L. Neil Smith's
Number 108, February 12, 2001
Plenty of Abuse to Go Around

Letters to the Editor

Send Letters to TLE@johntaylor.org

[In TLE #107, I tried sending the newsletter as a text attachment to see if that would help those with 'font difficulties' (see TLE #106). Responses were overwhelmingly negative, as summarized below.

<<The font of this new delivery format sucks big time.>>

<<this delivery format is a major inconvenience for me>>

<<I'm tired of receiving mail from you.>>

<<The "new and improved" attachment format sucks! Big time!!>>

<<The attachment format is extremely inconvenient for the PINE system>>

<<I prefer the original recipe....that's my 2 cents worth!>>

<<TLE is making it here fine, no all caps, no problems with either versions. Oh, and thanks for doing TLE :)>>

<<*Personally* *I* happen to enjoy getting them in 'the original recipe' as an 'e-mail' 'body' *without* having to come up with some other sort of filter to move *another* file around, or having to manually do it, on my system.>>

<<The only point of weirdness about TLE from my perspective is that it arrives as a mail message without the sender's name.>>

<<If this is the way that TLE is now going to be distributed, then it's time I unsubscribed.>>

<<I prefer the HTML format, mostly for the convenience of single-clicking to the URLs. As you can tell, it is not exactly a hard-over case. In truth, I suspect that it is a case of a few who can't update their mail readers blaming you for their problem. All I ask is that you keep doing what you do. For what it's worth, here's an: !ATTABOY!>>

<<I don't open email with attachments because of the possibility of viruses that even the sender might not suspect.>>

<<Ok. Whatever happened to plain text in the body of the e-mail?>>

<<1 vote for original recipe :-)>>

<<Can I sign up for the "Clinton Format"? (That's where a young intern sits under my desk and reads TLE to me. )>>

<<two things from the "font" problem become clear, especially when i looked at the headers in the email, and saw this:
X-MIME-Autoconverted: from 8bit to quoted-printable by ez0.ezlink.com id f14GCmw11118
the problem is that 8-bit characters are being included in the text. this is why some of the people see "=32" and such in Victor's name, also left and right hand " marks sometimes are used.
this is no problem to people who also read the email in a MIME reader, such as netscrape or output exhaust. but to those of us who normally read TLE on a system which detects such things, like Linux, it can be annoying.>>

<<My two-cents-worth: ASCII text is the way to go. I like it better in the message body, but as a standard attachment is ok>>

<<I've always had all caps. ... And it IS anoying. Although I do suffer trough it.>>

<<I prefer the "old" email text format for delivery of TLE. The new format reads all right except that ALL the html addresses are NOT clickable to open the link in Netscape Navigator.>>

<<For what it's worth, I find the conventional e-mail message format better; in this format, I can use MS Outlook Express' search feature to look for words in the text>>

<<I prefer to receive it as an email. It makes it SO much easier to reply>>

<<They're BOTH excellent. Thanks :)>>

<<My vote is to keep the old format. It is easier to read. If I want a plain text version I can convert it on my Computer. I can't go the other way with any ease.>>

<<I use Eudora 4.2.1 on a PowerMacintosh and have no problems with either format,i.e., the "original" or the "text as attachment.">>

So, for the foreseeable future, I guess we'll just have to struggle along as we were, with TLE in the body of the message, as close to 'straight ascii' as I can make it.—ed.]

Letters List

Letter from Roy J. Tellason

Letter from Susan Wells

Letter from Jack Jerome

Letter from Donald Campbell

Letter from Administrator@judiciary.senate.gov

Letter from System Attendant

Letter from Abuse Reporting system

From: "Roy J. Tellason" <roy.j.tellason%tanstaaf@frackit.com>
To: TLE@johntaylor.org
Subject: standard?
Date: Monday, February 05, 2001 6:42 AM

In the just-arrived issue of TLE107, I see:

[But ... but ... if you use Outlook Express, it's MIME or UUENCODE—and that ain't gonna' happen. Besides, MIME is the unofficial standard.—ed.]


I haven't bothered with the MIME-encoded copy, don't see a need for me to have extra headers that I don't need and would have to snip out before I saved the text file.

I thought the "standard" was text.


Even still, with what I thought was the plain version, I still had bunches of equal-sign-3D and a few equal-sign-B9, used in place of just an equal sign or an apostrophe.

Why is this necessary? What brain-dead software is it that can't deal with standard, ordinary text characters, but must pre-empt them for its own use so that they need to be "escaped" when they're used?

From: Swftl@aol.com
Subject: Re: TLE #107 - original recipe

<<Silicon Valley is a hotbed of entrepreneurs and, supposedly, Libertarians. Perhaps we should be going there for talent as well.>>


<<I'm not saying "Bill Gates for President," ...>>

We could certainly do worse. And he has the money to run an effective campaign.

