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The Time Has Come to Ditch Email? 398

Krishna Dagli writes to mention an article at The Register claiming that it's time we stop using email to communicate. From the article: "The problem is, email is now integral to the lives of perhaps a billion people, businesses, and critical applications around the world. It's a victim of its own success. It's a giant ship on a dangerous collision course. All sorts of brilliant, talented people today put far more work into fixing SMTP in various ways (with anti-virus, anti-phishing technologies, anti-spam, anti-spoofing cumbersome encryption technologies, and much more) than could have ever been foreseen in 1981. But it's all for naught."
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The Time Has Come to Ditch Email?

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  • by Carewolf ( 581105 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @11:22AM (#15454332) Homepage
    It's time to ditch reality. It's fundamentally broken and inherently insecure. We should have predicted that 13 billion years ago.
  • by LibertineR ( 591918 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @11:22AM (#15454334)
    They tried better, they tried different, who knew that the best way to destroy Exchange Server would be to just discredit email altogether?

    Whatever works!

  • Whoops... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Lacota ( 695046 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @11:23AM (#15454341) Homepage
    FTP Dead? Riiight. Just like BSD.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 02, 2006 @11:29AM (#15454409)
    Don't forget computers, they're on the way out, antiquated beasts.
  • by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @11:32AM (#15454433) Homepage
    I express myself verbally when "talking" to the other developers:


    I also use sign language, but I don't have much of a grasp of it and stick to the usual middle digit up in the air.
  • by Nadsat ( 652200 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @11:32AM (#15454444) Homepage
    And they are not stopping at email, but at verbal communication. Soon the language we speak to one another will be codified. Meaning, if I want to talk to my girlfriend, I will speak through an earpiece mounted microphone. The mic encrypts my verbal language with a key that only she has. The words that come through my head-mounted mic then are amplified through a speaker which anyone can pick up, as if it were my voice speaking, but all garbled. Noone else can understand what I'm saying, because only she has the key on her headset, which is able to then re-articulate my words into her earpiece.

    It's like a private foreign language without having to bother learning a foreign language.

    That's the spirit of the article.
  • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @11:35AM (#15454471) Homepage Journal
    "(ever tried to get friends and family to do PGP handshakes?)"

    I've got one of those! It ends in a chest-thump then a simulated pistol shot in the air! We can always ensure that our friends are definately our friends with that hand shake.

  • by JargonScott ( 258797 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @12:00PM (#15454713)
    ...13 billion years ago.

    I think you mispelled "6 thousand".
    </id lunatic>
  • by geobeck ( 924637 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @12:38PM (#15455113) Homepage
    ...but here is a list of acronyms to get you excited about it.

    What? But it makes perfect sense!

    All we have to do is yEnc the H.264 stream, RAR is apart, make the PAR files, GPG each package, and verify the MD5 sums after it's been e-mailed to AES [ic.gc.ca]!

    But since the VP is such a VIP, shouldn't we keep the PC on the QT? Otherwise he could go MIA and we'll all end up on KP--oops, wrong argument.

  • by Have Blue ( 616 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @01:21PM (#15455552) Homepage
    Your company advocates a

    (X) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

    approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

    ( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
    (X) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
    ( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
    ( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
    (X) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
    (X) Users of email will not put up with it
    ( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
    ( ) The police will not put up with it
    ( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
    (X) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
    (X) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
    ( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
    ( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

    Specifically, your plan fails to account for

    ( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
    (X) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
    ( ) Open relays in foreign countries
    ( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
    ( ) Asshats
    ( ) Jurisdictional problems
    ( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
    ( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
    (X) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
    ( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
    ( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
    (X) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
    ( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
    (X) Extreme profitability of spam
    ( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
    ( ) Technically illiterate politicians
    ( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
    ( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with Microsoft
    ( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with Yahoo
    ( ) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
    ( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
    (X) Outlook

    and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

    (X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
    ( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
    ( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
    ( ) Blacklists suck
    ( ) Whitelists suck
    ( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
    ( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
    ( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
    (X) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
    ( ) Sending email should be free
    ( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
    ( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
    ( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
    ( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
    ( ) I don't want the government reading my email
    ( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

    Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

    (X) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
    ( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid company for suggesting it.
    ( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!
  • by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @01:25PM (#15455596) Homepage Journal
    [T]here are enough of us geeks to code up the proper secure behavior ... Then it's just a matter of waiting for everybody to update their email client (i.e. 5-10 years, ...)

    Actually, some of us geeks did a lot of it 15 or 20 years ago. Lotta good it did us all. Most of the email users are using Microsoft email software, and clearly will never upgrade to anything without the MS imprimatur, so our work was pretty much in vain.

    So how about some of the geeks here mention the more-secure email packages you've worked on, and when. This should give us a good idea of just how hopeless it is to expect everybody to adopt it.

    (Either that or nobody will ever notice this message or reply to it. ;-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 02, 2006 @01:26PM (#15455602)
    grossout factor, for example, say you have an individual who needs some help setting up their next gen email, and this geek runs up to help, his mouth still dripping blood from the chickenhead he just bit off, the poor email using individual is going to just freak out and run away.
  • by Frightening ( 976489 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @02:32PM (#15456326) Homepage
    Dude, your web page is so bad, I uninstalled my browser.

    [To moderators: before modding me down, please visit it first]
  • by suggsjc ( 726146 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @02:58PM (#15456599) Homepage
    Her: blah, blah, blah...
    Her:Did you hear that honey?
    You (takes out earpiece) and says: What? I didn't realize you were talking. I must have lost your "key"

    Either way, its gonna sound the same...blah, blah, blah
  • by HrothgarReborn ( 740385 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @03:01PM (#15456640)
    Meaning, if I want to talk to my girlfriend ...

    Hey if you can also get it to filter statements that are likely to land you in trouble, translate responses into something more sensitive, and translate back to you what she really means based on what she says, then I think you have the technology of the future. Maybe then slashdotters can get chicks. I would be an early adopter.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson