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75 comments

Before anybody complains (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45842813)

This isn't new to the US Post Office, so much as it is a new version of various technological infrastructure they've had for years.

Re:Before anybody complains (2)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 4 months ago | (#45843081)

But but... it's Apple man. It's an iSomething product! That's why it's so newsworthy!!

Otherwise yeah, mobile point of sales with portable printers have been around since the Flinstones...

Re:Before anybody complains (1)

m2pc (546641) | about 4 months ago | (#45843565)

Ive seen several "brick-n-mortar" retailers use similar tech, and the overall experience has been a good one. I remember the days when all that was available was a Symbol-branded monochome "gun" with a huge bulky keypad and display... Having an iPod Touch is actually a lot better all around:
  • a) Cheaper (even with the "sled", it still costs less than a dedicated device)
  • b) It does't run an old proprietary monochrome OS
  • c) It's lighter in weight

I recall the customer experience when Apple itself went from the Symbol scanners to the Linea Pro sled + iPod combo as being pretty much night-and-day. The old devices were clunky and slow, and the new were fast and efficient. Being able to sign with your finger onscreen was also a big plus. Paperless receipts are great!

Re:Before anybody complains (4, Informative)

bob_super (3391281) | about 4 months ago | (#45843927)

On the other hand, I went to a major retail chain (formerly renowned for their catalog) and the guy told me he "had to" use his Apple-powered checkout gadget, because of some kind of quota.
It took at least 5 times longer than if he had use a good-ol' cash register like the one right next to him, on which he still had to type a couple things, and which printed my receipt. Actually, it was the machine 8 feet away which was linked to his toy, making the whole thing patently ridiculous as he went back and forth. He had to scroll on the tiny apple screen to input data which has dedicated keys on the productivity-optimized dedicated hardware.

I'm glad there wasn't a line, because this was a perfect example of not-an-upgrade. As an "extra cashier" tool during black Friday, maybe it's useful, but the place was empty and the registers were running.

Re:Before anybody complains (3, Interesting)

plover (150551) | about 3 months ago | (#45844989)

You know what? That sounds like a very successful test of using iThings for point of sale. Not that the iThing was successful, but I bet your experience helped the retailer understand that those devices sucked for the task. At least temporarily.

POS providers are under constant pressure to "put mobile POS systems in my store" or "the Apple store uses iPods, why can't we?" Apparently every marketer associates being cool with the use of iPhones. They parade a profound lack of knowledge of human interface design, usability, workflow, and productivity as some kind of badge of honor, like "we're breaking through traditions and making our cashiers cool." Then when someone finally runs a real-world test and proves that cashiers will slow down by a factor of five; they have no place for shopping bags, hangers, flat surfaces for folding sweaters, or receipt printers; the sleds triple the bulk and weight of the devices; and the customers are pissed off at the long waits and longer lines, the marketer puts his tail between his legs and slinks back into his cubicle, having failed at the task of bringing "cool iThings" into the stores. The marketing executives blame the failure on the project management, on the project team, or on anything that went wrong, but never seem to learn the failure stems from the limitations of the human interfaces required to actually sell stuff.

Twelve months later, the next fresh face in charge of marketing repeats the cycle. It never ends.

Now get off my lawn.

Re:Before anybody complains (1)

Lord_Jeremy (1612839) | about 3 months ago | (#45845005)

I had exactly the same experience at what I suspect was the same retail chain. On the other hand, I myself have developed mobile point of sale apps for my employer. On the rare occasion that the server backend for the standard PoS system has gone down, salespeople have been able to continue to check people out using just the handheld devices. It can definitely be done right, but it doesn't surprise me at all that there are many examples of how wrong it can be done.

Re:Before anybody complains (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45843987)

I looked at doing something like this at work a while back. It would have been similar to what they have here, an of the shelf touch screen device with some extra hardware attached. One of our competitors used an iPod but it turned out to be to fragile in the field, and because our customers often wear gloves for warmth and safety the capacitative touch screen was annoying.

We considered some rugged Android devices with resistive screens. Development would have been easier too because Android has a better USB stack and more standard hardware (no proprietary interfaces), but in the end sent with a completely custom system.

