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Send Me An Email If You Want To Take Me To Dinner

Aug 17, 2007
In this time and place, is there anyone among us who does not have at least one email account to their name? I have several email addresses to my name, and each one of those serves their respective purposes.

I keep one for my friends' emails, another for free e-newsletters, and one as a back up for all my business transaction emails. Now who does not keep an email account? My hairdresser keeps one; even my six-year old niece has an email account to her name!

Email, or electronic mail, started in 1965 as a means of communication for a set of users of a shared mainframe computer. Email came into use long before the Internet was developed. In fact, early email systems played a crucial role in the creation and development of the Internet.

Email then allowed multiple users to exchange messages between different computers. In 1971, Ray Tomlinson, an engineer, introduced the use of the "@" sign was introduced to separate the users' name from their sending machines. The sign also designated the receiving machine.

Email became popular and known because of its functionality and advantages. But how does this form of electronic communication work?

As you receive dozens of email messages during the day, you need an email client to be able to read them. Many people in offices use stand alone email clients such as Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, or Pegasus.

If you are subscribed to free internet-based services like Yahoo, Hotmail, and GMail, you are using an email client that is displayed in a webpage.

An email client does the following things: 1) it shows a list of your messages which are already in your mailbox by showing the message headers (the header shows the sender, email subject, and other details such as message size, or the time and date of the message); 2) it allows you to select a message header so you can read the body of the message; 3) it allows you to write new email messages and send them; and 4) it allows you to add file attachments to the messages you send and lets you save the attachments from the messages you receive.

Even if you have an email client in your computer machine, you still need an email server to connect to.

In the simplest terms, an email server works like this: 1) it has a list of different email accounts, one for each person who can receive an email message in the server (examples of account names are psmith, bcallahan, etc.); 2) it has a text file for each and every account on the list (the server has text files in its directory called PSMITH.TXT, BCALLAHAN.TXT, etc.); 3) if PSMITH wants to send MCALLAHAN a message, he would write a text message in the email client and indicate that the message goes to MCALLAHAN, and when PSMITH sends the message, the email client will connect to the server and pass the message sender's name (PSMITH), the recipient's name (MCALLAHAN), and the message body; and 4) the server would place the information at the bottom of the MCALLAHAN.TXT file.

For many people today, their email systems run on two different servers called the SMTP server and either of a POP3 or an IMAP server.

SMTP, short for simple mail transfer protocol, handles outgoing email messages, while the POP3, (POP means post office protocol) or the IMAP (internet mail access protocol) server handles the incoming email messages. This is a very simple system, but the real email systems in use today not so complicated than this.

Communication has taken an advanced path through the years. Now, more and more sophisticated systems are being introduced to facilitate fast exchange of messages and documents among different people from different places. And email is just one of these advances which man has learned to enhance and a technology whose perfection is still to come.
About the Author
James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of
CreatingEmail.com and writes expert
articles about email .
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