Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
The Internet

Email Turns Thirty 213

milquetoast writes: "The NYTimes has an article on e-mail's 30th birthday. where would we be without it?" Wearing out a lot fewer delete keys, that's where. The NYT also has an interview with Tomlinson, and a speculative article suggesting email will kill the fax machine (not any time soon). Tomlinson may think he gets a lot of email, but he doesn't.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Email Turns Thirty

Comments Filter:
  • already happend (Score:1, Interesting)

    Am I insane, or did Email already kill the fax machine? I get about 20 emails a day, and not one fax. btw, F1rst P0st!!! :-)
    • Anyone can get email (witness AOL). You have to be *important* to receive a fax.

      (I've got Karma to burn)
    • I get all of my faxes via email using efax [efax.com].
    • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @12:07PM (#2665152)
      Am I insane, or did Email already kill the fax machine? I get about 20 emails a day, and not one fax. btw, F1rst P0st!!! :-)

      My God, a relevant FP?!?

      Unfortuneately, E-mail has only killed FAX service in the tech sector. If you deal with any other business, FAX is still alive and strong, particularly in financial business.

      I work for a financial organization in Texas. We have banks upon banks of fax machines that do nothing but do things like take credit-card applications and ATM account setup instructions.
      Despite the fact that encrypted email would be significantly more secure and easier to process than the badly aging FAX protocol, the simple fact of the matter is that many "over 40" business types just don't trust email... in any form. Worse, they're unwilling to learn.

      So, instead of having a single application that parses emails for relevant data and then dumps it into our DB, we pay a team of data processing kids to do the same thing, adding another layer of fallibility and error introduction to our system.

      Sad, but true.
    • Am I insane, or did Email already kill the fax machine? I get about 20 emails a day, and not one fax.

      Not insane, just (apparently) self-centered.

    • Lucky bastard.

      I get twice that in spam a day. (Which never reaches my inbox thanks to Spambouncer [spambouncer.org])

      Total e-mail, I get ~1000 a day, only 2-3 of which actually go into my inbox. The rest being filtered by procmail [procmail.org] into various mailing list folders to which I subscribe. Out of those 2-3 at least one is a forward from my mother which has 10 pages of AOL addresses and a little poem on the bottom which tells me to forward this to 10 people and my cat will have puppies.

      But thats a different complain altogether...

  • Email must be royal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wangi ( 16741 ) <lee@leekin3.14159dness.com minus pi> on Thursday December 06, 2001 @11:34AM (#2664974) Homepage
    Email must be royal since is has two birthdays a year...

    http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/10/02/011122 8 [slashdot.org]

  • by mini me ( 132455 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @11:37AM (#2664988)
    I send you this message to in order to wish you a Happy Birthday.

    <<Happy Birthday.exe>>
    • Something I see too much of is people overdoing email and html by adding JavaScript and garish pictures and basically jazzing things up until no one would wait the time it takes to load just to be tortured by the sight of it. I hope executable files never become common attachments. Unportable, and a security risk.

      Some people just don't appreciate the simple beauty of a plain ASCII email message, clearly written.

      • I hope executable files never become common attachments. Unportable, and a security risk.

        When are you posting from - 1993? 'Round here the only time we don't email executables is if we can get EWF [1] in a VB script :)

        1. EWF: Equivalent Worm Functionality

        • Well count me in to go back to the Grunge era then. Here at work we ban attachments with exe extensions and I'm all for it. Goner? Didn't phase our network one bit. E-mail with a .scr attachment gets rejected. As the content filtering is done before the virus checking on the mail server I was safe. Still, as soon as I got word of Goner I updated the signature files asap.

          Nobody here, and I mean nobody, outside of IT really needs to receive an executable. If an executable has to be sent via e-mail we can contact whoever is sending it and have them rename the extension or put it in a zip file.

          Now if only I was allowed to reject mail containing VB Script or JavaScript I could not only be a lot safer but I could also filter out half of the porn spam we've been getting in one fell swoop.

  • So many employers will accept resume/coverletter packages by fax but not by e-mail. With fax, you get an instant hard copy (because it comes out on paper, unless you're using a software fax prog) and it's much easier to look at the whole package. The employer will often put all the pages in a row on their desk/table/etc and look at them simultaneously. Similarly, unless you print them all out, it's harder to take the PDF to a HR meeting and show it to everyone so they can have a look at the applicant's material. Unless you have a 49" monitor or something, you can't do these things with a PDF file.

