Volume 28 : Issue 79 : "text" Format
Messages in this Issue:
Re: History of AT&T Mail
Re: History of eMail [TELECOM]
Re: History of AT&T Mail [TELECOM]
Re: History of AT&T Mail [TELECOM]
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Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2009 14:52:01 +0100
From: "earle robinson" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: History of AT&T Mail
In fact, it was ibm that was the mail carrier and its system was quite
good. It had more cachet than CompuServe or aol, and was more used by
business people. Then ibm decided to get out of the business and sold
the email service to at&t, which was struggling to build a decent
sized isp. There were two sides, one for consumers, the other for
business oriented people. The ibm addresses were maintained for a few
years then changed to at&t. The business oriented addresses were
attworld.net, but then changed to att.biz, though the former is still
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2009 10:59:48 -0400
From: Matt Simpson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: History of eMail [TELECOM]
> A related question is: When did email--using today's standards--
> begin? That is, when did people get email addresses of "PERSON@SITE"
> and there was an Internet capable of routing such messages to the
> appropriate site.
SNDMSG & READMAIL. In the early 1970's, Ray Tomlinson was working on a
small team developing the TENEX operating system, with local email
programs called SNDMSG and READMAIL. In late 1971, Tomlinson developed
the first ARPANET email application when he updated SNDMSG by adding a
program called CPYNET capable of copying files over the network, and
informed his colleagues by sending them an email using the new program
with instructions on how to use it.
To extend the addressing to the network, Tomlinson chose the "commercial
at" symbol to combine the user and host names, providing the naturally
meaningful notation "user@host" that is the standard for email
addressing today. These early programs had simple functionality and were
command line driven, but established the basic transactional model that
still defines the technology -- email gets sent to someone's mailbox.
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2009 15:17:06 +0000 (UTC)
From: Paul <email@example.com.INVALID>
Subject: Re: History of AT&T Mail [TELECOM]
John Mayson <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote in
> When I was in college in the late 1980's I worked for AT&T as a
> co-op student. During my second quarter I was given the task of
> rolling out AT&T Mail to our site and training people how to use
> it. At the time I thought the service was pretty neat. It had
> email-to-fax and email-to-snail-mail gateways. It was used mostly
> by AT&T, but the service was available to the public and I found
> the governor of Kentucky listed in the directory. It didn't take
> me long to realize I could send email to @attmail.com from my
> school account, which raised a few eyebrows about me "hacking into
> AT&T Mail". When it came time to graduate I had promised myself I
> would get an AT&T Mail account if my future employer did not have
> Internet access (turns out they did).
> I was reminiscing about the service, so I visited Google and
> Wikipedia trying to find information. I cannot find anything.
> The search terms bring up information about today's at&t email
> service via their DSL service or really old archives containing
> messages from people with @attmail.com email addresses. Perhaps
> I'm the only person on the planet who thinks this topic is
> interesting, but in case I'm not, does anyone have more
> information about AT&T Mail? Until my last move I still had all
> of my manuals, but they're long gone. I want to create a
> Wikipedia entry. I believe AT&T Mail was as significant as
> Compuserve or Prodigy.
We had ATT Mail for a while at UNH Telecom. Dept., partly because we
had their S85 PBX and 3B5/3B15 computer.
I also got rid of my manuals some time before I retired, but I seem
to remember that it ran over UUCP.
It became obsolete with the spread of (TCP/IP) networking and the
centralized campus e-mail system.
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2009 16:15:59 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: History of AT&T Mail [TELECOM]
> ***** Moderator's Note *****
> I think there will always be a job for the Postal Service: after all,
> our business and government will be dependent on paper records for the
> foreseeable future. The Western way of life revolves around written
> records, and there has to be some way to get them from place to place.
There will always be the Postal Service, but I think the volume of
mail it handles will significantly shrink. It is now losing money and
another stamp increase is coming in May. Despite huge investments in
automation and reductions in service (fewer mailboxes, fewer
collections), they'll still gonna have to rethink their model.
> Our businesses, educational institutions, and governments still use
> paper as the primary medium-of-record. Despite the plethora of
> electronic alternatives, the post office is still, and probably always
> will be, in the business of carrying the mountain of Purchase Orders,
> checks, bills, magazines, stock certificates, bank statements,
> greeting cards, and personal messages that keep the wheels of society
When they first spoke of the "paperless office", paper consumption
actually increased with the coming of "office automation". But now
things have changed and paper transactions are being reduced as
1) Bill payments: Many people have automatic pay billing--the
creditor directly deducts money from a checking account--eliminating
the need to write a check and mail it in, and for it to be processed.
2) E-Commerce: instead of filling out an order form from a printed
catalog, many consumers order from a web page. No paper transaction.
3) Official correspondance via email: Many formal contracts are now
sent as .pdf files with an email instead of a hard copy.
4) Social correspondance--cheap telepony has killed off what was left
of this, but the Internet is finishing the job. This year, with
things rushed, I couldn't get and send out birthday cards to some
friends, but sent an email instead. Tacky, but did the job.
The web allows sharing of family pictures electronically instead of
5) Online account statements: Some firms only print out account
statements upon request (and for a fee); they may be viewed on the
6) Annual Reports: Company no longer send out glossy annual reports
and proxy statements, but a simple card advising where to look for it
all on the web. A large company that has many hundreds of thousands
of shareowners saves a huge amount of postage and printing.
7) Govt interaction: Many govt agencies (of all levels) have websites
in which a citizen can renew their driver's license, get a permit,
register for this or that; all eliminating filling out a paper form
and a personal visit. Private companies also allow customers to use
the web to register, get an account, etc.
 I suspect e-commerce permits a greater risk of fraud, but I suspect
organizations are willing to assume that risk thinking it's still
cheaper than processing paper by hand. Face it, every time someone
fills out a form it means an employee must read the form and enter it;
that means the employee must have a desk and computer terminal. By
having customers do it, they eliminate all that which is a big saving.
Paying electronically means no one has to open a letter and handle the
> Having said that, I can't help but wonder if the electronic signatures
> that were made possible by public-key cryptography will someday
> supplant the paper records we now rely on. It would be a monumental
> change, and would require that every family have both access to the
> Internet and a computer, not to mention training in electronic
That's happening extensively now in the business world. Consumers
don't all have computers, but most businesses do, and with standard
software. Friends who work in law offices tell me "signature on file"
is good enough for much of the word, and email is used very
> I doubt it will happen: there's nothing like getting a letter that you
> can read anywhere and anytime you want, again and again. (If you don't
> believe me, just ask any other ex-GI).
Personally, I like reading stuff on paper, not the screen, for many
years. But the rest of the world is changing. Many people I deal
with prefer an email to a hardcopy report.
***** Moderator's Note *****
I suppose it's like anything else: first a few, then a lot, then it's
old news. Since I'm a Thawte Notary, I'm ready for the change, but I
think most people will still prefer a written record: they may _send_
a contract as a PDF file, but they'll still want the signatures on a
paper copy that they can show in court.
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End of The Telecom digest (4 messages)