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Re: The Rose is back and the =20 thingys

At 5:32 PM 18.04.96, Tanner Lovelace wrote:

>    [The following text is in the "iso-8859-1" character set]
>    [Your display is set for the "US-ASCII" character set]
>    [Some characters may be displayed incorrectly]
>You might check your mailer and see if you can change this being as
>most of us on the list are in the US, and the Canadians seem to use
>the same characters that we do. :-)

Actually, a MIME mailer will often put in the =s even when using us-ascii.
There are two parameters here: content-type (which includes the character
set) and content-transfer-encoding.  The C-T-E "quoted-printable" is used
to ensure that the text will arrive unchanged--no, really! :-) See, there
are mail gateways out there that do weird things even to ASCII--for
example, some systems use EBCDIC (IBM's ancient character set, before
ASCII), which doesn't have some of the ASCII punctuation.  More
pertinently, some mailers strip off trailing spaces.  Quoted-printable is
intended to protect your message from these mailers.  Any character can be
encoded as an = followed by the hex (base 16) of its ASCII value; the
mailer does this to characters that don't exist in EBCDIC, to =s (to make
sure that every = marks a hex code), and to any space that appears at the
end of a line.  The hex for the space character is 20.  Plus, long lines
get wrapped in some way that also generates hex characters, possibly a
=20--I forget exactly.

Anyway.  The point is that quoted-printable is there to protect you from
oddball cases, and doesn't leave the message unreadable to people without
MIME mailers-- just funny-looking.  Many mailers let you turn off
quoted-printable.  For example, in Eudora, you click on the QP option on
the toolbar at the top of the message, or set the default under the
"Sending Mail" settings.  In Netscape Mail (*), it's the "MIME Compliant"
option in the "Composition" panel of "Mail and News Settings".  I've turned
it off for this message so the equals signs don't get mangled (I'm hoping
it works--if not, just know that every equals sign followed by "3D" is
supposed to be just an equals sign "-).

Or, of course, we could all switch to MIME mailers, and then everyone will
see it properly.  (I don't expect this to happen *soon*, you understand,
but it's a nice thought.  :-)

(*) Conflict-of-interest disclaimer: as of tomorrow, I will be working for
Netscape.  :-) Netscape Mail is a pretty nice package anyway (I *like*
being able to receive mail messages in HTML :-), but I'm not using it
full-time myself --mainly inertia; I've got lots of messages saved in

|John (Francis) Stracke        | http://www.io.com/~francis | PGP key on Web|
|francis@tigana.microserve.com |============================================|
|Power Mac w/PPP               | My strength is as the strength of ten      |
|My Mac, my opinions.          |   because my code is pure.                 |
  Francois Thibault          AFP of PA!       Shire of the Blak Rose (East)
  Argent, a cock gules, and, on a chief sable, three standing stones argent