Tag Archives: rants

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. 👿

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

idiot…

i went for a walk this morning, and, as i usually do, i brought along a little bag of dog treats, because i don’t want to have dogs barking at me, early in the morning, and i’ve discovered that if they’re distracted by food, they usually don’t bark.

i came around the corner and met one such dog, who was behind a fence. he barked until he realised that i was passing out treats, whereupon his entire demeanor changed, and he couldn’t wait to be my friend. i gave him a treat and headed down the street, where i met a guy who was walking the other way. he asked if i walked that way regularly, to which i responded in the affirmative. he then went into this rant about this “evil dog at the corner”, who barked at him when he was walking by. he said that he was afraid of being bitten, which is why he carried mace with him, which he showed me.

i told him to look at it from the dog’s point of view: here is a strange man (guaranteed to be a person who gets barked at anyway), who responds to my presence by making sharp, barking noises, himself and adopts a defensive posture… he’s bound to be up to no good, so of course i’m going to bite him. mace just makes matters worse, i told him: you may not get bitten (you probably will, regardless), but the next time the dog sees you, he’s definitely not going to be happy, and things will probably get worse from there.

on the other hand, i said, my approach is completely the opposite: here is a similar, strange man, who makes cooing and clucking noises, gets down on my level, and offers me treats… i’m definitely going to be suspicious, and maybe i’ll bark once or twice, but i’m probably not going to bite, and if i see him again, i’ll be a lot more interested in being his friend.

the guy looked at me as though i was crazy, and went on his way towards the dog, who i could hear barking loudly as i wandered down the street in the opposite direction…

moe’s right: most dogs are better than most people… 😐

hey, bono… i’ve found what you’re looking for…

AUTOMATIC SONGS-OF-INNOCENCE REMOVAL TOOL — Apple finally sees the point of millions of disgruntled people like me. hopefully they’ll learn something from it, although i’m not going to hold my breath… 😐

also, Apple puts up support page to get U2 album out of your iTunes — Too many people don’t want U2 anywhere near their libraries

The U in U2 stands for “Unwanted”!!

😡

the U stands for "Unwanted"

Not pro Bono: Apple’s audio junk mail made spammers’ lives easier

Apple: take this fucking U2 album off my iPhone, NOW. I do not want it, I did not ask for it, it takes up space, it’s my device. Go to hell.

Just say BO-NO: Mark Hosler of Negativland on Apple’s ‘U2rusion’

Got iTunes? You got a U2 album. Here’s how to delete it.

unfortunately, it’s not how to delete it. because of the fact that it’s “in the cloud”, it doesn’t necessarily take up space on my device, but i can’t immediately delete it using any of the methods recommended — using iTunes on my computer doesn’t even show that i have a U2 album, so re-synching my device doesn’t do anything, and there’s nothing to un-check, and you can only delete something once you have downloaded it from the cloud…

i don’t use twitter, but i am outraged, and i reflect that guy’s twitter: Apple: take this fucking U2 album off my iPhone, NOW. I do not want it, I did not ask for it, it takes up space, it’s my device. Go to hell. 😡

DON’T SAY THE PLEDGE!

in honour of the eleventh of september…

DON’T SAY THE PLEDGE! — "Under God" compromises the patriotic message of the Pledge

"Under God" wasn’t part of the original Pledge of Allegiance. Those two words were added to the Pledge in 1954, when the country was in the grip of McCarthyism and communist witch-hunt hysteria.

Before 1954, the Pledge affirmed that we were “one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Indivisible means we can rise above our differences, religious or otherwise. Liberty means the right to act and speak freely no matter what one’s faith or philosophy may be. And Justice, of course, means equal rights for all, regardless of whether or not we believe in a deity. The Knights of Columbus — a Catholic men’s group — led the lobbying effort to add “under God.” Now the Pledge is twisted, with divisive religious language that implies true patriots must be believers.

With “under God” added, the Pledge is not a statement of patriotism. Instead, extremist preachers and politicians point to the language to validate their view that those who don’t believe in God don’t belong.

Religious or not, don’t say this altered Pledge
Until the Pledge is restored to its inclusive version, we can take it upon ourselves to refuse to participate in what’s become a discriminatory exercise. (Note: A Supreme Court case — West Virginia vs. Barnette — gives public school students the absolute right to sit out the Pledge, for any reason. Public schools might not tell you about this right, but if anyone questions you about sitting out the Pledge, contact the AHA’s Legal Center.)

Whether you are religious or not, you can make a statement for true inclusiveness. Support liberty and justice for all, and support indivisibility. Stand up for America by sitting down during the Pledge of Allegiance until the inclusive version is restored.

STAND UP FOR AMERICA BY SITTING DOWN!