Alert: AOL FlashSession Bug

Subject: Alert: AOL FlashSession Bug
From: "Chas. Bosdet" <WLFTRIX -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 1995 14:41:41 -0400

TO: List members who use AOL's FlashSession feature in Windows
(I don't know whether this also affects DOS users, and whether
the principle also applies to Macs):

PROBLEM If you have two screen IDs whose first 8 characters are the same,
you risk erasing the mail database for one ID the moment you launch a
FlashSession for the other. I've reported this to AOL.

(I say "risk," but in fact this disaster worked flawlessly for me
the very first time. During a single FlashSession, two mail
databases vaporized before I knew it. If I try real hard, I
can almost view this bug as a benefit: AOL could call it the
Clean Slate feature -- eliminates unsightly mail build-up. Heh.)

SOLUTION According to AOL Tech Support, the only immediate solutions seem
to be: (1) use FlashSession for only one of your IDs, or (2) install the AOL
program again, but *in a new directory,* so that you have separate icons for
each screen ID (yes, you'd have two full copies of the AOL software on your
disk drive).

DESCRIPTION The AOL software automatically creates a mail file ("<screen
name>.mal") in the "idb" subdirectory to hold your downloaded mail. It does
this by using the first 8 characters of your screen name. For screen names
"TechWriter" and "TechWrites" the mail file would be "techwrite.mal" -- but
two files can't have the same name, so here's what happens:

Step 1. You launch a flash session for "TechWriter." The downloaded mail is
deposited in the "techwrite.mal" mail file and is linked to the TechWriter
screen ID.

Step 2. You launch a flash session for "TechWrites." The software looks for
a "techwrite.mal" file *that is linked to TechWrites,* doesn't find it, and
automatically creates an empty new "techwrite.mal" file *after erasing the
existing mail file.*

If you repeat Step 1, you'll lose the mail you received in Step 2. And so on.


Heads up, and good luck.

Chas. Bosdet


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