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[nmh-workers] Bleeping idiots!

From: Ronald F. Guilmette
Subject: [nmh-workers] Bleeping idiots!
Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2019 17:47:25 -0700

I'me still backed up with unfinished tasks, piled to the rafters,
and i'm still trying to save the world for evil nternet criminals,
so alas, I have to report that I *still* having had time to go back
to read and do all of the helpful suggestions that were made to me
regarding how to get my personal nmh configuration fully unsnarled,
once and for all.

I hope you'll all frgive me for that.  It is still very much on my
todo list, but meanwhile, daily life keeps interrupting me, usually
with some utterly pointless idiocy.

Like today.

A certain insurance company, which shall remain nameless, wanted
me to set up an account on their web site, so that I could do
stuff like, you know, make payments and check my outstanding
balance.  OK.  Fine.  I know the drill.

So I go to the web site, fill in all of the innane questions
necessary to preserve the false impression of actual security
(for the benefit of the great unwashed masses) and at the end,
of course, they send me a confirmation email, from which I am
supposed to fish out a link and either click on it (which I can't
because nmh doesn't do that) or else do like I have hundreds of
times before, cutr and paste the link into a browser window,
and then hit enter and (hopefully) I'm done.

This is where things got interesting.

Relevant MINE headers were as follows:

    Content-Type:  text/html; charset="ansi_x3.4-1968"
    Content-Transfer-Encoding:  base64

And here is a summary of what nmh showed me:

You’re almost done!

To get your <<REDACTED>> ID, just complete this final step.

Simply click the link below

Confirm your email address >

The link above will expire 90 days from when it was sent. If you have not
confirmed your email address and you need a new confirmation link, you will
receive one when you sign in.

Your privacy is important to us. If you did not register for a <<REDACTED>> ID,
please call our Customer Service Advocates at the number on the back of your
member ID card...

Of course, I immediately went and looked at the raw text of the email file
in my inbox directory.  That was zero help, cuz the body text was all
base64 encoded.

Chalk this up as yet another reason why I hope that *someone* will eventually
find the son of a bitch who thought that putting HTML into emails would be
a good idea, and I hope that that someone will murder the lousey son of a
bitch in his sleep.

It's not just that HTML is largely pointless and unnecessarily wasteful of
bandwidth.  It's that morons working in the bowels of corporations all
over this planet clearly have no idea how to properly craft even HTMLized
email messages in such a way that they will render properrly for those of
us who use plain text email clients like nmh.

Fortunately, I managed, in the end to make contact with a helpful "web
support" minion who works for the insurance company in question and
after a brief verbal dance, she pressed some button on her end to finish
up the confirmation of my shiny new online account on this company's web
site.  (Don't even get me started about the possible security implications
and the whole topic of "social engineering".)

Ok, now that I have gotten THAT rant off my chest...

If this ever comes up again, what is the Right Answer?  Given a single
part email message with the MIME headers I've described above, what is
the simplest way for a person, such as myself, to be able to view the
raw HTML (but decoded out of base64, of course)?

I feel sure that I could slap something together based on the availability
of a wealth of helpful Perl library MIME handling routines, but I also
feel sure that someone else has already invented the exact wheel I'm
looking for, so if someone would be so kind as to simply tell me where
to get it, that would be appreciated.

And yes, 'll be back again to get some final help with unsnarling my
substantially mucked up personal nmh configuration when, if ever, I can
just get my head above the water line.  (Not this week, that's for sure.)


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