Monthly Archives: January 2016

An end-of-year email re: end-of-year emails

[image credit: Kickstarter, evidently]

Sent from the office on my last day of work in 2015.

To a much, much younger cohort of coworkers. (And man, that’s depressing!)

This is my last day in the office before the New Year (barring any work from home, which I might do to get ahead of the curve) so for those of you still here, in case I don’t bump into you this afternoon, enjoy your holidays and have a great New Year!

For most people in the office, this is well before your time, but end-of-year emails were a Big Deal at my workplace at the end of 1999. It was the end of the millennium, after all! (Though technically since there was no year “0” the millennium actually started on Jan 1, 2001. But I digress…)

Starting in early December, people began to send all-company emails to the effect of “see you next millennium!” – with huge images attached. (The animated GIF probably hadn’t been invented yet. Heck, Google was only a couple years old, and hadn’t even started selling ads yet. That’s how long ago 1999 was!)

If you figure on a 2 MB image sent to 500 people, that was 1 GB of storage space consumed per email, and by mid-December, the IT group had stepped in and pleaded with everyone not to send any more “see you next millennium” messages.

1 GB is cheap nowadays – freebie giveaway thumb drives are bigger – but back in the day, when I used to walk to work (uphill both ways, leaving the house before I went to bed each night!) listening to my Sony Discman, carrying a man-purse sized selection of CD’s depending on my musical mood, that was a lot of computer memory.

Memory roughly halves in price every 18 months, in line with doublings of processor speed, so 15 years is about 10 doublings. Which means those emails were the price equivalent of each person loading the company email server with 1 TB. (And remember, there were at least 500 people in the company.) Meaning it was the equivalent of sending each a 2 GB, hour-long HD funny cat compilation video to everyone’s Outlook server!


Imagine clogging each of your colleagues’ inboxes with a thousand copies of this…