TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
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
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
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.