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Reading Your Postal Mail Online 173

Posted by kdawson
from the now-you-really-better-do-backups dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Remote Control Mail gives us one more reason not to leave our computers. Their service lets you access your postal mail on the Web. They offer scanning of mail contents, shredding, recycling and shipping. There's a good writeup on Techcrunch, complete with a CAD animation showing some robotics technology (Flash Movie) that RCM is developing to automate mail handling. The service costs $25 to get started and $20 a month for individuals." Now if we could only reply the same way.
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Reading Your Postal Mail Online

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  • Doubleplusgood! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pair-a-noyd (594371) on Monday November 27, 2006 @04:14PM (#17006234)
    And we all know that our mail contents will be kept 100% private.

    Snail mail is the ONLY private form of communications we have left.

  • by HolyCrapSCOsux (700114) on Monday November 27, 2006 @04:15PM (#17006254)
    Normally I'm not a super-huge privacy advocate, but something about this makes me a bit uncomfortable.
  • Re:Doubleplusgood! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Broken scope (973885) on Monday November 27, 2006 @04:15PM (#17006256) Homepage
    You think they don't open letters sometimes?
  • Excellent (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sitturat (550687) on Monday November 27, 2006 @04:16PM (#17006272) Homepage
    Hopefully this idea will prompt the companies that still send out bills by post to reconsider this pointless waste of money/paper/time. Then this service will eventually become redundant, but will have served its purpose.
  • by kevin_conaway (585204) on Monday November 27, 2006 @04:22PM (#17006366) Homepage
    Normally I'm not a super-huge privacy advocate, but something about this makes me a bit uncomfortable.

    Yeah, the instructions are simple: Don't sign up.

    Are you really hurting that much for Karma that you have to pander to the tinfoil hat crowd?

  • Re:Excellent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by planetmn (724378) on Monday November 27, 2006 @04:23PM (#17006392)
    With few exceptions (Taxes are the only thing that comes to mind), I can get all of my statements paper free. This includes Credit Card, Cable, Phone, Gas, Electricity. In fact, they would prefer (and push) the electronic methods of receiving your bill. Some people (me included) just prefer paper bills. An easy to store and reference method of your account history.

    -dave
  • by HairyCanary (688865) on Monday November 27, 2006 @04:30PM (#17006498)
    Errr... all of your postal mail is already routinely handled not only mechanically, but by real live people.
  • Re:Doubleplusgood! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NiteShaed (315799) on Monday November 27, 2006 @04:41PM (#17006628)
    Snail mail is the ONLY private form of communications we have left.


    Until of course someone steals your mail, reads through it all, and steals your identity. But hey, at least it keeps the crystal meth users [msn.com] busy. If someone wants to steal your mail, they'll find a way.

    Also, Doubleplusgood? How do you equate the police of the Ministry of Love reading messages specifically looking for "crimes" against Big Brother, with automated document scanning by a private company that you hire? There are plenty of times when 1984 references are on target, but this doesn't seem to be one of them.....
  • by richg74 (650636) on Monday November 27, 2006 @04:41PM (#17006630) Homepage
    Let's see. When I get postal mail now, I:
    1. Get it from the mail box
    2. Open it
    3. Read it
    With this service, I would:
    1. Get it from the server
    2. Open it
    3. Read it
    4. Pay $20 per month
    BRILLIANT ! Where do I sign?

    More seriously, I can see that this might appeal to people who travel a lot, but for everyone else ?

  • by ScentCone (795499) on Monday November 27, 2006 @04:41PM (#17006634)
    An interesting example is Anybill.com [anybill.com], which runs a service handling accounts payable for you. Basically, you have your company's invoices sent to their postal address, and they open them and do some data entry and document scanning. You get e-mail whenever stuff lands there, and surf to their web app to review and authorize payment of the bills (some of which get paid electronically, some by having checks sent out on your behalf, as appropriate).

    This sort of service-economy stuff is popping up in lots of little corners. If you're an office-less operation (say, a consulting group that work from the road or from your home[s]), it's pretty appealing. But yes, you've got to really trust all the players. But it does (gaa!) help you to "concentrate on your core competancies," assuming that dealing with the physical paperwork of billpaying isn't one of them.
  • Re:Doubleplusgood! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kfg (145172) on Monday November 27, 2006 @04:41PM (#17006638)
    Snail mail is the ONLY private form of communications we have left.

    Unless you are deemed "suspicious." It's a Brave New World.

    KFG
  • Missing the Point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by prichardson (603676) on Monday November 27, 2006 @05:02PM (#17006936) Journal
    One of the great things about snail mail for me is the physicality. For personal letters nothing beats having something that your correspondent spent time with.

    Of course for things like junk mail I'd much prefer it not be sent at all, but I'm happy to take the junk if it means being able to hold an occasional letter from an old friend or family member. To read it scanned on a screen would seem so wrong.
  • by gr8_phk (621180) on Monday November 27, 2006 @05:12PM (#17007094)
    ... something about this makes me a bit uncomfortable.
    If your mail is anything like mine, you get lots of credit card offers - or even in rare cases, actual credit cards - that you did not ask for. I trust my wife to sift through all this crap and properly dispose of it, but would I trust employees at some company like this to do the same? Nope. Sure, someone can raid your mailbox, but that's different than consistently passing all the stuff through the hands of a low paid employee at a 3rd party company.
  • Re:Excellent (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mister Whirly (964219) on Monday November 27, 2006 @05:13PM (#17007098) Homepage
    Which is all fine and dandy until your hard drive dies. On tax day. And yeah, you can scream "backup" all you want, but I can tell you now it is easier to walk over to my filing cabinet than it is to rebuild a system, put an OS on it, and restore the backup. Besides, all my paper bills take up far less space than my computer, monitor, scanner, and printer. Unfortunately computers are cumbersome, require storage space, and most of the time you don't ever look at them except possibly while surfing porn.
  • Re:Excellent (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kkwst2 (992504) on Monday November 27, 2006 @05:44PM (#17007582)
    You paper bills take up less space? OK, so you're 22? Or perhaps you're using hardware built in the 1980's? Regarding backup, I actually use FolderShare to distribute my important files (encrypted transfer) to several computers including my laptop. All my Money files, Taxcut returns, important scanned receipts, etc. are shared between a few computers. All these files, including my digital pictures, are around 12 gig. So for the cost of around 50 gig, I have quadruple redundancy of important files. I also manually back up to an external drive occasionally. But one computer crashing won't really affect me in the short-term, as I always have three backups. Later, I just do a clean install and then restore important files. As for the porn comment, I guess you are 22! ;)
  • by CFD339 (795926) <andrewp @ t h e n o r t h.com> on Monday November 27, 2006 @09:21PM (#17010352) Homepage Journal
    It is neither brave nor new. It is the same old tyranny of wealthy cowards relying on fear mongering for personal and corporate gain.

    Want to be really scared? Go re-read Huxley's book and realize that the world he describes would be quite welcomed by a majority in many countries today.

    "Brave New World" has lost its shock factor, and "1984" isn't nearly paranoid or intrusive enough.

Money can't buy happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you're being miserable. -- C.B. Luce

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