flak rss random

hard facts about shitcoins

Got a new spam today, subject “hard facts”, which was actually kind of interesting. There was a link, which obviously not clicking, but the body was a reply to an email I had allegedly sent. Here’s what I said:

Be careful with shitcoins. They tend to market themselves based on the latest trendy arguments against btc.

First it was the confirmation time then mining algorithm then inflation schedule
and recently, unfairly distributed, incomplete shitcoins are hyped on the grounds
of smart contracts, usually asking you to buy in their "crowdsale" or "IPO".

That’s so on target I thought maybe it really was an email I’d sent. Is it still spam if I agree with it?

Posted 30 Jun 2017 19:48 by tedu Updated: 30 Jun 2017 19:48
Tagged: mailfail rants

action of no action required

From AT&T

From: "AT&T" <att@e.att-mail.com>
To: ted.unangst@gmail.com
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2016 17:07:07 -0500
Subject: Ted, Action required.

We're writing to confirm that this is your current email address.
If this email address is still current, you don't need to do a thing.

Translation: action required -> no action required. Jerks.

Posted 18 Nov 2016 19:29 by tedu Updated: 18 Nov 2016 19:29
Tagged: mailfail

html email comments

Normally I don’t look at the source for HTML emails, but sometimes I end up scrounging around for some important data that didn’t survive the conversion to plaintext. And so that’s how I stumbled upon these gems.


The phone number module is hidden on Mobile. 

20150122 [JAMES] - Add left-to-right direction to phone number td so phone number shows correctly for right-to-left languages
20150219 [YVONNE] -Updated variables for Venere - added 1px orange birder for Venere
20151019 [YVONNE] - Removed ATde_AT from TUV logic
20160831 [GREG] - Remove Phone Number for VN


Email Change Log

140515 [JAMES] - Launch Functionality
141126 [JAMES] - Apply exclusion logic for emergency emails M_BZ_OFC
150213 [JAMES] - Switch to Partners Tool data for localisation
160531 [GREG] - Switch from MHotel_Hcom_Destination DE to HCOM_MHotel_Destination


I’m not sure which is more disturbing. The decision to embed version history in every email they send, or the inconsistent date formats, or the strange mix of HTML, C, and C++ style comments. Using -- is a particularly poor choice of decoration within an HTML comment, by the by.

I’m also having a fun time imagining staying at a hotel 50 years ago, then receiving a follow up letter spattered with white out covering up various notes from the marketer to the secretary. “Insert reference to upcoming holiday here.”

Posted 08 Sep 2016 15:45 by tedu Updated: 09 Sep 2016 12:20
Tagged: mailfail

refined spam typography

From a random spam:

font-family: Cambria, "Hoefler Text", "Liberation Serif", Times, "Times New Roman", serif;

So we’ve got Windows, Mac, and... Linux? Well, some Linux. No love for DejaVu fonts I guess.

Posted 10 Aug 2015 00:33 by tedu Updated: 10 Aug 2015 00:33
Tagged: mailfail

choose your own translation

Received an email from United today. I guess one way to do translations is to just dump them all in the email and have the user select one?

$select(lookup(ML_LANG_CD), EN, MileagePlus Monthly Statement, ES, Estado de cuenta de MileagePlus, PT, Extrato do MileagePlus, JA, 月マイレージプラスご利用明細書, CH,前程万里 (MileagePlus) 邀约)$

Posted 15 Jan 2015 21:50 by tedu Updated: 15 Jan 2015 21:50
Tagged: mailfail

conditionally mitigated by msn.com

Sometimes I receive mail from people with msn.com (or outlook.com or live.com) email addresses. Legit mail, even including patches for OpenBSD (crazy!). Unfortunately my IP address was blacklisted, so my direct replies would bounce back to me. The good news is that Microsoft has a support form you can use to resolve this issue. The bad news is it asks 30 (thirty!) questions (all required!) about my business and my mailing list.

“What OS are you using?” OpenBSD

“What mail transport software are you using?” smtpd

“Provide the URL of your web site.” ok... www.tedunangst.com

“Provide the URL of your Privacy Policy.” uh...

“In what manner(s) are recipients added to your mailing list(s)?” I type it in the To: box. Sometimes I click reply.

“Please copy/paste samples of a few of the messages you’re sending.” (An email containing a patch for src/lib/libfuse. Bet they haven’t seen that before.)

The good news is somebody at Microsoft has decided I “qualify for conditional mitigation” until such time as I have “established a good reputation” according to the form letter response. The bad news I don’t know if anybody read my answers to their inane questions and had a chuckle, or just clicked the green button and moved on to the next spammer trying to cheat the system.