Re:Before anybody complains (1)

Daemonik (171801) | about 4 months ago | (#45844375)

a) It's also smaller, so easier for an employee to put in their pocket and walk away with.
b) There is absolutely nothing wrong with a text based OS. As for it being proprietary, well so is iOS outside of a few BSD bits. The point is that it is a small dedicated device and you don't have to worry about some bored clerk cracking it to put his Facebook app on the thing or browse porn on it's built in browser.
c) Lots of handheld scanners used to use Palm devices and I'm sure they'll use Androids too. The lightness factor only matters in if you expected them to be at a station or carting the thing around the store.

Re:Before anybody complains (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45843691)

This isn't new to the US Post Office, so much as it is a new version of various technological infrastructure they've had for years.

In that case, they're way ahead of the Stanford University Library System; they're still doing the "only take cash or a personal check" method. The fees vary between 200 to 500 dollars a year to use the 19 departmental and two main facilities (or less when doing it by the quarter or on a daily basis, at a higher markup).

It's disarming the first time it happens when they recommend to use a nearby ATM for a $5.00 fee or get the cash from an on campus Bank of America (and not the one I use). The personal check is mentioned last in passing as an afterthought; something which I quit carrying around over a decade ago.

Competition (2, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 months ago | (#45842829)

As labour becomes more and more expensive due to all of the resource mis-allocation, inflation, taxes, regulations the capital comes to the rescue and saves the day once again. Competition is pushing USPS to reduce costs and in our times the result is obvious - automation. This may be good news actually, of-course it's a government program, so there has to be a level of inefficiency somewhere there, the procurement process, somewhere is getting a nice piece of the pie, but as long as it works out at the end, it should in principle save money and this is due to the competitive pressure from the free market.

Re:Competition (3, Insightful)

organgtool (966989) | about 4 months ago | (#45843361)

of-course it's a government program, so there has to be a level of inefficiency somewhere there

Yes, since it's the government, it just has to be inefficient! We need to have FedEx and UPS show USPS how to send letters from Florida to Alaska for 46 cents.

Re:Competition (3, Insightful)

tchdab1 (164848) | about 4 months ago | (#45843397)

I too am sick of and disappointed in the inaccurate and unsourced assumptions that presume government processes are less efficient that for-profit processes. My unsourced opinion is they're both about equally inefficient, but the for-profit solutions cost more.

Re:Competition (4, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45843893)

There is evidence that government run out heavily regulated operations can be more efficient. It depends on your definition of efficient though.

For example national energy production was a lot cheaper before it was privatised. It is now not efficient at making profit but worse if you need electricity, which everyone does. We end up paying for new infrastructure through our bills that is then privately owned and used to extract even more money from us. It's horribly inefficient.

Companies like British Telecom used to build new infrastructure when it was needed. Now they are nationalised they do so only when they can make money, so our broadband is slow and crap. Here in Japan my phone has 150mb up and down, while the absolute best the UK has to offer to your home is 120/10 (with shitty traffic management to make it pointless).

Government run operations are far more efficient for consumers and the country/economy as a whole when any kind of essential service or infrastructure is involved.

Re:Competition (2)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 3 months ago | (#45845831)

That Japanese phone you mentioned at 150Mbps symmetrical - what carrier is that? Docomo, which is 82% privately-held? Softbank, 100% private?

Re:Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45847241)

That Japanese phone you mentioned at 150Mbps symmetrical - what carrier is that? Docomo, which is 82% privately-held? Softbank, 100% private?

As GP said, it depends on what you mean by efficient. In Japan's case, the government forced local-loop unbundling so that operators can compete for service, instead of letting the ones who laid down and own the fiber having a large advantage.

But there are other factors to Internet speeds/accessibility, not just government regulations or lack thereof. For example Japan is a lot more crowded and physically smaller than say, North America.

Re:Competition (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 3 months ago | (#45848355)

So is it the private or government run systems that are doing better. You mention electricity was better as a government run entity but that telecom was better as a private entity. Or do you not understand the meaning of big-words such as "nationalized"?

Re:Competition (1)

plopez (54068) | about 3 months ago | (#45848843)

Something I try to point out is that efficiency is dependent on where your are "standing". From the POV of a corporation what is efficient for them is how easily they can rip the most money out of my pockets to improve profits or CEOs bonuses. While for me it is how cheaply and easily I get what I need. For government it means how cheaply and easily it can provide services it is mandated to do; such as defense, police service, critical utilities such as health care, education etc.

Note that individual goals are more in alignment with the goals of the individual, since it about providing services not generating profit.

