Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hutch's E-mail application

Associative memory brings back an episode of the Internet's nascent days, 1995-early 1996. Hutch asked me to accompany him on a electronic mail procurement mission.

We knocked on the door of a Palmer Park apartment walk-up, and were led inside a turmeric-fumigated abode. The Indian engineer, a software magician, was uneasy, since it became clear to me that he owed Hutch a big favor for an INS matter. Hutch asked in no uncertain terms if in a matter of three (3!) weeks he would have a program he could carry around on a floppy diskette (1995, remember? No sign of USB), which would allow him "to send electronic mail from any computer" connected to the internet and having a floppy drive.

And thus the Indian wrote the magic code. Hutch used it mainly at random terminals of public libraries. The peculiarity of e-mails which he sent was that the headers From: field contained a domain of a web site he had to be on to send the e-mail.
I remember seeing headers like

From: Curious George CGN

I think this was the coolest e-mail application I ever seen. It was just like my bot that has been working wonders for me, see Russian Torpedo, Putin's Letter, espionage search results, FSB Employee list, FSB secrets, and Bot writing.

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