Wednesday, March 03, 2010, posted by Q6 at 5:16 AM
I have been a monthly-fee-paying member of AOL for quite some time now: fourteen years, to be exact. Back in February of 1996, ISPs were few, wi-fi (let alone free wi-fi) was nonexistent, and e-mail accounts had to be paid for. (Cellular phones were the size of briefcases at this time, but that's another story for another time.)

I no longer pay for AOL.

Moving everything over to my new Gmail account was easier than I thought it would be, as was informing everyone of my new address. I had these nightmares about losing fourteen years worth of valuable information* and contact lists created over time . . . as it turns out, I had nothing to fear.

I'm reminded of the first in-car CD player I owned: it was one of the first generation players, and it skipped every time I drove over the slightest bump in the road. A friend of mine told me he would wait a few years for the technology to improve, then get one after all the bugs had been worked out. Free e-mail accounts were like that to me: I wasn't going to jump in on the ground floor, but wait until all the bugs had been worked out and the complaints died down (it didn't hurt that I also waited for Google to get into the game).

As I look through my monthly budget, I see items that are necessary expenses and some payments that reflect temporary situations (I should have my credit card problem in the endzone in 12-18 months), but only one has stood out as "unnecessary." Now that AOL is out of my life and off my computer**, life doesn't seem that much different.

Except, of course, that I'm saving an extra $25.00 per month.

* Valuable information, insomuch as it's information I thought was important to file away; but it's not so important that I felt the need to ignore it after it was filed away.

** There have been horror stories floating around about it being impossible to exorcise AOL from your life; I had to fill out one online form, and then wait until the end of the billing cycle, and it was done. No headache, no problem.