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: Joe.Hatstand@CHRONIX.VMS1%UK.AC.BOGNOR.REGIS.FISHNET Mrs.Letitia.Globsquirtle@87-Weeble.Terrace%Leeds!LS2.9JT PMTZXQ8904%wombiquangle!mvs6$hello.sailor_vendepac@nose-flute3 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 Mature_mailer_daemon_seeks_adventurous_lady_mailer_daemon_object _wild_passion_and_possibly_a_family_of_little_fail_reports ++++ 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 addresses. 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 Postmaster. 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)