[amsat-bb] ANS Bulletin Format Problem

Zach Metzinger zmetzing at pobox.com
Tue Oct 17 03:48:02 UTC 2017

On 10/16/17 21:16, JoAnne K9JKM wrote:
> All ANS bulletins are sent plain text. We can't control what end users 
> are reading them with!

Hello JoAnne,

A slight clarification: they appear to be a base64-encoded MIME[1] 
payload. In the headers, we can see:

> User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:52.0) Gecko/20100101
> 	Thunderbird/52.4.0
> MIME-Version: 1.0
> Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"; Format="flowed"

Then, in the body, we see the base64-encoded message:

> aW5zIGFyZSBhIGZyZWUsIHdlZWtseSBuZXdzIGFuZCBpbmZvci0KbWF0aW9uIHNlcnZpY2Ugb2Yg
> QU1TQVQgTm9ydGggQW1lcmljYSwgVGhlIFJhZGlvIEFtYXRldXIgU2F0ZWxsaXRlCkNvcnBvcmF0

Since there is a base64 decoder involved in this decoding process, it 
might be that some clients are getting it wrong. I have had no issue 
viewing the ANS bulletins on Thunderbird, to be expected, Android K-9 
mail, or mutt.

Now, I'm not entirely sure how Thunderbird decides when it should base64 
encode the message, but I have my Preferences -> Composition -> General 
-> Send Options -> (x) "Send messages as plain text if possible" 
checked. I have verified that my messages are not base64 encoded.

If you truly want to send text-only messages, and this option is not 
checked, you might try doing so. Then, send yourself an ANS bulletin and 
use View -> Message Source to verify that the message body appears as 
plain text.

Hope that helps!

--- Zach

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIME

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