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  1. Check Out Episode One of The Future Starts Here, “Technology Shabbats”

    Even better, you can watch 'em all at once if you want!

    Yesterday we told you guys about Tiffany Shlain's latest web series for AOL, The Future Starts Here. "Technology Shabbats," the first episode that premiered today, is about how choosing a day to unplug yourself from technology and take time off can be incredibly liberating.

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  2. The Future Starts Here Starts Tomorrow, So Here’s a Teaser [Video]

    You could argue that this mean the future actually starts there, but... eh. Semantics.

    Get ready to follow yet another awesome online video series -- Webby Awards creator Tiffany Shlain's new project, The Future Starts Here, is set to release its first episode tomorrow. Judging from the trailer, we're guessing it's going to be pretty dang awesome.

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  3. A New Challenger Enters the Ring! AOL Reader Wants to Be Your Google Reader Rebound

    AOL would very much like it if you took them to prom picked them as your new RSS reader solution.

    The end of Google Reader is nigh, and everyone appears to be jumping into the fight over its abandoned users. The latest entrant is AOL who just launched the simply named AOL Reader. At first blush it doesn't appear to have much to make it stand out from the pack, and at least for now there's a major bug. Let's see how it sizes up.

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  4. ComicsAlliance Continues to Tease Rebirth, Toy With Our Emotions

    The reports of its death were greatly exaggerated.

    We were as upset as the next nerd when AOL announced the death of the beloved website ComicsAlliance at the end of April this year. However, it's become pretty clear over the past few weeks that someone over at the site is showing signs of life -- and they don't seem to feel like telling us what's going on there just yet. Hopefully they're not just messing with us. ComicsAlliance, please don't be messing with us. We miss you.

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  5. 19-Year-Old Entrepreneur Squatted at AOL for Two Months

    The question of what to do when you have this great idea but no money has been one that's plagued humans for ages. But what to do when you have this great idea, no money but access to a major campus of technology due to a badge that's failed to have been deactivated is one that the majority of us can only dream about. Not so with Eric Simons. After his $20,000 from Imagine K12, a program hosted at AOL's Palo Alto campus, ran out last fall, he simply decided to live there.

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  6. AOL Just Made a Billion Dollars Selling 800 Patents to Microsoft

    AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has announced in a memo that the dial-up provider come media giant has sold off 800 of its patents to Microsoft for $1.056 billion. The cash deal comes as AOL faces pressure from investors to make good on their promises of a rebirth for the company. Considering that a hefty chunk of that cool billion will be distributed to shareholders, the deal is sure to placate hard feelings for now.

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  7. AIM Good As Dead After Massive AOL Layoffs Eliminate Development Team [UPDATED]

    It should come as little surprise, but AIM is now dead. Effectively, anyway. And yes, up until recently, it was technically alive. Last Friday, AOL finalized layoffs which included the vast majority of the Instant Messenger division. The department was "eviscerated," a former employee told The New York Times, and is now down to nothing more than support staff, so there's practically no chance at future development. All in all, you'd have to have been pretty deluded to be stunned by this, but it's still a little sad for those of us who practically grew up on the service.

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  8. AIM Redesign Gives the Service a Shot in the Arm, a Shot at Relevance

    Back when I was a kid, AIM was the premier messaging service. Anyone who was anyone had at least 2 screen names, both involving horrible mispellings, puns, and arbitrary numbers. Back in the days when having someone's screen name (legitimately from them, not just a mutual friend) was more important than having their number. Since then, the advent of social networking has severely changed the instant message landscape and the cyber landscape at large, leaving AIM more or less in the dust. But now, AIM is trying to rise back to relevance with a new redesign, and from what I can tell from its preview features, it looks like it might actually have a fighting chance.

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  9. Biggest Names Online Take Out Full Page Ad in NYTimes Speaking Against SOPA

    Yesterday, a group of nine of the biggest online companies took out a full page ad in the New York Times to voice their concern over two pieces of legislation in congress that could greatly affect the way America uses the Internet. In the letter, Google, Facebook, Mozilla, Zynga, eBay, Twitter, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and AOL ask that their point of view be heard regarding the Protect IP and the Stop Online Piracy Act.

