by Darius Kazemi, Feb 10 2019

In 2019 I'm reading one RFC a day in chronological order starting from the very first one. More on this project here. There is a table of contents for all my RFC posts.

Please provide timestamps

RFC-41 is by John Melvin of SRI/ARC, dated March 30th 1970. It's called “IMP/IMP Teletype Communication”.

The technical content

Melvin is referring to an “annoying” thing that happens when he gets messages to his teletype via the IMP. The messages aren't stamped with the date and time, so he has no idea if it just came in or if it's several days old and would be pointless to respond to.

He implores people to tag their messages with at least the 24 hour time and time zone.

Further reading

This specifically mentions teletype communication. I think I've mentioned here before but a teletype is a kind of typewriter that is hooked up to a communications line. You type into it like a normal typewriter, onto paper, but it also sends those messages out. It receives messages back and types them back at you, kind of like a player piano. Here is a four-minute video that demonstrates what it's like to program a computer by teletype:

Teletype, incidentally, is a brand name that eventually came to be associated with the entire category of product. Technically these are teletypewriters or teleprinters, and “Teletype” is a brand, but like Kleenex and Xerox, everyone just used the brand name.

There's a really beautiful 40-page illustrated brochure called “The Teletype Story”, published by the Teletype company in 1957 for its 50th anniversary.

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About me

I'm Darius Kazemi. I'm a Mozilla Fellow and I do a lot of work on the decentralized web with both ActivityPub and the Dat Project.