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Comment Re:Looming disaster (Score 1) 299

Um $50.00?
Access to Full Service NCoA (National Change of Address) for developers is $175,000.00 per year.

CASS/DPV (the delivery standardization specs) is $10,000.00 a year.

USPS does lobby congress, as does the mailing industry as a whole. I'm not saying that Fedex/UPS has no advantages over USPS in regards to the universal service obligation, but that two of your examples were incorrect.

Comment Re:Stop Trying to Subsidize Junk Mail (Score 1) 299

You wouldn't like the cost of FCM without Standard mail. Automation of the mail is the reason you can send a one ounce letter from California to Maine for $0.44. Automation requires a large volume of mail to be economically feasible.
Also, its not like mailers get a subsidy just because they are nice people. They clean the addresses, update for moves, pre-sort the mail to USPS specs, and put a barcode on so the mail can skip several steps. The subsidy is for this work, it's called "work-sharing."
Raising the rates on advertising mail always drives volume away, and at this point in time, the USPS needs every scrap of volume it can get.
As for the semi-privatization, that was a stupid idea. The USPS needs freedom to react, and 536 "CEOs" is no way to get that freedom. Congress is all about the USPS saving itself, but won't let it close a Post Office that serves 50 people and is less than a mile from anther Post Office. And at the same time Congress steals $5.5 billion a year to fund deficit spending. If any private company embezzled that amount the executives would be behind bars.

Comment USPS isn't in as bad a state as you might think (Score 2, Interesting) 299

The thing is that the USPS wouldn't been doing as bad if congress wasn't constantly meddling.
They set up "retirement health benefits pre-funding" at approx $5.5 billion a year. Now pre-funding retirement benefits is a good idea, but that's not what this money is used for. That $5.5 billion goes into the federal coffers. This is after the USPS was forced to overfund their previous pension by $75 billion.
USPS would have been profitable in 3 of the last 4 years without the pre-funding requirement.
I work as a "Postal liaison" for a commercial printer. Which pretty much means I have to watch every minute detail of the USPS in the news. I think they are headed for a hard fall, but not because their business model is broken, but because of the meddling of 536 "CEOs".

Comment Re:The law is on London's side (Score 1) 526

I can't tell if you're trying to be funny or serious (I'm leaning towards funny, this is /. after all. . .)
I don't care how great a photo you see of a work of art, it in no way is equal that work in person. Take this image of Richard III for example.
In person, this painting is truly stunning, the detail is absolutely beyond belief. However to see it require looking both closely and from a distance. I don't know of any photographic technique that can capture the level of detail, the changing perspective, and colors of a true masterpiece. I say this a photographer who has tried to capture some art on film, and never been successful (though this could say more about my skill as a photographer, than the challenges of this technique).
And lastly, there is something about a museum that is sacred (it does derive from "temple of the muses" after all.) The space is holy, a shrine to Man's limitless potential and ability, as well his infinite inspiration found in the wonders of the Universe.

Comment Re:Taste (Score 1) 366

If you want an excellent good value Scotch, I'd recommend Edradour 10. It is one of the smoothest 10s you will ever taste, beating some 20s+ that I have tried, and only being beaten by a Glen Grant 50 (Gordon and Macphail bottling).
You can probably find Edradour for 20ish. And it should appeal to your "homebrew" mentality, it is the smallest distillery in Scotland, 3 men work there, and one only handles the books.
http://www.edradour.co.uk/main2.html
Security

Submission + - Conficker frenzy exposed media ignorance (pcauthority.com.au)

Slatterz writes: Calling the panic over the virus an "April fool's joke", security researcher Bruce Schneier says it was a classic example of how the mainstream news media misunderstood the threat from malware and used it to make news to the detriment of security. "It appeared to come from nowhere, it had a funny-sounding name — and research shows unusual names provoke fear — and it came on a 'magic' date. But it was the classic boy who cried wolf story," Schneier said. Fr all the media frenzy, the malware didn't even itself on April 1st. Instead it did so five days later, by which time the media had forgotten the story. Schneier said that such cases may have helped vendors sell more security products but in some ways they made the situation worse, since people became inured to virus stories and this might lead them to ignore future warnings.
Privacy

Submission + - Return to those wild days of yesteryear? (washingtonpost.com)

Earthquake Retrofit writes: Brian Krebs has a story about cyber squatting on social networking sites. He sites cases of people being impersonated and reports: "A site called knowem.com allows you to see whether your name or whatever nickname you favor is already registered at any of some 120 social networking sites on the Web today. For a $64.95 fee, the site will register all available accounts on your behalf, a manual process that it says takes one to five business days." If that last statement is true it implies that people are being employed, not a bad thing overall. But is it time to saddle up for a new round of Internet land grabs? Steve

Comment Re:Heh heh.. riiight (Score 1) 269

They will be, it's the reasons for the new postal barcode called the "Intelligent Mail Barcode." (IMB)
The current barcode (Postnet Barcode) cannot be used for tracking, it only has delivery information in it. Every piece of mail to your address has the same barcode, that makes it impossible to tack.
The IMB will have the option of being serial numbered, and tracked through to the destination Post Office. They are not considering scanning at the delivery point, because of the volume of mail (average of 4.7 pieces per stop) that is delivered makes manual scanning impracticable.
Now the real question is will any of the big mailers avail themselves of this feature? Probably not many. BOA might, Citi might, but Netflix won't.
Netflix knows that you only get good scan logs with Confirm service if your pieces are processed on Delivery Point Sequencers, and they also know that most of their mail is not (and almost none of their return mail is). because the mailers are truly non-machinable.
The uncentered disk causes too many jams in the outbound processing, and the return envelope usually folds in half, covering the address. Because of this they have no incentive to pay $25,000.00 per year to find out their discs aren't being scanned, they already know that.
I seem to recall that the OIG wrote to Netflix telling them to redesign or else, but I'm not sure if anything came from it.

Comment Re:Cost (Score 5, Informative) 116

There are some sheetfed digital presses that can print out finished bookblocks at 150+ppm. The quality is pretty close to Offset Lithography for text, the only truly noticeable difference is the slightly raised text (toner sits on top of the page, ink goes into it.) The cost to the producer is probably about $0.009 per impression or less (not including paper, which I can't comment on.)
I don't know what this company is using, but my company does some print on demand for clients, mainly manuals and training material.
Media

Submission + - SeeqPod Death Watch Begins

Hodejo1 writes: SeeqPod has been unavailable for two days now and users are wondering if this might be the end of the road for the song index. Usually, when a site is down a couple of days it turns out to be just a technical issue. But SeeqPod is reeling from the costs of defending a lawsuit filed against it by the major labels, which forced the company into bankruptcy a few weeks back.

Comment Re:E-mail is Preferable, it can be Filtered (Score 1) 251

What is this "Junk mail" you speak of? I can only guess that you are referring to a great offer sent to the wrong person. Seriously though, Standard Rate mail drives the economy. It is the most successful advertising method generating more than twice the sales dollars as any other form. ( http://printinthemix.rit.edu/fastfacts/show/159 ) And that number is going to rise, the thing that keeps is down is unscrupulous mailers who "Spray and Pray," content with a 0.5% response rate. As Mailers increase the quality of the data they use (i.e. not sending mail to where you used to live, but updating your address through the USPS.) the response rate starts to climb. On a side note, Printing is a very environmentally friendly process. Most paper is 30% recycled, and the rest is made from virgin fiber that was grown to be paper. Those trees never would have been planted if there wasn't a printing industry. Ink is mainly wax, and other safe chemicals. And a lot of shops use soy based ink. Okay, off my soap box now.

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