Friday, 27 June 2014

09:00 – I do wish the USPS would stop “improving” its Click-N-Ship website. A couple of months ago they changed the input screen for shipments to Canada. There used to be a drop-down list at the top of the form where you had to pick the province. The rest of the fields were all free text-entry fields. Now, you still have to pick the province from the drop-down list at the top and you can then enter free text for the addressee’s name, street address, and so on, but then you get to drop-down list hell. For some reason, you again have to choose the province from a drop-down list. Then, instead of being able to type in the city name, you have to choose it from a (very long) drop-down list of cities/towns in that province. Then, instead of being able to type in the postal code, which in Canada takes the form X9X 9X9, you have to choose it from a drop-down list of postal codes within the city you chose. And it doesn’t provide full postal codes, only the first three bytes, with nowhere to enter the remainder of the postal code.

So, yesterday morning I had a kit to ship to Canada. The address the buyer provided was Toronto, ONT M3A 9X9. So I chose Ontario, followed by Toronto, but “M3A” wasn’t on the list of postal codes. So I searched Google for her full postal code and found out that as far as USPS was concerned it was in North York, a part of the Toronto metro area. So I selected the city name as North York and picked M3A from the drop-down list. When I printed the postage label, the address was in the form “M3A Toronto ONT”. Figuring that M3A wouldn’t suffice, I used a pen to print the full postal code on the label and all three copies of the customs document. Geez.

But at least USPS let me pay for that label without giving me the “Payment method declined…” error message. Same thing around lunchtime, when I ran another batch of labels. Then, mid-afternoon, I tried to print another label for an order I’d just gotten. I was in a hurry because it was almost time for USPS to show up. And, of course, when I tried to pay for that label, I got the dreaded “Payment method declined…” error message. I tried again to pay. No dice. I exited and restarted Firefox and tried to pay again. No dice. I fired up Chrome and tried to pay. No dice. So I restarted Firefox and tried to pay. This time, it worked and I was able to pay for and print the label.

Just as I clicked Print, the phone rang. It was USPS tech support calling, and the guy said it looked like I was having problems printing postage labels. I told him that I was, that this had been going on sporadically since January or February, and that in fact it was going on at the moment and that I’d only just gotten it to work for the label I’d just sent to the printer. The guy said he’d just fixed the problem with my account. I told him that his fix must not have worked because I was just now having the problem. He said he meant literally that he’d just fixed the problem as in two seconds before he dialed my number and that was why I’d just been able to pay for and print the label that I’d just sent to the printer. I thanked him and asked him what I should do if the problem recurred. He said it wouldn’t recur, that he’d permanently fixed the problem with my account, but if I ever did have a problem with Click-N-Ship to call him directly at the number he provided.


30 thoughts on “Friday, 27 June 2014”

  1. Chalk one up for USPS tech support,then; that was a righteous solid the guy did for ya.

    Gorgeous day here so fah; on to the List.

  2. WOW, a competent USPS employee. However, I bet he will be rewarded with having to search for a new job.

    A couple of years ago I was having more than the usual problems with Charter (all services: TV, HSI, and phone). After months of frustration I got a phone call from a local Charter person who identified himself as the new Technical Manager. Long story short: lots of cable trucks in the neighborhood for a couple of weeks with daily phone calls from this manager. A lot of equipment along the line from my area to the headend was replaced. Me and my neighbors were very very happy.

    Up until recently all has been well. When a problems occurred a few months ago I called the number of the Technical Manager. A strange person answered the phone, when I asked for “Mike” I was told that he no longer worked for Charter and that I was not supposed to have this number.

    No good deed goes unpunished.

  3. I wonder if the First Lady of Honduras is going to take “her” kids back. At least bring some undies and baby formula.

    The first lady of Honduras is to tour South Texas immigration shelters to learn the plight of thousands of Hondurans who entered the United States illegally.

    Nah, they are US Citizens now. Thanks Obummer.

  4. I was reading that the UN might get involved if the City of Detroit turns off the water to non-paying customers. Humanitarian and all that.

    I wonder if the UN will get involved in the de facto invasion of the US across the southern boarder. Deploy “blue helmets” to stop the invasion. At least chip in with panties, formula, etc. Maybe some nannies to care for the multitudes instead of Homeland Security.

    Nah, they are all US Citizens now. Again, thanks Obummer.

  5. An act of war by Mexico? Oops, sorry about that. Nobody got hurt right? Any doubt we need our military on the border now?