    Furthermore, sorting applicants can be simpler because you don't have to worry about setting up some sort of filename scheme and then make a whole directory structure for the prospects, rejecects, etc.

    • Having just found a new job, I can say not a single employer I saw was not accepting email and/or web applications.

      Of course, this is New York, it was an IT job and I saw all of the adds online. I'm sure your mileage will vary in other locations and industries.

      And yes, they all wanted Word or PDF and they all printed them out for the interview, but its not exactly hard to print a file that's been emailled to you! This is more about people wanting hardcopy than anything else. I don't think most peoeple care whether that hardcopy is faxed to them or they have to print it out.
      • And yes, they all wanted Word...

        ... Word has the additional advantage that you get to see the other addresses where the applicant has sent his resume to as well.

        ...or PDF and they all printed them out for the interview

        Careful here, or your printer might get a virus!

      • "Having just found a new job, I can say not a single employer I saw was not accepting email and/or web applications."

        Interesting ... my last job hunting session was 80-90% online and more than half wanted faxed applications. The job I eventually landed was one where I found the ad online and faxed in the application.

      • this is New York, it was an IT job ... they all wanted Word or PDF

        Who says the East Coast is not on the cutting edge of new technology technology? One of the best people I ever hired gave me his first resume written in pencil on paper. M$, be not proud.

        A Word formated document from a programer is evidence of wasted resources. All it proves is they:
        1. Spent time and money at a copy shop. Bowed to reality, working for the devil but not very hard.
        2. Are wasting enough disk space for M$ Office. Lazy or stupidly unethical, it's either OEM or they got some LEET cracked trash from Cairo.
        3. Have figured out how to install Star Office or some other program that has micros~.DOC format. Oh yeah, they also keep it up to date, AHHHH!

        Send me a link, send me HTML, or just send me text (prefered) thank you. Fax, well OK, if you must. Word, PowerPoint and other useless chrome will be sent to /dev/null.

    • by odaiwai ( 31983 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @11:58AM (#2665115) Homepage
      you do know that you can print pdfs?


      (login not working)
    • The thing that you're overlooking is that employers, especially in large companies that get many applications per day, end up scanning hard copies and then running them through electronic filters to do an initial sorting of potential applicants.

      What do you think is easier, printing resumes or scanning them and running them through character recognition software? The point is arguable, but I'd personally opt for printing them.
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @11:39AM (#2665002) Homepage Journal
    On the next day, Spam probably turns thirty, too.

    To: Watson@bell.net
    From: Alex@bell.net
    Subj: You could be a millionaire next week!


  • Spam's Birthday? (Score:1, Redundant)

    by Servo5678 ( 468237 )
    So does this mean that spam turns 30 tomorrow?

  • clever little hack (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @11:40AM (#2665013) Journal
    That's how the Times describes it, as a "clever little hack".

    But isn't hacking a Bad Thing(TM)?

  • by oni ( 41625 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @11:42AM (#2665025) Homepage
    In order to celebrate the 30th birthday of email, Microsoft has agreed to pay $1 to some little girl each and every time this email message is forwarded. But to qualify for this charity donation, you'll have to forward this message to at least 60 people as soon as you get it.
  • by rgf71 ( 448062 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @11:43AM (#2665028) Journal
    I'd have to MANUALLY search for free porn, I'd NEVER get to Make $1500 Per Week At Home and I'd actually have to CALL in sick.
  • by jodonn ( 516010 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @11:46AM (#2665045)
    It wasn't an accidental invention, exactly, but it was certainly one that followed an unexpected trajectory to glory.

    Thirty years ago, give or take a month or two, Ray Tomlinson, an unassuming computer scientist at Bolt, Beranek & Newman, an engineering firm in Cambridge, Mass., sat down at his computer and wrote a relatively simple computer program that enabled electronic messages to travel from one computer to another.

    Since then, e-mail has become such a fixture in so many people's lives, it is hard to imagine life without it. According to the International Data Corporation, some 9.8 billion electronic messages are sent each day. E-mail is a communications mainstay of businesses. It is the glue that keeps far-flung families together. Romantic relationships find both outlet and solace in it.

