Monday, March 7, 2016

Farewell Ray Tomlinson

The internet will be a bit sadder place as e-mail inventor Ray Tomlinson passed away.

By: Ringo Bones 

The internet pioneer and e-mail inventor Ray Tomlinson passed away on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at the age of 74 of an apparent heart attack. The US computer programmer came up with the idea of electronic messages that could be sent from one network to another back in 1971. His invention included the ground-breaking use of the “@” symbol in e-mail addresses, which is now standard. 

Ray Tomlinson has sent what is now regarded as the first e-mail while working in Boston as an engineer for the research company Bolt, Beranek and Newman. The firm played a big role in developing an early version of the internet, known as Arpanet. However, Tomlinson later said he could not remember what was in that first test message, describing it as “completely forgettable”. His work was recognized by his peers back in 2012, when he was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame. 

45 years after the first ever e-mail was sent, such form of internet communication has become so ubiquitous that it has even become a topic of political contention – i.e. US Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s ongoing e-mail scandal. And despite of the widespread popularity of “newfangled” social media networks that only began during the first decade of the 21st Century, sending messages and other electronic files via e-mail is still the de rigueur method used by some due to its ease of use in relation to its security in comparison to upstart social media accounts. Will e-mail accounts like those pioneered by Ray Tomlinson as we know it still be around 50 years from now or will it be finally superseded by some much improved version wholly different from what we currently use? 

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