Tomlinson in 2004
|Born||Raymond Samuel Tomlinson
April 23, 1941
Amsterdam, New York, U.S.
|Died||March 5, 2016
Lincoln, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Cause of death||Heart attack|
|Alma mater||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|Occupation||Computer programmer, inventor, electrical engineer|
|Known for||Invented the first email system|
The story I get the biggest kick out of is when my name and e-mail appeared on 'Jeopardy' a couple of years ago. My mother was a faithful viewer, and she said she was happy that they finally had an answer she knew the question to.
I still like complete sentences that are grammatically correct without spelling errors. I don't always achieve this, and it is irksome to read a message I have sent and discover errors. I know I often leave out words in e-mail, not by choice, but because of the way my brain works.
I think when I first realized that something interesting had happened was probably in 1994. There was a 25th anniversary of the ARPANET celebration and… somebody asked the question, 'Where did email come from?' I remembered that I had done this little program back in 1971. People looked back and nobody could find anything that predated it.
I am amused when somebody tries to illustrate the first email using a modern keyboard and a finger reaching for the '2' key. Wrong key! The @ was on the 'P' key.
I suspect many people have the problem that they type much more slowly than they think. Consequently, they keep resynchronizing their thought processes with what they have typed so far, and they match a later part of the thought with an earlier part that they have typed.
If you're looking for ways of getting quick communication, maybe texting is the way to go. People can't walk these days without having one hand balancing a smart phone. If that's the way people are going to live, it is the case that something that vibrates in their hand is going to get their attention more quickly than an email.
I see email being used, by and large, exactly the way I envisioned. In particular, it's not strictly a work tool or strictly a personal thing. Everybody uses it in different ways, but they use it in a way they find works for them.