Ming the Mechanic:
E-mail is 30 years old

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 E-mail is 30 years old2001-12-06 16:43
4 comments
by Flemming Funch

Seems like e-mail has existed for 30 years. I was just enjoying an article at NY Times (sorry, they require a one-time registration). And, well, I haven't had e-mail for quite that long - only for around 19 years, but I still felt a certain nostalgia about it. The first time I had a computer that was *connected* was in 1982 and it was an ancient Z80 computer with 16k of memory, connected with a 75/1200 modem to the experimental Danish Teletext service. The year later I had an IBM PC, with a 300bps modem, and a subscription to The Source. Even connecting with that was rather cumbersome, and cost me around $40 per hour at the time. And at first I didn't really know anybody else who had e-mail, so I can't say I used that part much for a while. It was a couple of years after that that e-mail started replacing faxes as my way of staying in touch with friends around the world.


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4 comments

10 Dec 2001 @ 13:25 by peazritr : what is email?
what is the transfer protocol required for email sender/receiver & vice versa? what intermediaries are really necessary to send/receive? if i were to nail email down to its real roots, what would those roots be? would it be smart for a dumb jane doe like me to actually use an open source send/receive email program of my personal choice? do i have to have my own internet connection? what kinds of internet connection support email sending/receiving? is it possible to send/receive over satellite? how? i feel really silly asking you these questions after something so handy as email has been around for 30 years but i feel if you have had it for 18 years, you can help me understand what is email better than i now know. tia [spanish for "auntie"; internet for "thanks in advance."]  


10 Dec 2001 @ 14:37 by ming : What email is
Many services on the Internet are "protocols", i.e. a certain agreement on what is being sent back and forth to have some kind of electronic interchange. And, particularly the old protocols, are actually text-based conversations that a human could simulate. Meaning, I can actually connect with any internet server, even without an e-mail program, and open a conversation that results in an e-mail being delivered there. That e-mail delivery protocol is called SMTP. It is pretty much as simple as that I say HELLO and the other server acknowledges it. And I say "I've got mail from ffunch@worldtrans.org" and it says ok. And I say "I've got mail for joe@blow.com" and it says ok, if it wants to receive it. And then it asks me to send the message, and then I tell it I'm done, and it says thank you for the message. Those are not the actual commands, but it isn't far off. There is another protocol, called POP3 for picking up messages from one's mailbox on a server. It is relatively simple too. Nowadays things might be called e-mail even if it doesn't use those protocols. For example, if two people at hotmail write to each other, it doesn't have to go through those protocols at all, because everything is on the server. And one doesn't actually pick up one's mail, as it all stays on the server, so POP isn't being used. But a basic characteristic of e-mail is that it is a "push" technology. I.e. the sender decides when and what to send. And that is in part what makes it stop working for people, in that you might be overloaded, and you might get stuff you don't want. A webpage is a "pull" technology. You decide what you want to go and look at and when. That we can better control, and there's little likelyhood of being overloaded.  


10 Dec 2001 @ 14:51 by ming : email programs
Any e-mail program will do fundamentally the same thing, and an open source or free e-mail program does the basic things just as well usually. For example, you can use Eudora, which has a free version, and which is excellent. It does need a connection with the Internet while it is checking mail and sending it, though. But if one uses something like hotmail or yahoo mail, one can pick it up from any webbrowser, so one doesn't necessarily need one's own connection, if one can get access to a computer anywhere.  


30 May 2007 @ 17:46 by meisam @194.225.76.99 : i dont khnow?
my work is not underestand the secret of rose flower  


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