RFCs, standards, pink bunnies and flower patterns

Mica Mijatovic blueness at gmx.net
Tue Oct 17 19:20:54 CEST 2006

Hash: SHA256

    Was Tue, 17 Oct 2006, at 15:34:39 +0100 (BST),
    when Nicholas wrote:

>> Of course that it doesn't mean that HTML should be banished
>> completely from the 'lectronic mail world, but it has its essential
>> limitations as for the cryptographic routines.

> Mica,

> Thank you for your email. It made me reflect. I had been ignoring this
> discussion. HTML emails are here to stay, and may users of the
> internet rely on them. Indeed, text only emails can look horrid on
> many Outlook setups, a fact I was long unaware of since I haven't used
> it in about 7 years.

> It's hard enough getting people to use encrypted email as it is -
> telling them they can't use what is to many people a very standard
> tool doesn't seem to me a good way forward.

> It seemed to me that PGP/MIME provides an excellent way to handle HTML
> email. But your email did make me think about that a bit more.
> Obviously, its ability to load external images might make the
> signature in practice meaningless (though the signature on the source
> code would still be correct, which makes it an interesting
> philosophical point). Is there anything else about an HTML email that
> raises a red flag from a security point of view?

I recall now a movie with Eddie Murphy playing a somewhat irregular
priest explaining to the crowd what is evil and what is not. Whatever he
says, now this and then that, the crowd says "Yeah!"

So, it is basically a matter of anthropology (and sometimes more
specifically of neurology, when the psychedel[ir]ic kitsch element is
particularly stressed in an HTML...creation)[1].

But if we put aside the matters of aesthetics (which is not just "a
matter of taste" but indeed of the work of subtle health of undamaged
neurones as well, which is an objective category), we can see that we
have at disposal two main aspects we can observe and analyze the HTML
case in the context (and it is a model for all the other ones of the
same and similar type)...

1) technical characteristics of such a document

2) the ways subjects _react_ on it, the document

...where the first aspect tells us about the essential proprieties (what
it is, does, can etc.) and the other one describes _habits_, as a
conditional behavior conditioned by various and idio...matic ways some
particular group of a given population adopts its models of behavior.[2]

Now, these models of _behavior_ can exist entirely independently of the
real value of the objects/things (in this case HTML mail), and if these
models we take to be criterions for estimation of the real value, then
we get the known mess where just mere habits are taken to be a

It is an evasive finer distinction that seems rarely who is able to
perceive and to keep attention on it enough long to get a clear thought
of it.

Since it is a global/general phenomenon, it encompasses the (human)
mental activities involved in creating something as the RFCs are as

This is generally result of the taking _habits_ to be criterion of
standards, and not the technical facts of the phenomenon that is object
of these habits.

RFCs are anyway good, generally speaking, since they have a basic
intention (to try if nothing else) to introduce an order and thus to
prevent an incredible mess, which would result in ultimate

It means thus that they, RFCs, are not gods nor priests, and that they
should be taken "with a grain of salt", not for granted thus, with a
healthy reason and not by "common sense".[3]

We have thus to think (to a certain needed degree) as well, not just to
merely react, and everything becomes better then, we get much better
solutions, and better solutions bring more enjoyment.

When the organ of pleasure disciplines itself, it produces and gives
much more pleasure.


Generally, HTMLanguage is for instance a pretty powerful language, it is
not naive at all, and with it many actions can be performed and
triggered, everywhere on your hard disk and "peripherals". These codes
you can't see/perceive on the surface, since they are not rendered by a
browser/mailer's HTML reader, although they are performed anyway. Not
good for a mail, definitely. "It's evil." (-: For now.

As for the "horrid look of text only mail", Courier is not only fixed
width font. I myself like it since it resembles the old typewriters
which is quite fine to me. Of others Lucida Console comes to mind, for
Windows, and many other ones for Linux.


[1] But again, might be that those people simply have not enough for a
better weed or simply a hammer/mazzuola, so is not nice to laugh at
someone's poverty.

We also shouldn't forget that Oscar Wild gave his life fighting against
kitschy wallpapers. His last words were: "Or they or me".

[2] See Pavlovian reflexes, how they are created and function.

[3] What is "common sense" in mental hospital for instance, or in some
collective insanity, or in an insanity in two... A "common" is not
enough to make a "standard". It resembles, it resembles it, indeed, but
it is not enough.

- --
~~~ For personal mail please use my address as it is *exactly* given
    in my "From" field, otherwise it will not reach me. ~~~
GPG keys/docs/software at: http://blueness.port5.com/pgpkeys/
"One tartar beef steak, please" - Nietzsche
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6-svn-4217 <>o<> tiger192 i686 * (Cygwin/MinGW32)


More information about the Gnupg-users mailing list