On the trail.

Lately I've been helping out an aging (though not yet old) friend with her first steps into using a computer, email and the WWW. She recently received both a PowerPoint presentation, and a lengthy message that consisted of a joke, with a number of graphics within the e-letter itself. She was greatly impressed with the PowerPoint presentation and wanted to pass it on to a few of her friends in her small but growing address book. She was also intrigued by the joke/letter, though not because it was particularly funny (it was, at least, rather cute) but because it was very difficult for her to find the joke itself which started almost half way into a lengthy scroll. It was preceded by what seemed like an endless list of forwards, and I had to explain to her that she was witnessing who had received it from whom, back a number of generations of senders.

This was a source of wonderment, though I'm not sure what she found more interesting - the fact that people kept themselves busy passing mail between them, or the fact that she could, once she learned how to read the proper headers, follow the path that a letter took until it reached her. Personally, I stopped asking the "why" long ago, but still find much that fascinates me in the "how".

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