Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 6th Dec 2007 16:27 UTC
Mac OS X Since my Cube could not run Leopard, and I did not have any other Macs, I was unable to delve into Leopard right away. Apple NL was kind enough to fix this problem for us, by generously loaning me a brand new MacBook with Leopard installed so I could review it for OSNews. Read on for the findings.
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Stationary
by Adam S on Thu 6th Dec 2007 17:10 UTC
Adam S
Member since:
2005-04-01

Great review, Thom. I agree that Leopard is a nice step, and Quick Look seals the deal for me.

One thing I want to mention is "stationary" in Mail. You said

more commonly known among us geeks and nerds as annoying html email.


I think this stems from some sort of elitist holdover from some core geeks who believe email should remain plain text only. I happen to use plain text email, but the fact is that the rest of the world uses it differently, and it is very useful to have things embedded.

When people tell me HTML email is evil, I always press them to tell me why. Except for embedded scripts, which are usually blocked these days, I don't know why "geeks" have a mission against it. If people are anti-HTML, they ought to close down their browsers and go back to elinks and USENET, after all, their browsers usually use the same rendering engine as their email client.

Edited 2007-12-06 17:27 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Stationary
by BiPolar on Thu 6th Dec 2007 17:23 in reply to "Stationary"
BiPolar Member since:
2007-07-06

Mmm, browser... you mean wget plus cat, right?
:P

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: Stationary
by Hands on Thu 6th Dec 2007 17:47 in reply to "Stationary"
Hands Member since:
2005-06-30

I have to agree with both sides about the "stationary" thing.

I haven't used Leopard. So, I really don't know what they mean by stationary, but if it is anything like Outlook's concept, it really is annoying when someone uses a stationary theme out of the box. They are so ugly. Considering this is Apple, I concede that if the two concepts are basically equivalent, Apple generally does a much better job at avoiding ugly. I have also seen some very professional stationary themes made by individuals, but in general, I wish that people wouldn't use them.

With that being said, I have to agree with Adam. I just don't get the aversion by some geeks to HTML in email. Plain text just can't do everything. Just because some people use HTML to embed pictures (and stuff) in some retarded [spam] chain letters (among other things) does not mean that HTML is evil. I avoid the garbage, and I enjoy the extra functionality that HTML offers.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Stationary
by binarycrusader on Thu 6th Dec 2007 17:54 in reply to "Stationary"
binarycrusader Member since:
2005-07-06

When people tell me HTML email is evil, I always press them to tell me why. Except for embedded scripts, which are usually blocked these days, I don't know why "geeks" have a mission against it. If people are anti-HTML, they ought to close down their browsers and go back to elinks and USENET, after all, their browsers usually use the same rendering engine as their email client.


I'll tell you why. When I spend time in Australia, my bandwidth is metered. Most Australians don't have unlimited bandwidth. That means that HTML emails is actually costing me directly. It would be like telemarketers being allowed to call your cellphone in the US (they legally can't under most conditions).

The extra bandwidth that HTML email uses (more than double, since the original message is also usually present in plaintext form) wastes my bandwidth which I have a limited amount of.

I'd rather use that bandwidth for browsing, downloads, etc.

Likewise when I'm using a mobile connection where I get charged for bits I download I also don't want to be charged extra because of the wasteful practices of some people.

That is why HTML email is "evil"; though evil is the wrong in my opinion.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Stationary
by edogawaconan on Thu 6th Dec 2007 18:16 in reply to "RE: Stationary"
edogawaconan Member since:
2006-10-10

not to mention some people "love" to use "fancy" styles when writing mail.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Stationary
by Adam S on Thu 6th Dec 2007 19:10 in reply to "RE: Stationary"
Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

I'll tell you why. When I spend time in Australia, my bandwidth is metered. Most Australians don't have unlimited bandwidth. That means that HTML emails is actually costing me directly.


Only if you download the images, which few email clients do by default now, including Mail.app, which is what we're discussing here, and Outlook, Windows Mail, Gmail, Live Mail, etc. In that case, you should also stop using *all* email, because attachments can be a real bitch.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Stationary
by andrewg on Thu 6th Dec 2007 18:42 in reply to "Stationary"
andrewg Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't have anything against HTML email in general. It is abused quite badly though. It gives people with no idea of what works visually too much flexibility. Companies normally have style guides but you end up having people insisting on inserting their product / company / brand logo in every email. This is terrible if you value server space in particular but also tacky.

You end up where people start thinking of emails like company letterheads. Company letterheads are for official communication. Email is less formal due to how easy it is to fire an email out.

