Entourage 2004 and Images

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Reader John Hawk is miffed with Microsoft and changes the company has wrought in Entourage 2004. He writes:

The new Entourage 2004 has been set up to not download any “pictures” (jpg, gif, etc) in any of my HTML emails until I take my mouse and click on “download pictures”. “Download Pictures” follows this message from MS: “To protect your privacy some pictures in this email were not downloaded”. This means that for every single HTML email I have to add a very unnecessary mouse click if I want to view the whole email. This happens to every email from sites not already in my address book, and even sometimes in emails from people who are already in your address book but are sending stuff from other sites. MS support’s solution is to put the sender’s address in my address book, which is something that I do not want to do for several reasons: it will eventually make my address book unmanageable, it takes too many mouse clicks to solve a problem that shouldn’t exist in the first place, it would make me angry every time I have to do it.

I'm sympathetic to Mr. Hawk's miffage. It is inconvenient to punch the Download Pictures link to see images in HTML-formatted messages. But I also understand why Microsoft would implement such a feature. Web bugs -- bits of HTML code that alert spammers to the viability of your email address -- are a plague upon the world and Those In The Know increasingly recommend that you configure your email client to not display images in HTML messages. Where Microsoft has put a foot wrong is imposing this configuration upon us without providing an elegant way to switch it off.

I say elegant because there is a fairly ungainly way to work around it. That way is to select Junk Email Protection from Entourage 2004's Tools menu, click on the Safe Domains tab, and type in the domains you'd like excluded (separated by commas) from this Download Pictures business. For example, you might type macworld.com, maccentral.com, and mybuddies.com. Any messages that come from these domains will display their images without you having to click the Download Pictures link.

The downside to this workaround is that any domains you add to the Safe Domains list are excluded from junk mail filtering, which means that if you're not careful, more junk and web bugs will slip past Entourage's defenses.

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