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  10. AOL Still Has 3.5 Million Dial-Up Subscribers

    I kid you not: AOL still has 3.5 million loyal dial-up subscribers as of this very moment. Just take a minute to think about all the words in that sentence that are insane, specifically all of them. Dial-up was pretty awful even before there were alternatives, and AOL was pretty awful even in the world of dial-up providers. The fact that AOL has somehow managed to hang on to that many faithful dial-up devotees amazes me. Granted, AOL still has an overall declining user base. They lost 630,000 subscribers over the past year, but that's actually their lowest Q3 loss because, I can't believe I'm saying this, recent promotions have actually brought 200,000 new subscribers to AOL, in 2011. Really though.

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  11. 5 Iconic Sound Bites in Tech

    When done right, nothing is more instantly recognizable and associable as a catchy sound bite. Once upon a time, instantly recognizable jingles were the backbone of the advertising industry. Today,  audio clips are a little more pervasive, considering our seeming dependence on electronic devices. Receive a phone call? Catchy audio clip. Get an email? Catchy sound bite. Turn on just about any modern electronic device? Memorable tune. We're living in a world where companies and devices need to differentiate themselves from the competition as much as possible, and an instantly recognizable sound bite is a three-to-ten second mean to that end. So, come with us as we check out some of the most instantly recognizable, brand differentiating, nostalgia inducing sound bites in tech.

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  12. AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo! Team Up for Ad Plan to Compete With Google

    Last night, executives from AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo! announced a plan to team up and cooperate on ad sales in order to try and maintain some level of competition with Google. The plan involves all three companies selling ad inventory on each others' sites in hopes of allowing them to collectively regain some of the ad spending that has been going to ad networks.

    The three plan to share revenue on the ads and calculate that the profit gained through that approach will be greater than the slim pickings they would get by all individually going to ad networks. While the pact encourages a certain level of cooperation, it's an open relationship; no pact member is prohibited from breaking down and working with the very ad networks they are teaming up against or even from going to Google itself. The hope is that the mutual benefit of the situation will prevent that kind of behavior organically. We'll see if it actually works.

    (via AllThingsD)

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  13. Gchat and AIM Will No Longer Require Separate Logins

    AOL Instant Messenger may no longer be the buzzworthy social media product it once was, but just about everyone over 18 has an account nevertheless. For those people with lengthy AIM contact lists or who work in offices where AIM is still the lingua franca for team communication, but who still use Gmail regularly, AOL and Google have made your life a little easier. Following a rollout taking place over the course of the next few days, Gmail users will be able to communicate with people on AIM without separately logging into an AIM account, and vice versa. To add an AIM buddy to one's Gmail contact list, simply enter their email address as AOL has also made available a bulk importer for bringing AIM contacts into Gmail en masse. (AIM via Google OS)

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  14. AOL: Hand Over CrunchBase and Nobody Gets Hurt

    Dear AOL, Congrats on your recent acquisition of TechCrunch- there’s no better team reporting on tech these days. They’ve really come into their own over the last couple of years and are producing high-quality articles and videos at scale and driving conversations forward that are important to all of us. I think you’re going to make a fortune selling ads against their content. Well done. Now that I have you all buttered up, I have a request. Within that tapestry of websites you bought is woven a gem in our little corner of the world. It's our very own anthropologic artifact that we’ve been co-creating with Mike and his team over the years. Within its hyperlinked catacombs lie hieroglyphs of startups as they rise, as they fall, as they exit into immortality and as they submerge quietly into the dead pool. It's an invaluable daily resource for many of us. Which is why I’m writing. CrunchBase is not much of a traffic driver within the TechCrunch network of sites, and it's starting to show. Look, I know it's only been a few months since the acquisition closed, but CrunchBase is already getting sad. Page load speeds are borderline unbearable, traffic seems to be sliding and content is becoming stale. As someone who has contributed data to CrunchBase and as a near-daily user of the service, I want to make sure this gem gets the attention it deserves.

