/indexers
face-to-face and, consequently, I'll never be able to leave AOL because
I'd miss the networking with other professional indexers.

Now ... back to CompuServe, the online service I prefer. Why? For one
thing, it's easier to compose & review e-mail offline before sending it,
and it's MUCH (read: MUCH MUCH MUCH!!!) easier to file e-mail messages
because CompuServe lets you create mail folders. Another nice thing
about CompuServe's e-mail features is the fact that it's part of the
Basic Services (included in the basic rate of $7.95/month). But, having
said that, you should be aware that CompuServe gives you a $9.00 credit
each month for e-mail and, once that credit is used up, you'll be charged
15 cents for each e-mail message you send or read ... and that can add up
quickly if you subscribe to any active mailing lists (such as TECHWR-L).
TIP: the cost is minimized if you subscribe to the digest form of
mailing lists. As someone else has already mentioned, CompuServe has
more forums than you can count ... but they all cost extra. And, if
you're an "information junkie" you'll be happy about the ability to
search various business and magazine databases. And many big-name
hardware & software companies maintain a forum for technical support
on CompuServe; I've found that to be extremely useful ... and I much
prefer posting a message on a technical support forum to waiting &
waiting & waiting on a customer-service hotline. In short, I'd say
that CompuServe is a more "professional" online service than AOL.
Also -- and this is a BIG point -- it's more reliable. I've *never*
had problems logging on CompuServe. However, there are "peak" times
(evenings and week-ends, mostly) when it's absolutely impossible to
get on AOL or, at best, it requires several dozen attempts and all the
patience you can muster. AOL has, by far, more system problems than
CompuServe, which has been around longer and seems to have worked things
out quite well.

Now ... one more word about AOL: it can be a great place to "play" if you
want to assign yourself several (up to 5) Screen Names and bounce around
from one chat room to another (the equivalent of bar-hopping). When I
hosted the April meeting of the Colorado chapter of ASI, I gave demos of
CompuServe and AOL ... and most of the indexers there (librarian types,
mostly) were quite shocked to see the names of some of the chat rooms
people had created.

Okay, okay ... I guess I've told you most everything I can about the
differences between AOL and CompuServe. They're both good services;
however, if you subscribe to AOL, be prepared to put up with its
growing pains.

Hope this info is useful to you.

Lori Lathrop ------------> INTERNET:76620 -dot- 456 -at- compuserve
Lathrop Media Services
P.O. Box 808
Georgetown, CO 80444

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