We have used AOL since 1995. Yes, I admit it. For the past month, every time we signed on we got a message saying the current version of AOL, 9.8.2, is being discontinued and urging us to upgrade to AOL Gold.

Some of my wife's friends upgraded to AOL Gold and they hate it. They complain that it's slow and they complain that they can't open files. Online -- look it up -- there are many more complaints from various users, e.g., emails are blank, the e-mail screen is smaller and has huge ads at the sides, mail waiting to be sent disappears, copy-and-paste will not work and only 15 fonts remain for email, when there used to be more than 200.

On October 27 we were unable to sign on to AOL. Tech support had told us AOL 9.8.2 would not be discontinued until December 31 and they were wrong. We now had no choice but to install AOL Gold. It is not as horrible as we expected it would be. Most of the changes are minor. But the spell-check function cannot be disabled. I do a lot of writing and I hate the wiggly red lines that appear beneath surnames, city names, radio/tv call letters, foreign words and anything else that the program thinks is not a real word that can be found in a small dictionary.

If anyone here has AOL Gold, I would love to hear how you like it -- or dislike it.