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Your EDO's Mailing List?

Want to see samples of what other EDOs are sending?

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
2 min read
Your EDO's Mailing List?
Photo by Stephen Phillips - Hostreviews.co.uk / Unsplash

Good morning econ dev fans.

I'm writing this from Hot Springs, Arkansas, where I'm enjoying my first family vacation since 2019.

I'm not really working, but while everyone else was sleeping and I was enjoying my coffee and a view of Lake Hamilton this morning, I did roll out something new:

Introducing Emails from EDOs.

Please subscribe [email protected] to your organization's mailing list.

If you want to know more, keep reading.


What is it?

I'm now capturing and automatically posting and sharing emails from economic development organizations' mailing lists.

What's so interesting?

It is actually quite difficult to save and share actual emails on the web. To preserve formatting, style, and graphics, and then posting those. You can see some examples here, here, and here.

Why?

I sometimes struggle to know what to include in my economic development emails, but I find seeing others inspirational. I hope that you do too.

How can you help?

Thanks for asking! Please subscribe [email protected] to your organization's mailing list. Secondly, if you receive a regional mailing list, ask the sender if they can also subscribe us.

That's it for now!

Now back to my vacation.  

If you want to understand more of the technical mumbo jumbo behind exactly what I did, I've tried to document it below.


Nerd Alert: Why is it really so difficult and how I do it?

  1. HTML email uses a format that is similar, but not exactly the same, as HTML on the web.
  2. This website, and most others, have their own styling and formatting that will almost always override and mess up the look of an HTML email converted to regular HTML.
  3. To avoid this, I save the emails as images.  This brings in its own set of challenges, because the usual way of saving something to an image is to take screen shot.  But emails tend to be really really long, and it's difficult to screen shot something not on the screen.
  4. Here's how I'm doing it:  
  • First, I save the raw source of the email.  
  • I convert that to HTML with standard Python.
  • I take a screenshot of the new HTML  But since, as I mentioned, taking screenshots of long content is hard, I'm using a Python library (HTML2Image) to open a headless browser (Chrome opens and runs in the background, and then scrolls down automatically to generate the screen shot). I'm just guessing on the length of the email, and end up making an incredibly long image.  I usually overshoot by about 90%.
  • Finally, ImageMagick autodetects the bottom edge of the content in the image and crops it to fit.

Here's the shell script I wrote to do it:

cat "${filename}.eml" | python eml-to-html.py > "${filename}.html"
hti -O "${filename}.html" -s 400,40000 -S "${filename}.png"
magick "${filename}.png" -fuzz 1% -define trim:edges=south -trim +repage "${filename}-resized.png"
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Dane Carlson Twitter

Founder/Host of Econ Dev Show. By day: Director of Economic Development for Galveston County, Texas.