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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Death of distance ;-)

CRF invited me to be the keynote speaker at their event and in prep'ing for it I did some research into the history of remote communication. I stumbled across the following on the South Africa Post Office website - very very interesting review of postal history below their "About Us" link (just wish they would present it in a better manner - horrible having to click on a particular year and then click back to get to the next) - here are a couple snippets that'll blow your mind...we've really come a long way;

Year 1501; Pedro D'Ataide, the captain of a Portuguese ship, placed a letter in a Milkwood tree at Mossel Bay. The letter contained a message about the disaster which had struck his fleet. Three ships, including that of Bartholomew Diaz, had gone down during a severe storm over the Atlantic Ocean, leaving no survivors.

When they left Portugal, these sailors were told to stop over at Mossel Bay for fresh water. With this in mind, Captain D'Ataide left his message in the Milkwood tree, knowing that the fleet would return to Mossel Bay on their way back from India. Three months later, the fleet found the letter and delivered it to Portugal.

Year 1501 - 1652; During this period, the crew of ships travelling to or from the Orient past the South coast of Africa, placed letters under postal stones, hoping that they would be found and delivered by other ships. The necessary information such as the date, name of the ship and its captain, were carved on these stones. The letters were occasionally wrapped in waxed canvas and, apart from the address, the letters DGG were written on them – for Door God geleyd, or ‘Guided by God’.

fast forward >>>

Year 2002; A world first for the Post Office, as South African President Thabo Mbeki electronically signs the Electronic Communication and Transaction Act into law. This was the first Act in the world to be signed into law by an electronic signature. The signing was enabled using the Post Office authentication service. The Act defines the Post Office as the "preferred authentication service provider" of identification procedures necessary for the issuing of advanced electronic signatures.

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