Archive for July, 2010

FAST Patching Completed

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From USPS FAST Team:

Attention FAST Customers,

The FAST emergency patch to address the Web Services issue has been completed.

All FAST application and Web Services are now available for all customers.

There was no system outage time required and all services are restarted and stable.

If you have any problems or issues please contact the USPS FAST Help Desk at fast@usps.gov.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

July 27th, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Posted in USPS

FAST Patch

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From USPS FAST…the FAST Team does a good job of sending out timely communications:

Attention FAST Customers,

The FAST application requires an emergency patch to address an issue affecting some FAST Web Services customers.

The patching will occur during an emergency patch window of 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm CDT today, July 27, 2010.

The online FAST application will be available during the patch, however, if you are connected to the FAST application you may be disconnected as systems are restarted. You can immediately log back in to the FAST application and continue operation.

Web Services will not experience any service interruption.

You will be notified when the patch is complete.

If you have any questions please contact FAST Help Desk at FAST@usps.gov.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

July 27th, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Posted in USPS

USPS Webinar on Catalogs

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Offered by the USPS –

For over 100 years, catalogs have been selling products sight unseen. Before you spend your dollars on this proven format, learn how successful catalogs intertwine the “physics” of catalog best practices along with engagement techniques that increase loyalty, response and average order. This fast-paced online session will be filled with examples and case studies showing how to present the tried and true “rules” of catalog creative and how to use them to your advantage

Click here to register

Written by Lisa.Bowes

July 27th, 2010 at 10:23 am

Posted in USPS

Voting by Mail

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USPS OIG blog post on voting by mail.  Very interesting!

Written by Lisa.Bowes

July 27th, 2010 at 1:00 am

Posted in USPS

Sen. Susan Collins: USPS Proposed Exigent Rate Increases Are Not Justified Under Law

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Written by Lisa.Bowes

July 27th, 2010 at 12:52 am

Posted in USPS

PostalOne! Restored

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Sent from the USPS Help Desk at 3:30 pm Eastern:

Attention PostalOne!® Users
The connectivity issues peported[sic] earlier has been isolated and resolved by the Technical Team.
Mailers should now be able to Transmits[sic] their Job files.
We apologize for the inconvenience.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

July 27th, 2010 at 12:50 am

Posted in USPS

PostalOne! Mail.dat Outage

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In case yesterday’s unscheduled FAST outage wasn’t a good enough example of instability with the required Full Service Intelligent Mail systems, the USPS comes through again today with another example.  FAST is up and running, however the issue of the day is now PostalOne!.  In order to qualify for Full Service, electronic documentation is required.  Not being able to use the system forces mailers to Plan B.

However, it should be a comfort to users that the USPS is sorry for the inconvinece:

Attention PostalOne!(r) Users

You are receiving this email because a Priority Urgent ticket has been opened by the PostalOne Help Desk. We are currently experiencing a problem with the PostalOne MDR application. We are currently not processing any mail.dat files being submittted by external customers. We have identified the cause of the problem and are working with Eagan operations group to resolve it. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

** The issue is not impacting internal users or external users using Postal Wizard, Mail.XML, or other services from the Business Customer Gateway (BCG).**

Please call the PostalOne Help Desk at (800) 522-9085 if you have any further questions

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

July 26th, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Posted in USPS

Affordable Mail Alliance Calls on PRC to Dismiss USPS Postal Service Rate Hike

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Today, the Affordable Mail Alliance filed a motion with the Postal Service to dismiss the rate hikes proposed on July 6, 2010.  AMA’s motion argues that the rate hike violates the cost controls Congress put in law to protect consumers and that the Postal Service needs to cut costs and modernize rather than raise rates an average of ten times the rate of inflation.

“Allowing the Postal Service to raise prices above the Consumer Price Index in this case would nullify the single most important safeguard for mailers and the public in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (“PAEA”),” AMA argues in its motion.  Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), an author of the 2006 law, has already said the proposed increases do not qualify for an exception under the standards established by Congress.

As you know, the PAEA limits the average postal rate hike to inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). There is an exception to the CPI cap only for “exigent circumstances” when the Postal Service could not continue operating without overall price increases above the CPI.  But this exception is intended only for “extraordinary or exceptional circumstances” that would leave the Postal Service short of funds to provide necessary services despite “the best practices of honest, efficient and economical management.”  We believe that the Postal Service has not met this test for the following reasons:

·         Economic downturns are a part of life. The ups and downs of economic cycles, like changes in the weather, are not “extraordinary” or “exceptional” circumstances.

  • The trend toward internet communications away from mail has been taking place over the past fifteen years, giving the USPS years to prepare for the decline in volume. It hasn’t.
  • While the recession, which began in December 2007, caused sharp declines in volume and revenue, competitors of USPS, such as FedEx and UPS, had comparable or even greater declines. Those and other well-run firms, made the necessary and painful cuts in operating costs and capacity to increase productivity. The USPS did not and its productivity has fallen.

“The result has been devastating,” the motion argues.  “In Fiscal Year 2009, when prices in the overall economy actually declined, the Postal Service costs per unit of output increased by more than six percent. Had the Postal Service merely held its costs to the level of inflation in the general economy, the Postal Service would have made a profit in 2009.”

Now the Postal Service expects customers to pay the price for its refusing to do what its customers had to. For our organizations, the Postal Service’s unwillingness to do its part will mean the loss of thousands of additional jobs and further cuts to pay and benefits. This is an issue about investing for possible future growth or paying higher taxes in the form of higher postal rates.  At this time of shaky economic recovery, this is the functional equivalent of a tax increase on every American postal customer, whether individual or business.  If this takes effect January 2, 2011, and American businesses and consumers will be spending more on postal services, there will be less money for investment, payrolls, and business growth.

Click here to access the motion. For more information visit the website www.affordablemailalliance.org or email affordablemailalliance@gmail.com.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

July 26th, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Posted in USPS

FAST Restored

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Notice sent at 10:21 Eastern.  Scheduled downtime 6 hours, actual downtime 18 1/2 hours:

Attention FAST Users,

The FAST application and Web Services are now available for all users. The USPS maintenance affecting the FAST application is now complete.

All messages that were queued to FAST from PostalOne! have processed normally.

We apologize for any inconvenience during the extended outage window.

If you have any problems or issues please contact the USPS FAST Help Desk at fast@usps.gov.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

July 25th, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Posted in USPS

FAST Update

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From the USPS FAST team:

Attention FAST Customers,

Please be advised the USPS maintenance error affecting the FAST application continues to be worked with all urgency. You will be advised when application services are restored.

As we previously notified you PostalOne! messages are being queued and will be processed when the outage is complete.

Hourly updates will be provided.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

July 25th, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Posted in USPS