A group whose members I greatly admire. Through paying a voluntary contribution of $10 per month beyond the ordinary cost of an internet connection, and agreeing to use proprietary software for web browsing and email, they pay for such excellent free services as AIM and Winamp for the rest of the Internet community.

In exchange for this financial support, the rest of the community mocks these poor souls when they cannot understand such complicated computing concepts as which socket in the modem the phone cord is connected to. Additionally, they are banned from the majority of technical IRC channels and, alongside Floridians and Windows users, have become a major laughingstock of the community. It scarcely seems fair.

Perhaps the only compensation for these sponsors of the online revolution is that others on the internet are immediately aware of the possibility that they may be facing problems as soon as the name of AOL is mentioned. Additionally, they do not have to deal with the complexity of Linux. It's not a bad life, and I know several friends who are AOL supporters. I am not; I doubt I could deal with the $10 monthly fee.

Seriously, though, folks, no matter how AOL members of the past tended to appear on a usenet then dominated by hardcore geeks, there's no reason to hold that behavior against those who now use that particular ISP.