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Communications

Yes, You've Still Got Mail (recode.net) 140

Veteran technology columnist Walt Mossberg, writes: Like radio, email isn't dying, it's just changing. Over the past decade or so it's become much more like postal mail. It's not the place you expect to find a greeting from a friend or even a timely update from a professional colleague. Instead, it's a mix of junk mail you hate and discard, plus bills and missives from businesses you also hate but can't discard. [...] Still, despite all signs to the contrary -- and many predictions -- email is not dead. In fact, some analyses suggest that it's growing. Few people can afford to be without it. It hasn't expired; it has morphed. There are lots of reasons email persists, even as faster and simpler forms of communication proliferate and your personal communications likely have mostly migrated elsewhere. But one big one is that new types of media channels rarely totally kill off old ones, even though everyone predicts they will. The old ones just adapt and change. Back in the day, television was supposed to kill off radio, but radio gradually saved itself by dropping the programming TV did better (like dramas and variety shows) and starting to focus on playing hit songs and hosting political and sports talk shows. I think something similar is going on with email. Once the king of digital discourse, email has surely been dethroned by an army of alternatives: Vast and numerous messaging services; photo- and video-oriented sharing on social networks or the photo apps of Apple and Google; business tools like Slack. I get the latest pictures of my granddaughter through iCloud photo sharing. I get the latest discussions of how we plan to cover stories on The Verge or Recode through Slack. My editor and I collaboratively edit my stories inside Google Docs. Ten years ago, all those things would have been done via email. Back then, when a reader wanted to tell me I was an idiot (or worse) for something I wrote, I got an email. Now, they tell me on Twitter.
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Yes, You've Still Got Mail

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  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @12:45PM (#54135531)
    ... are specialized, i.e., to see photos, I have to go to this site or run this app; to communicate, I have to visit this other site or run this other app, etc.

    .
    The reason why email isn't dying is that it is general purpose and enduring, and does not seem to require to the latest internet fad app in order to work.

    • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @12:59PM (#54135677)

      Yep. Everyone has access to e-mail, and the protocol is open so everyone can send and receive e-mail. Every platform in the last twenty years supports it too, and even the old retrieval protocols like POP3 and IMAP are still widely supported in addition to all of the new Enterprise-grade stuff.

      E-mail as-implemented does have weaknesses, but those are in the specifics of how SMTP was designed back in the day, with no good way to verify identity and no good way to limit unwanted e-mail, the double-whammy that lets spam and other malevolent e-mail traverse the Internet. It would probably be better to develop a new protocol that would ultimately replace SMTP but from an end-user point of view still function largely the same as people are used to. After all, there were e-mail protocols prior to SMTP, POP3, and IMAP, even predating using the Internet as a medium (remember Fideonet anyone?) so it's not like there's something inherently special about SMTP that requires its continued use.

      One could implement dual-protocol servers, that attempt to use the new protocol first, and only fall-back to SMTP if there's no mail exchanger capable of using the new protocol on the other end. There would have to be rules prohibiting relay across protocols though, no new-protocol messages get sent via SMTP and no SMTP gets translated through the new protocol except within one's organization for last-mile send/delivery. That might be the hard part to implement.

      • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @01:12PM (#54135827)

        The problem is getting everyone (or even a critical mass) to adopt it. Email was created back in a time when academia was running the internet, and wasn't interested in marketshare, profits, vendor lock-in, etc. It became universally adopted, and then when the internet became commercialized email was a necessity so the corporations had to adopt it or else be irrelevant. Now it's not like that. The corps won't adopt any kind of open, universal standard on anything (look at the mess that exists with IM protocols: open ones are shut down in favor of closed, proprietary ones). Google could create an open standard for email 2.0, and Microsoft and Yahoo will refuse to adopt it, for instance, and without support in MS Exchange/Outlook/OWA, it won't go far. MS could make email 2.0, but of course their version is going to be vendor-locked somehow and require license fees from others to implement.

        • by Casandro ( 751346 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @02:03PM (#54136429)

          Yes, and there is no pressure to replace e-mail. E-mail has it's weaknesses, but they are not bad enough to warrant a change.

          The technochnology that would be ripe for a complete replacement would be the "web". Those standards are getting way out of hand, spiraling into their doom of evergrowing complexity, with browsers both having security problems and not fully supporting the growing array of partly useless functionality the W3M tries to cram into them.

