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"you don't need to address me by name (though I appreciate), the comments system already tells me which post you are replying to ;-)"
I find it difficult to tell sometimes because it says "in reply to" but it identifies a thread rather than a person. Occasionally I have to click the parent message to be sure. I once asked osnews if they might be able to display the name for this reason.
"That can easily be achieved using current technology."
There are no technological impediments in my mind, just standardization ones.
"Using direct P2P, however, has a few drawbacks: 1) Currently, e-mail is send-now-read-later."
I did think of that however I wanted to keep the post simple. Yes having always on devices is a potential caveat especially when people aren't working "in sync", however there's no reason that mobile devices would have to serve files directly - they might use a delegate which would have bonus uses anyways.
You could argue this is similar to transmitting files to an SMTP server for queuing. But using SMTP servers doesn't allow me to reuse that data again. Today every email I send needs to exit my network twice, onces through SMTP and again via IMAP for archival. Ideally I'd be able to send files directly from my IMAP store to a recipient without downloading&uploading over and over again. Current SMTP protocols just cannot realize the type of efficiency that ought to be possible.
"2) Try CC'ing multiple people with such a message and be prepared to hit your upload bandwidth cap soon."
To be perfectly honest I think this is a scenario that P2P mail would particularly excel at. P2P can multiply one's reach tremendously.
"I routinely get funny videos or stupid pictures BCC'd to dozens of people from some notorious e-mail forwarders... give them the chance and they will send you 1080p full-length video."
Using the proposed protocol, you'd only receive the manifest, the attachments would be optional. And if it were sophisticated enough you might even be able to avoid downloading parts of the file that you skip over, as with HTTP streaming. This would do alot to unclog messaging servers who's principal purpose will be fast reliable messaging without file transfer.
"Been there, done that. Google Wave failed. Compatibility does matter."
Well most of google's projects fail commercially, but it doesn't invalidate the ideas. Users would suffer hugely if this was built on top over existing email only to realize that 0% of their contacts can actually use it. In my opinion the only chance this would have is if it were a new network where everyone joining it would support the same baseline features. "You want an easy way to transfer media with folks back home, just install ABC!" Then everyone with ABC installed could use every one of it's features without worrying about SMTP compatibility issues (webmail users, unsupported servers&clients, locked down email in phones, insecurity, etc). Edited 2012-04-13 02:00 UTC