Re:Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45846333)

Yeah, they can subsidize with tax dollars to reduce costs.. Well APPEAR to reduce costs..

Same BS on public transit.

Its much more efficient.... LOL

Re:Competition (2)

m2pc (546641) | about 4 months ago | (#45843489)

Yeah show me which shipping method UPS or FedEx offers that comes close to $0.46... Maybe they can do it for $4.75 or so, but no cheaper!

Re:Competition (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 3 months ago | (#45845363)

Being declared a monopoly and being subsidised by government and providing 46 cent letter services does NOT make USPS efficient, it only makes it a monopoly that is using various government subsidies (some are hidden as parts of other government programs) to provide that type of delivery. Of-course USPS was selling 'forever stamps' for more than a year now, those could in principle work as a hedge against inflation unless USPS at some point simply declares that it will not honour those sales or that it just stops letter delivery altogether.

Yes, if it is government then it must be inefficient, that's because the principles of government prevent it from being efficient. The more money and office spends, the more power it has, government reducing its spending is equivalent to government reducing its power and people don't go to government to reduce their or government power, they go there to grow it.

Re:Competition (1)

Anitra (99093) | about 3 months ago | (#45845789)

You've got a point, but did you know... FedEx has a contract with USPS to actually move a lot of USPS packages around the country?

Re:Competition (2)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 3 months ago | (#45845799)

The USPS _can't_ send a letter from Florida to Alaska for 46 cents (49 cents as of 1/24/13). It is able to because it CAN send a letter from Midtown Manhattan to Lower Manhattan for a lot LESS than 46 cents. It's a cross-subsidy, made possible because the USPS has a monopoly on First Class mail. I think that it's a GOOD cross-subsidy (from a public policy perspective), but let's not pretend that it's a comment on USPS's efficiency or lack thereof.

Re:Competition (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 3 months ago | (#45846175)

. I think that it's a GOOD cross-subsidy (from a public policy perspective), but let's not pretend that it's a comment on USPS's efficiency or lack thereof.

- why should people, who send letters a few miles from each other be subsidising somebody who sends letters across the continent? I do not think it is a good thing, I think it is an awful abuse of gov't power. Are the people living in Alaska subsidising Manhattan cost of living?

Re:Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45846781)

- why should people, who send letters a few miles from each other be subsidising somebody who sends letters across the continent?

Article I, Section 8, Clause 7

I do not think it is a good thing, I think it is an awful abuse of gov't power.

It doesn't matter what you think. The Constitution says what it says. It's not going to amend itself just because you think so.

Re:Competition (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 3 months ago | (#45848413)

Oh, if only that same logic applied to all the various Article, Sections, Clauses and Amendments.

Re:Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45855477)

Oh, if only that same logic applied to all the various Article, Sections, Clauses and Amendments.

What makes you think it doesn't? Why do you think people get so angry when they find out the government is not following the Constitution?

Re:Competition (1)

plopez (54068) | about 3 months ago | (#45848875)

The reason they are losing money is that 46 cents is too cheap. And every time they ask for a rate increase they have to beg for it from congress. It is congress that is hosing the USPS. If they had less restrictions, e.g. increase rates when needed, they would be more solvent. Not that these artificially low rates also under cut the private sector.

Re:Competition (1)

IICV (652597) | about 4 months ago | (#45843439)

... what.

USPS makes money. It makes a lot of money, in fact. The only reason why it appears to be in debt is because of the other parts of the government forcing it to take on debts most businesses don't have to.

And I have no idea why you think "automation" is something the USPS hasn't thought of before. Do you really think a person sorts your mail? As long as it's legibly written in the standard format, your letter is OCR'd without human intervention.

Hell, why do you think those mobile POS thingers are any better for automation? They're exactly the same as a normal table-based register, they're just mobile.

Re:Competition (5, Informative)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 4 months ago | (#45843773)

Specifically, what the parent is referring to is the retiree prefunding required of the USPS. They have to fund health benefits for retired employees for 75 years in advance, far beyond what any other company or government agency has, or chooses, to do. Consider that the USPS is currently funding health benefits for employees who haven't even been born yet, and you can see how absurd this concept is - yet Congress still decided this was a smart idea. The USPS appears to be floundering to the outside world, but that's because of that particular $5.5 billion payment they have to make yearly, not due to some competitive pressure, or environmental change like "lower delivery volume". AFAIK, at the beginning of 2013, they had about $44 billion banked for these retirement benefits.

