2002/09/25
 
06:42

AO Hello

I recently upgraded my machine and had to re-install the AOL client. Yes, it's true: I use AOL. They're reliable, and I can dial in from anywhere in North America when I'm on the road. Or when my cable connection goes wonky, which happens with alarming regularity.

Anyway, even people who have never used AOL probably know that cheery phrase, "You've got mail!" It's been used on TV in various ways, usually as part of a joke. The guy who recorded it has achieved a type of fame previously reserved for the lady who said, "I'm sorry, there is no service for the number you have dialed".

Strangely, though, when I downloaded the AOL 7.0 client, they'd changed the voice. They've done this before, but then put it back. They can't seem to make up their minds about their famous greeting. That's a shame, because I think the voice talent got it exactly right. When he says, "You've got mail!" he sounds happy about it, with an uplifting touch of optimism. And when your session is over and he says "Goodbye", you can tell he's hoping you'll come back real soon.

The new guy, however, says "You've got mail" in a kind of accusatory way. It's subtle, but it's there. And when he says "Goodbye", he sounds outright despondant. You expect him to continue, "I suppose you're going off with your fancy friends, now! Why do you always leave so soon?"

I suppose I could dig up the wave files from my old computer and re-install the original greeter. Come to think of it, I could record my own. "You've got ... SPAM!" would be appropriate.

I'm surprised AOL doesn't offer a choice of voices. A sultry lady cooing, "Hello, there!" when I login would be nice. Or perhaps they could randomize the voices to give a more varied experience. "What? You again!? Go outside and get some sun, why don't ya?"

Actually, that sounds like a good idea.

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