My old friend

I heard earlier this week that Ray Tomlinson the inventor of EMAIL(!) and the @ symbol died this week. What a legacy he left for us all – changing the way we communicate, shop and keep in touch with our loved ones with each other forever.


My children would find it hard to believe that when I started working in an office as a temp back in the late nineties that email wasn’t even really a thing. We had an internal memo system that we used to send messages to each other (in a really clunky way) and we used INTERNAL YELLOW ENVELOPES that we put in internal mail trays between floors with messages scribbled on the front! I remember when the office was introduced to Lotus Notes and sending group emails was SO novel. Something we take for granted every day now as my 6 year old uses her school email address to send messages to her friends that were maybe once scribbled on a piece of paper.

When I was at University in 96 (I studied a Bachelor of Design in Visual Communications) computers and email and the Internet were just starting to be a “thing”. It would take AGES for an image to upload. Our graphic design files had to be saved on Zip Disks that probably only had a few mbs on them but seemed HUGE. This was the age of Napster and MP3 players. It was all so clunky and new. One lunch I went into our computer room thing and everyone was setting up hotmail addresses! SO cool. I had just bought a pair or red boots so of course called my email address redbootsbeth and it stuck. And now 20 years later it’s still the same email address I use! Rob still scoffs at me every time I have to give out my daggy email address to work colleagues or people at School for the kids, but I just can’t give it up. My precious hotmail! My longest relationship.

20 years of the same email address – is this some kind of a record? Thank you Ray for all you gave us.

Do you remember life before emails?
Use the internal mail system at work too?
Anyone else still using their hotmail address?

Image from Grace Easton


  1. Hah! It’s like an episode of the The Mystery Show has been solved. The history behind your email address. I love it. Red boots were so cool! My first job was at the Australian Girls Choir and I had to organise the touring choir. I had about 50 parents I had to communicate with every few days – by FAX. And it seriously took me the better part of a DAY to send one fax to them all. Stand at the machine. Enter the number. Wait for the annoying dial up sound only to have the fax not bloody send half the time. A few years later the same task took 30 seconds as I hit send on a group email.I don’t have the same email but I do have the same mobile number. Had it since I got my first phone back in 1996. No one is taking my 0411 number.

  2. I’m a hotmail address. I’m never giving it up! I even type to access it.

  3. I still use my hotmail address. I figure it will soon be cool to have one. Right?

  4. This makes me feel better! I still use, as my personal email, the hotmail address i set up at uni in 1997! My user name is not as good as yours though πŸ˜‰

    Email was new to me when I started uni in ’97, but I don’t remember working in an office without it – it was up and running at the place I worked while at uni.

  5. I worked in a public library in the 1990’s as an interlibrary loan officer. To request loans we had to attach a machine to the phone with a Velcro strap and dial up the library!
    I can remember how high tech I thought it was at the time πŸ™‚
    It was efficient and I felt very important operating it.
    Now I love iphones and ipads and Insta and the world is that little bit closer to us all.

  6. I still have my original hotmail address from 99 too!

  7. Ha ha yes! And did i buy a zipdrive? No! So now I have a pile of zip disks from Viscom I’m too sentimental about to chuck out but havent got around to finding someone to transfer. Probably not too many keepers on them anyway!! Ha!

  8. Yep! I sure do still have my Hotmail account that I set up in 2002. Not as fancy as yours tho πŸ™‚ my hubby had a fun one (doesn’t use it anymore because he became too embarrassed by it haha!!). And yep still using the internal mail process (for docs that are too big to scan)! I remember the days before email (and facebook, and insta….). My kids think I’m ancient when I tell them we did really “have” the internet when I was a kid. Sigh.

  9. I was in the US as an exchange student in 1993 and we sent emails on a black screen with white typing and no delete key – very early days then! They were to other uni students or teachers only πŸ™‚

  10. I still use hotmail too and I love it! I tried gmail and I found it awful. My username is so good because I got the address in about 1994. I had a friend who used her hotmail until her mid 20’s when she became too embarrassed by the name- dolphin1313! Haha. We are both marine biologists πŸ™‚

  11. I still have & use my original hotmail email address too. Not as cool as yours.
    Did you happened to buy your red boots from mollini? I was working there in the late 90’s and remember buying killer red boots from there too.

