The official release of version 2.5.1 of the AOL software is now available on the Internet right (as well as on AOL itself, undoubtedly) at:
Despite what the accompanying ReadMe says, the AOL 2.5.1 client software does not, in fact, require an Internet connection, but supports both regular modem connections and MacTCP-based Internet connections.
New features include the capability to connect over the Internet, and the client software looks and works just the same. AOL seems to have fixed earlier problems with downloading files while connected over the Internet. There are some security concerns regarding this type of connection because the software sends your username and password in clear text over the Internet, making it possible for someone to steal them and run up large bills. If this concerns you, don't use the Internet connection method.
The client software sports a new 3-D marbled look and many of the top-level screens have been rearranged, making them easier and more enjoyable to navigate. Unfortunately, once you navigate into your favorite small forum, the look returns to the old style.
Image hounds will appreciate the new capability to view images while downloading, depending on the file format. The partial view allows you to cancel downloads of images that aren't looking promising. Also, if the image has a thumbnail preview (many Photoshop and JPEGView images do), AOL now makes it available as part of the file's description. For formats that don't lend themselves to partial views, (like JPEG-compressed images), AOL displays the image when you are done downloading, if you use the Download Now button.
[AOL just started testing anonymous FTP access (keyword: FTP), and although it seemed to work, a 1.3 MB StuffIt file I downloaded was somehow corrupted. -Adam]