Re:Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45844883)

USPS loses $12 Billion a year, the payments stated are $5.5 Billion a year. If they were not required to make those pension payments does the other $7 Billion a year they lose just go away?
Should the pensions not be fully funded and just cut when the workers retire? Or are you saying the taxpayer should pick up the tab when that comes.

So in your opinion, the USPS makes money, if you ignore funding pensions, and the additional $7 Billion a year loss. I could also go into the 75 years statement you made not being true, but I think I've shown enough of your lies that anyone else should already suspect everything you posted is pure BS.

Re:Competition (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 3 months ago | (#45846587)

Actually, the loss for 2012 was for two years' worth of payments [nbcnews.com], so it's more like a $2 billion loss for the year. I could also get into how Congress decided that Saturday mail delivery is a service that no American should do without (even though that alone would turn around the $2 billion deficit), they cannot shut down individual post offices, and cannot allow shipment of alcoholic beverages [time.com].

What people don't realize is that while the USPS doesn't take taxpayer money, and hasn't for more than 30 years, they're still entirely run under a mandate from Congress, and cannot make substantial changes to their operations without Congressional approval. When people complain about socialism, or complain about capitalism, they don't see the giant mess that can happen when an organization is effectively subject to both. They have to do inane shit like constantly renaming post offices [go.com], but are prohibited from doing the kinds of things, like offering new services, or cutting costs, that would actually bring them into the black.

You've been lied. Every business does the same. (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 3 months ago | (#45846619)

You've been lied to. Every business in the country pays for their retirement plans while the employee in working. What USPS was doing was promising to pay today's workers 50 years from now, but not setting aside any money to do so. In most cases, it would be illegal for a private company to pull the crap the USPS was. It's fraud, telling employees they have a retirement fund when in fact there is no such fund. Congress had USPS stop committing fraud. Now, when a postal worker goes to work today, they earn retirement benefits today, and that money is set aside today to pay today's workers.

Re:Competition (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 4 months ago | (#45844099)

As labour becomes more and more expensive

Your comment starts right away with a big fat lie, which is repeated and repeated ad nauseam by the Corporate Propaganda Machine, a.k.a. The Media, until people actually believe it. It's nothing but propaganda by the 1% to convince the 99% to shut up and suck it while a bigger and bigger share of the income flies from the pockets of the latter into the pockets of the former.

Re:Competition (2)

gtall (79522) | about 4 months ago | (#45844267)

"of-course it's a government program, so there has to be a level of inefficiency", this is true of any program, it isn't special to government. It is just that government is more conspicuous due to it running on taxpayer dollars. The citizenry will complain vociferously about "waste" in a government program but will happily fork over much more as a percentage of their income for things like cable TV, internet access, gasoline. Why? Because they see themselves as getting a direct benefit and hence it okay. Curtail spending on NHTSA, the people who figure out how the public wrecks its cars, and when the rate of accidents goes up, people will not notice, yet it is now more "efficient".

One other thing government has to contend with to a greater extent than private industry is the scale of the programs. Some are extraordinarily large, and require large sums of money. When that happens, the dear American citizenry, well a certain segment of them, will devote much time and effort bilking the government programs. Managing a large operation is quite difficult, companies generally can only get to a certain size before it becomes apparent that breaking them up would be more efficient. Government does not have that luxury. They are tasked with managing an entire program or several at the same time.

Across all government services, government is quite efficient, and some like NASA and DARPA have given back much more than they have received. Some are inefficient but not in ways that are easily amendable. As soon as changes are attempted, there will be special interest groups devoted to explaining LOUDLY how any changes will mean the End-O-World of Biblical Proportions, dogs and cats living together. One would think the Pentagon would be ripe for making more efficient. The Air Force says it doesn't want plane X, Congress forces them to take plane X forgetting the Air Force must now provide the infrastructure for plane X. The F18 program couldn't be made more efficient because parts were made in Mass. where Ted Kennedy prevented any changes. So if a liberal Democrat cannot even be relied upon, what hope is there for the rest of the government programs. And streamlining those programs would create new headaches given their size and their complexity just due to unintended consequences. And then the government can expect to be sued because Grandma lost her dentures due to Medicare changing the way it pays doctors for eyecare.