          E-Mail was never meant to be extensible so it was easy for it to escape that doom. A 20 year old e-mail program is just as useful as a new one, while a 20 year old browser will probably crash once you try to open google.com.

          • by chrysrobyn ( 106763 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @02:53PM (#54136941)

            A 20 year old e-mail program is just as useful as a new one, while a 20 year old browser will probably crash once you try to open google.com.

            I admit I lose track of time regularly, but a 20 year old e-mail program -- Eudora, Elm, what have you -- had no ability to parse HTML e-mail. I spend most of my time checking my e-mail with my phone and occasionally with a web browser and I use a desktop client every other month or so. I did find myself inspecting the source a few times last month, and I did have a few e-mails without the plain text equivalent. My conclusion was that there are e-mail clients or companies who send HTML only e-mails. This means old e-mail clients from 20 years ago would not be useful.

            Email is changing, but far more slowly.

            • Well HTML-Mail is mostly spam anyhow.

              • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

                It's also very, very poorly supported. Writing HTML mail that works and isn't dead simple... that takes a lot of knowing random vendor pitfalls.

            • by hawk ( 1151 )

              >I admit I lose track of time regularly, but a 20 year old e-mail
              >program -- Eudora, Elm, what have you -- had no ability to
              >parse HTML e-mail.

              OK, so a 20 year old email client is *more* useful than a recent one . . .

              hawk

          • Not really since a 20 year old email program doesn't support html email.
          • You're telling me. Probably one of the few people left on the planet still using good old Eudora 7 Pro!
        • RCS could actually be a standard which unifies the fragmented communication scene and could be supported by many commercial entities and easily usable by everybody:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

          I'm not sure it actually will gain popularity (Apple doesn't seem to want to join in on the fun and encryption for text messages doesn't seem to be part of the standard), but it might.

          • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @04:20PM (#54137681)

            As I pointed out before, stuff like this just won't work. It doesn't matter how good it is technically, you can't get entrenched incumbents (like Apple that you mention) to adopt it, and without a critical mass, it fails. One company won't adopt it because they can't get vendor lock-in, another because they can't easily make money on it somehow, etc. For instance, why would the carriers want to adopt this, when they're making huge profits off of SMS messages now?

            The only way stuff like this gets adopted is if it's forced on them somehow, and they really don't have a choice. Either some hugely powerful government forces them to adopt it, or it gets so much grassroots adoption that it becomes a de-facto standard. See web standards for the latter (everyone hated IE6 so much that they adopted Firefox/Chrome in such large numbers that web devs were forced to follow actual standards, and MS was then forced to follow suit. And this largely happened because of Chrome, which was made by Google, whose incentive was inserting spyware into the browser).

            At this point, I really don't see what could force the big email providers (namely Google and MS) to adopt a new standard. It also doesn't help that so many businesses use Outlook, and frequently not the very latest version, so upgrading to a new standard isn't as easy as just hitting F5 on your browser as it is with a webmail system, though a fallback to SMTP would alleviate that, plus if enough large businesses really liked what Email2.0 had to offer (built-in encryption, etc.), they might willingly adopt new email clients just to get those features, though that's pretty hard to believe considering how stuck they've been on Outlook/Exchange for so many years, but if MS supported it quickly that would probably lead to quick overall adoption. But I don't see that happening because MS has a *long* history of hating open standards unless they can "embrace and extend" them to get vendor lock-in.

            • For instance, why would the carriers want to adopt this, when they're making huge profits off of SMS messages now?

              Where I live, only old people and certain services still send SMS messages. Everybody else uses Whatsapp and/or Facebook messenger.

              A significant number of carriers have signed on to the RCS thing. Optimistically speaking, they might want to adopt RCS as it is a good service for their customers. Realistically speaking they might want to adopt it to sell the communication data of their users.

              I'll be honest with you: I'm not holding my breath, but it could happen. Stranger things have.

      • by fisted ( 2295862 )

        I think the problem is that you can't have both, decentral and no unsolicited mail, because if you want the latter, there's got to be some authority that gets to decide who's legitimate and who isn't.

        I consider spam a necessary price to pay for a truly open and decentral communication system.

