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Feature Question

I think the request is coming from someone who has used LookOut (Outlook), this 'feature' expires messages at a date/time in the future. Of course this can be overruled, and is not compatable between all the different mail clients let alone ones that actually follow the standard.

With all the legal issues now turning up this is something that may not be in the best interest of anyone.

At the end of the day it is up to the enduser to delete the emails. CYA of electronic documents for the most part can be 'difficult'.

I think the request is coming from someone who has used LookOut (Outlook), this 'feature' expires messages at a date/time in the future. Of course this can be overruled, and is not compatable between all the different mail clients let alone ones that actually follow the standard. With all the legal issues now turning up this is something that may not be in the best interest of anyone. At the end of the day it is up to the enduser to delete the emails. CYA of electronic documents for the most part can be 'difficult'.

Does Pegasus have a feature to create self-destructing emails?  If so, where do I find it?

 

Thanks.

Cassy. 

<p>Does Pegasus have a feature to create self-destructing emails?  If so, where do I find it?</p><p> </p><p>Thanks.</p><p>Cassy. </p>

Are you serious here, or just joking?

 

<p>Are you serious here, or just joking?</p><p> </p>

I was perfectly serious.  Why did you lock the normal "reply" button?  It seems to me to be a funny approach to a question by a long-time user, but I guess I just don't understand the tech mindset.  

I had seen http://www.bigstring.com/ today, and was beginning to think that it was an interesting idea.  Somehow, I had the impression that Pegasus already had it.  What confused me was apparently the "Obsolete after" field in the Special tab of the composing window.

There seem to be several email clients which support the self-destruct feature, as a glance at http://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&q=self-destructing+email will show.  This suggests that there are also other interested users.

I'm sorry to have bothered you.  Just delete the whole thread.  I suppose I should have known that this forum was not really intended for questions by general users.

Thanks.
Cassy.

I was perfectly serious.  Why did you lock the normal "reply" button?  It seems to me to be a funny approach to a question by a long-time user, but I guess I just don't understand the tech mindset.   I had seen http://www.bigstring.com/ today, and was beginning to think that it was an interesting idea.  Somehow, I had the impression that Pegasus already had it.  What confused me was apparently the "Obsolete after" field in the Special tab of the composing window. There seem to be several email clients which support the self-destruct feature, as a glance at http://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&q=self-destructing+email will show.  This suggests that there are also other interested users. I'm sorry to have bothered you.  Just delete the whole thread.  I suppose I should have known that this forum was not really intended for questions by general users. Thanks. Cassy.

Cassy, I think you're overreacting a little - I assure you that Han has been supporting Pegasus Mail for so long now that he would not do anything that would be aimed at causing offense. This is just one of those areas where online suffers by comparison with face-to-face - you don't get the body language to give you the visual cues that are such an important part of construing meaning.

To answer your question...

I assume by "Self-destructing", you mean messages that automatically delete themselves after a certain amount of time in the recipient's mailbox... If so, it's really not possible. A mail message is just a bundle of data - it's quite inert, and has no ability on its own to instigate any kind of action. To have a "self-deleting" message would require the co-operation of the recipient's mail program - it would have to recognize and respect a particular header that requested the action: realistically, getting this kind of co-ordination between dozens of different mail programs isn't ever going to happen (believe me, I've got first-hand experience of this). What's more, no sensible developer would support something like this without making it optional and disabled by default, simply because the potential for litigation or damage claims when messages were deleted without the recipient's direct action would be far too risky to contemplate. Add to this the fact that destroying mail messages is actually illegal in certain situations, and you have an idea that sounds good on the surface, but which is never going to fly in reality.

I hope this addresses your question.

Cheers!