Posted 20 May 2014 01:34 by tedu Updated: 20 May 2014 01:34
Tagged: mailfail rants

secure email hashing

Received an email this morning about a package containing a large amount of cash being held by DHL (yippee!). As befits important email of a security sensitive nature, they tried to sign the message, or at least I think that’s what they were trying to do.

To: tedu@cvs.openbsd.org, hmac-ripemd160-etm@openssh.com

While it’s comforting to see that they chose the more secure encrypt-then-mac construction, RIPEMD-160 is hardly cutting edge. As such, I’m not sure I can trust this message.

Posted 23 Mar 2014 21:21 by tedu Updated: 23 Mar 2014 21:21
Tagged: mailfail

Heroku subscription status

Several years ago, when Heroku was young and fresh, I had a question about their service. The only way to ask them a question was to create an account and file a support ticket, so that’s what I did. Some time passed and then suddenly I started receiving monthly Heroku newsletters. While I don’t recall there even being such a checkbox when I signed up, I am always fastidious about not opting in to receive such junk, even with fiendish “By not unchecking this box, you agree to not unsubscribe from our crap” phrasing, but nevertheless I find myself enrolled in their newsletter.

I have been ignoring the newsletter because unsubscribing is usually more trouble than it’s worth and my spam filter knows exactly where to put it. Eventually, somebody (or something) at Heroku caught on and a month ago I received this email:

“You are receiving this email because we do not have a current subscriber status on you for Heroku emails.“

You’d think no status would imply no newsletter, right? That email was followed an hour later by the January newsletter. The status email itself continued,

“If you would rather not opt-in to receive Heroku emails, you do not need to take any action. We will automatically change your status to opted-out within the next 30 days.“

Today I received the February newsletter.

Today I received the March newsletter. Looks like Heroku has decided to change my status to opt-in instead. Thanks.

Posted 20 Feb 2014 22:14 by tedu Updated: 20 Mar 2014 16:48
Tagged: mailfail rants

erroneous delayed shipment notification

Not really a failing of the email format, but of its contents. Last weekend I ordered a new iPhone for my dad. It was supposed to arrive today. Yesterday, Apple sends me an email that it’s going to ship soon and will arrive next week. That’s no good. I call Apple and talk to a real person on the phone, who confirms the phone is in Apple’s warehouse, they’re going to ship it real soon now, and I should expect it next week. That’s too late, so I cancel the order, but it’s too late for that too, so instead it’s converted to a return request. Today the phone arrived after all. What a waste of time and frustration.

I looked up the tracking number after it arrived. It was shipped UPS ground from a nearby warehouse last night. It’s close by (and presorted, etc.), so even ground shipments arrive in one day. Apparently Apple’s actual shipping logistics program knows this, which is why I was originally promised a delivery date of today. (Or conversely, it explains why the software knew it could meet the promised deadline even with a last minute ground shipment.) But Apple’s email the customer software doesn’t know this.

Instead, I imagine the notifier was triggered when my phone was being taken off the shelf and prepared for shipment. It then looks up my order in the database, sees ground shipping, and then just slaps the usual 3-5 day bracket around the delivery estimate. The problem is the 3-5 day window from the front page of ups.com doesn’t apply to this route. (ups.com even has a shipping calculator which will tell you that this ground shipment only takes one day. I don’t know where Apple’s email notifier gets its misinformation.)

Root cause analysis: don’t use two databases when only one has the correct information.

Posted 19 Dec 2013 21:40 by tedu Updated: 19 Dec 2013 21:40
Tagged: business mailfail rants

surprise gift from Amazon

Amazon has a trade-in program where they buy back electronics (and books, etc.) and give you store credit. If the item isn’t in good enough condition, they’ll return it to you. About two weeks ago, I sent in a Canon camcorder I never really used. Got a credit. Then today I received a package from Amazon. The magic camera elves in Kentucky (where the Amazon trade-in depot is located) turned my camcorder into a Canon DSLR camera. The box even included the camcorder packing slip I printed out and sent with the first package.

I assume the traded in DSLR was found wanting in some respect and on its way home when my packing slip and address got shuffled into the mix. I would forward it on its way, but the only address I have is my address. If it had a lens, maybe I could even use it for a while, but alas it’s only the body. Guess I’ll just stick it in the corner for a while until somebody asks for it.

Posted 08 Oct 2013 22:17 by tedu Updated: 08 Oct 2013 22:17
Tagged: mailfail rants