        • by Altrag ( 195300 )

          Sure you can. You can setup trust systems like Bitcoin does with its blockchains (and there's already lots of research being started into how the blockchain concept can be used to decentralize other things while retaining a strong level trust.)

          Email clients automatically generating and including PGP/GPG signatures would go a long way as well. As long as its behind the scenes, the dumb masses won't care and those that do care will have a good method to at least do whitelisting and greylisting controls (bla

          • by fisted ( 2295862 )

            Sure you can. You can setup trust systems like Bitcoin does with its blockchains (and there's already lots of research being started into how the blockchain concept can be used to decentralize other things while retaining a strong level trust.)

            True -- bitcoin managed to pull that off. But at the expense of a crapton of energy. I don't think that concept would be feasible for use with email, unless there's some strong incentive to participate in email-block-mining (which you essentially pay for via your utility bill).

            Email clients automatically generating and including PGP/GPG signatures would go a long way as well.

            I don't see how that helps with unsolicited mail at all.

          • Won't work... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @07:44PM (#54139117)

            Your post advocates a

            ( X) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

            approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

            ( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
            ( X) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
            ( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
            ( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
            ( X) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
            ( X) Users of email will not put up with it
            ( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
            ( ) The police will not put up with it
            ( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
            ( X) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
            ( X) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
            ( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
            ( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

            Specifically, your plan fails to account for

            ( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
            ( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
            ( ) Open relays in foreign countries
            ( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
            ( X) Asshats
            ( ) Jurisdictional problems
            ( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
            ( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
            ( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
            ( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
            ( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
            ( X) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
            ( X) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
            ( X) Extreme profitability of spam
            ( X) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
            ( ) Technically illiterate politicians
            ( X) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
            ( ) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
            ( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
            ( ) Outlook

            and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

            ( X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
            been shown practical
            ( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
            ( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
            ( ) Blacklists suck
            ( X) Whitelists suck
            ( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
            ( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
            ( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
            ( X) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
            ( ) Sending email should be free
            ( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
            ( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
            ( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
            ( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
            ( ) I don't want the government reading my email
            ( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

            Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

            ( X) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
            ( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
            ( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your
            house down!

    • It's all marketing blurb. All the new "services" are E-mail, IRC, and yes ICQ rehashed a zillion times over.

    • by Frobnicator ( 565869 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @01:12PM (#54135837) Journal

      It is also telling that most of the communications alternatives can send you emails when something arrives.

      You can get an email update if new tweets are added and not checked, an email update when people post on your facebook wall, an email update when someone touches your google doc. Slack emails me if I've got messages when I wasn't logged in. iCloud sends an email notice. And for developers in particular, all kinds of monitors and services send email when there is a problem, not a tweet or wall post.

      Email is the current universal standard, the fallback when the other specialized communication fails. That suggests something more fundamental about its nature if you pause to consider it.

    • by Deep Esophagus ( 686515 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @01:14PM (#54135857)

      The general purpose nature of email is a bit reason I still use it extensively. Also...

      • * Not limited to 140 characters
      • * Better handling of conversation threads
      • * Better at handling mixed media (audio, photos, PDFs, office documents all attached to a single message)
      • * More control over formatting
      • * Easier to organize, archive, and search for past conversations

      I'm a member of a group that works together doing voiceover and audio book projects, and the guy running the show uses not just facebook but specifically the Messenger feature within Facebook for all our discussions and planning. The result is that there's a single chat window going back three months containing every conversation we ever had without any search capability, sample clips attached with no way to save them to an external device (you can only play them back within Messenger), and don't even get me started about the animated GIFs that I have to see over and over again whenever I open that chat pane.

      • by Altrag ( 195300 )

        I'm guessing you're comparing against one or two specific services (the 140 remark is an obvious Twitter reference..)

        But many forum systems do all of those things at least as good as email -- especially handling of conversation threads where email relies on parsing out RE: and FW: lines while lots of forums (such as Slashdot for example) provide correctly nested reply chains.

        Email's main benefit over all of these system is its ubiquity. Its usually not the best at anything, but its good enough and you know

      • by Raenex ( 947668 )

        What I find most compelling is that it's an open protocol and not controlled by a single company. Millions (and supposedly billions now) of Facebook users have their view of the world controlled by the whims of Mark Zuckerberg and his minions.

