HTML formatting in email is EVIL!!

i know, i’m fighting a losing battle here, but it has to be said… 😐

when you send email, the person who receives it has to play along with your rules, or they don’t get to read what you had to say. that’s the bottom line.

when you send an email that is formatted using HTML, you are assuming that your recipient has an email client that is “smart enough” to interpret the HTML, otherwise the message looks something like this:

<body>
    <table width=3D"620" cellspacing=3D"0" cellpadding=3D"0" border=3D"0" a=
lign=3D"center"><tr><td bgcolor=3D"#F0F0F0">
      <table width=3D"578" cellspacing=3D"0" cellpadding=3D"0" border=3D"0"=
 align=3D"center">
        <tr>
          <td height=3D"16"></td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
          <td>
            <img src=3D"http://s.ytimg.com/yt/img/email/digest/email_header=
.png">
          </td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
          <td height=3D"16"></td>
        </tr>

        <tr>
          <td align=3D"left" bgcolor=3D"#FFFFFF">
            <div style=3D"border-style:solid; border-width:1px; border-colo=
r:#CCCCCC;">
              <table width=3D"578" cellspacing=3D"0" cellpadding=3D"0" bord=
er=3D"0" align=3D"center">
                <tr>
                  <td height=3D"22" colspan=3D"3"></td>
                </tr>

                <tr>
                  <td width=3D"40"></td>
                  <td width=3D"498">
                    <div style=3D"
  font-family:arial,Arial,sans-serif;
">
                                <table cellspacing=3D"0" cellpadding=3D"0" =
border=3D"0">
    <tr>
        <td bgcolor=3D"#FFFFFF" align=3D"left" width=3D"50">
          <img src=3D"https://yt3.ggpht.com/-qroilmK3p5o/AAAAAAAAAAI/AAAAAA=
AAAAA/iFjUrN4F6lA/s50-c-k-no/photo.jpg" height=3D"50" width=3D"50">
        </td>
        <td width=3D"16"></td>

      <td>
        <div style=3D"
  font-family:arial,Arial,sans-serif; font-size:18px; color:#333333; line-h=
eight:24px;
" height:"59" dir=3D"ltr">
         =20
<a href=3D"http://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=3DUIzdYgZkFkg&u=3D/cha=

most people could probably read it, if they took a while, but it’s really frustrating…

also, HTML formatting takes a simple phrase like “i’m on my way. see you soon.” and turns it into two or three pages of, for lack of a better term, GARBAGE to one who doesn’t have an email client that is also a browser…

now i know that most email clients these days have software that renders HTML incorporated into their inner workings, including mine… but the important difference is that while my email client came with the ability to render HTML turned on by default, one of the first things i did was to turn that ability OFF, and here’s the primary reason i did so:

if you write an email message that is formatted by HTML, when you put in a URI, you also put in some “descriptive phrase” that is “automatically” linked to the URI, like this — <a href="http://www.somewhere.us/">descriptive phrase</a> — you don’t actually write the code out any longer, because the software does it for you these days, but that’s what it amounts to…

so, if i were to put a link to microsoft in my HTML-formatted email message, it would end up looking like this — <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/">microsoft</a> — and because of the HTML rendering capability of my email client, it would look like this in the resulting email message: microsoft.

those of you who are observant may notice that, while my link says “microsoft”, the link actually points to MicrosoftIsEvil.com. for those of you who aren’t so observant, click on the link, or (because of the fact that you’re reading this in a browser) mouse-over the link and look in the lower left-hand corner of your browser window, and you’ll be able to see the link in a pop-up window…

however, in my email client, and, as far as i know, in most other dedicated email clients, there is no such pop-up window. i could have created a special URI that automatically opens a “back-door” to your computer, and sent that URI to you in an email message with the “descriptive phrase” being something that you might be interested in reading… and because of the fact that you read it in your email, when you clicked on it, thinking that you were going to get an interesting article, you would never know that i had opened the “back-door” of your computer and now have the ability to send email, AS YOU, as well as doing other things like stealing your identity, installing viruses and malware, denying service to other web sites, pirating software, and any number of other things that you Don’t Do To Other Peoples’ Computers®

things may be a little different if you’re using IMAP and a “WebMail” application, but the underlying concept is the same: some evil person impersonates somebody else (whose computer they have already compromised) and sends you a specially designed URI in HTML-formatted email, and because IT APPEARS TO BE from someone you trust, you click the link without looking at where it points to first, and…

BOOOOOM! you’ve got a big mess that you don’t have the first clue how to clean up… and, because of the fact that i’m a computer geek, i get more than my share of phone calls saying “hey, can you help me? my computer is broken…” 😐

and about 95% of the time it’s because someone wasn’t paying attention when they opened an email message.

so PAY ATTENTION, because i have a tendency to “fix” peoples’ computers by installing linux, which doesn’t have anywhere near the same vulnerability to viri that windoes’t or mac does. πŸ‘Ώ

and, while linux is a smart operating system, it doesn’t automatically fix stupid users.

