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How to use E-MAIL (original) (Jonathan R. Partington)
(computer, chuckle)

How to use E-MAIL

 We present some basic information for those thinking of using
Electronic MAIL.

 The day will come when you receive an incomprehensible MAIL
message, containing 200 lines of header and one line at the
bottom saying "Greetings from Bognor Regis" (or it may be Ulan
Bator). Probably the simplest way of dealing with such messages
is to delete them at once to save time answering them, but
occasionally you may feel like replying. So what do you do?

 Well we'll assume that you are authorised to use ARPANET,
JANET, GORDONBENET or whatever (and if not you may as well give
up now before the Computing Service remove your toenails.) One
way to reply to the message is to type something like REPLY, but
in complicated cases this won't work and you will be left to
your own initiative.

 First search the message for something that looks like a mail
address. The following may well be mail addresses:




whereas the following are less likely to be mail addresses and
are probably random garbage produced by the system:

 >>>>You are a fish-faced weasel

 +++UGH9000I+++My brain hurts


++++ Press the RETURN key for more output, or sit there looking
stupid, see if I care

 Simple, eh? The ones with lots of @ and % signs are MAIL

 Now all you have to do is discover the address to which to
reply. This will be a random permutation of the address you
received the message from. Nobody knows why. We tried phoning
the JANET manager on 01-246-8047, but he wasn't there, so we
tried 01-8047-246, 246-01-8047 and several other possibilities.
Then the post office refused to deliver a letter to Mr Janet
because the postcode hadn't been correctly permuted and the
stamp was in the wrong corner of the envelope (they said) -- so
we gave up.

 Anyway for a typical mail address with 8 components there are
only 40,320 possible ways of ordering it, so it shouldn't take
long to try them all. Most of them will produce error messages
from mailer daemons, file servers, or just random system
managers. DO NOT REPLY TO THESE (even if you can work out how).
There is nothing a mailer daemon likes less than receiving
unsolicited Valentine messages, requests that it stick its head
in a  bowl of porridge, moans that "it worked yesterday" and
cheeky requests concerning its inside leg measurement. Such
messages should of course be sent directly to your local

 Well there we are. That was simple, wasn't it. Anyone wanting
further details should send a stamped addressed E-mail message
to... er, well you can work it out for yourself.

(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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