    In some ways, observed Nico Macdonald, a principal of Spy, a London-based research firm, e-mail has become the ultimate medium through which humans use computers -- to organize discussion groups, deliver news stories, confirm purchases, signal updates to Web pages or play chess. Or as he put it in the language of the Internet age, "E-mail has become an entire personal information environment."

    Those are just the obvious aspects of life with e-mail.

    In dozen of other, less obvious ways, e-mail has profoundly changed the way people communicate, as its unique properties have let it settle into a place all its own among forms of human interaction.

    E-mail's inventors weren't necessarily thinking about the medium's less evident advantages -- that it makes time- zone problems evaporate, or that it can be the virtual sherpa for transporting documents, photos and video clips. Yet those are the benefits that continue to propel its use upward, with the number of users worldwide estimated in the hundreds of millions.

    Then there are the perils. What you post to a mailing list may show up in Internet archives many years later. A finger glancing off the wrong key could catapult a message into cyberspace prematurely or send it to the wrong address. More ominously, opening a booby-trapped message can make you both a victim and an unwitting carrier of a computer virus conceived by a malicious code writer.

    And almost from the start, e-mail was something to hide behind.

    David Walden, an engineer who worked at Bolt, Beranek & Newman (BBN) with Mr. Tomlinson in the 1970's, recalled a turning point of sorts for him. "I remember when I realized that I could apologize in writing for a problem and thus make the situation better," he said, "and the person I was working with couldn't see me and thus couldn't read my body language, that I didn't' really feel contrite," he said.

    E-mail is also a snapshot of one's mood from day to day, or even hour to hour.

    "One of my kids saves e-mail for a year then sends it back to you as a kind of flashback to the past," said Vinton G. Cerf, a founder of the Internet and a senior vice president at WorldCom (news/quote), the communications services company. "You would not do that with paper mail but it is easy with digital, electronic stuff."

    With all those uses, the sheer volume of e- mail has, in fact, become overwhelming. It seems clear that like other technologies before it, e-mail has not simply replaced a way of doing things; it has created its own demand. In-boxes are increasingly filled not just with spam from strangers and well- meant but unwelcome humor from friends, but with single-sentence requests from higher-ups that translate to hours of extra work, and mile-long attachments from colleagues that must be read, and now.

    Yet people live with it because, by now, they cannot live without it.

    Mr. Tomlinson's clever little hack was not the very beginning of e-mail. It already existed in the 1960's, when computer scientists sent e-mail within time-sharing systems -- one computer with multiple terminals.

    But Mr. Tomlinson, who is now a principal engineer at BBN Technologies, was the one who made it possible to send e-mail from one machine to another over a computer network. While he was well known for his programs, he became better known for a simple decision he made while writing them.

    He needed a way to denote the separation between the name of the user from the name of the machine the user was on. His eye lighted on the @ symbol. Unaware that he was creating an icon for the wired world, that is what he chose. And equally unaware that his first message would someday be the object of historical scrutiny, Mr. Tomlinson said he made no mental note of what he first tapped out on the keyboard.

    Through the 1970's, the use of network mail, as it was called back then, grew not exponentially, but as gradually as the Internet itself. The Internet started as a tool for research into computer networks, and e- mail was its counterpart to the interoffice memo. In fact, correspondence over the government-sponsored Internet, and its forerunner, the Arpanet, was to be restricted to official network business.

    But from the start, people knew how to use e-mail in the name of distraction. One of the first network mailing lists, called SF- Lovers, was devoted to science fiction fans. The network's users, typically graduate students, began turning to e-mail to play games, exchange gossip, carry on relationships, carry out drug deals or circulate "Impeach Nixon" appeals.

    With activities like those, not to mention the passion that can accompany scholarship, e-mail was not a sedate medium for long. Mr. Walden remembers seeing the first e-mail-based vituperation, later known as flaming, sometime in the mid-1970's.

    "It was a really nasty flame from someone at M.I.T., and we complained to his boss that civility was still in order, even by e- mail," Mr. Walden said. "Of course, it was only a short time before flaming had a name and it wasn't worth bothering to try to stop it."

    By the early 1970's, three-quarters of all traffic on the Arpanet was e-mail. And as the medium grew, some turned their attention to making it more practical. For example, sending e-mail was simple, but trying to read or respond to it was a huge annoyance. Text poured onto the screen in a stream, with nothing separating one incoming message from another. And there was no reply function.

