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    • Favorite 13 March 2019
      bobjonkman favorited something by lnxw48a1: You go to post, you look it over. It looks okay. Hit "Post" and now there are words missing, words spelled incorrectly, punctuation missing.
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by lnxw48a1 13 March 2019
      RT @lnxw48a1 You go to post, you look it over. It looks okay. Hit "Post" and now there are words missing, words spelled incorrectly, punctuation missing.
    • New note by bobjonkman 7 March 2019
      If you have an external clock that's transmitted exclusively over an analogue channel, then everyone would hear the beats at the same time (barring speed-of-light transmission times, which is really only a factor if the transmission uses geosynchronous satellites). But if there is any digital transmission then you're back to the same problem. Not everyone […]
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by lauraritchie 7 March 2019
      RT @lauraritchie @bobjonkman @strangeattractor what if they instead of playing reactively everyone played to a world clock? - people could always record their contributions and video magic can be done with screens in a room and then the one room is streamed.
    • New note by bobjonkman 4 March 2019
      The solution would be to have an analogue connection from end-to-end. But today, even analogue phones are connected to digital switching networks, so you can't even use ordinary landline phones and expect to get no delay. You can get "leased lines" from the phone companies that are analogue end-to-end, but leasing a tuned circuit that […]
    • New note by bobjonkman 4 March 2019
      Performing music together over an Internet connection is next to impossible if there is *any* lag at all. Typically, the lag is caused by short 10-50 millisecond delays for every router hop, at minimum one hop from you to your ISP, another from ISP to Internet Exchange Point (IXP), IXP to my ISP, and a […]
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by lauraritchie 4 March 2019
      RT @lauraritchie More on the livestreaming dilemma...I need to have the option of multiple participants AT THE SAME TIME - like playing in a band. So maybe the keyboard and drums are in one place (live) and the sax player joins from another country via a link. Does anyone know of a platform that lets […]
    • New note by bobjonkman 3 March 2019
      The duct tape is in very good condition.
    • New note by bobjonkman 3 March 2019
      Test receive, also pls ignore
    • New note by bobjonkman 25 February 2019
      ...and wouldn't you have to include the time to insert 225,000 microSD cards in your laptop, write 256 GBytes to them, and then (after transporting them at about 10 PBytes/second, assuming 6 seconds of flight time), spend more time to insert those 225,000 microSD cards in the other guy's laptop to read those 256 GBytes? […]

Why I’m an E-mail Luddite

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 2nd October 2013

Statue of a Luddite

Luddite Memorial, Liversedge

The pervasive expectation of HTML everywhere came to light in a recent e-mail exchange:

Him: Bob, have a look at this video: LOLcats at work

Me: Did you intend to send a link with that?

Him: Yes, here it is: LOLcats at work

Me: Sorry, still no link. Remember, I don’t receive HTML e-mail…

Him: Wut? I’ve never heard of someone not receiving HTML e-mail!

E-mail was never designed for HTML; it is intended to be a plain-text medium. HTML is merely cobbled on, and mail clients have no standard way to render HTML messages, resulting in different displays on different mail programs. Some mail programs, especially those run from the command line, can’t show HTML rendered messages at all.

Although I use a graphical mail client (Thunderbird), I choose to not display HTML for two reasons:

1) Security: HTML mail can have Javascript code or other objects embedded. That’s a great way to get virus infections on your computer. I don’t want any code running on my computer that I didn’t put there myself.

2) Privacy: HTML mail that links to external images allows the owner of those images to track your mail usage: When you open the mail, how often you open it, the location you open it at, what computer you’re using, and whether you forward it to others (and then, when they open the mail, how often, their location, &c).

Not to mention that HTML messages are far bigger than text messages, especially when the HTML contains embedded images, fonts, and other stuff. Now, that’s not such a big deal with fast connections, unlimited download caps, and cheap disk drives, but it will still make a difference on small-format devices like phones and watches.

That said, if you do send me HTML e-mail, be sure to embed any images or LOLcat videos. That way I can still view them as static attachments, without revealing when, where, and how often I view them.

For more info have a look at the Wikipedia article on HTML e-mail


You can send HTML e-mail to Bob Jonkman at

The Luddite Memorial, Liversedge by Tim Green is used under a CC-BYCreative Commons — Attribution 2.0 Generic — CC BY 2.0 license.

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