Ye Olde-Schoole Email

It’s been a long time since I wrote a dead tech post. 

Logan (CTO) and I are almost exactly the same age.  I’m not sure which of us was online first — probably him since he started coding pretty much in-utero.  Before the web, we both used tools like email, gopher, and telnet.  I even recall using telnet and the Unix "talk" command to IM a girlfriend I had in college. 

Yep.  I’m seriously old in internet years.

We were both also very early users of the web, back when NCSA Mosaic was the tool-de-jour and there were only two porn sites on the web (which represented about the same percentage of the web back then as porn sites do today).

But one of the things I had forgotten about until recently was the joy of sending attachments via email "back in the day".

Without getting well beyond my technical knowledge & re-writing history, email was basically designed to handle ASCII text — letters of the alphabet.  There was no direct support for binary files e.g. a jpg (bad example, JPG wasn’t around then) or other image.

So you went through a nifty process called UUEncode, which converted a binary file into chunks of ASCII text, something like this:

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOP
QRSTUVWXYZabcdef
ghijklmnopqrstuv
wxyz0123456789+/

and there would be pages and pages of it.  More often than not you’d have to split the text across multiple emails. 

The recipient would then have to paste all the text back together and run UUDecode to get back to the not-yet-invented JPG you emailed them.

Sounds like fun, no?  I know a lot of folks hate Outlook, but trust me, it is a _slight_ improvement over the way things used to be…