-- David --

Cassy, I think you're overreacting a little - I assure you that Han has been supporting Pegasus Mail for so long now that he would not do anything that would be aimed at causing offense. This is just one of those areas where online suffers by comparison with face-to-face - you don't get the body language to give you the visual cues that are such an important part of construing meaning. To answer your question... I assume by "Self-destructing", you mean messages that automatically delete themselves after a certain amount of time in the recipient's mailbox... If so, it's really not possible. A mail message is just a bundle of data - it's quite inert, and has no ability on its own to instigate any kind of action. To have a "self-deleting" message would require the co-operation of the recipient's mail program - it would have to recognize and respect a particular header that requested the action: realistically, getting this kind of co-ordination between dozens of different mail programs isn't ever going to happen (believe me, I've got first-hand experience of this). What's more, no sensible developer would support something like this without making it optional and disabled by default, simply because the potential for litigation or damage claims when messages were deleted without the recipient's direct action would be far too risky to contemplate. Add to this the fact that destroying mail messages is actually illegal in certain situations, and you have an idea that sounds good on the surface, but which is never going to fly in reality. I hope this addresses your question. Cheers! -- David --

Hmmm.  Once very experienced email programmer says it's impossible, and a few companies say that they're already supplying it.  I'm intrigued, and if I can do so without endangering my own privacy, I may sign up for a trial account, just to see if and how it works.   (BIgString, at least, seems to be available only in a Web version, not as a downloadable client.)

All they seem to say is "patent pending technology allows our email users to recall, modify or set an

expiration date for emails that have already been sent. These emails can be

erased, modified or expired even if the recipient has read them.... The email is not "deleted" from the recipient's computer. The

message that the email refers to is dynamically generated, and therefore you

have full control over it."

My guess would be that this means that a script in the email calls some scripting platform on the recipient's machine to generate it, which would mean, of course, that it's far from foolproof:  If the recipient's machine doesn't have that gadget, or if it's turned off for security reasons, the self-destruct won't work, though I suppose it would be possible to make it a little more foolproof by arranging for the mail to be unreadable if the scripting platform were turned off .

An article in Forbes ( http://www.forbes.com/2000/09/12/feat.html ) also

claims to discuss a few technologies now in use.  (Forbes may be the most serious of the US business magazines, for the little that's worth.)

As  I said, if I

manage to sign up for some free version I will find out if it exists. 

At least now I know that it will never be a feature in Pegasus.  And I have learned something about people.

Thanks.

Cassy. 

<p>Hmmm.  Once very experienced email programmer says it's impossible, and a few companies say that they're already supplying it.  I'm intrigued, and if I can do so without endangering my own privacy, I may sign up for a trial account, just to see if and how it works.   (BIgString, at least, seems to be available only in a Web version, not as a downloadable client.)</p><p>All they seem to say is "patent pending technology allows our email users to recall, modify or set an expiration date for emails that have already been sent. These emails can be erased, modified or expired even if the recipient has read them.... The email is not "deleted" from the recipient's computer. The message that the email refers to is dynamically generated, and therefore you have full control over it." My guess would be that this means that a script in the email calls some scripting platform on the recipient's machine to generate it, which would mean, of course, that it's far from foolproof:  If the recipient's machine doesn't have that gadget, or if it's turned off for security reasons, the self-destruct won't work, though I suppose it would be possible to make it a little more foolproof by arranging for the mail to be unreadable if the scripting platform were turned off .</p><p> An article in <i>Forbes ( </i>http://www.forbes.com/2000/09/12/feat.html<i> ) </i>also claims to discuss a few technologies now in use.  (<i>Forbes</i> may be the most serious of the US business magazines, for the little that's worth.)</p><p>As  I said, if I manage to sign up for some free version I will find out if it exists.  At least now I know that it will never be a feature in Pegasus.  And I have learned something about people. </p><p>Thanks.</p><p>Cassy. </p>

[quote user="Cassandra"]

Hmmm.  One very experienced email programmer says it's impossible, and a few companies say that they're already supplying it.

An article in Forbes ( http://www.forbes.com/2000/09/12/feat.html ) also

claims to discuss a few technologies now in use.

[/quote]

I guess it's a question of what the user expects. To me, this feature is only meaningful if you can obliterate all traces of the message from the recipient's system - and it's this that I believe cannot be done. As the Forbes article points out, the very fact that the recipient can view the contents means that the recipient is also able to save the contents using nothing more complicated than copy-and-paste or screen dumps.

One of the things about having been in this industry for so long is that I've seen many, many ideas come and go. Only a handful of actual innovations ever survive for very long, and I suspect that these "services" will fall by the wayside once their shortcomings become manifest.

I'd be interested in hearing your experiences if you explore this further.




Cheers!

