Fry’s Closing Nationwide And AOL Instant Messenger

On Episode 523 of the Waves of Tech, we are talking about a host of technology topics that you may have missed. Fry’s, a once popular electronics store, is closing the remainder of their stores after a dismal last few years. After a 90-year old customer complained about their service delivery, AT&T is quickly responding with infrastructure and fiber installation. AOL’s Instant Messenger was a massive success in the early days of the Internet and we are now learning that it almost never came to be. Microsoft’s Edge browser is taking shape with the use of Google’s Chromium as a backdrop and Legacy Edge is dying off. Malwarebytes issued their state of malware report and we learned that 2020 wreaked havoc on IT professionals with a swift transition in response to COVID-19.

Fry’s Closing Nationwide

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that another retail consumer electronics chain is closing its doors for good. The year of COVID has decimated several companies and years of changing shopping habits by consumers has forced closures. Fry’s, a once popular west coast chain, is closing their final 31 stores. Their website is nothing but a white page with minimal detail now.

  • A shift from retail to a consignment strategy proved fatal for the electronics dealer
  • Fry’s was founded by some siblings in the Bay Area of California in 1985
  • Expansion occurred slowly but was often seen near large malls and campuses
  • Known as a tech-enthusiast store for building and buying computer components

AT&T Rushes Fiber Install Since Complaints

In Episode 520 (link below), we reported that a 61-year AT&T customer (Epstein) bought ads in the Wall Street Journal complaining about AT&T’s willful ignoring of infrastructure upgrades. Well, AT&T gets wind of the report and is making the situation right. John Stankey, AT&T’s Chief Executive, called Epstein directly to state fiber installation is hoping now. Crazy stuff.

  • Fiber and maintenance work is scheduled to be completed within one year
  • AT&T was unclear if this was initiated by the complaint or was already in the works
  • It’s unusual that a complaint like this makes its way up the corporate ladder
  • Also a story of how some of the population is left behind in regards to speed/access

America Online’s Instant Messenger

In a fascinating article from Shawn Knight of, we learned that the famous and popular Instant Messenger of the 90s and early 2000s was never in fact sanctioned for development by AOL executives. Barry Appelman, a programmer, started the ‘buddy list’ that eventually led to the ability to chat with those online from your list and AIM was born.

  • Executives were frustrated as the AIM model went against the general business model
  • Regardless, AIM was released in 1997 and the concept was addictive to users
  • AIM spawned the start of the development of chat function and online engagement
  • The legacy of AIM is unquestionably important to the current tools we use today

Microsoft Edge Updates

The day has finally come. Last year, Microsoft announced the end of support and security updates to Legacy Edge, essentially Internet Explorer versions 1-11. Be sure to inform your friends and family that may still be using the browser. Also, Microsoft and Google have been working on a new Edge based on Google’s Chromium backdrop. Fascinating news in tech.

  • The end of Legacy is bittersweet and brings many listeners plenty of nostalgia
  • The new browser is powerful, efficient, trimmed, and secure in comparison
  • Microsoft’s decision to stop in-house work and focus on Chromium is a game changer
  • Building a browser to compete heavily in the marketplace is vitally important

The 2021 State of Malware Report

Without question, 2020 was a tough and difficult year for everyone, specifically those in technology and online security. The near immediate shift from professional settings to at-home duties caused headaches. Every sector (transportation, banking, medical, dentistry, grocery, security, etc.) faced unprecedented action and response in terms of malware security.

  • Malwarebytes’ 2021 report captures the essence of new challenges faced by tech
  • Check out the report, link below, for data and graphics on attacks and costs
  • The threat landscape for Macs, Android, and Windows is provided in breakdown
  • Cybercrime grew massively and IT teams worked diligently to protect privacy and data

Resources & Links

Fry’s Electronics Closing

Fry’s Barren Website

90 Year Old’s AT&T Customer Complaint Worked

Waves of Tech Talk AT&T Customer

The Truth Behind AOL’s AIM

Microsoft Edge Updates

Inside Microsoft-Google Workings

State of Malware Report

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