    • by b0bby ( 201198 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @01:17PM (#54135885)

      That's exactly it. I don't have to care that John is using Skype for chat and Jane is using Slack; I can email them using whatever provider and client combo I like and it will get to them. There's a lot to be said for that.

    • email is considered a legal document and will stand up in a court of law.
    • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @02:13PM (#54136531)

      The reason why email isn't dying is that it is general purpose and enduring

      It's exactly the app we need for the problem we want to solve. I doubt it will ever die, it's too useful.

      I don't know who comes up with this is dying thing that justifies the articles suggesting it's a well known fact. Desktops are still around and my preferred platform for 99% of computing. Laptops are foisted on me by my employer (and no doubt drive sales volumes), but I don't care about them, they're too anemic to do things I enjoy, and barely tolerable in most cases for things I am paid to do. I have yet to work for anyone where I didn't ultimately make them buy me a powerful desktop, or scrounge one out of parts IT thought it had disposed of.

      The kinds that corporations are buying rank and file employees could be replaced by a mobile phone or tablet, except that the people making them don't want them to be used that way (because margins -> 0). This all sounds desperately like marketing astroturf disguised as reporting.

    • I would like to know who claimed email was dead. Someone without a job, I'm guessing.

    • by hawk ( 1151 )

      >does not seem to require to the latest internet fad app in order to work.

      Telegraph was good enough for my grandfather, and it's good enough for me.

      OK, so it takes a while to read these articles, and the bandwith is even lower than an 1149 connection, but . . .

      hawk

      p.s. My grandfather delivered Herbert Hoover's telegram offering him the party nomination. My father has Mrs. Hoover's thank you note to him . . .

    • spot on !
      and you can build a nice, searchable archive with Email which you can even host on your own PC. No cloud dependancy

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Instant anything is a distraction from getting stuff done. I don't feel the need to immediately act on an incoming email and there is no expectation for me to do so from the sender.

    I work remotely and we use Skype for instant communications. This is fine - anything that shows up instantly is related to getting work done. Anyone with multiple instant messengers, logged into social networks and ignoring their email isn't getting much work done.

    • Indeed. For instant communication I have this thing called a phone that doesn't require my permanent attention. Amazingly, I sometimes have to remind my clients of that.
      For doing business, using anything else but e-mail is to all intents and purposes impossible.

    • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @01:17PM (#54135883)

      ...there were only grunts and gestures

      Then there were single syllable words naming things

      Then came a real language allowing the exchanging of information.

      Then came pictures, symbolizing information

      Then came the written word

      Then came Paper, allowing anyone to write.

      Then came Printing, spreading written material all over the world.

      Then came Computers, digitizing pictures and words and making vast sums of knowledge searchable.

      Then came email, allow the communication of that knowledge in a timely and logical manner

      Then came social media with crude editors and un-intuitive interfaces

      Then came Twitter with a 140 character limit.

      Then came emojiis, replacing the written word with pictures.

      Next will be digitized grunts and gestures.

      • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

        I can hope it'll get there later, but I cannot for the life of me imagine why the parent was not modded to 11 within 60 seconds of being posted.

      • by neoRUR ( 674398 )

        humph arrgg iiiiaa oooo wadawada?

    • by mydn ( 195771 )

      I don't feel the need to immediately act on an incoming email and there is no expectation for me to do so from the sender.

      Anyone who knows me and sends me a text or instant message has no expectation of an immediate response, either.

  • If there's no longer going to be any such thing as privacy then email becomes less and less attractive a communication option. The thought of Comcast inserting targeted ads into my private email messages makes my skin crawl. Not sure what can be done about it except to use the Internet as little as possible.
    • Re:Lack of privacy (Score:4, Informative)

      by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @01:07PM (#54135769)

      Email was never a secure communications medium, and opting out of Comcast's contextual ads is as simple as not using their web client.

    • Re:Lack of privacy (Score:5, Informative)

      by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @01:14PM (#54135853)

      Comcast can't insert ads into email you read on a webmail platform like GMail, thanks to it being https protected. Of course, the webmail provider (like Google) could insert their own ads, but at least there you have a choice of provider and can change if you want. You can even set up your own webmail system with squirrelmail on your own server.