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  15. Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor Leave Engadget

    Editor-in-chief Josh Topolsky and Managing Editor Nilay Patel have left Endgaget, one of the biggest tech news blogs on Internet. Both Topolsky and Patel don't give any indication that their leaving has to do with AOL's acquisition of the Huffington Post and decision to leave Arianna Huffington in charge of of Engadget, which many felt may somewhat tarnish the quality oft he site. However, there will no doubt be speculation that the pair left Engadget due to--at least in part--AOL, as Paul Miller recently left Engadget as well, putting the blame squarely on AOL, claiming their "way" doesn't promote good journalism or "even good entertainment." Topolsky and Patel mention that they aren't leaving the Internet, however, and have some projects in mind, so fans of the editors won't have to worry that their favorite tech bloggers will be disappearing altogether.

    (via All Things Digital)

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  16. AOL Buying the Huffington Post for $315 Million, and Arianna Will Lead Engadget, TechCrunch, and More

    The Huffington Post is soon to be under new management, as will most of the news sites under AOL's purview, including Engadget, TechCrunch, and more: In a Super Bowl eve shocker, HuffPo and AOL jointly announced that AOL will be acquiring the Huffington Post for $315 million cash some time in the first or second quarter of 2011. Arianna Huffington, who has led the mega-aggregator site as it has ballooned to reach an audience of more than 25 million visitors per month, will become the editor-in-chief of a new thing called the Huffington Post Media Network, which will encompass "all Huffington Post and AOL content, including Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone, MapQuest, Black Voices, PopEater, AOL Music, AOL Latino, AutoBlog, Patch, StyleList, and more." That's right: MapQuest is about to become super liberal.

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  17. 60% of AOL’s Profits Come From People Who Don’t Know That Email Is Free

    Get ready to haz a sad: Ken Auletta of The New Yorker revealed in an article profiling AOL that the company makes 60 percent of its profits through people, mostly elderly people, who believe they need to pay for a monthly subscription to go online and check their email. Is this a scam, or just a case of witholding information -- or in this case, lying?

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  18. How Much Did All Those AOL Installation CDs from the ’90s Cost AOL?

    Back in the day [read: the '90s], free AOL installation CDs were virtually inescapable, thanks to AOL's aggressive use of unsolicited direct mailing and the company's efforts to get them in free bins at stores and public places everywhere. Proclaiming some number of free hours of cutting-edge dial-up subscription service, a good number of them would wind up in the trash or tossed around as makeshift Frisbees. But for all of the annoyances caused by these disks, former AOL executives say they did what they were supposed to do: Give the company a huge install base, such that even today, 40 percent of AOL's revenue comes from dial-up subscriptions. How much did it cost to get there?

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  19. Reminder: 40% of AOL’s Revenue Still Comes from Dial-Up Subscriptions

    In light of AOL's headline-making purchase of TechCrunch and its efforts to rebrand as an online media company, an interesting note about the company's business as it currently stands: 40% of AOL's revenue still comes from selling dial-up Internet subscriptions. To whom, we have no idea. WSJ:

    While the company continues to invest in its new strategy, its business hasn't moved much beyond its old one: More than 40% of its revenue still comes from selling dial-up Internet service and related subscription products, the legacy business it has been trying to shed for years. ... Advertisers like the idea of making AOL a go-to place for buzzworthy news and entertainment. But they aren't convinced it will work.

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  20. AOL Is Buying TechCrunch [Update3]

    Wow. The rumors are true: AOL is buying TechCrunch, and it's going down at TechCrunch Disrupt right now, with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong taking the stage to announce the purchase. Update: A few more relevant details: Arrington will be staying onboard for three more years, and TechCrunch has signed an agreement guaranteeing what they say is complete editorial freedom -- Arrington said that "if someone releases leaked AOL documents to us, we can publish them with complete freedom." Contrary to Robert Scoble's surmise earlier today that the sale would likely have to be "between $50 million and $75 million," partly as a means of Arrington sticking it to longtime rival Jason Calacanis, who sold Weblogs Inc. to AOL for $25 million, TBI reports based on the word of a "second-hand source" that the deal will only be worth about $25 million, which would be low based on TechCrunch's yearly revenue of $10 million; however, they note that "It's possible that the $25 million is just an initial payment and that the price could include an earn-out for excellent performance." Update2: CNBC is now reporting that the price was $40 million. Update3: Quite a day for AOL: They've also announced that they're acquiring Thing Labs (maker of Brizzly) in addition to TechCrunch and their earlier purchase of 5min Media. Here's the press release announcing the purchase: (yoinked from MediaMemo)

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