—Susan Wells

* * * * *

<<As to demolition materials and chemicals, this is like the "Would you want your neighbor building a nuclear bomb in his basement?" argument. If my neighbor is going to build a nuclear bomb (or fool around with demolition materials or deadly chemicals) in his basement or anywhere else, he isn't likely to make that known to me or to the police—whether these things are legal or illegal. Making them illegal is similar to making drugs illegal: it gives the puritans the opportunity to feel that they've done something constructive, when in fact they've done nothing to make us safer.>>

There's a big difference, though. If the neighbor is growing cannabis there's no danger to his/her neighbors. If the neighbor is an amateur chemist trying to produce meth then he/she is a danger to the neighbors because of the risk of fires and explosions. Meth should be produced by licensed chemists in licensed facilities. Nuclear materials should be handled by those with degrees in nuclear physics and licenses and should be dealt with on licensed facilities. It's just common sense.

* * * *

<<There is one bright side to these revolting displays. The desperation of the Clintons and their staff to skirt every rule, take every advantage, cart off everything that's not tied down, may at least show they've subconsciously realized Americans have begun to wise up to their act—that they're not likely to get back into the White House again in their lifetimes.>>

I'm afraid I can't be quite that optimistic, Mr. Suprynowicz. I think there's every chance that the former First "Lady" will be elected President in 2004. I hope it won't happen but it might.

—Susan Wells

From: "JACK JEROME" <paratime98@yahoo.com>
To: John Taylor
Subject: Should we be alarmed about this?
Date: Tuesday, February 06, 2001 9:50 PM

Howdy John, I had occasion to listen to an unusual syndicated radio program called "The Business of Government Hour", unusual do to it's content this particular day. The program, sponsored by Price Waterhouse, investigates Government trends in employment and research. What made it unusual was its guest, a ranking Treasury official. She (Amanda) was initially discussing employment opportunities in the Department, when the conversation took a sinister bend.

She spoke of the shortcomings that her group was running into in reference to profiling passengers boarding airplanes. This Treasury agent indicated that current rules and regulations were restrictive (?) and it was easy for agents to run into "legal troubles".

To circumvent this "problem", she referenced new areas of research that will produce "non-invasive methods of scanning people for contraband or dangerous weapons". This includes "low emission scanning devices placed at airport entrances". The moderator of this program prompted her with "you mean like X-rays?" and she concurred.

These methods, she glowingly bore on, would prevent people to feel that they were being "singled out for a search". This would certainly avoid those civil rights lawsuits, since all would have their Rights violated equally.

Other interesting job openings were spoken of, including computer experts to hack into personal data systems in search of profile materials (stored files and pictures) that would allow warrants to be issued to permit further investigation. Since all these subjects had been broached in the space of fifteen minutes I was suprised to hear that the Treasury Department still uses warrants.

A new programming company has also hit the street, one very much in league with the concepts espoused by the aforementioned guest in this talk show. Visage Programming (visage.com) has developed a facial recognition software that recently was utilized to photograph all the people at Raymond James Stadium. These photos were then crossed with wanted posters and photos of known terrorists electronically. The altruistic creators of this orwellian software hope to market it to internet companies, banks, telephone services, anyone who will pay for it.

It sounds like a dream to some, no more fingerprints, retina scans, or DNA typing. To others, a nightmare, where your very face can be used to access all your personal data, with or without your permission. What would be the defense aginst this? Groucho glasses? Fake wax teeth? Should we be alarmed about this? Seems a little disturbing, taking this in as the Big Picture, doesn't it? Don't hold back, tell me what you really think.

Peace out, Jack

From: "campbell" <campbell@q-express.net>
To: TLE@johntaylor.org
Subject: System Attendant at Crane
Date: Monday, February 05, 2001 3:16 PM

Your letter from Crane.army.mil was quite humorous... It reminds me of the 'profanity' checker we used to have on our Office Automation BBS system here at work. It seemed that someone wanted to advertise a cocktail party for the following weekend, but could not get the message posted .

It just shows that any and all censorship is bad, especially the brain-dead electronic versions.

Donald Campbell

From: "Administrator" <Administrator@judiciary.senate.gov>
To: John Taylor
Subject: Message not deliverable
Date: Sunday, February 04, 2001 10:56 AM

[As flattering (?) as it is to think that somebody on the Senate Judiciary Committee actually subscribed to TLE, it's too bad the effort was wasted. The 'administrator' blocks every delivery.—ed.]

From: "System Attendant" <CRANE-SRV1-SA@crane-smtp.army.mil>
To: John Taylor
Subject: ScanMail Message: To Sender, sensitive content found and action taken.
Date: Sunday, February 04, 2001 11:26 AM

Trend SMEX Content Filter has detected sensitive content.

Place = TLE ListMembers; ; ; John Taylor
Sender = John Taylor
Subject = TLE #107 - original recipe
Delivery Time = February 04, 2001 (Sunday) 11:26:45
Policy = Sexual Discrimination
Action on this mail = Delete message

Warning message from administrator:
Sender, Content filter has detected a sensitive e-mail.

[Hey, we scored again!—ed.]

From: abuse@energis-squared.net
To: John@JohnTaylor.org
Subject: Re: Spammer (ABUSE#92453)
Date: Sunday, February 04, 2001 4:11 PM

[[ This is an automatically generated reply to your message ]]


This mail is being sent to you because the Planet Online Network Abuse Reporting system received a mail which had your email address as the sender. <snip>

[Yet more critical acclaim. On top of being summarily rejected and accused of sexual discrimination (a charge I willingly—and literally—accept, by the way), now we're spam artists as well. It's been quite a week at TLE!—ed.]

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