      • What do you think of Protonmail?
        • The most security-paranoid person I know uses ProtonMail and is sufficiently impressed by it to discuss business issues on it.
      • Re:Lack of privacy (Score:5, Interesting)

        by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @02:00PM (#54136397) Journal
        That's another huge advantage of email: businesses can run their own email servers, ensure that their internal communication never leaves the premises and isn't harvested by the likes of Google, be in control of account creation and naming, apply any other policies they deem necessary, while still ensuring that anyone in the world can contact them using their choice of email client or service.

        That's how email was designed, as opposed to all those others that are proprietary and locked down cloud services. And any smart company using those will ask themselves: "what do we do when this service goes tits up?". If the service is proprietary and is your primary internal and external communication channel, then there are no pretty answers to that.
        • by erice ( 13380 )

          That's another huge advantage of email: businesses can run their own email servers, ensure that their internal communication never leaves the premises and isn't harvested by the likes of Google, be in control of account creation and naming, apply any other policies they deem necessary, while still ensuring that anyone in the world can contact them using their choice of email client or service.

          Yes, but this is being undermined by a proliferation of private and public spam blocking services. Even if a server is blocked by mistake, it can take months and many many hours of effort to get through to the right people to get the block removed. We are headed toward a world where only large entities like Google can insure that their email actually gets delivered.

          • by chihowa ( 366380 )

            I keep hearing this, but I've never experienced such a scenario. If you don't run your server from an ISP's dynamic IP pool and don't run an open relay, you're extremely unlikely to be blocked by these services (as shitty and unaccountable as they are). If you go a step further and set up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, it's even less likely for mail to be binned as spam.

            Are you sure you're not just sending spam or running an open relay?

            • by erice ( 13380 )

              I keep hearing this, but I've never experienced such a scenario. If you don't run your server from an ISP's dynamic IP pool and don't run an open relay, you're extremely unlikely to be blocked by these services (as shitty and unaccountable as they are). If you go a step further and set up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, it's even less likely for mail to be binned as spam.

              Are you sure you're not just sending spam or running an open relay?

              Either you have been very lucky or have not been paying attention. I don't sent spam. I don't run an open relay. I've had SPF for a decade. I added DKIM and DEMARC about a month ago. It hasn't made a difference. When self hosted on Sonic, I had to check every few months for RBL's who misclassified my static IP as dynamic. Less frequently, there were bone headed operations like Earthlink to deal with.

              Since moving the server to a VPS, it's been far worse. It took about a month to get minor mismanaged

              • by chihowa ( 366380 )

                Maybe I have just been lucky. That luck will probably turn around now that I was all snarky with you!

                Most of the problems I've found seem to come from misconfiguration on the receiving end. I've recently had to set my SPF record to softfail because several universities that work with (that both use Office365) are consistently checking the sender's SPF records against one of their own internal relays. So every single email from an outside domain that has a SPF hard fail record is sent to spam. After I and th

    • yes, comcast has thousands of people who do nothing more than read sent/received emails and choose an ad to insert for you to see

      • Apparently you're so technologically uninformed that you're not aware that this sort of thing can be and is done by automated systems based on automatically collected and analyzed data, and the technology to do so has been around for quite some time now.
    • I would support extending the legal protection afforded USPS mail to email services provided commercially.

      If you can't do it to an envelope with a letter, then you couldn't do it to an email.

  • by toonces33 ( 841696 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @12:57PM (#54135653)

    In order to sign up for any of those other messaging services, you need to have an email. If you get locked out of your account, password reset links will be sent to you via email.

    I frankly have no use for most of these other forms of communication - for the most part they are just new and different ways of goofing off.

  • "There are lots of reasons email persists, even as faster and simpler forms of communication proliferate..."
    Lost me at "faster".

