Guy’s Ezine – Housekeeping

Guy’s Ezine – Housekeeping

Here are two actions that I encourage you to take in order to improve your newsletter experience:

1) Set the format preference, you choose HTML or Plain Text.

2) If necessary, update your email address.

This is how to access the link, and then change your settings.  Scroll down to the bottom of my newsletter and look for a heading called : Housekeeping
Click on the link: Change your email address

Housekeeping (HTML Version)

Change your email address

Get an RSS feed so that you know whether Guy publishes or if he misses a particular week.


Guy Thomas

* Housekeeping (Plain Text Version)

Here is the link to get my Ezine RSS feed.

Link to set HTML / Plain text preference or change email address:

Regards Guy

Screen Shot of AutoResponder Changes

What you see if you click on: Change your email address (In your newsletter).

How to make AutoResponder Changes

Do change: Your e-mail address
Do change: Preferred message format
Do change: Any of your names!

Do NOT change: Last message send.  This setting does not apply to the way that I use this AutoResponder.  If you are interested, ‘Last message sent’ is for marketing projects where you have a batch of pre-prepared newsletters.  Guy only writes his maximum 2 weeks in advanced so this is not relevant, especially if ‘Your subscription status’ = Finished.

Do NOT change: Your subscription status.  Finished is best.  If you set it to anything else there is a danger that the AutoResponder may go mad and send old Newsletters rather than the current one.  My advice is don’t try and ‘second guess’ it, only bad things will happen. 

Note 1: Changing the preferences for one newsletter does not affect the subscription to the other newsletter.  The downside is that you have to repeat the editing procedure for the second newsletter.

(I thank Graham Speechley for prompting me to add the above screen shot and the accompanying explanation.)

What the newsletter looks like from my side

I would like to explain how my AutoResponder system works.  The idea is to help get the most from my two newsletters.

Sunday’s Newsletter (Scripts, subjects such as PowerShell, VBScript and WMI)

Wednesday’s newsletter A wide variety of general computing tips. Also, specific Windows Server 2003, Vista and Exchange advice.

I started writing the newsletters nearly 5 years ago.  Originally the issues were weekly, however, for the last year I have decided to concentrate my efforts on fewer but better ezines, hence a fortnightly publication schedule.

Plain Text, or HTML Format?

I send each newsletter in two formats, Plain Text and HTML.  Actually, I create two separate newsletters, each has the same content but is formatted differently.  To reduce irritation, each subscriber only receives one version of each edition.

You the subscriber have 3 possible settings for your ezine:
Plain Text

It seems to me that 80% of readers do not grasp that they can change their email address, or alter their preference, simply by clicking a link at the bottom of each newsletters.  My friend ‘Mad’ Mick disagrees and told me in no uncertain terms: ‘Guy the readers are not stupid, they understand what the link is for, but they just don’t trust you, and thus will not click on your hypertext link’.

Well if you see the link – and you trust me, I challenge you to explicitly set your format preference to either Plain Text or HTML.

From my side, I can set the default to either:
Plain Text

Server Side    Client Side    Resulting Format Actually Sent

Plain Text       HTML            HTML
HTML             Plain Text      Plain Text
HTML             Default          HTML
Plain Text       Default          Plain Text

Most subscribers have their client side set to Default; in effect, this leaves the format decision to how I set the default at the AutoResponder.  Traditionally this means plain text for Sunday’s scripts, and HTML for Wednesday’s tips.

Benefits and Problems with HTML Newsletters

When I set the default to HTML, it is my belief that subscribers get a more readable newsletter.  Lately, I have even been supplementing the content with graphics to explain various settings.

The problem arises when HTML gets snagged by email spam and junk mail filters.  It has also come to my attention that a significant number of those that do get through arrive in a scrambled format.

Each week I send myself two or three test newsletters just to test how the layout displays in Outlook 2007.  My friend ‘Mad Mick’ has given me a list of 27 browsers and email clients, Mick says that I should test the newsletter with each one.  To be frank, I don’t have the time, especially as 26 of them were Unix based based systems, and the other one was a client Mick wrote himself.

Solutions to Mal-formed Newsletters

Now each week it breaks my heart when a different reader writes in to tell me of a problem they have receiving their email.  My suggestions sounds like a ‘Jobsworth’ reply, but I am doing the best I can for my circumstances.

1) As discussed earlier, explicitly set your format to Plain Text.

2) Click on my link to view the online version of the newsletter.

3) Subscribe to my RSS feed.

4) Unsubscribe, I would prefer you to unsubscribe than, merely add my email to your blocked or junk email settings.  If you unsubscribe from one newsletter, it does not affect the other subscription.