I would like an email client that allowed you to specify styles and limit people to using those like you can do with javascript based WYSIWYG HTML editors. That way the company style guide can be enforced you don't get 16 point italic script fonts etc. but you allow people to produce consistently readable well formatted email.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Stationary
by l3v1 on Thu 6th Dec 2007 18:56 in reply to "Stationary"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

I think this stems from some sort of elitist holdover from some core geeks who believe email should remain plain text only


Well, then there is a lot of these elitists out there, including me and almost all the people I exchange e-mails with (no, we're not living in anybody's mother's basement). I always set every and each e-mail to be displayed as plain text and if it's unreadable, I won't place any effort to read it. I just don't care what they have to say if they can't say it in text, only mixed with useless tags and flashy and colored junk. On the extremely rare occasions I'm still curious about it, I read it and begin my reply with telling the sender to use plain text when sending e-mail to me, they can use their tacky html decorations for the rest of the poor fellas they send e-mail to.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Stationary
by Adam S on Thu 6th Dec 2007 19:08 in reply to "RE: Stationary"
Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

Well, then there is a lot of these elitists out there, including me and almost all the people I exchange e-mails with


Simply not using HTML doesn't make you elitist. Hating it without valid reason does.

I won't place any effort to read it. I just don't care what they have to say if they can't say it in text


I read it and begin my reply with telling the sender to use plain text when sending e-mail to me, they can use their tacky html decorations for the rest of the poor fellas they send e-mail to.


Obviously you don't use email for work then, or in any professional sense. If I got a response email like that from a company I was patronizing, I would cancel their service immediately.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Stationary
by blixel on Thu 6th Dec 2007 19:06 in reply to "Stationary"
blixel Member since:
2005-07-06

When people tell me HTML email is evil, I always press them to tell me why.


I'll tell you why - pink italic text on purple backgrounds.

Reply Parent Score: 10

RE[2]: Stationary
by Adam S on Thu 6th Dec 2007 19:14 in reply to "RE: Stationary"
Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

I'll tell you why - pink italic text on purple backgrounds.


Just who are you emailing, blixel???

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Stationary
by Soulbender on Fri 7th Dec 2007 04:47 in reply to "RE: Stationary"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I'll tell you why music is evil: Britney Spears.
The logical conclusion of me not liking Britney Spears is of course that all music is evil. Everywhere. Always.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Stationary
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 6th Dec 2007 19:17 in reply to "Stationary"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

When people tell me HTML email is evil, I always press them to tell me why.


Because html email does not solve a problem. Like I said, it might be nice for a birthday invitation or something (but my personal value system dictates that birthday invitations are sent via paper mail or extended personally), but for day-to-day use of email, which constitutes 99% of email usage, it is utterly, utterly pointless and does not add anything to the overall functioning of email.

This is apart from technical reasons like different rendering engines rendering html mail different from one another (or the evil thing where html emails do not render correctly when you do not have the proper width set, or add a horizontal scrollbar), or the fact that html mails take longer to load, require extra clicks like telling it to download images. On top of that, we have the obvious security issues which rear their ugly head on not only Windows, but also OS X.

Edited 2007-12-06 19:20 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Stationary
by Adam S on Thu 6th Dec 2007 19:24 in reply to "RE: Stationary"
Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

Know what else doesn't solve a problem? CSS. HTML outputs plain old Times New Roman in most browsers, and that would be perfectly readable.

Come to think of it, colored clothes don't solve a problem - all clothes in white or tan - whatever cottom is - would be just fine.

Let's get rid of spices, the only problem solved by food is nutrition, and we don't need it to taste good to meet our caloric and nutritional requirements.


Obviously, the point here is that the world is not black and white. HTML email does solve problems for most people: inline images are useful and quicker, formatted text grabs attention and higlights important text, etc.

In fact, if you ever use bold tags in your articles, you ought to understand why some people believe that the ability to use HTML in email is worthwhile.

So if my problem is that I want to present an image to someone inline with instructional text, what is the solution? Suck it up and attach a rich text document at 200K or just go HTML email and do it in 40K?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Stationary
by Alex Forster on Thu 6th Dec 2007 20:23 in reply to "RE: Stationary"
Alex Forster Member since:
2005-08-12

By that doctrine, the web should also be plaintext.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Stationary
by plutoprime on Thu 6th Dec 2007 20:35 in reply to "RE: Stationary"
plutoprime Member since:
2007-11-03

It amazes me how a fellow self-proclaimed UI Analyst can pass such a harsh and definite judgment on HTML email.

Creatures who are color blind would most likely never miss color. In fact it's most likely impossible for them to comprehend color.

HTML email can do precisely what colors and smells do for us in real life. Not to mention extra features such as embedding links etc. I don't know about you Thom but I would rather live in a world with Color than without one.

