Did V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai Invent Email? A Computer Historian Responds
Now includes both the original article comissioned by the Washington Post, a lengthy extension covering Ayyadurai's susequent claims added in August 2012, and a second update focused on Ayyadurai's new book The Email Revolution: Unleashing the Power to Connect (Allworth, 2013).
Below is a message I sent to the Washington Post's Ombudsman outling my concerns with the paper's failure to follow through on the corrective process he had outlined in his "Mea Culpa" to its readers regarding Emi Kolawole's story on the "Inventor of Email" and his initial defense of that story. This was two days after the paper decided not to publish the article it had comissioned from me. I received a prompt one line acknowledgement and promise to investigate but, a month later, nothing further has arrived.
Over the weekend the Washington Post delivered its response to a storm of protest over last week’s story claiming that the Smithsonian had “honored” V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai as the “inventor of email.” This came in the form of the “Reader Meter” column written by Patrick B. Pexton’ the Post’s Ombudsman. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/omblog/post/reader-meter-who-really-invented-e-mail/2012/02/24/gIQAHZugYR_blog.html.
Please consider helping the community sharpen its engagement with new ideas. Back in graduate school I read feverishly in labor history, business history, history of technology social history, organizational sociology, etc in preparation for my oral examinations. My classes covered still more eclectic topics, ranging from a "greatest hits" of literary theory to nonparametric methods. Over the ten years since I physically left Penn I've been focused on an ever more specialized set of literatures, primarily the burgeoning history of computing field, which I know in ever more depth. In general I've also been doing more writing and less reading.
Earlier this week I received a full set of authors copies of Histories of Computing, the edited works of Michael S. Mahoney on the history of computing. These were shipped from the Trilateral warehouse, which handles Harvard distribution, so I assume the book can now be ordered. I’ll be sure to set aside one or two copies for the SIGCIS book auction in Cleveland later this year.