For example, several writers in the early s used the term to describe fax document transmission.
It was never invented; it evolved from very simple beginnings. Early email was just a small advance on what we know these days as a file directory - it just put a message in another user's directory in a spot where they could see it when they logged in.
Just like leaving a note on someone's desk. Some of the mainframe computers of this era might have had up to one hundred users -often they used what are called "dumb terminals" to access the mainframe from their work desks.
Dumb terminals just connected to the mainframe - they had no storage or memory of their own, they did all their work on the remote mainframe History of an email.
Before internetworking began, therefore, email could only be used to send messages to various users of the same computer. Once computers began to talk to each other over networks, however, the problem became a little more complex - We needed to be able to put a message in an envelope and address it.
To do this, we needed a means to indicate to whom letters should go that the electronic posties understood - just like the postal system, we needed a way to indicate an address. This is why Ray Tomlinson is credited with inventing email in He picked the symbol from the computer keyboard to denote sending messages from one computer to another.
So then, for anyone using Internet standards, it was simply a matter of nominating name-of-the-user name-of-the-computer. Internet pioneer Jon Postel, who we will hear more of later, was one of the first users of the new system, and is credited with describing it as a "nice hack".
It certainly was, and it has lasted to this day. Despite what the world wide web offers, email remains the most important application of the Internet and the most widely used facility it has.
Now more than million people internationally use email. Email became the saviour of Arpanet, and caused a radical shift in Arpa's purpose. Things developed rapidly from there. Larry Roberts invented some email folders for his boss so he could sort his mail, a big advance. In John Vittal developed some software to organize email.
By email had really taken off, and commercial packages began to appear. Email took us from Arpanet to the Internet. Here was something that ordinary people all over the world wanted to use.
As Ray Tomlinson observed some years later about email, "any single development is stepping on the heels of the previous one and is so closely followed by the next that most advances are obscured. I think that few individuals will be remembered. One of the first new developments when personal computers came on the scene was "offline readers".
Offline readers allowed email users to store their email on their own personal computers, and then read it and prepare replies without actually being connected to the network - sort of like Microsoft Outlook can do today. This was particularly useful in parts of the world where telephone costs to the nearest email system were expensive.
It was also useful because the "offline" mode allowed for more friendly interfaces.
Being connected direct to the host email system in this era of very few standards often resulted in delete keys and backspace keys not working, no capacity for text to "wrap around" on the screen of the users computer, and other such annoyances.
Offline readers helped a lot. The first important email standard was called SMTP, or simple message transfer protocol. Forgery was and still is very easy in email addresses. These basic flaws in the protocol were later to be exploited by viruses and worms, and by security frauds and spammers forging identities.
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