Some people, especially my colleagues at work, always gripe why I
always send emails in plain text form. Here’s my principle: HTML email
is evil. Besides making the size of email to be somewhat larger, it
also has the potential to be malicious. No doubt it makes them look
great with all the colors, graphics, some degree of interactivity and such
but do we actually need them? I remember back in the 1993/94 when I
first started out on the Internet. The mail client I was using was
PINE
that ran on a Sun Solaris which we had to telnet in from dinky lil’ PCs in
the lab over PC-NFS (if memory still serves me right :P). Everything was
sent using plain text. For all intent and purposes, it was nice and
simple. It stayed that way for the next few years until sometime around
year 2000, HTML email was picking up steam. And that when trouble
began to brew. We got viruses spreading via email now. Although it’s
been done before through mail attachments in the form of executables,
it requires the extra step for the user to invoke it. With HTML email, it
sometimes doesn’t even require the user to take that extra step since
most HTML email readers execute the Javascripts which in turn
executes the virus that are embedded in it. I know it can easily be
circumvented by disabling Javascripts but still, it’ll be more comforting
if it’s the email is not rendered through the web browser engine. And
then there’s the other thing: Spam. Some of the spams I received
have been in HTML. Most of the time, I just don’t bother to even open
it and just delete it on the server before I even download it to my PC.
Out of curiousity one day, I decided to download one and save it as a
HTML file for me to take apart. The HTML tags all look normal to me
but there’s just something about some of those image tags. Then it
struck me, Webbugs!
Again, this idea is not new as some organizations out there use this
technique to sniff out user behavior on their websites but spammers
have taken this idea to use it as a confirmation your email is a valid
one and will thus continue pounding it with their junk. Another gripe I
have over HTML email is the size. A simple mail is now about 60-70
percent larger (the average I derived from some HTML emails I
received) in size. While it may not matter to some, but to those who
are on a slow link and receive a lot of email or even have to pay
Internet access fees based on bandwidth used, it does make some
difference.

Today marks the 28th Wedding Anniversary for my folks, so Happy
Anniversary, Ayah & Mama.