Remember when email was a joy, rather than a chore?

“Today, as a rule, our email inboxes fill up with stuff we don’t want: Emails from companies trying to get us to spend more money, emails from bosses trying to get us to spend more time working, and emails from pharmaceutical wholesalers offering solutions to those who find themselves spent a little sooner than they or their partner(s) might like,” Christopher Phin writes for Macworld.

“For most of us, these emails have one thing in common: They’re not welcome. They’re no more welcome than the never ending blizzard of junk mail, take-out menus, and circulars that clog up our mailboxes and decimate our forests,” Phin writes. “The result is that many of us harbor a low-grade resentment towards our inboxes, and that they’re checked out of duty rather with any expectation that there will be anything nice there waiting for us.”

“Contrast this, then, to the early days when you first had an email account,” Phin writes. “Then—at least in my memory—emails were almost always good and interesting and exciting.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’re not sure we can even think of what our first email application was (shudder), but the first one we can remember using with any regularity was Netscape Mail, built into Netscape Navigator. How about you?


  1. Probably Netscape, but then Claris Emailer, pretty soon after it was released. Then PowerMail, Entourage, then finally Mail, after an Entourage database got corrupted.

  2. 1976: “Send me the questions from the Computer Science 120 final.”

    My response: “What’s in it for me?”

    It was on an ADM-3A CRT at home, connected to a DEC PDP/11 at the DEC offices.

    Then I got back to converting “Space War” (a Star Trek game) to RSTS/E.

    I remember like it was yesterday. It never stopped after that. Email used to be so useful. The ARPANET was home. The 6 Million Dollar Man was the most challenging effort in suspending disbelief, and text based images of Farrah Fawcett (who was dating the 6 million Dollar Man) were everywhere.

    I had a 25LB Afro, and a typical college student’s ” I Hate America ” Attitude born of stupidity and ignorance, as I enjoyed the benefits of being an American. And my Father would just look at me and say, “Idiot. You know there’s a word for nigger in every country on this planet. At least here they know it’s a vulgar term.”

    And there was my black on black 1971 Camaro. I’m still searching for one to restore.

    Oh please take me back to those times… please?

  3. Back then it was about which machines you had an account on, not which services. By 1978 I had accounts on a GE 265 at Darmouth, and RSTS machine (my favorite), a new fangled thing at DEC called The VAX/11 780 with it’s new VAX/VMS OS with Virtual Memory, a Honeywell 1646, and others. You collected accounts and moved stuff around so that no one could collapse your whole world.

    Everything was so innocent. The idea of security? Ha!

    There was some silly company up north that started called Apple. I often wondered why anyone would really care very much for personal computers when the big mainframes connected you to so many people and allowed you to control so much!

    So much… EMAIL! Where did it all start coming from?!? It won’t stop!

  4. And my first e-mail address was There were very few people to whom I’d be able to give it, and at the time, I was using 14.4k modem to dial out. Very soon after that, I got a 28.8k, superfast modem, which even allowed for a firmware upgrade to enable 33.6k speeds. A year later, blazing fast 56k modems became available, but there were two competing, mutually incompatible standards at first, so you had to find out what was your ISP using before buying the modem. Eventually, V90 standard got adopted, and we could connect at up to 53.3k speeds (US had some limits due to power restrictions. By then, broadband started to roll out and modems quickly started dying.

    Netscape communicator, with its Messenger component, was the first usable e-mail client I got to use regularly.

    At work, though, it was Lotus cc:Mail. 25 years later Lotus Notes has the same look and feel, and the same problems when rendering HTML messages as cc:Mail had. 25 years ago. Lotus Notes is an abomination that apparently refuses to die, and nobody out there is couragous enough to kill it.

      1. When you can’t wait to embrace Outlook and Exchange, one can imagine how abominable Lotus Notes (and the entire IBM / Lotus product suite, from KMS, to WebSphere, to LMS, to all other tools) have been. It boggles the mind to imagine a software developer (never mind the whole team) that could excrete such a ghastly, productivity-killing, unusable, unintuitive turd, year after year, for two decades.

    1. What spam filtering do you use? I’ve got SpamSweep running on OS X and MailWasher Pro running on my XP VM and they still require tweaking on a daily basis. Really curious what setup you’ve found works. Thanks.

      1. The spam filter that is used on my hosting service is called Spam Titan. It runs on a separate server that acts as a pre-filter before the email ever makes it to the server, and into my inbox. The best spam protection is that kind that never allows the spam to get to your inbox. Emails that are likely spam, but the system is unsure of are quarantined. I get a daily report of the quarantined emails. I can also create whitelists and blacklists. I run my own mail server, but it is hosted by a great cloud host.

  5. Ah yes, RT11, RSX, ARPANet, Usenet and Unix mail. Then the Mac came out and I was in the first 100,000 buyers. I had an “almost alpha” copy of MacTerminal which let the Mac be a DEC VT100. On a Mac forum I posted a bug (using high speed 1200 baud modem) and said too bad Apple’s not listening. The next post was “We are listening, keep talking,”
    I think my first Mac email client was Eudora with no spam, for quite a while! Now it is almost no mail, just spam. I could not manage without SpamSieve.

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