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[ih] We can hang up now, it's all done.

Yes, most definitely.  I think you will find that many of the 
timesharing systems of the period had a mail command of some sort. 
The overall game in the early ARPANET was simply to re-create on the 
Net everything we had on an OS.  This was really the gist of the 
proposals that USING made including good ole NETED, a network common 
editor.  Moving these things from a single computer to a network, in 
some sense doing them one level removed, often lead to new insights 
although most of them were never written down.

Also it should be noted that in most of these early implementations 
the mail box was a file not a directory.  Mail was appended to the 
file, rather than creating a new file for each piece of mail.

At 18:00 -0800 2009/11/22, Larry Press wrote:
>Brian Dear wrote:
>>  I've had folks tell me they built, or they heard about others who
>>  built, talk-like programs in the 60s, to let two people talk live,
>Messaging and email capabilities existed within the community of 
>users of timesharing systems in those days -- I worked on the Q32 
>TSS at SDC and we could send each other messages (I think the 
>command was called "mail") and we could also chat, though it was not 
>called that.
>>of hypertext.  I would argue that Edward Thorndike offered just as 
>>compelling a vision in 1912.
>Have you got a reference on that?  (Preferably online).