What's the Status of the U.S. Postal Service NOW?

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Since the revealing report by the Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service, I have heard no updates. It indicated a likelihood that the Post Office is in great jeopardy of being able to function normally...or, at all... based on their lack of preparedness.

Is anyone in the loop, or has anyone seen any followup reports that might modify the Inspector Gen.'s comments?

Got Carrier Pigeons?

-- Sara Nealy (keithn@aloha.net), June 08, 1999


Actually, Ham radios would work better for most distance communication. Picking mine up this weekend, even though I don't know very much about it. So much to do and learn in 6 months!

-- Jim the Window Washer (Rational@man.com), June 08, 1999.

Good point, however, the concern over the postal system is really a bigger issue than could be solved by either pigeons or emergency radio communications...

Business and government will definitely be affected in the event of postal service failures. Again, the domino theory will kick in, and we'll be acting out "The Postman" before you know it. (Hopefully, with better acting...)

Info update, please, someone?

-- Sara Nealy (keithn@aloha.net), June 08, 1999.

I agree with you totally, Sara. My comments about Ham were not intended to say to replace the USPS. My thoughts are how do I, personally, communicate with friends and loved ones across country. Ham is the way to go.

-- Jim the Window Washer (Rational@man.com), June 08, 1999.

Do you really think anyone would notice if the US post office didn't deliver mail for a few months?

-- Bomber (GetmailLATE@lways.com), June 08, 1999.

IMO, USPS is toast.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), June 08, 1999.

I concur with you, BIGDOG.

Ok, Pollys, let me say it for you. "Yeah, Yeah, you bunch of doomers, they already delivery the mail manually! What a crock."

That's about right for a polly response.

-- Jim the Window Washer (Rational@man.com), June 08, 1999.

And there's that silly USPS Countdown to 2000 electronic digital clock on display in the lobby. The next time you enter your local USPS lobby, look at the Countdown time. This will indicate how many days until the USPS is bulk rate toast.

The local branch employees don't take this clock seriously. Yet.

-- Randolph (dinosaur@williams-net.com), June 08, 1999.

Respectfully, Bomber, I would suggest that, yes, commerce would most definitely be affected if the USPS goes down.

BD, I fear you may be right, but I am still looking for hard evidence in the form of followup reports or deadlines for remediation that have either been met or missed by a credible source.


-- Sara Nealy (keithn@aloha.net), June 09, 1999.

I suspect, worst case, first class mail will eventually get through, though slowly. It might still be our best means of communication to distant relatives if ham radio is not available. With any luck, junk mail will be junked.

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), June 09, 1999.

http://www.usps.gov/fyi/welcome.htm has a Y2K link. I didn't see much new there, but didn't look at it all. A few nice lists of equipment, but no "status" that I noticed. The "Here's Where We Are page" starts off with:

"The Postal Service began looking into the year 2000 problem in 1993."

Isn't when they had those two guys working on it? Where's nine when we need him! <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), June 09, 1999.

Last I heard they were 4% away from being compliant.

I hear all the computers and machinery have been tested and fixed as necessary, and the 4% is minor.

The facility I work in is in the process of installing a new system to move the mail around above our heads so that there will be less traffic on the floor and room for more automation later.

From all appearances thus far, we will be ready, as long as there is electricity. I could wish for some extra training in manual processes in the event that power is not there, since the machines ain't gonna be workin' without it!

There are even plans to divert some mail from planes to ground travel, though this was not referred to as y2k related.

The use of planes to move the mail is set up so that we get the mail to the plane, and if there is room, they load it on. We use commercial carriers, you see. So, if there is no room, then no mail is moved and it waits until another plane comes along. The thought is that if the travel is over land, then we can be sure of its arrival at a specific time frame. This is for what you could refer to as near local or two/three day. Some of this mail is already sent over land, and they are researching putting more of it there instead of the sky.

Local mail is handled with the premise that it will be delivered the next delivery day. We do pretty good with that, too!

Just a little inside info for ya. hope it makes you feel better.

-- J (jart5@bellsouth.net), June 09, 1999.


Um....duh.... Was not meant to be a serious post. Get that corn cob out of your ass.

-- Bomber (getmailLate@lways.com), June 09, 1999.


-- FLAME AWAY (BLehman202@aol.com), June 09, 1999.

Good info "jart" - hope things work as hoped by the postal "powers-that-be".

Power + machines (sorting, marking, labeling, bundling, moving, loading, recharging, etc.) operating. then you've got to hope that the processors controlling those machines are all updated nationally. (Each post office would need to be separately updated, only the master network computer could "update" a region, but using the "network" required phone (and satellite) channels be operating, plus power at both ends.

Power too for gas (trucks) and lights for the operator - gets dark trying to sort mail by candlelight!!! (But then the resulting fire helps visibility, right? 8<)) And the list goes on....can be all done, just takes time and effort to verify (or assume) each link in the chain works.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), June 09, 1999.


As you pointed out, there are a lot separate functions that require verification, testing, and remediating. According to the lastest page on their website,

"As of April 30, 95 percent of our mission-critical systems were reported to be remediated."

Since each post office has similar machinery, the fix in one will work in another for that same machine. Of course, not all facilities have the exact same machinery. Some have newer versions, some older.

The supplier side, or vendor side if you prefer, does not fall within my prevue, so I can only hope that they are taking steps to protect that area with contingency plans.

As also mentioned on the website, they had a successful test in Tampa, which was announced to us via internal video. I wondered about that test, then and now, but....again, out of my prevue.

I handle the mail manually. But I do have training and experience with some of the machinery used there. Considering what those machines do using computers, and the speed they do it, it is amazing!

I asked about the embedded chips that I felt had to be there, and was told by a techincian that they were the first thing checked. No problem. Personally, I have doubts. No backgrond in chips, just a feeling.

I think the telecommunications, as related to the physical processing of the mail, can be worked around easily enough. Most employees have a basic scheme in their learned past, before most of the automation. And one cannot help but pick up on zips and cities after a while. We would just need more people.

Trucking, both long haul and local [including carriers], is of course at the mercy of fuel being available. The major plants have their own stations for fueling and, without being smug, we are connected to the government, so that shouldn't be too big a problem. [For a while anyway!]

I think the major thing is the power availability. We have been having some bad weather here lately, and the power has gone off quite often. Not for long, but it does stop the show, as it were.

Funny thing I noticed when I first started there. I heard that the county code, relating to an industrial building of that size, requires 'skylights' for every 'x' amount of sqaure feet. [I could be wrong, but having worked in buildings near this plant I noticed they all had them. Could be that the code came after construction, or they went around it because of the risk to the mail.] We have none. So, when the power goes, it is dark! Even in the middle of the day. Once the emergency battery-powered lights come on, you can see somewhat, but moving around must be done cautiously. Another problem is the air conditioning. It gets hot fast in there, with no windows and few doors for cross-ventilation.

But, on the plus side, long hours means more pay!

-- J (jart5@bellsouth.net), June 10, 1999.

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