The Evolution Of Email Throughout Time

1788 words - 7 pages

Long before the Internet actually existed, email or electronic mail, could be traced back to the directories of a new computer system used at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1965. They had built a machine called “Compatible Time-sharing System” and eventually allowed university students and other registered users from around the New England States to share and store files on it. Students and faculty could login and store files on MIT’s IBM 7094 computer (See Figure 1). I was here that the users would create a text file and name it “TO JOE” for example, and place it in a users directory for them to see the next time they logged in. Certainly this wasn’t the email as we know it today, but a very crude and simple method of leaving an electronic message for a peer. Much like leaving a sticky note to a friend on the monitor. No one ever thought of it as a need and email was never created. It just emerged as a new way to leave messages for ones peers.
As time went on, work started on something that would ultimately change the world. A group of engineers were sanctioned by the U.S. Government and started working on a series of networked computers that would be used by the military to send and store secret information between bases. Originally there were only four computers connected to different research labs around the country. But that quickly expanded as they found solutions such as TCP/IP to help standardize on how data would be delivered from client to server. The name of this project was called ARPAnet and stands for the Advanced Research Project Agency which was a branch of the military that worked on secret systems during the cold war. ARPAnet was essentially the grandfather of the Internet and helped to foster in new ways computers could connect, talk and share files.
During this same time period a computer programmer named Raymond Tomlinson wrote a program that could save messages on a local computer. The program he created was named SNDMSG and wasn’t something that Tomlinson thought of as a big deal. In fact, rumor has it that Tomlinson showed a colleague of his and asked him not to tell anyone because this was not what he was supposed to be doing. The program caught on and people started using it leave messages to each other. But he later enhanced SNDMSG and adapted it to another one called CYPNET that would use a file transfer protocol to actually send the message to another computer. This changed everything, as now Tomlinson had the ability to use the ARPAnet network and send a message to any other computer on the same network. Although Tomlinson’s first message did traverse the ARPAnet network, it was only sent to a computer located right next to each other. Tomlinson wrote the first email message to include “QWERTYUIOP” which was just the first string of letters on a keyboard. Nothing significant at the time but something that will forever change on how we communicate today. He also decided on the @...

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