Archive for January, 2013

Nonprofits Hurt By New Postal Rules

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Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 29th, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Posted in USPS

Rising Postal Rates Squeeze Small Record Labels

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Bible says the biggest hit will be taken by small labels who rely on direct orders from consumers to stay in the black.

“In some of these cases, the shipping is becoming more expensive than what the people are actually buying,” he says. “I’m really not sure what the Postal Service is thinking, because they’re making people look into other options.”

via Rising Postal Rates Squeeze Small Record Labels : The Record : NPR.

This article was provided to me by a source I never thought possible 🙂 my college-aged daughter.  She is active in the indie label music scene, DIY (Do It Yourself) low-budget artist operations that are almost always all about music over profits.

The increase they have been hit with is going to drive volume out of the mail stream.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 29th, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Posted in USPS

IDEAlliance Launches NEW Mail.dat® User License Code Program

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News release from IDEAlliance:

IDEAlliance Launches NEW Mail.dat® User License Code Program

Mail.dat Software Provider Licensees to Directly Provide Codes to Clients

[Alexandria, Virginia – January 28, 2013] IDEAlliance® has announced a revision in its popular Mail.dat® User License Code program that will substantially reduce the fees paid by mail preparers and facilitate the transition to electronic postage payment. The Mail.dat specification specifies a User License Code to accompany files for the purpose of uniquely identifying the sender through the postal supply chain. The Mail.dat specification, and the software infrastructure upon which it’s built, defines mail preparation today and is developed and maintained by IDEAlliance, a non-profit industry association, in cooperation with the United States Postal Service® (USPS®).

In January 2013, IDEAlliance undertook a program to reduce the cost of User License Codes by providing the codes seamlessly through mail preparation software. Under the new program, IDEAlliance will now provide Mail.dat User License Codes through Royalty License Agreements with participating software providers.
Christopher Lien, Director, IDEAlliance, and Vice President of Software Marketing, Bell and Howell, said, “IDEAlliance is responding to the needs of the industry to more widely distribute Mail.dat User License Codes. At the same time, mailing software developers from across the industry are stepping up to annually fund the development of Mail.dat and Mail.XML through a royalty license. We support IDEAlliance as the independent body that works cooperatively across the industry with the US Postal Service to create the standards of the future.”
As a benefit to participating in the program, mailing software developers will be authorized to provide User License Codes directly to their customers as part of their Mail.dat generating and editing solutions. Organizations can still purchase separate User License Codes directly from IDEAlliance at a nominal fee.
Under the program IDEAlliance will be enforcing its rights under its trademark to insure compliance. Under the new program for the distribution of Mail.dat User License Codes, IDEAlliance will provide Royalty License Agreements in three categories:
Specification Originator/Modifier: Principally develops and licenses user access to software that creates an originating Mail.dat and/or Mail.XML™ file/message set, i.e., one that is constructed using detailed information and postal sorting results not derived from existing Mail.dat/Mail.XML files, and openly advertises Mail.dat/Mail.XML support as a benefit.
Specification Modifier: Principally develops and licenses user access to software that modifies the content or enhances the structure of existing Mail.dat and/or Mail.XML file/message sets and openly advertises Mail.dat/Mail.XML editing capabilities as a benefit.
Specification Dependent: Offers services dependent upon or substantially enhanced by Mail.dat/Mail.XML files and either requires Mail.dat files or Mail.XML to perform the service or offers a tangible advantage via the specification.
David Steinhardt, President & CEO, IDEAlliance, said, “Each year IDEAlliance funds nearly $100,000 for the ongoing development and maintenance of the specifications that support the efficient print distribution of our members. IDEAlliance sought the support of the mailing software developers’ community for a new model to fund the development of Mail.dat and Mail.XML. The Mailing Software Developers Group stepped up and responded and are being Good Citizens to fund an industry-wide standards development process that is key to the mailstream.”
For more information go to: http://www.idealliance.org/specifications/maildat
Mail.dat, Mail.XML and IDEAlliance are trademarks of the International Digital Enterprise Alliance. United States Postal Service, USPS, U.S. Postal Service, and PostalOne! are trademarks owned by the United States Postal Service