P.S. When I say color in the real world I'm not talking about colored text in html. I'm talking about the extra sensory elements that you can add to the entire experience.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE: Stationary
by kaiwai on Thu 6th Dec 2007 20:41 in reply to "Stationary"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I think this stems from some sort of elitist holdover from some core geeks who believe email should remain plain text only. I happen to use plain text email, but the fact is that the rest of the world uses it differently, and it is very useful to have things embedded.


It has nothing to do with elitism. It has to do with the fact that it is bloat; what does it add to the conversation by the fact that the mail has 40 different types of fonts used for a 4 line email? nothing is achieved. Infact, the clarity is made worse and quite frankly, within an enterprise setting, its yet more features which distract the end user from the core purpose of email.

I've received html emails, and I'm on a metered internet connection, every bit of garbage added to the email by virtue of their 'creative juices' - it costs me. Run a USENET server with, in some cases, groups with 20,000 articles; imagine if each one was HTML, and added another 2K to the article, thats another 40MB, then over a server with 50,000 news groups - it makes it even worse.

Its the old story of 'look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves' - by themselves they aren't bad but imagine when it is extrapolated over several hundreds of thousands of end users.

THose of us who hate HTML email (along with USENET) don't hate it because it makes things interesting, we hate it because people completely lose the plot on what is acceptable to send, and what isn't. Give the end user an inch, and they'll take a mile.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Stationary
by Adam S on Thu 6th Dec 2007 20:45 in reply to "RE: Stationary"
Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

Meh. A few people abuse it, so wipe it out for everyone everywhere.

Your response is essentially "users are too dumb to know any better (than I do), so let's take it away from them." That's elitist in my book.

ps. I've never in my life seen an emal with 40 fonts. 99% of HTML email I receive is one font, one background. Hardly the mess you're painting.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Stationary
by Sabon on Thu 6th Dec 2007 21:38 in reply to "RE: Stationary"
Sabon Member since:
2005-07-06

You are complaining about bloat in e-mails and yet you have your picture in your posts. What's up with that?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Stationary
by nevali on Thu 6th Dec 2007 21:44 in reply to "Stationary"
nevali Member since:
2006-10-12

When people tell me HTML email is evil, I always press them to tell me why.


I'll tell you why: because it's obnoxious and rude.

I want to read e-mail in the format and style that's most comfortable to me; anything else and you're immediately hindering any chances of me dealing with your message in an efficient fashion.

Businesses don't send people letters by post set in Comic Sans, or in magenta-coloured type, or in 16pt text for exactly the same reasons: you are in no position to judge how the recipient would best prefer to read the messages you're sending them, and so the only sensible option is to be as neutral as possible and allow them to make that decision for you.

Every GUI e-mail client lets you choose how exactly plain-text messages should be rendered: typeface, colour, size, etc. In contrast, very few allow you to override how “rich” messages should be rendered.

If it's that vitally important that rich formatting in something related to the message be preserved, send an attachment. My experience suggests that sending attachments isn't something anybody has any difficulty with, after all (indeed, I regularly receive screenshots which are pasted into Word or PowerPoint documents and then attached, presumably because people don't realise they can usually just paste directly into their e-mail client and it'll create an attachment automatically…)

after all, their browsers usually use the same rendering engine as their email client.


Yes, the geeks do, but a good proportion of the business world uses an e-mail client whose rendering engine is paralleled with its companion word processor's, rather than any web browser in production (and another portion uses an e-mail client whose rendering engine is like nothing else on the planet, mentioning no IBM Lotus Noteses)


Back on-topic… I don't find the MacBook only having one touchpad button the slightest bit of a problem: two-finger tap on the touchpad itself is (if you switch the option on) a right-click.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Stationary
by djst on Sat 8th Dec 2007 10:49 in reply to "RE: Stationary"
djst Member since:
2005-08-07

"When people tell me HTML email is evil, I always press them to tell me why."

I'll tell you why: because it's obnoxious and rude.

I want to read e-mail in the format and style that's most comfortable to me; anything else and you're immediately hindering any chances of me dealing with your message in an efficient fashion.


I think it's hilarious that your case against HTML formatting uses both italics and bold text. Thanks for proving yourself wrong. Saves a lot of time for the rest of us. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Stationary
by abraxas on Fri 7th Dec 2007 01:10 in reply to "Stationary"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

When people tell me HTML email is evil, I always press them to tell me why

I'll tell you why HTML email is evil. The only emails I get that are HTML are either advertisements/spam, email from family members that have too much time on their time, or company emails. Obviously I don't care for advertisements/spam in my inbox and when it comes to family members, their emails would be no different without HTML. It's pretty much useless unless you are a spammer. Companies love to add their graphics to their confirmation emails etc but is it really necessary to chew up bandwith so I can see your logo? I have a better question for you. What benefit does HTML email give ANYONE?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Stationary
by thebackwash on Fri 7th Dec 2007 01:47 in reply to "RE: Stationary"
thebackwash Member since:
2005-07-06

Aside from those who pay per megabyte, who cares if a little bandwidth is used to send a company's logo?