    Lawrence Roberts, who was then a manager at the Advanced Research Projects Agency's Information Processing Techniques Office, solved that problem after his boss began complaining about the volume of e-mail piling up in his In box. In 1972, Dr. Roberts produced the first e-mail manager, called RD, which included a filing system, as well as a Delete function.

    Further improvements to network mail were made by John Vittal, who in the 1970's was a young programmer at the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute. Mr. Vittal spent many hours working on the program, which he called MSG, in his spare time. It included not just a Delete command but also an Answer feature, enabling a recipient to reply to a message easily. His program eventually became the de facto standard of the Arpanet.

    More and more, the functionality of e- mail took on features of conventional correspondence. Two of Mr. Vittal's creations were the cc and bcc features -- appellations whose origins, in the carbon paper that smudged many a copy, now seem part of prehistory.

    "There was a feeling that for user understandability we had to mimic traditional written forms of communication -- office memos, letters, post cards," Mr. Vittal said. "Drawing parallels helped people understand what they could do."

    E-mail's wider potential did not go unnoticed. The General Accounting Office predicted in 1981 that electronic mail would sharply reduce the volume of conventional mail and would cut postal employment by two-thirds by 2000. (Its foresight was a bit blurred: e-mail and other competition notwithstanding, the volume of letters doubled in the last two decades, and the postal work force grew by 20 percent.)

    As the use of computers in offices grew, various commercial e-mail services, none connected directly to the Internet, indeed cropped up. But all of them failed.

    MCI Mail, developed in the early 1980's by MCI, the telecommunications company that is now part of WorldCom, was one very visible attempt to introduce e-mail to the business world. An elaborate, feature-rich service, MCI Mail was well ahead of its time. Not only could users send electronic messages of up to 500 characters for 45 cents, but for an additional charge they could also have MCI print and send those messages through the postal system or by courier.

    The world was so unaccustomed to electronic mailboxes that MCI Mail included an alerting service by which MCI employees called recipients by telephone to tell them to check their electronic mail.

    Yet MCI Mail, introduced in 1983, did not catch on. Nor did the Postal Service succeed with its version -- E-Com, for Electronic Computer-Originated Mail, introduced in 1982 and abandoned in 1985.

    "It was a very, very tough sell in the business world," said Dr. Cerf, a co-developer of MCI Mail. "The question was always, `What's e-mail, and why do I need it?' But it was like being the first on your block to have a telephone -- `Well, who am I going to call?' "

    But finally, with the advent of the World Wide Web and the opening of the Internet to commercial traffic, the network itself became widely accessible to the public at large in the mid-1990's. By then, online services were routinely providing home users with an Internet-based e-mail account. And not coincidentally, that was the period when America Online, most spectacularly, begin to take off.

    By 1996, 300 million pieces of e-mail were sent on the average day, and roughly 100 million people worldwide were using the medium, according to estimates by the International Data Corporation.

    Yet for all that has been done to make e- mail -- like the telephone or the television -- a tool of the masses, it has always suffered from what might be described as technocentrism.

    Mr. Walden told the story of trying to set up e-mail for his 87-year-old mother, who has Parkinson's disease. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Mr. Walden said, he helped her through the AOL software. "I told her what to do as she slowly moved the mouse and struggled with not being able to double- click fast enough," he said. He showed her how to type a message, with many characters typed twice because she couldn't remove her fingers from the keys quickly.

    "E-mail still comes out of the culture of the computer technologist and the assumption that people want and will deal with lots of little buttons, windows and message boxes," Mr. Walden said.

    Actually, Mr. Walden pointed out, more primitive systems from the early 1970's like Dr. Roberts's RD program or Mr. Vittal's MSG might be easier for people like his mother to use.

    Moreover, Mr. Walden said, the more useful and ubiquitous e-mail becomes, the more susceptible it is to the viruses and worms that circulate with alarming regularity through cyberspace.

    Still, all the viruses and spam combined will not stop e-mail from remaining, at its core, a tool for one of the most basic of human tendencies -- the desire to be in touch.

    Dr. Cerf said he occasionally received grateful messages from people who met over the Internet, courted via e-mail and are now married.

