In previous columns, we discussed two ways to communicate with colleagues: electronic mail and bulletin boards. These methods are Useful, particularly for transferring large files and for transferring data or text that will be edited, manipulated, or otherwise used in machine-readable form. However, there are several features of electronic mail that can cause problems: 1) the sender often must specify the route the mail must take to the recipient and this route can depend on the machine of origin; 2) the mail is not always delivered immediately since intermediate machines in the delivery path may hold the message while awaiting empty lines, a low workload, or a scheduled delivery time; 3) mail that crosses network boundaries can get lost or mangled, so the recipient generally must confirm the arrival of important files; 4) since there is no universal format for storage of graphic information, the sender and recipient must discuss the format before pictorial information is transmitted.
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Publish Date: 01 October 1990
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