A quick synopsis of the history of email, plus a discussion of how email actually works (in other words, what POP3 and STMP servers do). I even touch on MX records. I can’t remember how the topic came up at this remove (it doesn’t sound like something I’d think of), but I’ll admit it was a quick write. Probably the most fun I had with it was drawing the figure. Let’s call the article workmanlike without showing any particular craftsmanship.
This article first appeared in issue 304, February 2011.
You can read the PDF here.
(I write a monthly column for PCPlus, a computer news-views-n-reviews magazine in the UK (actually there are thirteen issues a year — there's an Xmas issue as well — so it's a bit more than monthly). The column is called Theory Workshop and appears in the Make It section of the magazine. When I signed up, my editor and the magazine were gracious enough to allow me to reprint the articles here after say a year or so.)