I am using Microsoft Internet Explorer, v. 6.0.2800.1106.
Today I got an e-mail from the Parent Center, and there was a hyperlink in the e-mail, clickable text saying "How to avoid deadly car safety mistakes". I clicked on the link, and a new window opened, with the words "MSN Hotmail - More Useful Everyday - Microsoft Internet Explorer" at the top, then a small panel with the MSN and butterfly logo, and the words, "You are visiting a site outside of Hotmail. To return to Hotmail, close this browser window." Then, it had actual content -- the Parent Center article I was interested in reading.
The URL of the page I was visiting was nastily mangled in the following fashion: http://188.8.131.52/cgi-bin/linkrd?_lang=EN&lah=056be9d10fbfcb49e6a90c1aa2725fd1&lat=1068609520&hm___action=http%3a%2f%2fclick%2ebabycenter%2ecom%2fb%2f%3fle%3d8GR%26me%3dqdTb%26ce%3d1al1UZ%26t%3d1
When I am sent a plain-text URL in my mail from the lois-bujold list, firstname.lastname@example.org, the URLs come out clickable. http://lists.herald.co.uk/mailman/listinfo/lois-bujold, for example, comes out like so: http://184.108.40.206/cgi-bin/linkrd?_lang=EN&lah=08004ed3da89c9319c150cc707da3b9c&lat=1068611049&hm___action=http%3a%2f%2flists%2eherald%2eco%2euk%2fmailman%2flistinfo%2flois%2dbujold
I can get around Hotmail's mangling of that originally plain-text URL by copying the URL text from my mail and pasting it into a browser. The e-mail it came from was plain text, with no fancy HTML except for Hotmail's mangling. If I wish to copy the URL and save it for later perusal (which I often do), I merely copy and paste. However, if I wish to open a Parent Center link without Hotmail's "help", or save the article's URL for later reading, or sharing with a friend, I am exceptionally out of luck.
I am under the impression that this garbage is a deliberate "feature" on the part of Hotmail. I do not consider it "feature" or helpful; I consider it a bug and obnoxious. I wish to be able to disable Hotmail's additions to my linkage, even if it means that I must manually open a browser window myself and copy and paste the URL in, or leave my Hotmail session while following a link.
If I divert my attention from my mail in this legacy account, and work on other things on my computer, then click a link after the message has sat perhaps ten minutes, I get the following message opening in a new window: "Your email message has been idle and this link has become inactive. To access the link, close this window and return to your MSN Hotmail Message. Then click the browser's Refresh button or close your message and reopen it. "
This does not please me either. I am not reading my mail from an insecure terminal; I am reading it from my home machine. I am not helped in any way by this, and I wish to be able to turn this "feature" off.
Your association with Microsoft has no bearing on my opinion of you as a person; one of my friends formerly worked for Microsoft. I wish to make my opinion of the above "features" known to those responsible for developing them, and those responsible for developing antidotes to them.
JL, Hotmail User since 1996 or so
>From: "Hotmail Customer Support" <email@example.com>
>Subject: CST137017799ID - RE:Broken / Mail / Link
>Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003 10:10:07 -0800
>Thank you for writing to Hotmail Support. My name is Pavan and I look forward to assisting you today.
>In order to assist you in this issue, please reply to this message and reword your question. More specific details improve my chances of understanding and solving your problem. Be sure to include the following information:
> - A detailed description of the problem you are having, including any error messages you receive.
> - The type of browser you are using.
>Once I have the above information I will be able to help you resolving the issue.
>MSN Hotmail Technical Support Representative
>--- Original Message ---
>Sent: Mon Nov 10 16:24:56 PST 2003
>Subject: Broken / Mail / Link
>Date: Mon Nov 10 17:35:18 2003
>Operating System: windows 2000
>Connection Type: dsl
>Browser Type: ie 6+
>Links supposedly open in new window when clicked. New window has mangled URL and annoying Hotmail banner at top. If I've taken a long time reading my 40k+ mailing list digests, sometimes it doesn't open the content pane at all, and tells me I need to re-open my message as it's become inactive. I do not need or want this. Please direct me to the correct place to turn this setting off.
>Links opening in new window is just fine.
>Mangled URL is *not* fine.
>Link having annoying hotmail banner at top is *not* fine.
>Having the link open to reveal a "Your message was open too long, so we're not letting you open your links, refresh the message and try again" is *not* fine.