A brief history connected with Email.

August 4, 2020 Internet  No comments

This may feel such as a mini-course in ancient history, but I’m only going back 20 years.

In the mid 1980’s during University, my email was a mcgill.ca address while my American associates had an “.edu” email address. Usage of these systems was through a Telnet session at the school’s terminals. At home, I possibly could dial-in to a SLIP server with a 2400 baud modem, and get my email so long as I had a Telnet client.

Those who didn’t go to College had usage of a Freenet account, which was also accessible through Telnet.

When I graduated and had to pay for an Internet Service Provider, I accessed email through POP and SMTP with Outlook or Eudora for years until I needed the ability to access the internet from anywhere in the world. IMAP helped bridge the gap so long as the mail client was setup on could work and desktop computer so all my mail, Inbox, Sent Items, and Drafts, were synchronized.

With the popularity of net based emails by the mid 1990’s, the big 3 were MSN’s Hotmail, Yahoo! and Google’s Gmail. People would change or have multiple accounts as storage space was usually the biggest headache. It wasn’t long ago when 2 megabytes was the most storage space buy edu email. Gmail was the first to offer 2 gigabytes of storage, and continuously growing.

Most net based email providers had the ability to download POP email, but your email “from” or “reply-to” address was usually your web based email address. This is acceptable for personal use, but not for corporate use.

At a corporate level, Microsoft Exchange combined with Outlook client was extremely popular, and is still popular today. Exchange is just a messaging and groupware server that uses IMAP together of the numerous protocols to get into email. It also gets the Outlook Web Access feature which was more convenient than conventional net based email since it had your contacts, shared calendars and public folders.

Today, I still like using Outlook, since it offers a great “store and forward” mechanism: the ability to work off-line on my laptop. I can simply work in Draft mode on an airplane and connect to the Internet to synchronize my mailbox when back on land. Plus, my Contacts are synchronized with my Palm PDA or Blackberry wireless handheld device.

Sure, I possibly could download my Yahoo or Gmail to my Outlook by using POP, however it wouldn’t synchronize any changes. It also depends if my mail was deleted on the server after downloading, or stored on the server. Sorting email may be painfully slow with Yahoo in comparison to Gmail’s lightning fast search algorithm, however you can’t sort by file size, for example.

Since Gmail supports IMAP, by combining it with Outlook, I combine the most effective of both worlds. There are a few top features of Outlook I cannot live without, and with the popularity of social networking, integration with LinkedIn or Facebook causes it to be more appealing.

There’s a trend for personal email decreasing in support of Instant Messaging and text messaging via cell phone. However, Email will always have a place in the corporate world.

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