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About Mail.dat & Mail.XML
Mail.dat® began in 1990 with the introduction of the Production Container Summary File and expanded to contain all the details of a mailing with the publication of the first specification in 1995. Over the past 23 years mail preparers, software developers, and the U.S. Postal Service® have developed an entire mailstream ecosystem upon Mail.dat. Mail preparation tools across the industry, including the USPS PostalOne! system, utilize the specification to create a playing field for all mail partners and speed mail make-up data to the U.S. Postal Service. In 2008, Mail.dat was adopted as an XML-based business transaction framework called Mail.XML. Mail.dat and Mail.XML have been developed by IDEAlliance, a non-profit industry association, providing an open forum for users to develop and maintain the specifications in cooperation with the U.S. Postal Service.
About IDEAlliance
IDEAlliance® (International Digital Enterprise Alliance) is a global community of content and media creators, and their service providers, material suppliers, and technology partners. The Association identifies best practices for efficient end-to-end digital media workflows — from content creation through delivery. Through its active committees, educational conferences, webinars, training and certification programs, IDEAlliance provides its members the forum for the exchange of information that results in the creation of the media production industry’s most valued standards.
www.idealliance.org 703.837.1070

Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 28th, 2013 at 11:08 am

Posted in USPS

Video: Customer’s package gets trapped in endless ‘postal loop’

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Question for the USPS: Why doesn’t the system recognize loop mail? The tracking data makes it pretty obvious! Why doesn’t the system detect serial missents and flag the piece for manual intervention? It doesn’t seem like it should be that difficult to do?

via – postalnews blog.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 27th, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Posted in USPS

Coming sooner or later: An advisory opinion on modes of delivery

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A couple of days ago, residents of Vermont — and apparently other states across the country as well — received a letter from the Postal Service requesting that they convert from mailboxes at their home to a mailbox along the road. The letter cites the advantages of curbline delivery — the postman doesn’t have to deal with dogs, your mail is not exposed to rain or snow, and it’s cheaper for the Postal Service — and it provides helpful information about what height to place the mailbox and how far from the road surface to locate the box.

When the USPS Board of Governors announced two weeks ago that it intended to speed up cost-cutting measures in order to deal with the mounting deficit, there were no details about what those measures would be. It now looks as though changing how the mail is delivered will be a key part of the stepped-up plan.

via Coming sooner or later: An advisory opinion on modes of delivery | Save the Post Office.

Here’s my real life curbside delivery story.  When I bought my house 22 years ago, there was a mailbox on the front of the house, and the USPS delivered there.  My house is about 10 yards from the road.  About 8 years ago, I received one of the letters described above, telling me I had to go out and purchase and install a mailbox roadside, which I copplied with.  My next door neighbor, however, balked and refused.  The USPS threatened to stop delivery.  They held fast.

Result?  I have to go out to my mailbox roadside.  My neighbor, to this day, gets their mail delivered at their door.  And yes, their house is further back off the road than mine is.

You read news stories every week where alert and conscientious carriers save lives – they are the first to notice something amiss.  The trade off of efficiency vs the benefits of having the carriers visit homes gets lost in the political shell game.  A shame.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 27th, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Posted in USPS

MTAC Membership Guide

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Seasoned MTAC veterans, new members, and those curious about what goes on at MTAC will find the new membership guide of interest.  Thanks goes to MTAC Industry Vice-Chair Chris Lien, who spent many hours putting it together with help from both industry and postal leadership.   The Guide provides an overview of all aspects of the Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee, from the purpose of MTAC, to the role of representatives and leaders, to where to find additional information and resources. While the Guide will be especially helpful to new representatives, it should also serve as a handy reference and refresher to all MTAC members.

The Guide is posted on the MTAC page of the Postal Service’s RIBBS website:  https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=mtac.

I will be doing a session on MTAC at National Postal Forum, hope to see you there!

Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 27th, 2013 at 10:44 am

Posted in USPS

So Far, FSS Is A Step Backward, USPS Data Indicate

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The Flats Sequencing System is costing the U.S. Postal Service more than it is saving, information submitted by USPS this week indicates.USPS’s response to a question from the Postal Regulatory Commission showed that FSS has pushed up the costs of mail processing far more than it has decreased delivery costs.

via Dead Tree Edition: So Far, FSS Is A Step Backward, USPS Data Indicate.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 27th, 2013 at 2:05 am

Posted in USPS

Vermont’s Arlington Green Bridge Gets Stamp of Approval

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Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 26th, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Posted in USPS

US Postal Service pushes the digital envelope in battle for its future

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US Postal Service pushes the digital envelope in battle for its future.

My comment?  Beware Darth Vadar.  He had lots of ideas too.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 26th, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Posted in USPS

Time capsule found at Maui post office site

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Written by Lisa.Bowes

January 26th, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Posted in USPS