Are They Nuts?!

What is AOL doing?!  I've long enjoyed listening to AOL's streaming radio service.  Their Shuffle and Shuffle Hits channels are great for variety.  One minute Frank Sinatra, the next Snoop Dogg. 

At home, I usually listen to this on my secondary machine that runs Windows XP and is connected to my stereo system.  I've never tried it out on my Vista machines until now.  Talk about a lousy user experience.  It must have popped up no less than a gazillion security prompts before randomly hanging just when I thought it was finally about to play music.

Okay...  Vista is looking out for me.  I understand.  It's up to the folks at AOL to figure out how to make their radio application work around Vista & IE7's security measures.  And, I understand these things usually take some time.  No one has infinite resources to throw at a problem. 

So when AOL Radio wouldn't start streaming, I went to back to their homepage and saw a link to information for Vista users.  Clicking the link brought me to this help page.  It turns out the only way to listen to AOL Radio in IE right now is to disable "Protected Mode"*!  WTF!?   So AOL is telling their customers they need to turn off their security protection to listen.  That's nuts!

I guess I'll have to wait for them to update their software to work without turning off Vista's security mechanisms.  In the meantime, I'll have to stick with my other online favorites which work just fine on Vista: &

* - Note: Protected Mode (consumer friendly link) is a new security feature in the Vista version of IE7 that adds an extra layer of security by keeping IE running in a sandbox.  You can learn more about it here (tech link).

[Update:] Before I even hit publish on this post this morning, I decided to give AOL Radio a whirl in Firefox for grins and giggles.  Low and behold... it worked just fine there!  I still had several security warnings to deal with, but it worked.

So that begs the question:  Is AOL doing something insecure on IE7?  Or is Firefox not giving me the same level of protection that IE7 with Protected Mode does?   I don't want to start a security flame war here.  In fact, I do remember the Firefox guys writing in one of their blogs how they would like to implement the equivalent of IE7's Protected Mode in Firefox.  Obviously, it's not there yet.