  • by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @01:00PM (#54135687)
    Its basically the same thing as postal mail was, occasional correspondence from someone you don't talk to regularly and otherwise bills or junk.
    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      Funnily... if you think about it, Facebook, Google, etc. are attempting to morph messaging into this too with bots from companies.
  • by Dallas May ( 4891515 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @01:06PM (#54135759)
    Everyone has an email account, everyone uses their email account. IM will never overtake email so long as they are proprietary. No matter what service you are trying to use, the percentages of your contacts that use that service is going to be the minority. Except for email. Email is like phone numbers in that way. Phone service should be long obsolete, but it's not. Why? Because it's ubiquitous. Everyone has a phone number. If we really wanted to push email into the 21st century then we will need a real, free, non-proprietary, and fully compatible alternative.
    • by demonlapin ( 527802 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @01:51PM (#54136303) Homepage Journal
      Why should phone service be obsolete? I despise long text conversations. If you want to have a back-and-forth, call me. When we're done, one of us can write it up and email the other so there's a record of what conclusions were reached - or we can just not, and nobody but the NSA can prove what we discussed.
      • I should have specified "traditional phone service". By that I mean the way we get a random number assigned to us and then it's tied to a specific device or specific location. All IM system have their own telephony service that is far superior in a number of ways, but still traditional service remains a necessity because it's the only service that is reliably used by everyone you know.
  • Show of hands (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uCallHimDrJ0NES ( 2546640 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @01:13PM (#54135843)

    How many Slashdotters have ever believed email was dying?

    • Dying as in not going to be used any more or dying as in not a way I really communicate with friends/relatives? Cause if the former, email will never die. If the later email has been dead a long time.
      • Dying as in not going to be used any more or dying as in not a way I really communicate with friends/relatives? Cause if the former, email will never die. If the later email has been dead a long time.

        Right, because when you have legal forms or complex explanations to communicate with your friends and relatives, you've been using Twitter and Facebook for that since....2005? Why don't I believe you?

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @01:51PM (#54136305)

      How many Slashdotters have ever believed email was dying?

      All those with UIDs > 3000000.

      #onlyforneckbeards #twitter4ever #slashdotneedsunicodesoicanusesmilies

      • by Anonymous Coward

        How many Slashdotters have ever believed email was dying?

        All those with UIDs > 3000000.

        #onlyforneckbeards #twitter4ever #slashdotneedsunicodesoicanusesmilies

        #AtLeastWeGotHTTPS

    • 3 or 4 years ago I gave up all those social network messaging systems and gravitated back to email. Its working out great.
      When Facebook forced users to install their messaging app that was a serious nail in the coffin


      Most of my daily work in coordination through email.
      I don't see that changing for years.

      I never ever believed email was dying
    • How many Slashdotters have ever believed email was dying?

      I didn't think it was dying but I was fairly sure for a while that 4chan was somehow going to get renamed to "cuckmail" ;)

    • by Opyros ( 1153335 )
      Presumably, the ones who heard that "Netcraft confirms it".
  • Is that it's an open architecture, so you can e-mail anyone, no matter who their provider is.

    Unlike every other internet messaging format which only works for people who have signed up with that specific provider.

  • by MagicM ( 85041 )

    You can replace my business emails with Slack when you pry them from my cold dead hands. Now get off my lawn!

  • by quintessentialk ( 926161 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @01:16PM (#54135873)

    I work in the defense industry, which inherits some of the problems of its customer, the Government (in particular, a reluctance to spend money on infrastructure, reliance on policy compliance rather than personal accountability, and older, less tech-savvy decision makers). One of the computers on my desk still runs Windows XP, ironically because the security approval to replace it with a windows 7 computer didn't come through until just recently. So it is no surprise we aren't using wikis or IMs or Slack; I don't even know what the last one is (I mean, I can google, but I don't 'get' it; I've never had access to anything like that).

    Few modern technologies can survive in this environment. By the time a 'new' technology is vetted by security, approved by the customer, and authorized by finance, everyone will have moved on to something else. But email remains. It works everywhere. It doesn't require 'special' software that the person you are communicating with may not have the IT permissions to install even if they knew how. Even the most out of touch customer representative knows what it is; you don't have to make slides about why you need this thing on your program. It can work over public networks and private networks; you don't need to trust a cloud or a young company. There are well-developed practices for using it. Lawyers and compliance staff thoroughly understand the legal issues (this is no small concern in a large company).

    • Slack; I don't even know what the last one is

      It is mainly a poorly programmed webbased IRC interface wrapped in a desktop Chromium package that hogs memory like there is no tomorrow.

      It has some redeeming qualities (syntax highlighting for code snippets), but in general you're not missing out on much.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @01:21PM (#54135933)

    Still, despite all signs to the contrary -- and many predictions -- email is not dead.

    Anybody predicting email is or will be dead is either an imbecile or has something to sell you. Practically everybody has email and except for specific purposes nothing has come along that will substantially replace it any time soon.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not "journalists." They only communicate by Twitter. Any wonder they're just "sound" bites any more?

