October 15, 2001-- Newsletter #151
Goodies to Go (tm)
October 15, 2001--Newsletter #151
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Greetings, Weekend Silicon Warriors,
I'm teaching my HTML class the section on tables right now. Just as the students get bored building little checkerboards and other shapes, we begin to surf. We go to site after site drawing out the table formatting that makes up the design. Then I see their eyes light up. I've taught it 20 times. It's great every time I see it.
Did you hear...
Sprint PCS has unveiled the first GPS-enabled phone. Once the infrastructure is in place, the system will be able to locate the phone within 50 meters. Of course it will also come with all the latest Web apps all for the low, low price of $199.00.
PayPal, every Ebay user's best friend, has filed to be an IPO. Salomon Smith Barney Inc., Robertson Stephens, Inc. and William Blair & Company, L.L.C are managing the request. You know a company must be doing well if it wants an IPO when most other Internet-based stocks are tanking big time.
Guess where smart banner ad buys are best made these days? Cooking sites! Research by InsightExpress suggests that the Web is the number one source for recipes. Magazines came in second. That's a switch. The study covered 800 households.
Now on to today's topic...
Well, email is 30. The mid-life crisis can start any time now.
Believe it or don't, this thing we all use to the point of it being representative of our very person is 30 years old. It was all the way back in 1971 that email first flew onto the scene. I say, "flew" but that's not really the case.
The first "successful" email was sent using a 300-baud modem. Yes, that reads "300 baud." The concept of "K" wasn't quite in existence yet when it came to modems.
The man who sent the first email was an engineer named Ray Tomlinson. Ray worked for Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN), the company hired by the United States Defense Department in 1968 to build ARPANET. His specific project was something called SNDMSG. If you read it out loud, it comes out as "Send Message." Well, SNDMSG wasn't all that great. It could only send messages between two people found on the same machine. That wasn't at all email like we know it today. In fact, when SNDMSG worked, the mail was "sent" by adding text to the end of an existing mail file. It was hard to delete that early SPAM regarding hip new bell-bottom pants.
Tomlinson started a new course he called CYPNET. It consisted of around 200 lines of code. What he did would make history. He added the "@" insignia to the email name.
Yep - blame him.
Now files could be sent along the ARPANET backbone. The "@" told the computer the end user was somewhere other than the sending server. Email had been born.
The message went from Tomlinson to Tomlinson. BBN had two systems hooked together through the ARPANET.
The first message sent in Morse Code on May 24, 1844 was, "What hath God wrought."
The first message sent over Graham Bell's telephone on March 10, 1876 was, "Mr. Watson, come here; I want you."
The first words to a phonograph in 1877, by The Wizard of Menlo Park, Thomas Edison were, "Mary had a little lamb."
The first words said from the moon in 1969 were, "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."
The first words sent over email were...uh...we don't actually know.
Tomlinson himself cannot say with any degree of certainty what the first email message read. To be frank, he doesn't even remember the actual date of the first sending. It was in late 1971, most likely this month...we think.
Some articles stated that the first message was probably gibberish created from Tomlinson just banging out some letters on his keyboard. A good number of articles, that I read, said the first email message was most likely, "QWERTYUIOP."
The only thing about the first email message Tomlinson can say for sure is that it was in all capital letters.
Well...at least he screamed it.
Contrary to Ray Tomlinson, I actually do remember my first email. I sent it the second Monday in September of 1993. I sent it to Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. He was the gentleman who got me to buy my first modem, all 2400 baud of it. It was inside of a Tandy computer that didn't even have a hard drive.
I can't say for sure what the email read, but I'd be willing to bet it was something like, "I'm on - did you get this?"
I even remember the first email sent to me. It was Dr. Bruce's reply to that email.
Can you remember yours?
Happy birthday email! Thanks to you Mr. Tomlinson. You're place in Internet history is quite reserved.
That's that. Thanks for reading.
Joe Burns, Ph.D.
And remember: If you'd like to see an image of Ray Tomlinson, you can head off to the BBN site. Ray is down the page a bit, leaning back with his hand behind his head.
A photo of the actual PDP10 mainframe used by Tomlinson to send is on that same page.