America Online Inc. has released a new version of AOL for Mac OS X that includes the ability to add the AOL for Broadband service to any high-speed DSL or cable Internet connection, as well as beefed-up parental controls.
America Online launched AOL for Mac OS X
last August. The updated version offers a “bring your own access” (BYOA) plan if you already have broadband access through another company. BYOA subscriptions allow unlimited use of the service using a high-speed connection, including multiple simultaneous log-ins of up to seven screen names on the same AOL account. AOL for Broadband has a nationwide dial-up network, so you can access your personalized AOL features, news, and data while on the road (assuming, of course, you can get to a high-speed Internet connection).
The updated AOL for Mac OS X adds new Internet Access Controls for those using a broadband connection. An AOL Guardian feature lets parents obtain e-mail “report cards” each time a child uses AOL. The report cards show how the kids are using the Internet. Also, parents who are at work or away from home can go to AOL.com and set or adjust specific restrictions for Internet access, chat, e-mails, and instant messaging.
The AOL Voicemail service offers e-mail and home voicemail from the Web using any computer and logging onto the AOL Web site, as well as from wireless phones and PDAs. Virus protection is provided by McAfee Security, which automatically scans attachments to incoming and outgoing e-mails for viruses. The “Report Spam” button on the AOL Mailbox now lets you report multiple pieces of unwanted mail to AOL simultaneously.
With new instant messaging features, you can automatically forward incoming instant messages to a text-enabled wireless phone when you’re not online. There are also new buddy icons, buddy sounds, graphical “smileys,” and backgrounds
The updated AOL for Mac OS X boasts improved e-mail features, including the ability to set automated “away messages” when you can’t check e-mail for a period of time. There’s also automatic delivery and notification of new mail in a member’s open mailbox. You can manage your AOL Mail with the ability to set, sort, and display e-mails by date, subject, sender, or type. You can also categorize incoming messages by people you know, recognized bulk senders, and unknown senders.
AOL’s search function has been enhanced. Now, from one place, you can search for news headlines, local resources through AOL Yellow Pages, images, movies, stock quotes, maps and directions, and more.
According to AOL, an upcoming version of the Mac OS X service will offer tweaked e-mail and instant messaging with AOL Communicator, which integrates AOL Mail, AOL Instant Messenger, and the AOL Address Book. Look for a “preview” release of AOL Communicator for Mac OS X soon.
This new version of AOL for Mac OS X is available now as a free upgrade for existing members in the U.S. at AOL Keyword: Upgrade. New users can go to America Online for pricing info.
AOL for Mac OS X requires a G3 or G4, Mac OS X 10.1 or higher, 128MB of RAM, 75MB of hard disk space, a minimum 800 x 600 screen resolution, and, of course, a pre-existing Internet connection, AirPort network, or Mac OS X compatible modem.