Postal Oddities

I don’t understand the postal mail forwarding system.

I sent out Xmas cards last month, and as usual, one of them came back. The sticker on it said that the forwarding time had expired, but had the correct forwarding address printed on it. If the USPS is going to go to the trouble of figuring out the forwarding information, why didn’t they just deliver the card? After all, they already did most of the work. I paid for the card to go somewhere and they know where it needs to go. They probably delivered it almost all the way there anyway – I doubt that the forwarding database is globally accessible – and instead of delivering it the last ~10 miles, they send it back to me, a distance of 1700+ miles.

Why not simply make the forwarding time a lot longer, and when it expires, discard it?

2 Responses to “Postal Oddities”

  1. Skye says:

    Oh my dear – you’re going to question the postal system? Can’t we talk about something there’s a chance we can change, like maybe passwords, their use and effectiveness as a security tool in the modern digital era?

    (To be clear, because I am the soul of subtle and understated *cough*, ‘passwords’ and codes and pins and the like are a security joke because they are so complicated we have to write them down everywhere which is the OPPOSITE of secure by any sense of the word. I’m waiting for bio-recog something something systems… And a jet-pack to get to school with. VIVA LA FUTURA!)

  2. elbeno says:

    Well, when it comes to passwords, I follow the advice of Bruce Schneier, viz:

    1. Don’t reuse userid/password information between sites

    2. It’s OK to write passwords down! Honestly. If the alternative is using a weak password, use a strong one, and write it down. Then take the little piece of paper with the password and put it with the other pieces of paper you already know how to keep safe, i.e. in your wallet/purse.

    There are basically 3 ways to authenticate someone:
    1. With something they know (a password)
    2. With something they have (a RSA fob)
    3. With something they are (a biometric scan)

    The problem comes with the dreaded “secret questions” which are trying to be 2-factor authentication, but end up being less secure than a simple secure password. If I have a secure password, why would I want to override that by providing my mother’s maiden name, or my first school, or the name of my first pet, all of which have a much smaller pool of possibilities and are therefore less secure? So I always generate strong passwords for the answers to “secret questions”.

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