Raymond Tomlinson and @

We will remember Raymond Tomlinson as the inventor of the e-mail on networks – especially the Internet. This obituary by William Grimes – Raymond Tomlinson: Computer programmer invented network e-mail (New York Times via Globe and Mail (March 11)

It was he who came up with the @ to separte user from the network while working on projects for ARPANET in 1971.

Mr. Tomlinson went on to play an important role in developing the first e-mail standards, including the now-familiar name, date and subject headers atop every e-mail message.

English speaking people know @ as  the at sign. But others call it something else – “In France and Italy, it is called a snail. Israelis know it as a strudel, and Finns, having decided that it resembles a curled-up cat, call it miukumauku, or “the meow sign.””

Of interest – in case you thought email was declining in importance – “According to a report by the Radicati Group on global e-mail use, last year more than two billion e-mails were sent every day from 4.35 billion registered e-mail accounts.”.

Mozilla ponders Thunderbird

Problem brewing with Thunderbird, the email client that many depend upon.  Mozilla  Foundation stopped significant updates in 2012 and now is talking about hiving it off.  It’s not clear what form that would take or what it would mean for the client.

Mozilla Wants To Split Off Its Thunderbird Email/Chat Client, Says Mitchell Baker Memo, Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch (Nov30)

“Baker notes that it is not clear whether Mozilla will try to spin off Thunderbird as its own open-source entity, or whether it will seek a business partner to take over the product; it seems too early to tell at this point.”

If they need money, I’m sure many of its loyal users – including me – would pay.

GMail Filtering

GMail is getting better at identifying and filtering out spam and junk email by applying the same intelligence that is used for Google Search and Google Now.

The mail you want, not the spam you don’t, Official GMail Blog (Jul 9)

Especially note: “Finally, the spam filter is better than ever at rooting out email impersonation—that nasty source of most phishing scams. Thanks to new machine learning signals, Gmail can now figure out whether a message actually came from its sender, and keep bogus email at bay.

Managing your email

Good advice about managing email in this article:

  • don’t check email every 10 minutes; 4 or 5 times a day is sufficient
  • it can be ok not to reply immediately
  • short is good – 5 sentences should cover it
  • inbox is not a to-do list (this will be the hardest to do)
  • organize messages into folders
  • handle a message only ONCE
  • cut out the pointless – unsubscribe from those notices

E-mail isn’t the problem. You are by Harvey Schachter, Globe and Mail (Jul 14)

Digital Overload and the Inbox

The Globe and Mail ran a series on digital overload. Erin Anderssen writes that our addiction to email, web browsing, social media is adding stress and distraction. It very likely is affecting health.

Digital overload: How we are seduced by distraction, (March 29)

“We have been seduced by distraction,” says psychologist Daniel Goleman, the author of Focus: the Hidden Driver of Excellence. “We are being pulled away from paying attention to the things that enrich our lives.”

E-mail inbox stressing you out? Here’s what you can do about it Add to … (March 30)

Email is not dying; it’s predicted to increase from 191 billion in 2014 to 206 billion by 2017. There can be real stress in dealing with email – not to mention interruption.  Article has suggestions for reducing email stress. I like the idea of deleting old emails and starting again.

E-mail is not just a work hassle, but a health hazard. New research suggests the stress of dealing with over-stuffed inboxes shortens our breath, speeds up our hearts and spikes our blood pressure – often without us noticing.