AEGEE was a pio­neer in IT mat­ters — at least in its ear­ly years. Since inter­na­tion­al phone calls were very expen­sive, lots of anten­nae embraced the pos­si­bil­i­ties offered by the Inter­net very ear­ly. In this arti­cle from 1990 AEGEE-Milano mem­ber Giu­liano Gio­van­net­ti makes the net­work famil­iar with the won­ders of e-mail. It was first pub­lished in the AEGEE-Europe News­bul­letin in Feb­ru­ary 1991.

EARN – Electronic Mail Is Here

The orig­i­nal arti­cle appeared in the AEGEE News­Bul­letin 2/1991

Maybe you’ve heard some­thing about EARN, or about Elec­tron­ic Mail (E-Mail), but you have nev­er fig­ured out how it could affect your life or how much it cost­ed. And here are the answers:

COSTS: E-Mail is for free. Yes, for free, because EARN (Euro­pean Aca­d­e­m­ic Research Net­work) is a non-prof­it E-mail net­work. We’ll see lat­er how to use it and what you need.

WHAT IS E-MAIL? E-mail is like nor­mal mail. That is it deliv­ers a mes­sage from one place to anoth­er. But it does it faster. It actu­al­ly takes sec­onds to reach a place thou­sands of miles far away from you. So when you need the list of the partici­pants to your con­gress from anoth­er anten­na, you can get the list imme­di­ate­ly (well, first some­one must read your mes­sage and write the answer). And if your con­gress needs ideas, you can get them as soon as they are thought by their author.
So, E-Mail is a fast way to do the same thing you are already doing, and allows you much more con­tact with the oth­er anten­nae. It is bet­ter than phone because if the per­son is not there, your mes­sage will be put in his E-mail­box and he’ll read it as soon as he gets con­nect­ed.

Giu­liano Gio­van­net­ti

SERVERS: But there is more than a sim­ply fast mail. Imag­ine you are respon­si­ble for [the AEGEE-Europe mag­a­zine] Scope. You would like to have arti­cles quick­ly, and pos­si­bly in com­put­er for­mat so you don’t have to type them again, and maybe oth­er people’s com­ments on that arti­cle, and even more the abil­i­ty for every anten­na to pub­lish an exten­sion to Scope with the arti­cles that could not fit in it, but are rel­e­vant for that anten­na.
And if you had to work at TEAM ’90 or anoth­er project in coop­er­a­tion with oth­er anten­nae, you should spend a lot of mon­ey in meet­ings if you just need­ed to inter­act a lot with each oth­er.
Or sim­ply think about your Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty: wouldn’t you like to show all the details of your pro­gram, or the last-minute changes, with­out phon­ing to hun­dreds of peo­ple? Yes you would, as much as you would like to receive names of par­tic­i­pants with their rele­vant data already in com­put­er for­mat, ready to enter in a data­base.
Ok, then you need a serv­er. AEGEE needs a serv­er. A serv­er is like a black­board (or a set of black­boards, each for each top­ic) where you can write your mes­sage and every­body will be able to read it with­out you send­ing a copy to every­body. Servers already exist on EARN and they pro­vide selec­tions of arti­cles from dif­fer­ent maga­zines, or the ulti­mate dis­cov­er­ies in a cer­tain area, or lists of offers and requests for jobs, part­ner­ships, etc. We are work­ing in order to set up a serv­er for the spe­cif­ic needs of AEGEE.

THE TECHNICAL STUFF: You don’t need to be a com­put­er wiz­ard to use E-mail, but it is bet­ter if some­one study­ing com­put­er-relat­ed sci­ences in your anten­na takes the respon­si­bil­i­ty of set­ting up E-Mail for your anten­na.

To this guy, the sug­gest­ed pro­ce­dure to fol­low is as this:

  1. Find out who is the direc­tor of the Com­put­er Cen­ter of your uni­ver­si­ty, and tell him about AEGEE, how smart we are, etc.
  2. Ask him to give you an account on a com­put­er con­nect­ed to EARN. Prac­ti­cal­ly ALL the uni­ver­si­ties in Eu­rope have at least one com­put­er that is (typ­i­cal­ly a VAX or a main­frame IBM). Maybe you will need a per­mis­sion from your rec­tor, but it should not be a prob­lem.
  3. Once you’ve got the pow­er (the code) ask for some instruc­tions and then send me a mes­sage. “Me” is TAEGEE01 at IMIPOLI. Oth­er con­nect­ed anten­nae are Delft, Bonn, Hei­del­berg, Rot­ter­dam.

Since you can use E-Mail from the com­put­er ter­mi­nals in your uni­ver­si­ty you don’t need to buy any com­put­er of your own. That is, you real­ly can spend 0 ECUs in this task. But IF you have a com­put­er, and you have/buy a modem, and you have a tele­phone plug near your com­put­er and the big com­put­er at your uni­ver­si­ty can be reached by the nor­mal tele­phone line (as usu­al, but ask the direc­tor), THEN you can do all the E-Mail work com­fort­ably sit­ting at home, or in your nice AEGEE office, just spend­ing the mon­ey of a local call to send a mes­sage every­where. In this way it is also pos­si­ble to send files in MS-DOS or Mac­in­tosh for­mat to an anten­na with a sim­i­lar equip­ment.
You can send it every­where, because EARN is Euro­pean, but it is con­nect­ed in some way to all the may­or net­works in the works (like bit­net). So when AEGEE gets world­wide, we are ready!

Giu­liano Gio­van­net­ti, AEGEE-Milano

PS: This arti­cle was writ­ten in 1990. Now many more anten­nae and also the News Bul­letin are already con­nect­ed to EARN.

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