    • I note that the only people living in the sort of 'we don't need email' bubble are college students, high schoolers, some academics, and marketers trying to sell you the next messaging app.

      Ie nobody with an actual job.

  • isn't it amazing? you can send me an advertisement or worse a bill anytime:)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The pictures of your granddaughter someone leaked after hacking your iCloud account are so cute.
  • People still write letter. I sent one last Christmas as part of my last Christmas Reddit Secret Santa package.

  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @02:07PM (#54136469) Homepage

    Seriously? Ok, for personal communication there are other channels, but professionally? Email seems to be the medium of choice. Announcements for the company, or the department? Email. A colleague who wants something or needs something? Email. A customer? Email. It's a established, reliable means of communication. You can expect a reasonably quick response, but you aren't ripping someone's attention away from whatever they're doing. Business phone calls? Almost none. Everything is by email.

    That said, the suits paid some ridiculous amount of money to set up a SharePoint installation where people can create projects and share documents. What an amazingly horrible interface - is SharePoint always this bad? Anyway, the result is that we send documents around by email too...

  • "business tools like Slack" -- not your father's Slack, I take it. Or even Bob Dobbs's.
  • E-mail has this one thing going for it that it is standard-compliant. So you can pick and choose which client program(s) you want to use to access your messages. Many of these clients are free. And You must have a very niche platform that doesn't have some sort of e-mail client.
    • There are thousands of email providers (maybe millions?) and they all work together transparently. I can't say the same thing about instant messenger.

      SMS is nearly that way, but I have so many troubles when my iPhone friends send me MMS from a different network to my Android phone. But that may have more to do with bad cellphone infrastructure in the US than with a problem with SMS.

  • by pscottdv ( 676889 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @03:50PM (#54137419)
  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @03:55PM (#54137461) Homepage Journal

    Despite being a long time user of IRC and instant messaging (through the years:ICQ, AIM, Jabber/XMMP, GTalk, and others), I still prefer email because I can reply at my leisure, access it offline, attach documents, archive it for a long time, and it has been very reliable.

    Twitter on the other hand, I have no idea what to do with. I have no problems with other people using it, if that is what they enjoy. I am simply uncertain how to incorporate it into my life, so I have ignored it thus far.

  • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @04:21PM (#54137697) Journal

    It's not hard to figure out why email isn't dying and won't die:

    * It's not tied to a single provider. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, iMessage and all the others are.
    * It's an open, federated system. Companies in particular can take charge of their own email servers if they wish.
    * Installed base.
    * It is available on all devices from phones to tablets to PCs without the need to install additional software.

  • by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2017 @06:54PM (#54138757) Homepage Journal
  • All the problems they list are solvable with good filters. I use the Mail application on the Mac. The filters work great. My mail comes in color coded and sorted to the mailboxes so I can easily and efficiently deal with it. Often I reply using the signatures since many replies are pretty standard. Email works great.

  • The email also doesn't require the sender and receiver to be online at the same time which makes it more convenient than WhatsApp.
  • Slightly off-topic: with email delivery times being almost instantaneous these days, wouldn't it possible to write an email client (or app) that provides, for all practical purposes, an IM system based on SMTP and IMAP?

    Essentially, conventions like:
    1. A set of recipients is a "group"
    2. Replies are never quoted
    3. The client always shows the full email thread (the "conversation")
    4. The Subject line is a magic string to allow filtering on these IM emails

    The specialized client would provide a very Whatsapp-like

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      It is definitely possible but probably inefficient and a bit laggy.

      I remember with a coworker we even developed an email based HTTP proxy to bypass a restrictive company policy. We had no internet access, only email, so the system worked like this : a local proxy server takes a request, puts it in an email which is sent to an external server that decodes the message, fetches the page and send it back as a reply, the proxy forwards it to the browser. The round trip took about 10 seconds on a good day.

  • And anyone predicting its demise is a fool.
  • ...an awful lot of us can't tell you everything we know in 140 characters, the way Benito Trumpolini can. Some of us can even write in complete, grammatical sentences, with more complex thoughts than "how's that sportsball team", and "here, hold my beer".

    Next up: typing is dying, it's being replaced by gestures, and the biggest app to interpret that is called charades....

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