[nSLUG] Re: Why is ntp so terrible?

Mike Spencer mspencer at tallships.ca
Fri Mar 10 17:35:43 AST 2017

Bill Davidson <billdavidson at eastlink.ca> wrote:

> Well that sucks:
> So html, using utf-8, and base64 encoded, just to send a few words
> of text.

Just so.

> Luckily most modern mail programs can handle that without a
> problem...

I'm with Dan Geer on this. [1] I read email in GNU Emacs 20.7 [2].  I
*can* unpack base64, untangle UTF-8 [3], fix quoted-printable, save
HTML to a file and render it with something else.  I *can*, if
absolutely neccessary, unpack/reformat almost any crap that Windoes,
Macs, Android, gmail etc. apply (although docx stumps me.)  But I

An HTML-enabled email client is evil because HTML can pull in any
amount of anything from anywhere as well as enable active scripting.
It's  all part of the trend exemplified by, say, the WaPo that replies
to a web request with ca. 450K of js and markup surrounding ca. 45K of
readable text and *then* also pulls in maybe 2M of other stuff from a
dozen other sites.  If your email client enables HTML, it enables the
sender, the sender's software, the mail service providers software
(and others?) to insert all that stuff which your client then
faithfully fetches, renders or executes.  Or maybe not, but do you
know? [1, again]

Well, I'm an increasingly Cranky Old Geezer.  Good luck, Bill, with
taming your tablet. :-)

- Mike

[1] Given what I know in the cyber security arena, the number of
    things that, in effect, nobody understands how they work causes me
    to say, well, then why do I want to depend on it?

[2] Never say never, but so far it's more trouble than it's worth to
    figure out how to disable all the new, unwanted "features" in
    later versions.  Mendokusai.

[3] I know, ACSII is a proper subset of UTF-8.  But "modern" software
    takes it upon itself to distinguish between left & wright single
    and double quote, between "--" and long dash inter alia and insert
    the UTF-8 "proper" typography.  We'll be seeing gratuitous
    insertion of UTF-8 codes for the fi, ffi, fl, ffl and other
    ligatures RSN.

Michael Spencer                  Nova Scotia, Canada       .~. 
mspencer at tallships.ca                                     /( )\
http://home.tallships.ca/mspencer/                        ^^-^^

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