Voting & Congress ineficient by design, to be (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 3 months ago | (#45846899)

Whats the MOST inefficient way to make a decision? Having millions of people vote on it is probably the least efficient way possible.
The second most inefficient way to make a decision is probably to send it through the US Congress. On the other hand, North Korea makes decisions efficiently - the dictator simply decides. That might take ten seconds, while the same decision by the US government might take years.

The US government isn't SUPPOSED to be efficient. If we wanted efficient, we'd have a dictator.
We don't want efficient government, we want FAIR governance. We want to be sure that all voices are heard and
that everyone's rights are respected. That's incredibly inefficient.

In my small business, when we need a computer we log onto Provantage, Newegg, or Tigerdirect and order it. We know those companies provide good service and good prices. It takes us maybe 30 minutes to select and order a computer. When the government needs computers, they initiate the bid process. The bid process is supposed to be transparent, so that all citizens can see that the government official isn't buying from their brother at inflated prices. It takes a few months. The government process takes a few months, the private business practice takes a few minutes. Obviously the government process isn't efficient - it's not supposed to be! It's supposed to be transparent.

What, if anything, should we do about all of this inefficiency? Well, the inefficiency is how we get fairness, transparency, etc., to the extent we manage to get those things. We COULD give up fairness etc. by choosing a dictator. Laws being made by a dictator doesn't sound like a good idea, so we're probably stuck with government being extremely inefficient. That's okay, though, there is a way to get things done efficiently while still having an inefficient (fair, transparent) government.

To make certain things efficient, we can simply not have them done by the government. Some things, like making laws and courts, need to fair, transparent, etc., and need to be done by the government. Other things don't need to be. For example contrast Google fiber versus the various attempts by governments in the US to provide fiber access. The government run projects mostly failed to one degree or another. Google is getting the job done. I don't CARE whether or not the Google executive is sending contracts to his brother-in-law. There's no need for transparent bidding. Fiber is delivering bytes, mostly porn, not sentencing people to prison, so there's no need for the same guarantees of fairness we demand of the government who runs the court system.

Neither government nor business is BAD. Each have their own place. A court of law should be deliberative, fair, slow. Being sentenced to prison SHOULD be a careful, slow process. Passing laws that drastically effect millions of people should involve public debate. It SHOULD take months or years to figure out a new medical care system and impose it on everyone. On the other hand, laying some fiber so you can stream more Netflix should be quick. You want to launch the new technology today, not three years from now. If Congress were in charge of internet access, they'd probably be approving the DSL standard about this time. It would probably be paid for by taxes on 56K modems. That's as it should be. Careful, fair, deliberative, slow government when you're forcing people to do things and quick, efficient businesses to provide consumer services.

Now if they... (1)

TWX (665546) | about 4 months ago | (#45842847)

...could do something about those hours...

Seriously, the post office in my wife's old hometown is only open until something like 4pm. We usually need to use it when we're mailing something back from her parents that they've given to us on a trip, something like books that aren't particularly fragile and are very heavy, so shlepping them on to the plane is less than ideal. It's awkward when they're open such a short amount of time, and yes, there usually is quite the line at closing time so they're effectively open until 4:30 or 5:00 anyway.

This quick point-of-sale wireless stuff could be a real boon admittedly, for when customers don't need the parcels weighed in order to pay for them, and might help make getting through line faster. That could mean that they'd need less clerks at the same time, so they could lengthen the operating day by staggering clerks' shifts a little more, allowing them to remain open later without having to hire more workers.

Re:Now if they... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45842899)

...could do something about those hours...

or the TWO DAY first class mail delivery to LOCAL addresses (as in across the street) that we have here now. that's two days, plus the latest mail pickup, even at the post office is now 1230pm. THANK YOU CONGRESS for crippling the postal service.

Re:Now if they... (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 4 months ago | (#45843589)

It's awkward when they're open such a short amount of time, and yes, there usually is quite the line at closing time so they're effectively open until 4:30 or 5:00 anyway.

Oh, I watched them slam their metal window shade at 04:59:50 on a long line of Christmas package shippers a few days before Christmas. Many of them had been there for half an hour or more because they only had one person running a window. Oh, and I went to check my PO BOX at 1PM on New Years Eve and they had closed at noon. Not that I had any end-of-year business to deal with, of course. Every other retail establishment was open until 6 in my area.

I won't miss them when they're gone.

Re:Now if they... (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 4 months ago | (#45844635)

Yeah it just sucks you couldn't get postal service outside of normal business hours. You'll be so glad when no one can get postal service!

