First: email never was and never will be 100% reliable. However, until very recently, you had every expectation that email would arrive at its intended destination, probably with even more reliability than a letter sent by postal mail.
That's changed. With all the spam, and all the spam filtering, I am experiencing far too much unreliability: mail I never get from people, and mail I send that never gets to them. Email is no longer a safe method of communication.
Just this weekend, someone sent me seven separate emails, of which only four reached me. I don't know where the others went to: the worst part is that my own web server generated them, and I can see in the web logs that they really were sent. But I only got four, and the rest are not even in the spam folders. They are just gone.
I sent email to my daughter, and got back a bounce "We don't accept UCE" (that's Unsolicited Commercial Email). So her ISP thinks my server is a spammer. Unfortunately, for a vendor I do business with that's the only server I can use to send mail: they think my other server is a spammer. They don't send bounce messages either, and the recipient doesn't get told of that my mail to them was silently deleted.
At the gym this morning, a friend asked why I hadn't responded to his mail. I never got it. A customer complained that I wasn't responding to his mail - I got no bounces, and finally had to call him and read my response!
This is NOT good.
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More Articles by Tony Lawrence © 2011-03-12 Tony Lawrence
Don't blame me for the fact that competent programming, as I view it as an intellectual possibility, will be too difficult for "the average programmer" — you must not fall into the trap of rejecting a surgical technique because it is beyond the capabilities of the barber in his shop around the corner. (Edsger W. Dijkstra)