    "I hope they stay together because I don't want to get blamed if they don't," Dr. Cerf said. "The one thing you learn is not to take too much credit because at some point you might have to take a lot of blame."
  • I wish (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zephc ( 225327 )
    Fax machines are weak, decrepit devices that email should have abolished years ago, but, because of managerial dim-wittedness and fear of change, they are sure to be around for years.

    also, Michael, you seem really bitter these days... whats up with that?
    • Every time I read a story about more liberties getting trashed, for the sake of the "war against terrorism [salon.com]", for the sake of Microsoft's "freedom to innovate", for the sake of corporate profits or control, I get a tiny bit more bitter. I've been reading a lot of those lately.

  • I mean, really. In the 30 years since the first email message, scientists have figured out how to STOP HAIR LOSS NOW!!!, ADD INCHES IN MINUTES!!!, bypass Federal drug laws by GETTING VIAGRA IN YOUR OWN HOME!!!, and STOP YOUR SNORING INSTANTLY!!!

    Really amazing when you think about it. None of those amazing scientific inventions would've been possible without email.
    • I have a strategy for avoiding spam. First, never give your real email address to a company. Give a fake one, such as sketerpot@yahoo.com, which I use. It really exists, but I never check it. To people you trust, give your real email address. This has worked very well for me. Very little spam.
  • by iCharles ( 242580 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @11:55AM (#2665095) Homepage
    I read an article a few years ago that postulated that fax was a regressive step. The thesis went something like this:

    Back in the 80s (just before faxes became commonplace), America was on the brink of being able to go electronic--using such tools as EDI and other connection mechanisms. Since most of our business was in english (26 letters, 10 numbers, plus miscilanious punctuation)it would happen readily.

    The Japanese, however, created cheaper/smaller/better fax machines than were available at the time. Makes perfect sense in that environment, as there are several orders of magnitude more characters to deal with (can't encode as easily).

    The cheap and easy fax machine is shipped to the States, and were a hit. They allowed electronic-fast communication without having to significantly change how business was done (signitures could still be in ink, for instance). Further, it was, at the time, cheaper.

    Had fax not come along, electronic means would have started to come in earlier. Business adoption of e-mail might have happened sooner, and some things necessary to facilitate business (that still doesn't really exist) such as digital signatures would develope more rapidly.

    I submit the fax is still retarding growth. Need something signed--just fax it to me! For that reason, I don't think e-mail will ever completely displace the fax.

    Of course, William Gibson wrote in the anthology _Cyberspace_ that no communication technology every dies--it merely finds niche uses.

    • Eventually everyone will send their faxes through the internet (email, direct upload, etc) using simple PC interfaces or dedicated devices that look just like today's fax machines. Recipients will have software that gets the "fax" so they can view and print it. (See jfax/efax for an example today.) These things will still be called "fax"es.

      These things will not be called email ever even though the underlying communication mechanism might well be that.

      Fax machines that use voice lines will die. Fax machines will not.
      • So now they call the new "hybrid" machines "Digital Senders".

        I don't call my car an "Internal Combustion Vehicle". I hate it when people have to make a point that it's digital.


        Yea, this was a stupid rant.
    • by KjetilK ( 186133 ) <kjetil@@@kjernsmo...net> on Thursday December 06, 2001 @12:47PM (#2665366) Homepage Journal

      Need something signed--just fax it to me! For that reason, I don't think e-mail will ever completely displace the fax.

      Yeah, it's really funny. I remember back, well, I guess it is about ten years, I would get some money from my mother, and the way we did this, was that she sent a fax, signed, to her bank, and asked them to transfer a certain amount of money to my account.

      No, she didn't.

      In reality, she just gave me her oral approval. The fax itself was sent by me, using the home computer, the signature was something I had scanned and attached to the fax when it was submitted.

      Well, we were all happy about it, because as I could do it, it saved my mother some work (of course I did it with her approval).

      But, the funny thing is, if on a rare occasion I forgot to attach the signature, the fax would be returned, and the transaction would not be committed. But why did they insist on having the signature, the signature was real, OK, but it did not authenticate the origin of the fax. From that perspective, the signature was fake.

      People need to realize that the good old signature doesn't mean anything, especially when digitized and transmitted through a fax machine. When that is realized, then we might go over to using digital signatures.

  • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @11:55AM (#2665096)
    Here we go with all of the so-called insightful posters extolling the virtues of fax and the uselessness of email.

    Well, my office has one thousand machines capable of sending and receiving email and one machine capable of sending and receiving faxes.

    How many emails did you send this week? How many faxes?

    How many of you give out your fax number to people you meet?

