Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Thursday 17/06/04An interesting little flurry of emails floats in from Dave Faber's Interesting People mailing list. One of his correspondents notes rather wistfully that he just got an email from Jon Postel.

Thursday 17/06/04
An interesting little flurry of emails floats in from Dave Faber's Interesting People mailing list. One of his correspondents notes rather wistfully that he just got an email from Jon Postel. For a long time, this would have been a matter of joy: Postel was one of the fathers of the Internet, inventing the domain system and playing a big and very connected part in its maturation and growth. Alas, he died in 1998 -- the first of the founding fathers so to do -- so this email was just a piece of mechanically generated spam, which harvested his email address from some Web site or an unweeded address book.

Spookily, it then turns out that Postel's email address is still active. It's quoted in many Internet documents as the place to get more information, so it's maintained and incoming requests honoured. There may never be a point at which it's judged a good idea to turn it off. So it used to be that one's good works lived after you: now it seems as if immortality is more closely bound to the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.

(Aside: "We have reorganised our instant-messaging business to optimise our ability to leverage the Yahoo network, whether our customers are at work or at home," Lisa Pollock Mann, senior director of Yahoo Messenger, said in a statement. We've tried, GCHQ has tried, we've even communicated with Madame Blatavksy from beyond the grave via Postel's ectoplasmic gateway: nobody has a clue what Lisa Pollock Mann meant. In honour of her achievement, however, I shall be instituting the Load of Pollocks Award for most incomprehensible, downright risible or straightforwardly wrong PR statement. Donations welcome -- but please mark them Pollocks, or Graeme might write them up as a news story)

(Aside x 2: while Microsoft is being coy on its future 3G phone plans, we can perhaps get some idea of what it sees as a major revenue stream from this Web site.)

(Aside x 3: my charming and extraordinarily tasteful fianc

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