Happy Bicycle Day

What do we now know about LSD (spoiler: it doesn’t destroy your DNA, and it probably won’t make you think you can fly)

Bicycle Day

during my first year of college, towards the end of the year (spring, 1979) a person who is still a good friend of mine (now, 30-plus years later) and i were having a discussion about drugs. at 19, i was still getting a handle on how i felt about drugs in general (after having been staunchly anti-drug throughout my childhood), although i was already an inveterate consumer of cannabis. my friend asked me about “acid” and i said that the only things i had heard about acid were that art linkletter’s daughter had “thought she could fly” and fell out of a 3rd story window to her death “because of LSD”. and, to be honest, i couldn’t imagine how people could enjoy dripping “battery acid” on their skin in hopes of getting high. after having a hearty laugh at my ignorance of the subject, my friend suggested that if i liked cannabis, then i would love LSD, and proceded to get me a hit of blotter to prove it.

i don’t remember much about that trip, apart from meeting another friend of mine somewhat later on, and commenting on how everything seemed hyper-real…

but my friend was right, i learned to love LSD, although these days i much prefer it’s precursor, psylocybin. in fact, according to my estimation, i have taken more acid than all of the other people i know, COMBINED. there were several years where i took LSD two or three times a week, all year around. it got to the point where i would take five hits, get a headache and go to sleep — although, to give some comparison, the first time i took five hits (and several hundred mushrooms, at the same time) i didn’t sleep for 5 nights, and, among other things, had an intimate, revealing conversation with the engine of my girlfriend’s truck.

the last time i took acid, with my wife, we spent a very enjoyable day on the beach in central oregon, with our dogs… i have pictures around here somewhere, but they are actual photographs, taken with actual film, so i would have to find them and scan them before i post any here… i got entranced by the patterns of waves in the shallow water, and i took a whole bunch of really interesting pictures… 😎

i collected some psylocybe semilanceata a couple of years ago, and have been storing them in an airtight container in the freezer… and ever since i found that article about mushroom-induced brain rewiring being the key to fighting mental illness, i have been trying to find myself in a situation where i had the required 3 days to trip (one to prepare, one to trip, and one to “come down”)…

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the moisture festival is over for another year (although macque said that he would consider adding another moisture festival in november)… we’re going to see The Hacki Ginda Show — The Last Laugh & Then auf wideresehen on saturday, which will be the first time i will have seen the audience view for the famous 3D act that i played tuba and sound effects for in the moisture festival. i feel a lot better about the moisture festival than i have in the past, at this time. it may be that what i’ve heard about the more evil aspects being based more on stupidity rather than maliciousness may actually be true… or it may be that my years of griping about the bands may have actually made a difference. one way or another, i’m a lot more relaxed and at ease concerning my participation than i have been in quite some time.

in the process of managing a farcebook account for frank zappa, i have successfully reconnected with a guy who i have known since we were in third grade. if this were the ONLY thing farcebook were good for, that would be sufficient… however, i recently read a post by a friend of mine who discovered that, if they’re not specifically blocked, other farcebook users, and 3rd party apps have access to a whole list of stuff farcebook “knows” about you, like your bio, birthday, family and relationships, interests, religious and political views, websites, whether or not you’re on line, status updates, photos, videos, links, notes, home town, current city, education and work, activities… which means, basically, that i’m not going to put anything personal into farcebook, apart from pictures of my cat.

but, at the same time, i’m really excited about reconnecting with joe. we met when i lived in buffalo, new york, and we did magic shows together. we were actually good enough that, when we were in 7th and 8th grade, we actually went back to the elementary school that we had gone to previously, and did shows for them… something that, basically, wouldn’t be allowed at all in this “modern” age… and i still remember this one show we did where we asked for a volunteer from the audience, and the kid who came up was named Kimo Popohadjopolis… and i even remember how to spell it, because we gave our volunteers certificates with their names on them, as souveniers… i lost touch with him when my parents moved back to seattle, when i was 12 or thereabouts. he’s still a magician, currently working for Universal Studios Harry Potter in Osaka… 😎

also, another really cool thing that happened to me: once again, about the time i was 12 or so, i read this amazing story about this guy named Tom Noddy, who had a job at the San Francisco Exploratorium blowing bubbles. i was entranced by the idea that anyone could actually get a job blowing bubbles, and i vowed that eventually i would have a job like his… and now Tom Noddy is my farcebook friend, and when i told him that story, he said he wished people would stop telling him that story, because it reminds him of how old he is… 😎

the enlightened rantings of a brain damaged freak