According to Russell it is:

Every day I'm getting more and more frustrated with email. It's so closed, proprietary, unsearchable, filling with Spam, yet so vital to every day life. It's nice that we're getting close in a lot of ways to replacing it

I'm not sure what he meant by that. Anyone want to enlighten me?

It's gonna be a long time before we replace e-mail. More likely, we'll re-work SMTP to make e-mail more accountable (to combat SPAM, mostly) and to add features that don't exist today. But one to one and one to many store and forward messaging isn't going away.

Posted by jzawodn at April 24, 2003 12:26 PM

Reader Comments
# Russ said:

Hey Jeremy,

Probably everyone in your company uses email like its supposed to be used, but that's not how it is Out There. Most of my angst is of course aimed mostly at Outlook because that's what They Use, but even regular email's completely closed off.

At work, they don't really USE their intranet, so EVERYTHING is done in Microsoft Office and then emailed via Outlook. Ugh. Newsletters, announcements, forms, meetings, etc. etc. There's no way to search these documents besides Outlook's horrible "Find", everything in it is trapped in a final form, there's no collaboration - just communication.

Even if you just talk about regular POP mail - I'm realizing now how limited it is. I get messages and doing anything with their contents is difficult at best and I end up most of the time copying/pasting into some other system in order to really USE the data. I could use a mail-proxy like Zoe to organize the emails a bit better, but what about the 10,000 archived emails? How do you separate the good from the bad. The timely from the timeless?

I've participated in countless mailing lists and all those emails are in my archives, but their content is essentially dead to me. My blog, however, is eternal and searchable. The comments people leave become part of the whole as well. It's all public in this way, but it could be made less public and even more useful. Blogs are just an example - Think about all the other types of apps that are starting to be used instead of email. IMs are great (especially if they're logged), Wikis are flexible, Blogs are organizing, etc.

So what I meant is that my email is trapped in its system that lives in its own circa 1970 world (even if it's an "open" spec like SMTP/POP). Maybe the word isn't "proprietary" but it feels like it to me. Starting with all this content in markup makes it a lot more useable.

I hope that helps explain what I was smoking.


on April 24, 2003 01:48 PM
# gord said:

I am interested in hearing what "amazing" new technology will replace e-mail. It is still, by far one of /the/ most useful/functioning aspects of the internet. So simple, open, clean, and delicioius.

on April 25, 2003 09:15 AM
# Justin Mason said:

Russ said: "I've participated in countless mailing lists and all those emails are in my archives, but their content is essentially dead to me. My blog, however, is eternal and searchable."

Russ -- sounds like you need a MUA that supports decent full-text search, rather than reinvent SMTP. ;)

on April 25, 2003 10:59 AM
# Erick Herring said:

Check out my sketch and quick notes on NewTool and this collection of references.

Universal Personal Proxies (aka Personal Flight Recorders, etc.) that are completely independent of your actual mail client (or NNTP client, or IM client, or RSS aggregator) are the future. All the stuff that Russ complains about will be solved by aggregating everything, indexing everything, annotating everything, and tagging everything with all the great metadata that we typically throw away.

on April 29, 2003 09:32 PM
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