encoded messages in the ADS-L Digest

GSCole gscole at ARK.SHIP.EDU
Sat Jan 3 17:46:19 UTC 2004

The following information is for those with a technical bent, and who
have a better understanding of message headers than does the author of
this message.  I've never had problems in reading any of Gerald Cohen's
notes, but recent discussions on this list have led me to look at some
header settings for the messages.  Just a few header settings were
examined, not enough time to look at all of them.

Using Netscape 4.79 as my browser and mail reader, Gerald's messages are
easily read, i.e., they are shown as he intended.  There is sometimes an
exception when the SOURCE CODE of the message is viewed.

If I go to the View--Page Source option, and look at the portion of the
message that follows the X-UIDL component of the message header, there
are instances when everything is encoded, i.e., the message appears to
be 'gibberish', as others have noted, for one group of messages.  In
regular view, there is no problem in reading the message.

Header:   Content-Transfer-Encoding --

As in ==
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64

Looking back at some messages in my ADS mail folder, there is one type
of message that shows gibberish in the View--Page Source option, even
though the message is easily read in the normal view mode.  Messages
that have the header setting of Content-Transfer-Encoding: base 64 are
rendered as gibberish in the View--Page Source mode.

Messages that have the header setting of Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
are shown in English, in both normal view and View--Page Source modes.

Header:  X-Sender --

As in ==
X-Sender: gcohen at minermail.umr.edu (Unverified)

NOTE: the (Unverified) is not always shown.

There are some other header differences.  All of the mail from the
sender name of "Gerald Cohen" have a header setting:  X-Sender:
gcohen at minermail.umr.edu.  Mail with the X-Sender header, as noted, is
rendered in English, regardless of the viewing mode.

Header:   X-MS-TNEF-Correlator --

As in ==
<93434D835E4A0040A4FB5343603B45130EEF60 at umr-mail6.umr.edu>

Mail from the sender name of "Cohen, Gerald Leonard" does not show the
X-Sender header component, but it does have the header component of:
X-MS-TNEF-Correlator: (some encoding information)@umr-mail6.umr.edu.
All of the mail that has that particular header setting is not otherwise
readable in the View--Source Code mode.

An easily read message, in whatever view, was sent on 15 JUN 2003.  The
X-MS-TNEF-Correlator information is blank, i.e., no information is shown
for the header setting.  Sometime after that date, messages with that
particular header start showing up with 'information', and the source
code is 'gibberish'.

So, if the problem is with a spouse's computer, it appears that the
'problem' had to start sometime after the 15 JUN 2003 message.  There
might be room to ask if Gerald's university changed any of the settings
that it uses to process or encode messages.  And, in line with Michael
Vezie's question, how does the listserver treat such encoded messages?

George Cole
Shippensburg University

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