    Emails sent daily outnumber faxes by at least a factor of one hundred thousand (conservatively estimating, likely as high as ten million). The conclusion is pretty simple.

  • Before email all the spam used to be by s-mail, telex and fax. Now we are free from spam. Thank you email for been there!!
    (Happy "double" 30th years)
  • we just have he new breed of color fax machines coming out, and you would be suprised how many faxes we get from clients as email is not a reliable means of communications yet. (the use of exchange servers here at work is a testament to that) If I send a fax of a large document to a client I know that it was sent and actually arrived at the other end, spit out as paper before the fax machine hangs up the phone.

    besides, not all companies have happily embraced broadband in the offices. home users can get broadband for cheap in the form of cable or DSL, these options are not offered to businesses because of the "fear" that the company will use it more than the home user, so a company get's stuck with paying thousands per month for broadband access in order to download those 1meg word files and 10 meg Power point presentations.
    • as email is not a reliable means of communications yet.

      This is a crock. Don't paint email with the brush of Exchange. Plenty of us use servers that are reliable and clients that don't execute attachments.

      Where is the reliablilty of fax? I've stood around the fax machine for hours waiting for my brokers' perenially busy line to open up. Is that progress?

      besides, not all companies have happily embraced broadband in the offices. home users can get broadband for cheap in the form of cable or DSL, these options are not offered to businesses because of the "fear" that the company will use it more than the home user,

      Do you have any idea what you are talking about?

      • Why yes I do have an excellent idea what I am talking about. I dont work with only the ivory towers of the upper echelon that could care less about $10,000 a month in connectivity costs. I'm talking about the machine shop that has max 30 employees, and they are the ones making parts for your cars, aircraft, etc... they cannot afford 1.5K a month for a Frame relay connection. they can barely afford a full time 56K connection so they operate with dial-up to ISP's. Now we have these elitests in corperate america sending their plans to the shop[, as a fricking 50meg power point presentation. Via dial up? no way, fax is the only answer.

        please, look at how the other 75% of the business world operates.
    • >. home users can get broadband for cheap in the form of cable or DSL, these options are not offered to businesses because of the "fear" that the company will use it more than the home user,

      Do you know ANYTHING about business connectivity? A few of the companies that offer broadband connectivity specifically for businesses: AT&T, Qwest, SouthwesternBell, Earthlink, UUNet, Verizon, BellSouth, PacBell, DSLi, MegaPath, Sprint, Prodigy, SNet, MSN, Global Crossing, PSINet, XO, Verio, Roadrunner, MediaOne, MPower, and those are just the ones that I can think of off the top of my head. There are many many more regional and local providers, and business users are the ones who have driven the industry (AT&T bought up either Northpoint or Covad (don't recall which) and are dropping the consumer side because the real money is in providing business connectivity.
      • Yes and none will install a cable modem in a business. they will offer a "business solution" that is much higher in cost.

        INstead of getting your info off of marketing ad's why dont you call and get a quote, the world looks very different when you actually try and get service. the only solutions out there is still overpriced for the small and medium business.
  • I send you this mail in order to celebrate you turning 30:


    Released by your own pituitary gland, GH starts declining in
    your 20s, even more in your 30s and 40s, eventually resulting
    in the shrinkage of major organs plus all other symptoms related
    to old age.


    • Reduce body fat and build lean muscle WITHOUT EXERCISE!
    • Enhance sexual performance
    • Remove wrinkles and cellulite
    • Lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol profile
    • Improve sleep, vision and memory
    • Restore hair color and growth
    • Strengthen the immune system
    • Increase energy and cardiac output
    • Turn back your body's biological time clock 10-20 years
      in 6 months of usage !!!

    Call 24 hrs. (recorded message):
    1 800 COWBOY NEAL



    If you are not interest in this offer, you will be
    automatically removed from out mailing list by sending
    an email to yourself

  • Why isn't there more email-enabled mini-gadgets?

    I want a box that can replace my fax machine, where i in addition to 'enter recipients phone #', also have the oppurtunity to enter recipients email.

    Vice-versa, give my fax a email-address and let it print out stuff people emails it!

    But please, please do it in a smart way, I don't want a 4-hour setup nightmare or a dos'ed fax machine :)

    Are we getting there? when?
  • ... like Spam has been around a lot longer?

