Carl Bialik from the WSJ writes "When a recent power outage disrupted email service at WSJ.com, our tech columnists were plunged backwards into a time before every meeting, every little task, came with an email-program reminder, and where checking the bottom right of the screen for a new-mail envelope was futile. "Some of us quickly got a reminder that email is the lingua franca of projects that bridge different departments and involve a lot of people," Tim Hanrahan and Jason Fry write. "For all the talk of whiteboarding, it's email threads that we rely on to remember where we left certain questions and what our next moves are. Similarly, email has become our storage system for important documents and works in progress--how often do you email yourself? It's also replaced the telephone for lots of our routine touching base between colleagues, friends and families: Instant messaging is simultaneously too casual and too intrusive, and weekday phoning is reserved for more-substantive matters and emergencies. So a lot of that social lubrication went out the window.""