Re:Now if they... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 months ago | (#45852515)

Yeah it just sucks you couldn't get postal service outside of normal business hours. You'll be so glad when no one can get postal service!

Because no services exist except those metered out by a government monopoly. Gotcha.

In related news, the immigrant gentleman who owns the local UPS Store franchise kept his business open until there were no more paying customers coming in the door. Why? Profit motive - it signals optimal market operations. He doesn't have a monopoly to lean back on.

Re:Now if they... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#45844651)

I won't miss them when they're gone.

Not rain nor whatever long since gave way to "fuck you, I'm off". So far between my lady and I we've witnessed four incidents where there were huge lines and the postmaster of Kelseyville was just standing around jaw jacking. I thought he got paid to make sure the mail got delivered, not to shoot shit and hold his dick. One of those times my lady managed to guilt him into fetching packages for people, which shouldn't be necessary. In these times he should be fearing for his job, and doing it lest he lose it, but there's clearly no one checking up on his performance. They dropped my route and merged it into another route, so now the mail comes at any random time if it comes at all, and the new carrier rarely picks up mail I've left in the box with the flag up. I've had the PG&E bill stay there (propped up against the side no less) through three pickups, I finally gave up and took it in to the post office. The carrier also regularly fails to leave a package tag, and doesn't fill out the ones they do leave.

I won't miss the USPS when it's gone, either. It can't go away quickly enough for me.

First NSA karma whore post! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45842957)

The NSA is the suxor. Huh huh huh. Snowden is a hero. Huh huh huh.

Come on. You know we need at least one in every story. Now mod me up.

Re:First NSA karma whore post! (-1, Troll)

MobSwatter (2884921) | about 4 months ago | (#45843079)

First NSA karma whore post! - The NSA is the suxor. Huh huh huh. Snowden is a hero. Huh huh huh.

Come on. You know we need at least one in every story. Now mod me up.

First of all this is not reddit you schmuck, so go pound sand. Second, why are you provoking it, being that you find it distasteful as a Nazi sympathizer?

Re:First NSA karma whore post! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45843735)

The NSA is the suxor. Huh huh huh. Snowden is a hero. Huh huh huh.

Come on. You know we need at least one in every story. Now mod me up.

Oink! Shouldn't you be with that family you have that you're always yammering about?

Why go Apple? (1)

Nos9 (442559) | about 4 months ago | (#45842967)

Why not use something nobody will want to take home, like a HTC first?

Re:Why go Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45843023)

Theft, somebody at USPS got paid off. Apple doesn't produce hardware thats designed for this. They should have developed a solution which would work over the long haul and not have to be re-developed every 3 months when the company released an new device. Apple's products are costly and hard to maintain. There are companies which specialize in long-term supported hardware. Apple isn't one of them.

Re:Why go Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45843169)

You should really find something besides blind hatred. You don't have to buy new devices. You don't have to upgrade. You don't know what the solution looks like unless you found a link I couldn't find. A "modified iPod" might be a card reader plugged into the headphone jack. Or it's all Bluetooth with a custom app. You don't any idea how to manage an iDevice in an enterprise or personal environment. Really, you'd be better suited to go comment on the Pan Flute article.

Re:Why go Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45845197)

Apple doesn't produce hardware thats designed for this.

Fortunately, about a dozen different POS vendors do.

They should have developed a solution which would work over the long haul and not have to be re-developed every 3 months when the company released an new device.

Yes, absolutely, a government agency should have developed its own, proprietary handheld POS solution with custom hardware and software, probably built by a large government contractor around a ten-thousand-page specification.

I'm sure that would be better than choosing one of the dozens of off-the-shelf packages.

Apple's products are costly and hard to maintain. There are companies which specialize in long-term supported hardware. Apple isn't one of them.

At $229 for an iPod touch, who cares? You're saving so much money over a "real" custom-built dedicated POS hardware setup that you can replace it every year and still come out ahead.

Re:Why go Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45845085)

Why not use something nobody will want to take home, like a HTC first?

Probably because an iPod touch is cheaper than pretty much any other device without a subsidy?

Re:Why go Apple? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#45862649)

A 7" Android tablet like a Kindle Fire or Nexus 7 doesn't have a subsidy either, and it's cheaper than the iPT.