HTML mail CAN do more than plaintext. Don't be willfully ignorant. You can format what you say, you can add images, and overall make an easier to read document.

Seriously. The Greeks had minimal forms of punctuation, and didn't even put spaces between their words. All of you HTML haters would be that guy saying punctuation is evil and an assault on good taste.

Do you prefer the books you buy to be well formatted, with an easy to read table of contents, and helpful diagrams, or would you rather have a greppable text file with no formatting? There is no uniform right way to do things, and if you could just stretch your concept of things just a little, you'd find that there are a lot of wonderful things you just have to deal with openly as a human being, rather than trying to dominate them, and force them to fit what you already know.

Just because you can't control everything people send you anymore doesn't mean HTML mail is a bad thing, it means you have control issues.

This topic is going down the tubes. And I honestly feel the unreasonable ones are the people who have such a strong irrational hatred of something that could be useful to other people.

I'll go so far, (and this is true, BTW) to say that the technology ratrace makes me unhappy, but that's because I'm an unhappy individual, and what used to be my hobby turned unhealthy after several personal events sent me reeling. But why shouldn't others be able to use something they find useful? If HTML mail makes you unhappy maybe you should find out why.

Edited 2007-12-07 01:47

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Stationary
by Adam S on Fri 7th Dec 2007 03:50 in reply to "RE: Stationary"
Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

Obviously, you haven't read this thread.

If the *only* HTML emails you receive are ads and spam, then you're not using email professionally.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Stationary
by Soulbender on Fri 7th Dec 2007 05:15 in reply to "RE: Stationary"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

What benefit does HTML email give ANYONE?


Formatted text. You know, bold, underline, emphasis, that kind of stuff. Why should you have to attach a different document written in a different program just to format your text?
Btw, what benfit does using the osnews quote tag give ANYONE?

Edited 2007-12-07 05:15

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Stationary
by djst on Sat 8th Dec 2007 11:00 in reply to "RE: Stationary"
djst Member since:
2005-08-07

I have a better question for you. What benefit does HTML email give ANYONE?

* The ability to add emphasis, something we do all the time in e.g. these article comments

* The ability to add simple structure, which is really helpful if you are writing a longer e-mail with some sub headings.

* The ability to use real links instead of using third-party services like tinyurl just because plain text e-mails force you to show the full urls all the time.

* The ability to put an image where it makes the most sense in the context. For example, when comparing things, you can immediately show what you mean instead of writing e.g. "see attachment xyz.jpg."

* The ability to present relevant data in a structured table without a lot of tedious manual ascii formatting work.

* The ability to do all of the above without resorting to an attachment, forcing you to use two separate programs to read an e-mail!

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Stationary
by StephenBeDoper on Fri 7th Dec 2007 13:19 in reply to "Stationary"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

When people tell me HTML email is evil, I always press them to tell me why. Except for embedded scripts, which are usually blocked these days, I don't know why "geeks" have a mission against it.


There are several reasons:

- the number of EMail users who can't view HTML EMail is actually increasing (thanks to the rise in EMail-capable handheld devices).

- it's unnecessarily wasteful of bandwidth, especially since most mail clients send two versions of the same message (plain-text and HTML) to accommodate clients that can't view HTML.

- most of the capabilities of HTML that *would* be useful in EMail have been disabled because of their potential for abuse (want to send out a web-based form by EMail? Too bad, since it won't work with the latest versions of Outlook).

- spammers often use uniquely-named images in EMails for address validation (if there's any traffic to the image, then they know the address is valid) - so newer EMail clients don't load images automatically.

- and on a more subjective level, it enables annoying crap like "IncrediMail" (if you've ever received an EMail with auto-playing background audio or animations in the signature, you know what I mean).

I'm not one of those "purists" who believe that all EMail should be plain-text and nothing else - I just wish that there was some standard for text formatting in EMail that wasn't quite so heavyweight compared to plain text (the size of a message shouldn't quadruple simply because a word has been italicized).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Stationary
by netpython on Fri 7th Dec 2007 14:15 in reply to "RE: Stationary"
netpython Member since:
2005-07-06

- the number of EMail users who can't view HTML EMail is actually increasing (thanks to the rise in EMail-capable handheld devices).

As it should from a handholding security point of view.
No nasty links you can click on might save your day. As in not being phished.

Reply Parent Score: 2