    “The incident occurred after midnight and before 6 a.m. Helicopter flew into the U.S. and fired on two U.S. Border Patrol agents,” del Cueto said in a statement to KVOA. “The incident occurred west of the San Miguel Gate on the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation. The agents were unharmed. The helicopter went back into Mexico. Mexico then contacted U.S. authorities and apologized for the incident.”

    Judas Priest! How long till we do something.

  6. Well, if I’m elected emperor in 2016, I’ll implement my Cunning Plan. I’ll relocate all illegals to the current border area, build a fence behind them, and cede the area between the old border and the new fence to Mexico. Problem solved.

  7. “…I’ll relocate all illegals to the current border area, build a fence behind them, and cede the area between the old border and the new fence to Mexico.”

    My informal and totally off-the-cuff fascist/rayciss-type estimation is that would currently be about 30-million people, give or take a coupla million.

    But as MrAtoz sez, they’re already de facto citizens, and within our lifetimes, most of the Murkan Southwest will become de facto Aztlan. Hope they enjoy the dwindling aquifer out there and no water eventually. And possibly climate-change blistering heat in excess of 120 all the time at some point. Of course then they’ll swarm to the northern cities like previous migrations. Thanks a lot, Obummer!

    But the really big gratitude should be reserved for the late Edward Kennedy, who started this whole enchilada rolling back in 1965; my theory is that he did it out of revenge and spite ’cause us voters would have never put him in the WH after Chappaquiddick. Most, if not all, RINOs have always gone along with this whole deal, too, and how many millions of Murkan derps continued to vote for them anyway. Thanks a lot!

    Meanwhile I see the Feds actually airlifted plane-loads of them to my old home Commonwealth and some skool systems are being inundated by kids with major health hazards going on and who can’t speak a word of English. Why Maffachufetts, one might ask? And not any of the other 49 states? LOL.

    And yo, fools, the gov doan no nuttin:

    http://www.bizpacreview.com/2014/06/16/ice-shipping-planeloads-of-illegal-immigrants-to-massachusetts-125716

  8. I’ll relocate all illegals to the current border area, build a fence behind them, and cede the area between the old border and the new fence to Mexico. Problem solved.

    That is how the West Bank and Gaza strip in Israel were created. Didn’t work then, not gonna work now.

  9. Speaking of Global Cooling XXXXX Global Warming XXXXX Climate Change XXXXXX Climate Disruption XXXXX who the heck knows, we in the Land of Sugar have yet to hit 95 F this year. Usually we hit 95 F back in April or May for a day or so. And it is raining (great joy!) so our drought frequently mentioned by pres and his ignoramuses is over for now.

  10. It was just another scary story they could dump on us for a few years and brainwash a generation of skool kidz into believing it to this day as Holy Gospel. Nice work. That was after their previous generations’ brainwashing with Diversity, Enforced Equality, and the Perfection of Man in a Socialist Utopia, despite a hundred years’ evidence of theft, torture, gulags and genocide.

    82 here today with t-storms possible in the area whenever, per usual this time of year. Got Troy-Bilt TB230 mower w/Briggs & Stratton engine fixed for $84 and runs like a top again. Shop guy’s dad is a ‘Nam vet which makes me feel ancient and another ‘Nam vet showed up for something or other in his Ram Hemi truck. Like Old Home Week.

    Mowing now, and the yard is a friggin’ jungle. Doing it in three stages. Also gotta trim stuff in front and along with living room ceiling repair we’ll be scraping and repainting the front door/entryway in black and gunsmith gray.

    Gotta get truck fixed; needs two tires, wheel bearings repacked, door latch and maybe the whole door fixed, and horn either repaired or replaced. Then we gotta get the 4WD going again. And a bunch of rust/cosmetic rehab on doors and rocker panels. It runs great and with $ already put into it, it makes more sense to us to keep it going rather than get a new truck just yet, esp. with me being an unemployed bum still.

    Busy week ahead with more social events dumped on us and then Mrs. OFD leaves for Manchester, NH, a week off, Philadelphia, a week off, Manchester, NH, a week off, and then I think Mordor again. At some point she’s driving MIL up to northern NB in between all these trips. And Princess, so fah as I know, still has no summuh job, so we’re apparently handing out money again.

    Can’t complain much ’cause littlest brother has one daughter out at Santa Clara at $50k/year and second daughter on the way out there to some other skool at similar cost and both will be in college for a year at the same time. I have no idea how they manage all that. Including multiple cross-country trips for all of them every year, with hotels, cars, meals, etc. While sister is out dining and drinking every week at restaurants and taking day trips to Rockport, MA. Hasn’t worked in many years.