  12. I’m so old I remember life before computers. x

    • Me too!!
      First job, law office with an electric typewriter. Had to use the manual typewriter for wills and ZERO errors were permitted. Bloody good training for a lifetime of key clacking.
      Long live the @ key.

  13. I have my original hotmail address and I am never giving it up either. My children have sneered and tried to get me to move over to gmail but I have refused and am now looking forward to being cool again. Thanks Beth!

    When I got my first job in 1984 there was one computer in the building. It was in a prominent spot so visitors could see how modern and successful we were! We also had a fax and being the youngest and most technically savvy ( hahahahaha!) I was in charge of sending all faxes. I thought I was the bees knees – I might even have put it on my CV…

  14. My Dad was one of the first computer nerds in Australia I reckon, computer programming from the mid 60s, and working on mainframes etc. He now takes huge pleasure in pretending he knows nothing about them, and refuses to send emails etc.
    I have a yahoo address which has been my main email address for decades now. I used my other one a bit when I am wanting to “adult”. My original address is spanish – occasionally people ask what the soy mj is all about!! (I am MJ – if you too were wondering!).

  15. I’ve still got my hotmail address. Never gonna give it up either. It’s only my name but that’s an achievement as I have one of those common as muck surnames.

    I read an article on job hunting and they advised you not to put a hotmail address on your resume as it showed you were not up with the times. What ridiculous advice…

  16. I too worked in an office and had a Telex Machine with tape….. Then a Wang word processor – no email in sight… Yes I am a Hotmail girl….Wow what technology has changed the world!

  17. We still have our hotmail address we set up in 1999 before we back packed around the world. These days we use it when we internet shop so that all the spammy emails go somewhere that we don’t have to see too often!

  18. Katie Elliott says

    Yup. Still got my hotmail address and use it every day. I remember printing out emails to read them – that’s how novel I thought them in the late 90’s. Decades later and am now a High School teacher, my students can’t fathom life before technology, they are so used to it in every part of their lives. They laugh at me when I say ‘I remember when mobile phones were invented and I was 21 when I got my first phone’ and how we use to write letters to our friends at night or throughout the day and give them to each other. I kept them too.

  19. One of my responsibilities in one of my first temp jobs was to turn my boss’ computer on ‘cos he didn’t know how to use it. I turned it on every morning & off every night! Hilarious

  20. My email address is only about 10 years old, but my voicemail message is about 20! I sound so young.

  21. Love my hotmail address, but by crikey do I wish I’d opted against including an underscore. I did it because someone else I knew had done it with theirs, why must I be a sheep, it is SO inconvenient!

  22. Same here. My Yahoo email address is 18 years old. And I still have the same mobile number since my first phone, 19 years this year.

  23. Another long time dedicated Hotmail fan here too. Changing would just be too hard. I work in a hospital and we still use fax and internal mail regularly as well as pagers to communicate as we are often away from the computers

  24. When I started a new job in 1991 I had to use a computer for the first time, the entire order, inventory, sales system was computerised, it was a very steep learning curve. We didn’t have a computer at home until the mid 90’s. I was very resistant to technology, it took my husband about 12 months to convince me to have a mobile phone, an old Nokia back in the day when phones made phone calls & sent texts but didn’t do fancy things. Reading this back I realise I sound as though I am about 90 …… I’m not really πŸ˜‰

  25. my office still uses those yellow envelopes with names crossed out on the front!

  26. yeah and I hand wrote all my uni assignments too.

  27. I met my husband vis hotmail. They used to have your profile on there and you could look people up. He sent me an email because mine said I was a country girl – his Hotmail address was blokeWA and I happened to check my junk folder. And the rest is history. Never giving up that email address and still have the email I sent him back asking if it was spam!!!!

  28. I still have and totally use my hotmail account. Set it up circa 2000! And I totally remember life before computers & mobile phones ?

  29. Smykolandia says

    I use the same address. Mhm I was so foolish to add to address the year of my birth;-)

  30. My work STILL uses internal mail! ? Yellow envelopes and all…

  31. I’ve had a yahoo email since 99. I know because I set it up with an (nickname)_99….. Lol. And I have another that has 05 in it.

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