Friday, February 18, 2011

Why Is Email So Complicated? Part 562: People Lie About What They Want

When people say they want email to be reliable, it’s probably more believable than “the check is in the mail” or “I’ll respect you in the morning,” but that doesn’t mean it’s true. People don’t want technology to enforce more honesty than they’re used to.

Read more at the Mimecast blog...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Why Is Email So Complicated? Part 221: The Legacy of Punch Cards

We walk upright with a quadruped’s backbone, and email transmits video with a punch card’s line format.  But as long as it ain’t broke, we probably won’t fix it.

      Read more at my Mimecast blog

Friday, February 4, 2011

My favorite IPv6 factoids

Now that we're just about IPv4 addresses (though the situation isn't as dire as most press coverage would indicate), here are some interesting factoids about IPv6:

This week Comcast announced that any customer who wants it can get, from Comcast, a block of roughly 18 quintillion IPv6 addresses. No big deal -- there are enough IPv6 addresses for a billion Comcasts to each give that much to each of a billion customers.

The total number of IPv6 addresses is 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456. That number can be read out loud as 340 undecillion, 282 decillion, 366 nonillion, 920 octillion, 938 septillion, 463 sextillion, 463 quintillion, 374 quadrillion, 607 trillion, 431 billion, 768 million, 211 thousand, 456.

That's 100 IP addresses for every atom on the face of the earth. Even I think *that* should be enough.

For the record, in 1982, when there were just a couple hundred machines on the net, someone explained to me how this new IP thingie worked. I responded, almost instantly, "that's not enough addresses." Everyone laughed, but my reasoning was simple: IPv4 didn't even have enough addresses for one computer per person world-wide, but most people thought that that was an absurd scenario.  The world has now spent, probably, billions of dollars on a so-far unsuccessful transition.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Why is Email So Complicated?

Every few years, someone makes a sincere and serious-sounding attempt to design a newer, simpler version of email. I think these efforts are well-intentioned but don't begin to come to grips with the inherent complexity of email.

That's because most people have only the vaguest clue of how complicated email systems have become. Today, I’m initiating a series of short essays devoted to the many facets of the complexity of modern email. I’m going to try to cover it all if I live long enough.

My first, introductory essay can be found here.