When Size Does Matter!

Email is one of the best and earliest features of the internet. It is also one of the most abused. For many users, the simple store and forward email system has become “mission critical”. The mail protocol was conceived within a community of like-minded academics, operating in a spirit of cooperation and trust. However, the internet has evolved into a completely different entity with a very different environment, yet the email system has stayed basically the same. This has led to email being used and abused in many more ways than originally conceived. Internet-wide a vast amount of effort and resources are put into the sending of, and avoidance of SPAM. As systems have progressed, many people use it as a way of sending data, via the use of email attachments.

With the increase in internet usage and the uptake of broadband, coupled with the proliferation of devices such as digital cameras, many emails are sent with large attachments.

One thing to check before hitting the send button, with attachments is “How big is this email?” Many email clients will show how large an attachment is once it has been attached to an email. If not, right-clicking on the file prior to attaching it and selecting properties will tell you.

“How big is too big?” As size is undoubtedly in the eye of the beholder, it really depends on whether the sender and the recipient have broadband. If either use dialup, anything beyond a megabyte really becomes a pain. If both have broadband this could be stretched out to ten megabytes. A couple of things to consider:

  • Images often look small on the screen yet their file size is large. Most camera images are usually 3.5 megabytes in size or larger. They should be saved to a .png or .jpg format and have their file size reduced using an image manipulation program.
  • When sending the same images or files to a group of people, a good idea would be to upload them once to a site like Flickr or ImageShack and then just email everyone the link to the images or files.
  • Many servers have restrictions on the file size and number of recipients that they will send or receive. At Genisyst we are quite generous and only impose a limit of 20 recipients per mail and a maximum message size of 40 Megabytes.