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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Saturday, May 25, 2024

Ah, the Mystery of Email!

Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, March 29, 2013
4:43 pm

Do you remember when email was mysterious, even odd?  Quite a thought while we wade through our jam packed email inboxes every day.

Thanks to i09’s “Hilarious and Awesome Computer Ads from the Golden Age of PCs.


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Dilbert + Drummond: Wicked Simple Email

Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, March 22, 2013
9:00 am

Within the past week, two commentaries on email popped up on my screen. The Dilbert strip set the stage …

Dilbert 130319


… Drummond Reed offered the solution:  “Please Send Wicked Simple Email.”

After a wickedly clear setup …

After 20 years of averaging a third of every working day doing email, I realized I could save hundreds of hours a year—and collectively we could save hundreds of millions of hours a year—by just writing wicked simple email.

… Drummond offered five wickedly practical recommendations

  1. Treat the Subject Line as a Tweet
  2. No Sigs
  3. Reply Inline Whenever Possible
  4. Hold Deeply Threaded Conversations Elsewhere
  5. One Screen Max

Reading the details is well worth your time. Thanks, Drummond, for excellent suggestions. 


Reply All: The Button Everyone Loves to Hate (WSJ)

Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
1:54 pm

[bonds0307]Have you ever clicked on “Reply All” and then realize you have sent your reply to all 500 people (or 5,000) on an email distribution list?  Arrrrrgggggh! 

The Wall Street Journal published an interesting story today about this all-to-frequent mishap in the email world.  I hadn’t realized how extensive the “email storms” can be as people reply again and again to such events.

Some email storms have lasted so long—overloading servers with hundreds of thousands of emails—that at least one company, TV-ratings provider Nielsen Co., has disconnected the "Reply to All" button from its system.

In 1997, Microsoft weathered a storm involving an estimated 15 million emails. A 2007 email storm at the U.S Department of Homeland Security clogged the system with millions of emails.

Here is an interesting diagram illustrating how one “reply to all” can cascade into a large storm:


So, next time you are temped to click on “Reply All”, please think twice, or thrice.

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