Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

Some useful e-mail utilities

Someone sends me a “crime report” of crimes that have taken place in our neighbourhood. I’ve thought of saving these in a database that would make it easier to refer to them — to see if a car registration on a vehicle behaving suspiciously has been recorded as being involved in crimes elsewhere, for example. But what deters me is all the extraneous headers in the e-mails. All I want is the to, from and date lines, and not all the routing information and spam checks and the like.

And suddenly someone has pointed me to a utility that does just that, for Pegasus e-mail, the mail-reading program I use. And lots of other useful utilities too.

LEXACORP – Information Systems Development : Papua New Guinea:

Note that none of these utilities has a ‘Setup’ or ‘Uninstall’ procedure. They do not write to the Registry and do not put DLLs etc in other directories. To remove any of these utilities from your system just delete them.

I notice that Windows 7 doesn’t have a built-in e-mail system. This is an improvement, since it gives the user a choice of what e-mail program to use, and I use and recommend Pegasus, partly because in its default setup it is immune to a lot of the spam and malicious e-mails that seem to go around.

Pegasus Mail:

Welcome to the North American Web Site for Pegasus Mail, the Internet’s longest-serving PC e-mail system, and for the Mercury Mail Transport System, our comprehensive range of Internet Mail Server products. Pegasus Mail is a free product, dedicated to serving all who need it, while Mercury is a modestly-priced commercial system.

I suppose I am a bit old-fashioned about e-mail: I think e-mail is e-mail and web pages are web pages, and that HTML codes should be kept out of e-mail, and reserved for web pages. Using HTML in e-mails is wasteful of bandwidth and disk space. A two-line message in plain text can take 200 lines or more in HTML, yet the content is exactly the same. So I don’t like HTML in e-mails, and Pegasus lets me send and read message in plain text.

Pegasus also, by default, blocks “lazy html”. That is, HTML codes that refer to an external web site and not something in the message itself. It is something most often used by spammers, scammers and distributors of malicious software, designed for more tolerant and less protective mail readers like Outlook and Outlook Express. Pegasus by default blocks them and displays a warning, and anything in the message that refers to a remote site is displayed as a blank grey block. Sometimes such a message will display something like “Your mail reader cannot display this message” and tells me what hoops I need to jump through to read it. But such messages are almost invariably unsolicited spam anyway, which I don’t want to read.

I prefer that if people want me to look at a web page, they describe it and give the URL. Then I can decide if I want go there or not. Pegasus displays the URLs in clickable form, so you click on them and it calls your web browser. But it also displays the real address at the bottom of the screen, both for e-mail and web addresses. That is useful for exposing phishing expeditions. When you are asked to send details of your bank account to an address like:

amd Pegasus displays it as

you know something phishy is going on.

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