Software

Lost in Cyberspace


Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

Oh, sorry about that. I just had a flashback to 1966.

But just think. Only about 5 years after the first airing of that classic television show, the series that followed the Space Family Robinson’s adventures while they were Lost in Space, the first email was sent on its way into Cyberspace. How many emails have been sent since that first one? And how many of those emails do you suppose, have somehow become lost in cyberspace?

An engineer in my office recently asked me about one such email. A client sent him an email on November 12th (2007, by the way). He didn’t receive it until December 17th! What in the heck could cause an email to be lost in cyberspace for 5 weeks?

I have a pretty simple and straightforward email system. It’s not exactly rocket science (pun intended). I don’t host my own email server (at least not yet), and we simply download our emails from our email provider via Outlook 2007. The provider has spam filters in place, ones we can enable or disable through a Web interface, but otherwise they simply accept any and all emails sent our way, storing them on their servers until we call for them.

Since I didn’t have an answer as to why this one particular email would take 5 weeks to reach its ultimate destination (at least not a serious answer), I posed the question to our provider. What caused this particular email to get lost in cyberspace for 5 weeks? Here was the answer.

Looking at this message, I really have no definitive explanation as to why it took so long for you to receive it. The only thing that I can think of that could have caused this delay is an error in the sender’s email program. On occasion, an email program will essentially "forget" to send a message, even though it may be in the sent box. Generally, this is not an error on your email system. I have looked at your settings and mail checks, and am seeing no errors.

Well, lacking any other logical explanation, that sounds plausible I suppose. But I still like my original answer better. Regardless of any logical explanation, I still think it was sabotage by the evil Dr. Smith that caused this email to get Lost in Cyberspace. That lame attempt at humor, by the way, flew right over the head of this particular engineer when I jokingly suggested such a thing. Of course, in 1966, he was still probably 10 years away from even being born. Oh well, at least I thought it was funny.

3 comments
Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

That old email server that pumped out that old email sent by your friend was either hosed and had to be rebuilt from a back-up or it's queue was so loaded( and obviously no one was paying attention ) that it sent out each mail serially based on whatever rules( white/grey listing ) where in it's configuration. "Warning! Will Robinson! Email processes reaching critical limits! Danger!".

Joe_R
Joe_R

What was the cause? Do you even know? How many total emails do you think have been sent since that first one in July 1971?

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