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How eMail started?
The ARPANET is the first successful distributed, wide area, packet-switched network of computers ever built and the first interactive computer network used to deliver email.

The technological planning, design, and construction of the ARPANET was directed and funded by the United States Advanced Research Projects Agency, commonly known as ARPA.

The basic network services developed on the ARPANET included file transfer protocol, electronic mail, and remote login. The most widely  
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used functions on the ARPANET 's heritage is electronic mail, a technology which would permanently change the way people viewed computers and human communication.

The first email was sent across the ARPANET in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson, "The first message--Tomlinson recounts--was sent from myself from one computer to myself on another computer  and its contents was probably 'qwertyuiop' or "Testing 1-2-3." 

The second message, sent out to other users of the network, was somewhat more interesting. It announced the availability of network email and gave instructions on how to address email to users on other machines by suffixing "@[hostname]" to the user's login name.

Tomlinson's email application was the first attempt to use the ARPANET as a medium for human communication. Email today by far, takes up the largest use of the Internet and will continue to.

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The email experience varies from company to company, depending  on the prevailing corporate culture and attitudes of senior management. The more emancipated bosses see it as a useful tool for keeping closer contact with subordinates. It promotes two way exchanges and some bosses have found that they have benefited from more frank comments from staff whom they do not typically keep in touch with.

Of course, this raises issues of protocol and the traditional channels of communication up the hierarchy too. Some people accept it while others do not. The ability of a junior staff members to communicate directly with the CEO, by-passing his or her boss, may be bad in some eyes. However, it can also alert the CEO to issues which may be concealed from him or her deliberately.

From studying the experiences of a few companies which have set up their LANs in recent years, there were no cases where the senior management has regretted the move. The general consensus has been that it has been a positive development which should have been around earlier.

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For home office


If you bought a home computer within the last couple of years, the sales pitch likely included the word "multimedia". That's because your purchase probably included stereo speakers, a microphone and a CD-ROM drive to play disks that could bring forth animation and even movie clips.

But there is one part of the home computer world that has remained almost entirely mono-media, that's email. There's nothing wrong with email consisting only of text as an efficient, quick, and cheap way to convey a message, essay or letter to someone who might be half a world away.

But there are times when it's nice to hear someone's voice. Making sound email to send over the Internet, is within the scope of the home user who has a fairly up-to-date multimedia computer. Sending sound email involves several steps and a good deal more time than the text-only messages, it is best saved for special occasions.

The following instructions for making and sending sound  email are somewhat general. For help on specifics, you might have to get help from your neighborhood  computer guru (probably a teenager).

If you are using MS Windows, making the sound recording is easy. Windows comes with a program called Sound Recorder that you can use to record and edit sound files. If you're on a Macintosh, you'll have to download or get a sound recording program from another Mac user.

Using your microphone, you record your message and keep it short- even with sound compression, the time needed to send and receive sound email is much longer than with text-only messages.

When you have finished recording and saving your sound, you can send this file just as it is, if you and the recipient have plenty of patience.

Sending a test 30-second sound file in low quality audio with recorder set at 22KHz and 8 bit without compression--it took three minutes and 45 seconds to upload. That means sending even a minute's worth of Junior telling Grandpa what he did in school today would take a minimum of about seven minutes to transmit. Grandpa would then have to take about the same amount of time to download the message before she could hear it. However, with compression the problem can be overcome.

If you're an experienced Internet surfer, you probably already know about RealAudio, the ground breaking  compression program that allowed sound to be easily added to websites. You can use that same program for email. Unless you have already have a RealAudio player, you'll have to download it from its site at To make compressed sound email, you'll also need to download the RealAudio encoder from the same site. Both the player and encoder are free.

OK, let's imagine everything is now in place; the sound file you want to send, plus the ReadAudio player and encoder. To make the compressed file, you click on your sound file and drag it over the encoder. After a few seconds you will have a new file on your screen with a suffix of "ra". This is the compressed sound file, the one you will send.

Now you get ready to send email in the regular way. You type in whatever text you want to include, get your email program to attach a file. The email program will then ask you what file you wish to 'attach'. You choose your compressed sound file that you have saved, click the send button and off it goes. (a 30 seconds compressed sound file will takes 25 seconds to send)

By the way, if you send a file compressed in this manner, the recipient also will need to have the RealAudio player to hear it. Now you know why most email still consists of good old fashioned text.

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email A NEW TOY

Actually, email is not as new as most people imagine it to be. It has being around for at least 10 years, but has been confined to companies which have had their own computer networks  ( newspaper offices, for example) are also bulletin board systems (BBS)


The BBS was more popular before the widespread use of the Internet and linked people in a community or city . Its concept was simple, one person would set up a BBS with a PC and appropriate software. Then people could call in and leave messages for each other on that PC.

This was email in its infancy and it is still popular today although sending messages through the globally linked  Internet is increasingly popular . However, for various reasons, not all people want a connection to the Internet so that BBS is still in existence and remains a valuable channel for commercial exchanges.

At the corporate level, email has become more popular since the beginning of the 1990's as companies have started to create Local Area Networks (LANs) which are essentially a linking of all the PC terminals in the company and even those of subsidiary operations at another site.

In some ways, having an email facility for the staff has cut down on paper usage while at the same time providing a fairly effective means of communicating with staff at all levels.