    - Freed
  • anybody remember Anne Tomlinson [google.com]?? The (imaginary??) girl that caused big problems with slashdot a few months back?? Wonder if there's any relation... >=)
  • Is this a joke ? (Score:2, Informative)

    by loopkin ( 267769 )
    I think it is...
    read here [slashdot.org]: that story was already submitted months ago.

    or i miss 100% the point...
  • by mr.ska ( 208224 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @12:11PM (#2665175) Homepage Journal
    It'll be a while coming before e-mail can replace faxing. I have yet to see an e-mail system that can faithfully reproduce crappy low-res faxes of drawings and amusing letter-size posters that have been sent around one too many times. E-mail also manages to keep the entire contents of a message, instead of overwriting the top (or bottom) edge with a name and fax number like a fax machine does.

    No, until my local travel agency can start e-mailing me the "Last Minute Club" great holiday deals to Cancun for $997 All Inclusive, the fax is still going to have a place in our offices.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    My father worked at IBM for 27 years, starting in the mid 50's. I am pretty sure that IBM had internal email before this all-hallowed Internet-centric blather is reporting to be the case.

    IBM had it's own huge network for messaging and internal communications, including their own satellites, in the 60's.

    Let's be real here and stop trying to revise history so the 'good guys' (you know, those 'internet pioneers' all the script kiddies and various 'hackers' worship) don't automatically win all contests.
    • If you read the article, it says that email existed for computer to computer talk before this, but it couldn't go out across other networks.

      It's not attempting to revise history, it's talking about email, the electronic messages that can cross networks.
  • There are various manual filters for handling email, (e.g., procmail), but what I would like is a filter that automatically learns (to some extent) how to classify email. An initial version would have the following features:
    1. Emails can be classified under any number of keywords. The user can selectively view the messages under any keyword.
    2. Each keyword is associated with a policy that specifies importance and expiration (when the message is to be deleted and whether the user needs to confirm a deletion).
    3. The system (after learning from watching the user) will suggest categories for incoming email.
    Any systems like this out there. Any systems that would be relatively easier to modify to include these features.
    • Procmail is a filter BEFORE email hits your inbox. What you'd want is an actual email client that would 'learn' from what you're doing, not an external 'filter' program. Neat idea, but not the same as another procmail-type filter system.
  • by ellem ( 147712 ) <ellem52 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday December 06, 2001 @12:16PM (#2665202) Homepage Journal
    A few years back EZPass was introduced to NY. It took a while to catch on but now it is everywhere you can even get McDonald's with the damn thing. Two or three years ago someone figured out that a car on a toll road like a thruway could be tracked. Further they figured out, through the tracking, that cars weren't doing the speed limit and began issuing tickets based on time from point A to point B. The thought process being if you got there in this amount of time you averaged 85 MPH and if that was your average you were definitely going faster than that factoring accelerating and decelerating at the tolls so here's a ticket for 85 MPH; consider yourself lucky b/c we KNOW you were going faster than that.

    The creator of EZPass complained loudly that this was not what he invented EZPass for, "I wanted to make people's drives easier! This is a gross misuse of the EZPass system."

    NY State told him to shut up and poked him with a sharpened spork or something.


    I wonder if Tomlinson feels the same every time he gets spammed from www.asiananaldogrape.com or a script kiddie sends out some Outlook virus?
    • Well then, just time it so you do 120 most of the way, then slow down to 3 mph the last mile before the toll. YEah, i know it wont work, but if EVERYONE did it it would. Sigh.
      • Well then, just time it so you do 120 most of the way, then slow down to 3 mph the last mile before the toll.

        Then what's the point of speeding? If you're going to average 65 mph, why not just go 65 mph? You'll get there in the same amount of time as you would by going real fast and then real slow, and you won't run the risk of having your license taken away by a trooper on the side of the road.

        If I'm going to speed, I'm going to do it right!
        • The point of speeding on the freeway is that you can drive real fast, pull over at a rest stop, take a leak, stretch out, maybe nap for a few, and arrive at your location refreshed.
        • If I'm going to speed, I'm going to do it right!

          I never understood people who speed 20 MPH over on the freeway - you only save 25% of your time. Instead speed 20 MPH in a school zone - you save 50% of your time, and may get a free lube job on the underside of your car if you hit a fat kid.
    • Actually, this is an important theory in Calculus. It's called the Mean Value Theorem. Essentially, if you take one hour to go 80 miles, it can be proven that at some point, your velocity was 80 MPH for an instant.