-- David --

[quote user="Cassandra"]<p>Hmmm.  One very experienced email programmer says it's impossible, and a few companies say that they're already supplying it.</p><p>An article in <i>Forbes ( </i>http://www.forbes.com/2000/09/12/feat.html<i> ) </i>also claims to discuss a few technologies now in use.</p><p>[/quote] I guess it's a question of what the user expects. To me, this feature is only meaningful if you can obliterate all traces of the message from the recipient's system - and it's this that I believe cannot be done. As the Forbes article points out, the very fact that the recipient can view the contents means that the recipient is also able to save the contents using nothing more complicated than copy-and-paste or screen dumps. One of the things about having been in this industry for so long is that I've seen many, many ideas come and go. Only a handful of actual innovations ever survive for very long, and I suspect that these "services" will fall by the wayside once their shortcomings become manifest. I'd be interested in hearing your experiences if you explore this further. Cheers! -- David -- </p>

The function is already available for any one brave(?) enough to use it.  Just setup up a general rule that for instance looks at Message Age, and select action Delete if the age threshold is exceeded.  Apply this rule to a special folder where short-lived messages go. I for instance apply this rule to my CopySelf folder after 30 days. I normally Move messages that I need to maintain a context, into more appropriate folders. Whatever if left gets deleted if aged enough.

Martin 

<p>The function is already available for any one brave(?) enough to use it.  Just setup up a general rule that for instance looks at Message Age, and select action Delete if the age threshold is exceeded.  Apply this rule to a special folder where short-lived messages go. I for instance apply this rule to my CopySelf folder after 30 days. I normally Move messages that I need to maintain a context, into more appropriate folders. Whatever if left gets deleted if aged enough.</p><p>Martin </p>

[quote user="irelam"]

The function is already available for any one brave(?) enough to use it.  Just setup up a general rule that for instance looks at Message Age, and select action Delete if the age threshold is exceeded.  Apply this rule to a special folder where short-lived messages go. I for instance apply this rule to my CopySelf folder after 30 days. I normally Move messages that I need to maintain a context, into more appropriate folders. Whatever if left gets deleted if aged enough.

[/quote]

Slightly different thing, Martin: I think Cassy wants the messages she sends to *other people* to self-delete after a certain period of time.

Cheers!

-- David --

[quote user="irelam"]<p>The function is already available for any one brave(?) enough to use it.  Just setup up a general rule that for instance looks at Message Age, and select action Delete if the age threshold is exceeded.  Apply this rule to a special folder where short-lived messages go. I for instance apply this rule to my CopySelf folder after 30 days. I normally Move messages that I need to maintain a context, into more appropriate folders. Whatever if left gets deleted if aged enough.</p>[/quote] Slightly different thing, Martin: I think Cassy wants the messages she sends to *other people* to self-delete after a certain period of time. Cheers! -- David --

Sorry Cassy, it was perhaps not the best wording I used in my reply [Y]. Anyway, I know that in closed systems, like e.g. Groupwise, messages in the receiver's new mailbox can be deleted by the sender as long as the recipient hasn't read it. But that only works because both users work in the same mail-database environment.

In other words as soon as the e-mail clients differ there is no way they interact. The same is e.g. valid for the "Reading confirmation", used by Pegasus Mail for ages. There are hardly any other clients that respects that sending request.

(and for the locked reply? I really have no idea how or where that happened - didn't even know that option exists in this system) 

Regards,


<p>Sorry Cassy, it was perhaps not the best wording I used in my reply [Y]. Anyway, I know that in closed systems, like e.g. Groupwise, messages in the receiver's new mailbox can be deleted by the sender as long as the recipient hasn't read it. But that only works because both users work in the same mail-database environment.</p><p>In other words as soon as the e-mail clients differ there is no way they interact. The same is e.g. valid for the "Reading confirmation", used by Pegasus Mail for ages. There are hardly any other clients that respects that sending request.</p><p>(and for the locked reply? I really have no idea how or where that happened - didn't even know that option exists in this system) </p><p>Regards,</p><p> </p>

Well, I just tried it at BigString.  It works, and as far as I can see, the idea is so simple it's comical:

The text message in the body is not really a text message.  It is a remote .gif, stored on the provider's server.  (I can also imagine it stored on a mini-server on the sender's desktop, but of course there would then be complications with the sender-machine's availability, and maybe a dynamic IP.)  A script on the provider's server then deletes it after the time chosen by the sender.

