It wouldn’t be difficult to outclass the Eye when it comes to computers. But we did promise to explain what went wrong with one of our posts on this blog a few days ago. So here goes….
It’s possible to ’embed’ a complete e-mail into a document as a ‘simple’ hypertext link. The reader can then click on the link, and an e-mail, pre-addressed and with the subject line and the full text of the e-mail already completed, will open up ready to send.
So, that’s what we did – we embedded a reply to the borough council about its Camberley regeneration plans – in the post. But such things rarely go right the first time, so there’s a bit of trial and error. To avoid the council being deluged with e-mails containing nothing but rubbish, we deliberately used an invalid e-mail address until we thought that everything was OK.
Now on our PC we use Outlook – Microsoft’s ‘professional’ e-mail client – on which all seemed well. However, having had lots of experience of the law of natural cussedness, we made a final check using an Android tablet running the K-9 email app. Disaster. Every space between words of our ‘pre-prepared’ e-mail had turned into a plus sign.
We tried various things to cure this (yes, we did try substituting %20 for the spaces) without success. In the end, we deleted the body of the e-mail, leaving readers to COPY AND PASTE our illustrative response to the council, and we replaced the spaces in the subject line with rather naff underscores. At which point we went to bed!
(We know WHY the plus signs appeared. But if you know of a way to stop it happening, DO let us know!!)
Next day, we published the item – completely forgetting about that invalid e-mail address. But our readers found it quickly enough! So, hasty changes had to be made after the item had gone ‘live’. But worse was to come. A phone conversation later with one of our contributors revealed that the link didn’t work at all for them. So more hasty changes, adding the relevant e-mail address of the borough council to the text so that, if all else failed, readers could create their own e-mail. The Eye admitted defeat!
Next time, we won’t try to be clever…
– if you found this a totally boring and pointless item, you WERE warned in the title!