    Our big day was a recon trip yesterday just north of us along border/waterway areas; very interesting. The wildlife refuge covers about 7k acres, most of it water, marsh, bogs and creeks, and we checked out a couple of put-in spots for boats and there was hardly a soul around. Miles of blue water under a sunny blue sky.

  11. Miles of blue water under a sunny blue sky.

    I’ve got miles of brown dirt and 100+ degree scorching climate ejaculation for the next two months. Even the roaches are going belly up. You should come visit Mr. OFD. 🙂

  12. I do wish the USPS would stop “improving” its Click-N-Ship website.

    This reminds me of the good old days when we sold our software via the timesharing services, UCC, UCS and something else.

    We could and did update the timesharing version of our software frequently. Fixed old bugs and introduced new ones all the time.

    Just as I clicked Print, the phone rang. It was USPS tech support calling, and the guy said it looked like I was having problems printing postage labels. I told him that I was, that this had been going on sporadically since January or February, and that in fact it was going on at the moment and that I’d only just gotten it to work for the label I’d just sent to the printer. The guy said he’d just fixed the problem with my account. I told him that his fix must not have worked because I was just now having the problem. He said he meant literally that he’d just fixed the problem as in two seconds before he dialed my number and that was why I’d just been able to pay for and print the label that I’d just sent to the printer. I thanked him and asked him what I should do if the problem recurred. He said it wouldn’t recur, that he’d permanently fixed the problem with my account, but if I ever did have a problem with Click-N-Ship to call him directly at the number he provided.

    Yah! They do have customer support and it cast its lone eye on you for a moment (allegorical reference to “The Lord of the Rings” intended).

  13. “You should come visit Mr. OFD. :)”

    In a B-52 maybe. Mrs. OFD gets assignments out in them kinda places pretty regularly, though, and she kinda digs the desert. I’ve been to TX, AZ and the Mojave and y’all can keep it.

    “Any icebergs out there in Lake Champlain?”

    Not this year, but ice-out was fairly late on the northern reaches of the lake where we are. During the wintuh the ice was at least two to three feet thick and the fishermen could drive huge-ass trucks out with campers and light up bonfires.

    Yahd has been mowed; in the three stages; grass was so thick and wet that the mower kept conking out; the whole deal took me all afternoon. It is now goof-off time for the old man here. Current issue of Guns & Ammo, some pretzels, and Moxie.

    Dump run tomorrow and then more house and yard chores; trying to cram as much in as possible before I have it all to myself again. Wife is owed a total of over $17k in contract pay from several sources and the government of O Kanaduh; just in time for taxes, bills and various repairs; maybe we’ll do a lunch out somewhere, too, a novelty.

  14. OFD, if the grass was that long and recalcitrant, wouldn’t it have been more efficient to spray the gasoline on the grass and light it, rather than burn the gasoline in the mower?

  15. This can only happen in the Soviet Union, er, Oregon:

    During Independence Day weekend, a time to celebrate US freedom and unalienable rights, Americans in Oregon will be subjected to a “blitz” of ‘no-refusal’ blood-draw checkpoints, as part of a disturbing trend that now extends nationwide.

    I guess if you refuse to blow, then have blood drawn, you get blasted because “the officer feared for his life”. Disgruntled Vets should avoid Oregon on Independence Day.

  16. “…wouldn’t it have been more efficient to spray the gasoline on the grass and light it, rather than burn the gasoline in the mower?”

    Indeed it would. But being a Friday on the Bay with touristas abounding on the main, I thought it would not behoove me to ruin their lovely day with clouds of burning gasoline smoke, no matter how recalcitrant the vegetation. So I sweated off a pound or two. I can afford it.

    “Disgruntled Vets should avoid Oregon on Independence Day.”

    Said personnel are probably being mass-identified even now and will be subject to roundup by active-duty personnel, what a hoot that would be! There are precedents, among them the HUGE one of Dugout Doug and his little toady Major Eisenhower (both war criminals) rousting out the veteran “bonus marchers” in D.C. after the Great War and burning out their shantytown in the Anacostia river bottom area, sending the women and kids fleeing.

    I’ve seen other nooz items on the checkpoint blood drawings; they can kiss my ass. You may read of my death-by-cop shootout on the net some day. I didn’t come back after two tours and then years of street-cop drudgery to be treated like a medieval serf or a subject of the old Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Cuba or North Korea.