I can see a few complications, mainly caused by security gadgets on the recipient's machine.  The biggest one is that many people these days have their email client set not to display remote images.  Another is that it only deletes the body; the headers remain.

It looks like there are about 5 or 6 companies which already provide this service, and as I said, it looks to me like it might be possible to provide a desktop version.  The article at http://www.forbes.com/2000/09/12/feat.html summarizes the technologies of some of the other services.

At least you guys nudged me into trying something which I might not have tried otherwise.

Thanks.
Cassy. 

<p>Well, I just tried it at BigString.  It works, and as far as I can see, the idea is so simple it's comical:</p><p>The text message in the body is not really a text message.  It is a remote .gif, stored on the provider's server.  (I can also imagine it stored on a mini-server on the sender's desktop, but of course there would then be complications with the sender-machine's availability, and maybe a dynamic IP.)  A script on the provider's server then deletes it after the time chosen by the sender.</p><p>I can see a few complications, mainly caused by security gadgets on the recipient's machine.  The biggest one is that many people these days have their email client set not to display remote images.  Another is that it only deletes the body; the headers remain.</p><p>It looks like there are about 5 or 6 companies which already provide this service, and as I said, it looks to me like it might be possible to provide a desktop version.  The article at http://www.forbes.com/2000/09/12/feat.html summarizes the technologies of some of the other services. </p><p>At least you guys nudged me into trying something which I might not have tried otherwise.</p><p>Thanks. Cassy. </p>

[quote user="Cassandra"]

Well, I just tried it at BigString.  It works, and as far as I can see, the idea is so simple it's comical:

The text message in the body is not really a text message.  It is a remote .gif, stored on the provider's server.  (I can also imagine it stored on a mini-server on the sender's desktop, but of course there would then be complications with the sender-machine's availability, and maybe a dynamic IP.)  A script on the provider's server then deletes it after the time chosen by the sender.

[/quote]

This is what I presumed they were doing - of course, there's nothing to prevent you from saving the .GIF file (it's just a file, after all) - there's no way they can reach out and delete a copy of the file that you've saved on your own machine. From my own point of view, I really can't see that there's any real value to be had in this idea, and in fact, there might be considerable danger: after all, they are leading their customers to believe that their messages will be deleted after the selected period, where clearly they can't give any such guarantee. The false sense of security seems downright dangerous to me.

I also wonder what the legal implications of this are... Corporate law in the US is increasingly moving to mandatory archiving of all correspondence, so having things like this that get deleted outside company control is probably going to create some problems there. I suspect that many corporations are going to have to bar receipt of mail using services like this for precisely this reason.

Thanks for sharing this with us Cassy - it's always good to keep up with what other people are trying to do.

Cheers!

-- David --


 

[quote user="Cassandra"]<p>Well, I just tried it at BigString.  It works, and as far as I can see, the idea is so simple it's comical:</p><p>The text message in the body is not really a text message.  It is a remote .gif, stored on the provider's server.  (I can also imagine it stored on a mini-server on the sender's desktop, but of course there would then be complications with the sender-machine's availability, and maybe a dynamic IP.)  A script on the provider's server then deletes it after the time chosen by the sender. </p><p>[/quote] This is what I presumed they were doing - of course, there's nothing to prevent you from saving the .GIF file (it's just a file, after all) - there's no way they can reach out and delete a copy of the file that you've saved on your own machine. From my own point of view, I really can't see that there's any real value to be had in this idea, and in fact, there might be considerable danger: after all, they are leading their customers to believe that their messages will be deleted after the selected period, where clearly they can't give any such guarantee. The false sense of security seems downright dangerous to me. I also wonder what the legal implications of this are... Corporate law in the US is increasingly moving to mandatory archiving of all correspondence, so having things like this that get deleted outside company control is probably going to create some problems there. I suspect that many corporations are going to have to bar receipt of mail using services like this for precisely this reason. Thanks for sharing this with us Cassy - it's always good to keep up with what other people are trying to do. Cheers! -- David --  </p>
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