America Online via the Internet is indeed much faster if you have a direct connection to the Internet, and some have reported faster connections even over modems with SLIP and PPP. However, bugs remain, so beware that a dropped connection may result in your account being charged for 20 minutes until it times out. To formally apply for the beta test on America Online, use keyword TCP and fill out the online application. Also, I was wrong about using other Telnet tools (despite the fact that the America Online software lets you select other tools), but Lonnie Abelbeck, author of VersaTerm, distributed a CCL script for using the VersaTerm Telnet tool on comp.sys.mac.comm last week. Finally, Jonathan Hue <firstname.lastname@example.org> discovered that America Online doesn't encrypt the userid and password when it sends them over the Internet, so a packet sniffer can detect them in their plaintext form. Needless to say, this is a bit of a security hole, not so much because it exists (many systems send passwords in plaintext over the Internet) but because users are charged for America Online access, and because dealing with disputed charges with America Online customer support folks can be an exercise in frustration. [ACE]
Syslogd Overwhelming Your Computer?
If your Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) system is unexpectedly sluggish, logging might be the culprit. Run Activity Monitor (Applications/Utilities/ folder), and click the CPU column twice to get it to show most to least activity. If syslogd is at the top of the list, there's a fix. Syslogd tracks informational messages produced by software and writes them to the asl.db, a file in your Unix /var/log/ directory. It's a known problem that syslogd can run amok. There's a fix: deleting the asl.db file.
Launch Terminal (from the same Utilities folder), and enter these commands exactly as written, entering your administrative password when prompted:
sudo launchctl stop com.apple.syslogd
sudo rm /var/log/asl.db
sudo launchctl start com.apple.syslogd
Your system should settle down to normal. For more information, follow the link.