Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 2nd 2015 Contents A29
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Over the next four weeks, thousands of TSTT email
users face the lockdown of their mail accounts as
the service drifts inexorably to its final light.
PHOTO: MARK LYNDERSAY
It isn t every day that an entire email domain sim-
ply goes away, but that s set to happen on June 30
when TSTT retires the @tstt.net.tt service it s offered
to its Internet customers for almost two decades.
When TSTT entered the ISP business, it did so on
the heels of Opus Networx and Interserv, and a free
email address was, back then, something of a selling
By 2007, when Google introduced its Google Apps
Partner Edition (http://ow.ly/NFwFd), an email address
had already become a seller s commodity and one that
Internet businesses saw as a way to seize and hold
the attention and loyalty of customers.
People were getting used to using email for free,
giving attention to web ads and surrendering a bit of
privacy in exchange for an efficient, no-cost com-
Today, the landscape is even more challenging for
anyone hoping to make money from email services.
Not only is the protocol generally regarded as something
one gets for free, a new generation of young people
don t use it at all.
I can t recall a time over the last five years when
someone under 30 asked me for my email address as
a way to contact me on the Internet.
All the email I get from that set is sent through
mandated corporate channels along with dubiously
legal disclaimers dutifully appended to their signatures.
I suspect for someone turning 21 this year, email
must look like faxes did to the first gen-
eration to take to the web, a loony
anachronism that one accepted with
good humour and zipped lips.
On Friday, the company issued a press
release announcing the imminent end
of their email services
From that perspective, the decision
to retire their ISP mail service after
Google announced the end of its free
email support service for ISPs makes
Of course, so did the switch to Google
for support services, in 2007.
In a post to Google s blog on May 18,
2007, product manager Hunter Mid-
dleton promised in the avuncular style
the company affected then, "You can
quit spending your resources and time
on applications like Web mail ---and
leave the work to our busy bees at the
Googleplex." Well, the Googleplex has
moved on, and so too must TSTT.
At this point TSTT is probably man-
aging a few thousand customers using
the domain, some of whom may only
rely on it intermittently.
Vinood Radge Coomar, EVP of Res-
idential Services & Delivery for TSTT,
declined to respond to a query about
the exact number of persons affected
by the shutdown of the company s e-
mail. He did note, however, that, "Of
the total number of email accounts pro-
vided, less than 18 per cent are active
so the majority of customers will not
be affected by the discontinuation of
The problem it s going to face over
the next 28 days is that these are the
customers who won t understand a word
of its extensive FAQs (http://ow.ly/NFziI)
and will call for greater than normal
handholding, quite possibly in person,
before they can be happy customers
I know some of these people, and
this is going to be a problem. It s curious
that the company hasn t chosen to con-
tinue offering the service.
It s not as if it s particularly difficult
to do, nor for a small customer base,
particularly expensive. The @wow.net
email service lurched along for more
than a decade after that ISP went out
of business and anyone with a Mac can
buy the server edition of the Mac OS
(US$20, http://ow.ly/NFzJV), get a fixed
IP address (not cheap, admittedly) and
roll their own.
According to Mr Radge Coomar, of
the cloud based services that ride the
company s networks, Google s are the
most popular. "Three years ago TSTT
also became a reseller of Google Apps
for Business services as this type of value
added service for collaboration and doc-
ument sharing is not an area in
which TSTT can compete effectively
against such large operators," he
But hardware and software may not
be all that TSTT has to consider here.
Over the next year, it will be parting
company with a powerful business part-
ner who isn t leaving the business, just
switching sides to become their rivals.
If TSTT doesn t get lucky with court-
ing a sugar daddy with deep pockets,
it s going to have to get used to living
much leaner and worrying about email
it doesn t earn money from might be
starting to look a lot like something it
should be doing without.
A domain dies
A San Francisco recycling centre
is seeking a woman who may have
handed over a rare Apple I computer
The machine was among other
components and computers the
woman wanted to dispose of after her
Only about 200 of the first-gener-
ation Apple computers were made.
The company recognised the value
of the old computer and sold it to a
private collector for about
US$200,000. The recycling centre,
called Clean Bay Area, has launched
a Web and media campaign to track
down the woman so she can receive
her half of the cash they got for the
machine. It has produced a short video
it is asking people to share to see if
they can reach the donor.
In a blogpost, Clean Bay Area said
the mystery woman had dropped off
the boxes of electronics in late April.
It said she had been between 60
and 70 years old, had driven an sports
utility vehicle (SUV) and had left the
boxes at its Milpitas recycling centre.
The centre is providing no more
details of what the woman looked like,
but said recycling centre staff would
recognise her if they saw her. "I
remember her," said Victor Gichun, a
vice-president at the Clean Bay com-
pany, who dealt with the woman when
she dropped off her boxes.
Gichun said he had asked the
woman if she had wanted a receipt
but she had said she did not.
As the centre had a backlog of
donated items to sort through, the
boxes lay undisturbed for a couple of
When they were sorted, the Milpitas
centre s manager spotted the computer
under old cables and keyboards and
realised what they had been given.
Designed and hand-built by Steve
Wozniak, the Apple I was the computer
company s first product.
It went on sale in July 1976 for
The machine had about 4kB of
By way of comparison, the image
at the top of this page is more than
42kB in size.
So far, only about 63 of those early
machines are believed to have survived
to the present day.
To get the cash, the woman just
needs to return to the Milpitas dona-
"To prove who she is," Mr Gichun
told the San Jose Mercury News, "I
just need to look at her." (BBC)
Rare Apple I computer put into recycling
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