Oh Man! (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 4 months ago | (#45843005)

I finally reach the age of being able to rag on the USPS and they are still delivering things on time. Now I have to hear they are being accommodating too? Dirty roten rat...

Re:Oh Man! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#45844657)

I finally reach the age of being able to rag on the USPS and they are still delivering things on time. Now I have to hear they are being accommodating too? Dirty roten rat...

The USPS does neither of those things in my area.

Standard fare in Australia (1)

Ozoner (1406169) | about 4 months ago | (#45843013)

Been using them in Oz for years...

Re:Standard fare in Australia (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 4 months ago | (#45843137)

Are they using Apple ones? Most people use Windows CE for that sort of thing. Although that is discontinued now, so they do need to look for something else.

Too labor-intensive (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 4 months ago | (#45843151)

Many USPS locations already have a kiosk with a scale and a vending machine type arrangement to do that, without the need for a postal employee. Or you can get a USPS account (which is free) and print your own bar-coded package labels with postage. Just like FedEx. There's even a discount for that, and you get free tracking.

When you use either of those methods, no postal employee has to do any data entry.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45843163)

ipads? for the postal service? who keeps losing money every year?

$4 billion in 2013... And why are we buying them ipads?

What a fucking circus...

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45843183)

"iPod device". So what's your idea to get you out the door quicker, genius? Keep in mind they are under-funded.

First Class (1)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | about 4 months ago | (#45843165)

I was wondering why a purchase kept bouncing in and and out of a delivery for two weeks.

I ordered a game from ebay that was mailed first class two day post - and it circled in and out of forest park for over two weeks. I've never had a problem like that before. Now it makes sense.

super awesome great (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 4 months ago | (#45843553)

when will their own website notice that 07676 is the Township of Washington in NJ

cause when I sent shit there this summer the website said invalid and I had to take it to the post office only to get screwed another 4 bucks for some drooling flunky to print a label

... catching up with Europe...? (1)

ImOuttaHere (2996813) | about 4 months ago | (#45843891)

Interesting what makes news in America. Obviously some people haven't eaten in a European restaurant in a very long time. LOL!

Re:... catching up with Europe...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45844289)

Interesting what makes news in America. Obviously some people haven't eaten in a European restaurant in a very long time. LOL!

It's not new in America. It's only new for this American federal bureaucracy.

JMCR Foundation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45844345)

Thank you for visiting our website [jmcrfoundation.org]

  we hope the following links will assist with any inquiry you have.

Mailing Address:
34490 Ridge Rd
Willoughby Ohio 44094

Phone number:
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info@jmcrfoundation.org

Jesus Miracle Church Rescue
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

How is this news??? (1)

brunes69 (86786) | about 4 months ago | (#45844629)

"US Postal Service announces trial of a technology in widespread use for many years, film at 11"

First Class Parcel Postage Online! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45845503)

Why the #@&% can I not buy and print postage for a first class parcel from usps.com? Why is the USPS protecting Pitney Bowes and stamps.com at the expense of its customers? Stop making sending mail a pain in the ass for your customers USPS!

Thanks for the chuckle. (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about 3 months ago | (#45845851)

Oh! These joke sites like The Onion, and Satirewire are so funny. Imagine an efficiently-run post office with friendly attendents employing modern technology. LOL.

The USPS is still way behind (1)

snsh (968808) | about 3 months ago | (#45849095)

It amazes me how little the USPS "clicknship" website has changed over the past 10+ years. A consumer still cannot go online and print out a stamped, first class envelope, let alone an unstamped mailing label. You still cannot fill out paperwork for certified or registered mail online, instead you have to go to the post office and scribble on one of those adhesive-backed green labels with smudgy ink. If you don't want to verify a mailing address or ZIP+4, it's far easier to type it into Google.com than USPS.com because you can't do an unstructured search for an address without tabbing between Address1, Address2, City, etc. Unless you're sending an Express Mail overnight package, there isn't much you can do from USPS.com.

The USPS need a leader who can really embrace technology, deploy more online self-service tools, and more functional self-service kiosks. Maybe they should just buy out stamps.com for a billion dollars and offer it as a free service to everyone.

mPOS (1)

Revel Adam (3493981) | about 3 months ago | (#45922413)

Mobile point of sale is the future, and this is just another step in that direction. Revel Systems is utilizing customizable mPOS systems for all types of establishments. Check them out here http://revelsystems.com./ [revelsystems.com.] -Adam
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