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  1. #1
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    Thunderbird 38 displaying garbage characters in Inbox Subject line for certain e-mails

    Starting (I believe) with Thunderbird 38.0.1, all Gmail e-mails that I receive from UPS about upcoming and completed deliveries have three or four domino-like icons at the end of the Subject line in the Inbox. This is also happening to e-mails received from UPS in the past. The Thunderbird message display does not show the extra characters in the Subject - they only appear in the Inbox. They also do not display in the Gmail web client or in the Gmail Android client - again, only the Thunderbird Inbox. I have not observed this behavior with any other senders' e-mails. This appears to be a missing font issue, but I cannot find anything to change in the limited Thunderbird options that might fix it. Any ideas?

  2. #2
    jwoods
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    Try the following...

    Right click on the Thunderbird Inbox and select Properties.

    Change the Fallback Character Encoding to UTF-8.

  3. #3
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    You could view the raw message, extract the problematic section decode it to see what the characters are.
    1. Select the message, then click Other Actions > View Source.
    2. Look for the HTML section. It will be underneath these lines
    Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64
    3. Copy all the text up to the end of section marker - it looks something like this with double dashes start and end:
    --_000_7D0DB6B3192A5B4D8614844B351BDAD1FBBB4A2668EIO MH01travel_--
    4. Paste the text into the decoder and click Decode: https://www.base64decode.org/
    5. Copy the decoded HTML and paste it here, after removing the email address and other private info.

    cheers, Paul

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the responses.

    Fallback Character Encoding of UTF-8 on the Inbox and on the folder that contains the UPS messages did not work.

    The raw messages do not contain a "base64" line, and the base64 decoder did nothing, regardless of what I pasted in there.

    However, I now know that the source of the Subject line and the two following lines looks like this:

    Subject: =?UTF-8?B?WW91ciBVUFMgUGFja2FnZSB3YXMgZGVsaXZlcmVkAAAA?=
    MIME-Version: 1.0
    Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=----NextPart_1434742371050.0005460663

    So UTF-8 is involved somehow. I have already tried setting incoming mail to UTF-8 in Options, but the existing messages don't change.

    Any other thoughts?

  5. #5
    jwoods
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    If that's the complete Subject line in the header, it is not encoded correctly. You should have received the correct Subject line with base64decode.

    Decoding this string using UTF-8...

    ?WW91ciBVUFMgUGFja2FnZSB3YXMgZGVsaXZlcmVkAAAA?=

    returns this line...

    Your UPS Package was delivered���

    So the issue is on the email originator's side.

    The encode should have looked like this...

    ?WW91ciBVUFMgUGFja2FnZSB3YXMgZGVsaXZlcmVk?=

    You might let them know about it.
    Last edited by jwoods; 2015-06-21 at 02:55.

  6. #6
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    Thunderbird is working correctly if it shows that subject line.

    cheers, Paul

  7. #7
    jwoods
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    Thunderbird is working correctly if it shows that subject line.

    cheers, Paul
    The OP says in the first post..."Starting (I believe) with Thunderbird 38.0.1, all Gmail e-mails that I receive from UPS about upcoming and completed deliveries have three or four domino-like icons at the end of the Subject line in the Inbox."

  8. #8
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    Yes, so I am confirming that TB is working correctly, as you implied in post #5.

    cheers, Paul

  9. #9
    New Lounger
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    As jwoods pointed out, TB is NOT displaying the question marks inside diamonds; rather, it is displaying upright rectangles, each of which contains four circles (like a domino).

    So, it sounds to me like TB is NOT working correctly, since it is not decoding UTF-8 input correctly.

    Regarding the possible encoding problem: remember that this problem did not exist before TB 38, and it does not exist when the same messages are viewed in any other application, Windows or Android.

    Sure looks to me like something changed with UTF-8 decoding in TB 38.

  10. #10
    jwoods
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    Quote Originally Posted by brucej4 View Post
    As jwoods pointed out, TB is NOT displaying the question marks inside diamonds; rather, it is displaying upright rectangles, each of which contains four circles (like a domino).

    So, it sounds to me like TB is NOT working correctly, since it is not decoding UTF-8 input correctly.

    Regarding the possible encoding problem: remember that this problem did not exist before TB 38, and it does not exist when the same messages are viewed in any other application, Windows or Android.

    Sure looks to me like something changed with UTF-8 decoding in TB 38.
    That's not actually what I was pointing out, but it is confusing.

    I would summarize the issue this way....

    As Paul T confirmed, TB is decoding the (incorrectly encoded by the originator) Subject line correctly.

    The incorrectly encoded Subject line by the originator is causing the garbage at the end (some browsers may display the garbage differently, depending on what encoding is selected).

    TB displays them as "dominos"...my Firefox config displays them as "diamonds".

    Post #5 shows your encoded line, and the way it should have been encoded to display the Subject line without the garbage.

    Conclusion...the issue is caused by the originator.
    Last edited by jwoods; 2015-06-22 at 02:09.

  11. #11
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    Thanks, I will try to get UPS to fix it.

  12. #12
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    Good luck!

    cheers, Paul

  13. #13
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    FYI, response from UPS. I had specifically pointed out the string of capital letter A's that appeared to be creating the problem.

    "Consulted the technical department with a transcript of your E-mail. This is a spamming prevention that some E-mail providers may have set-up. Go through their email spam\junk filtering set-up so that UPS emails are not blocked or check their SPAM\JUNK folder for the UPS email."

    Basically, they're not changing it.

    I am still curious as to why the junk characters were not visible in pre-38 Thunderbird, but I'm not going to spend any more time on this.

    Thanks for all responses.

  14. #14
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    Thumbs up

    I just downloaded TB 38. I hope UPS is the only problem with it.

    Remember the free Mozbackup for backing up your TB files. I backup nightly.
    Last edited by mjnelson99; 2015-06-25 at 14:44. Reason: additional info
    MJN

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