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Some people have the illusion that what they send as email is private enough and no one, other than the recipient, can read it. The perception is partly correct but as all messages are still stored on a big computer in the basement or some "safe" room in the building, it is possible for an authorized person - usually the most senior people in the computer department - to read  the messages.


"It is possible to read any messages that are sent" confirmed a MIS Manager. "But unless there is a strong reason, I think that it is a waste of time. We have a lot of other things to do than read other  people's email."

So the privacy issue if email is somewhat like postal mail (snail mail, a cheeky term from the PC industry); the post office workers can open your letter and read it but it would be rare. It needs authority to do so and the reasons would have to be valid (i.e. criminal investigation).

There have also been some cases of the 'property rights' of email circulating within a company. Most companies have a policy that everything  which is on their system is theirs so they have a right to censor, delete  or demand  an explanation for any email content.

However, I haven't actually heard of any cases where this has been involved although  there were some cases involving email transactions  of  confidential information via the Internet.

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Remember the fax machine came into your life, followed by the cellular hand-phone?  No more waiting for the postman or losing of important calls while you were moving from client to client.

Both these devices are now almost taken for granted as essential in business, with some families even finding it useful to have a fax machine at home. After all, it beats sending airmail letters to friends overseas and as virtually every company in town has a fax machine, getting brochures or sending orders is a lot more convenient.

Now, the next communication means spreading with swiftness world wide, is email messages sent electronically in the same way as a fax sheet except that they end up in a PC rather than being printed out on a paper. email is as quick as a fax and relies on telephone lines too but it has a measure of privacy since it is not printed out. 

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According to some IT or MIS managers, the introduction of an email facility is initially problematic and abused as a novelty. This is only to be accepted with such things and usually fades away as people get down to treating  it as a communication tool.

Many of the problems of introducing email in a corporate environment stem from the attitudes of people and the unwillingness to learn or even apprehension in using PC's altogether. Many from the older generation are less enthusiastic about the electronic culture and feel that learning a PC is beyond them.

It took me a while to be willing to use email because I was so worried that if I pressed the wrong button, my computer would be spoilt or the message would go to the wrong person" said a manager in a motor firm which set up its LAN a few years ago. He is still hesitant when using it but increasingly finds it convenient.

Younger staff who have grown up with PC's in college and home take to email readily and exploit its usefulness. For them, email is as familiar as the telephone and just as easy to use.

The 'abuse' of the system seems, in many cases, to be initial. People find that they can send any kind of message to anyone and so personal messages start to go around, jokes of all kinds and even office gossip. No longer do you need to hang around the pantry or coffee machine to find out the latest in office politics- it comes across like a newspaper report at all times right at your desk.

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email OF THE SPECIES IS DEADLIER THAN THE MAIL Douglas Rushkoff, New Straits Times

Most people are pretty good at identifying the subject lines of adverts and then deleting without reading the mail. But as I sit herein in a hotel room in Edinburgh, attempting to file my column via email to London, I realize that spam has effectively crippled my ability to conduct Internet tasks I used to find easy.

This means war. Like many of you, I use a program called Eudora to send and receive email. No matter where I am or what service I've used, it lets me identify the place on my home server where email is kept, and then send or receive messages.

This way, even though my home server only has a New York phone number and I am in Scotland, I can use the local UK dial-in number for the Microsoft Network or any other service  where I have an account , and then hop over and get my email. No long distance calls required. But last week, when I tried to reply to some email, I got a disturbing message "Error 550, access denied." Access Denied?

After a harrowing series of long distance calls with my provider, I learned the painful truth. The same feature that allows me to send email from a foreign server allows ruthless spam advertisers to send email with no return address.

See, Spammers know that most people hate them and that sending unwanted mail to millions of recipients is grounds for having their accounts terminated by their own access providers. To mask their own originating addresses, they have exploited the way the Internet passes mail from server to server . They use third party hosts as a relay for their mail.

The routing headers imply, to anyone but the most educated Internet users, that the mail comes from the third party's  mail server. The problems this creates for Internet service providers can be catastrophic.

First, relaying an extra few million email addresses puts a tremendous stress on the mail server, slowing down everybody's connections or even overloading  the server altogether. Then, since the spam  seems to be coming from the innocent, third party server, annoyed recipients complain to the victimized provider.

This means more angry email and phone calls for them to process. Worse, when other service providers detect that a large amount of spam mail is coming from the innocent, offending mail server, they often choose to block all mail from that server . Once this happens, no subscriber of the first provider can reach anyone on any of the services that have blocked their own provider.

In an attempt to protect itself from abuse by spammers, my service provider is re-engineering  its system so that hosts outside its own network are now unable to relay mail through its machines. This happens to include the hosts I have always used to send email when I'm on the road.

I know there are other solutions to my problem. I can use Telnet to connect to my server, but then I lose the capabilities like attaching files or automatically saving messages to my had drive.

Solutions? For starters, take your email address off your Web page. Spammers use programs that automatically search Web pages for addresses. Instead, spell it out, as in "rushkoff" at interport net" and explain why you did it.

Also, don't browse the Web from your usual account or with your normal email address. Any site you visit can collect and sell your address. Ask your service provider how to create a pseudonymous email address, visit:

Spam Buster sites

Spam Buster

Spam Killer

COALITION Against Unsolicited Commercial Email

STOP SPAM FAQ page on the web

The NETWORK Abuse clearing house

More ideas on how to stamp out spam


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