Thursday, February 23, 2012

Email: prior art!

This Washington Post story is about a man who has been honored by the Smithsonian for inventing Email in the late 1970's. The company I worked for in the 1960's had Email (and I believe we even called it that.) Applied Logic Corporation (a defunct company abased in Princeton, NJ, not to be confused with a current company by the same name) was a time-sharing company. If you had an account on their system, you could dial in remotely with a Teletype and use their computer services. Among these services was the ability to send electronic mail to any other account, addressing that user by name. It was Email, and it was available in 1967. We employees of ALC made extensive use of email to share our development work, APIs, etc. Years later, when I encountered Email on a Unix system, it felt like coming home.
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