      In fact, there is *always* a homework problem like this in a Calculus I class. Usually, the problem has a student doing this and the teacher asks, "Could you get out of the ticket? No.".
    • I've traveled the length of the NYS Thruway I90 portion countless times and never have I been able to use my EZ-Pass at a drive-thru. I still have to pull out my Mobil SpeedPass for gas too.

  • why was she fired on the spot when
    failing to reconnect slashdot to the
    world some time ago ?

    Besides, it seems to me that @ was slow to catch
    up : I remember addresses with ! ! ! !
    and BITNET addresses with %.
  • Undocumented history (Score:3, Informative)

    by DaoudaW ( 533025 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @12:53PM (#2665407)
    Thirty years ago, give or take a month or two, Ray Tomlinson, an unassuming computer

    Sometime in late 1971, a computer engineer named Ray Tomlinson sent the first e-mail message. "I sent a number of test messages to myself from one machine to the other," he recalls now. "The test messages were entirely forgettable. . . . Most likely the first message was QWERTYIOP or something similar." Read more... [pretext.com]

    The great thing about the history of the Internet is the cluelessness of many of the participants. Tomlinson really didn't have any idea of the significance of his hack. He was too busy getting two computers to talk to each other to go into any futurist fantasies.

    The real and interesting history of email happened in the '80s with BITnet for academic-types and then of course the huge commercial success of compuserve. Even then it wasn't until the blooming of the WWW in the '90s that email came into the consciousness of the general public.
  • by bstadil ( 7110 )
    Even though we had this Email story [slashdot.org]before, its interesting that within the same time span of 8 weeks. The first Microprocessor Intel 4004 [slashdot.org] was born as well as Unix [slashdot.org]
  • procmail's birthday (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Corgha ( 60478 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @01:37PM (#2665661)
    Tomlinson may think he gets a lot of email, but he doesn't.

    Speaking of which, tomorrow (December 7th) will be the 11th anniversary of procmail v1.00 [procmail.org], so I decided to look at my procmail log to see how much mail I get. To steal a bit from Mastercard(tm):

    [Over the past 90 days,]
    Number of mailing lists to which I have been subscribed: 0
    Number of messages I've received: 76,697
    Bytes of email I've received: 14,517,916,565
    Value of procmail: priceless

    Actually, procmail is free, so if you don't have it yet, go get it [procmail.org].
  • And 30 years later, I'm getting more spam than ever!
  • by mwillems ( 266506 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @03:58PM (#2666792) Homepage
    It seems to me (CTO of a small multinational company) that we are approaching an email watershed. Let me rehash what may be the obvious, to see if anyone has any ideas.

    Up to now it was a matter of getting MORE communicative - "more email is more good". Email started as a mail replacement, but became a telephone replacement. We are now surpised (even annoyed) if an email does not elicit a response in 5 minutes.

    I see two reasons why this is changing.

    One is a relatively small challence, but annoying nonetheless: SPAM. I get 100 a day now - it is becoming a real challenge to handle. I and will have to change email addresses soon - but with hundreds of real people having my address, this is not easy. We need to see this as a real problem for the first time - tools (filters, "organise" etc) are no longer sufficient.

    The second problem is more fundamental still. I get 100 "real" emails a day too - but this drives me towards a purely reactive work model. I have too little time for writing back to them all - let alone for the strategising I am being paid for. I need to do LESS communicating - and with me, many of my colleagues.

    I am looking forward to seeing what ideas we come up with to take this to the next level. I know it's not XP and Outlook 2003!


  • that's right folks. email turns 30 today. now how could have it existed that long when
    algore invented the internet in the mid 90's....

    anyway, if you forward this message to 30 people Bill Gates will personally send you one dollar and donate 10 cents to a cancer charity in Nigeria which will in turn deposit the money in a bank account you opened for them in the united states and use the money to advertise the newest greatest weight loss pills ever invented which also happen to make you look 10 years younger but only if you order 6 dozen cookies and the recipie from neiman marcus using the credit card with the $100,000 limit that you recently got pre-approved for with no credit check and no deposit so you can purchase your own .BIZ or .INFO domain just like nike and pepsi and be a webshop with 24hour free unlimited porn downloads of britney spears, which by the way you can talk to live by dialing 1-900-i-love-spam, which is a registered trademark of the Hormel corporation, and tastes good on crackers.

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears