Feedback: Solving the e-mail problem

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The Independent Culture
Regarding Paul Gosling's article on e-mail attachments (Network+, 10 February) I have been gaily e-mailing attached binary files (programs and Word documents) to colleagues throughout Europe for three years, several times a week. My advice is to sign up to an Internet service provider (ISP) such as Demon or Direct Connection. Then use a standard e-mail browser such as Eudora (my long-term companion), with the attachments coding option set to MIME.

As Tony Lindop (Feedback, 17 February) warned last week, the Internet is too diverse for any method to be universal, but setting up an FTP site (as Jonathan Chapple advised) is as extreme a solution as entering the womb of content providers such as CompuServe.

Peter Head

Another e-mail problem, which I think would merit discussion, is that of e-mails that disappear into a big "black hole". I find that a number of e-mails which I send appear to be transmitted without any problem but are not received by the person addressed - or by anyone, as far as I know. I have experienced this problem mainly with messages sent to Germany, not so much, or possibly at all, in Britain.

My ISP says the problem is known, but it is an industry problem, not theirs in particular. They recommend phoning the intended recipient every time I send an e-mail in order to confirm; in my view, this largely defeats the object of e-mail.

If this really is an industry problem, isn't it a very serious one?

David A Hawkins

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