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April 28, 2006

The Voice of AOL and Me

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I heard David Lawrence’s voice twice the other day.  The first time was when I was trying to help my mother get AOL on her Mac working with her new broadband connection.  David is the voice of AOL; not the “you’ve got mail” voice but the other one: the voice you hear when you call AOL tech support.  More on that below.

The second time I heard David’s voice was late at night east coast time while parked in a rest area on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey.  We had an interview scheduled for his syndicated radio show and I ended up doing it on my cellphone from the parking lot.  I knew the interviewer’s voice sounded familiar but couldn’t figure out why.

The interview took all the non-commercial time in an hour of air time. Funny that I should have a better and more in depth interview about the book I wrote about life (and death) as a CEO than I ever did when I was CEO of a public company.  In hackoff.com, fictional CEO Larry Lazard does several interviews, all of them superficial and mostly off-topic.

My father, the writer, would probably say that an hour interview for me as an author as opposed to the four or five minutes I usually got as a CEO is the proper proportion. David Lawrence is a better interviewer than most and also knows his topic.  Besides being host of a mainly technical radio show, he is also the editor and narrator of the 10 Quick Step series of ebooks and audio books – many of which are on geeky subjects, an actor, and a voice-over professional.  A blogger, too, of course.

Cost you a quarter if you want to hear the whole interview.  David gave me permission to put up a couple of short clips free.  In this one he asks me what hackoff.com is about and in this one he asks me why, given that I’m somewhat known among geeky Internet CEOs, I felt I had to publicize my book by making it available free on the web.

Back to my mother’s Mac.  See, it’s old so it can’t have System X put on it.  So it can’t run Safari.  And the AOL browser will only say “you need to update your browser.”  Explorer version 5 which is on it can display some sites and not others – others include my blog Fractals of Change which I think my mother wants to read.  And Microsoft is no longer providing browser downloads for the Mac.

After I got through talking to David Lawrence, the voice of AOL, I did get through to tech support in relatively little time.  The robot would only interpret browser problem as a connectivity issue – not the problem – but finally got through to a real person.  Got disconnected once in the handoff from the  default Windows-savvy tech to the Mac-savvy tech but by then knew how to get through the robot pretty quickly.

Very sympathetic person explained that it’s all Apple’s fault; they like to upgrade stuff a lot.  So there is no working AOL browser for System 9.  And nothing else they can recommend. 

I’m using FeedBlitz to email my blog to my mother.  I still think she wants to read it.

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