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The US Postal Service ROCKS! Almost.

Tuesday 10 February 2004 at 02:39 am Jen loves to buy and read cookbooks. Every now and then though, she gets one that just kind of sucks. It's boring, or uninteresting. So she hands them to me, and I put them on a pile, go through them one by one and put them on Amazon at a deep discount.

Once they get sold, I have to put the book in a box, print a shipping label, tape the box up, drive 12 minutes to the USPS office, go to the automated USPS machine, print out the reduced rate media mail postage, drive 12 minutes home.

So I'm in the post office in Alexandria, VA today and there is a big promotion of the new Click-n-Ship. Web-based printing of postage. SWEET! I ask the clerk Steve (he's cool) if I can print Media Mail postage on the Web. He says "Yup." DOUBLE SWEET! Then I ask him if the USPS picks the boxes up. He says "Yup. Just go to the website and schedule a pickup." HOLY CRAP! TRIPLE SWEET!

Yeah, I get excited about little things.

Turns out that the Click-n-Ship only allows you to print Priority and Express labels, which didn't help me. But then! Out of the corner of my eye (and depressingly clicking on other links to wallow in my new-found USPS-induced depression) is the USPS Shipping Assistant! I might be saved! Using the USPS XML-based API's (no idea they had those!), the software gets rate quotes, prints shipping labels, even manages your address book! But you can't buy and print postage. Damn. Not saved.

Well, hopefully the USPS Click-n-Ship will let me print Media Mail Postage soon. That will rock. Or enable their Shipping Assistant to generate and print postage. That would rock too, just a little less so. The web is better. So I still gotta go to the post office. That kind of sucks.

At least I'm getting a free Stamps.com Mail Scale. I can live with that. Cancel after 28 days, because really, who wants to pay $16 a month to mail crap. Well, if I didn't have to go out, and I sent 2-3 packages a month... c'mon, $16 a month buys me, um, well, a generic inkjet toner refill?