    And my system is totally clean now; pure as the driven snow.

  17. Moxie, invented in Lowell, MA; a real old-timey mill town on the Merrimack, and the stomping grounds for Beat writer, the right-wing Catholic, haha, Jack Kerouac.

    Didn’t know the Green River beverage, which I would probably like, inspired the CCR song.

    And how about this?

    “The Moxie brand was purchased in 1966 by the Monarch Beverage Company of Atlanta. In 2007 Monarch sold it to its current owner, Cornucopia Beverages of Bedford, New Hampshire, which is owned by the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England, a subsidiary of the Kirin Brewery Company, based in Tokyo.[13]”

    The Moxie I slug down is, in the end, from Japan; and I used to drink Kirin beer sometimes during my travels with Uncle.

    I gather it’s still big mainly in New England and PA. Sometimes someone will see me picking it up at the store here and comment on it, like their husband drinks it, and they never heard of it, etc. I take this as an opening line if it’s a svelte cougar type and proceed from there, of course.

  18. What a lovely thing to do on July 4th weekend!

    The police say they will liaise closely with prosecutors and judges to immediately obtain “blood draw warrants”

    Ya know, I thought at least some pretense of probable cause was required for a warrant. I’m pretty sure that there are clear cases saying that refusing a breath test is not probable cause.

    Actually, the thing that has always bugged me about this system: the judges. The judges are supposed to act as a control on the police, but there is no control at all on the judges. What is their incentive to be careful when issuing warrants? Ain’t none!

  19. The police in this country lately have just been doing whatever the hell they want and they are backed by the department brass, the town/city gummints, and the courts.

    Some of them are aware that things are beginning to come to a head, though.

  20. My car’s gas tank is behind the license plate. You pull the plate down on spring hinges and the filler cap is behind that. When I finished filling a couple days ago, the pump was beeping at me, and though I screwed on the gas cap, I forgot to flip up the plate. It had been a very long day and was just after dark (around 21:30) and I was heading towards the back way home. Lights, spotlight, siren pulled me over, half-a-block out of the gas station. At that moment, I did not know I had forgotten to flip the plate up, so I had no idea what this was about.

    Very short woman cop came up to the car and told me I had no plates on the car. Then I realized what had most likely happened. I told her I had just filled up and probably forgot to flip the plate up. She let me get out of the car, and sure enough, that was it. She immediately let me go, but really, of all the things going on in society, my not having a plate visible on the car deserves valuable hourly police time and attention? And how can you fail to see the filler cap where the plate should be when you have a 10,000 candlepower spotlight?

    If that were not enough, when I got home, the sheriff had delivered a summons for someone listed at my address. My grandparents built Tiny House; my parents lived here; and now I live here alone. But this is the THIRD time the sheriff has brought around a summons for someone at this address that isn’t me — and I live alone! Now I have to use MY time to take it in to the county court clerk and tell them no one lives there but me, and that ain’t me on the summons.

    Like I keep saying, life in Berlin was never this complicated. Admittedly, my car is 20 years old this September, and the problem here in the US is that is a crime! In Chicago, I still had my first car 18 years later and was repeatedly stopped and told that it was because drug-runners use old cars and they were just checking. That happened once a week in HInsdale when I first moved to Chicago for work, and was house-sitting for a state senator while waiting on the transfer of our newly purchased house to go through.

  21. Hi Chuck, sounds like you might have some identify theft going on with those bad summonses.

  22. Most likely some upstanding citizens picked a random-but-valid address to name as their own, whenever they have to fill one in. Having no imagination, a whole bunch of them are now using the same such address, namely, yours. You’d think, after the first time, the county would have a flag on that address in their system, but I suppose that’s asking a bit much of minor bureaucrats and their software.

    What happens if you just ignore a summons, since it ain’t you? Is that when they call out the SWAT team at 2am?

  23. Well, it is a small town, and I do not want to find out. Last thing I need is to be dragged off to jail for ignoring a court. Could be identity theft, but since it involves different names, I kind of doubt it. I think it is more likely poor research on the lawyers’ part, or people lying about their address. The first one, I was told, was a young guy violating parole; the others seem to be people involved in some sort of bankruptcy proceeding. As I have noted before, there is not a lot of IQ collected in this town, and that gets worse as the smarter ones keep leaving.

  24. Yes, having a vehicle more than twenty years old here is now a crime. I have two years to go on the truck before I become a dangerous felon.

    Chuck, get that address stuff cleared up ASAP even if it is your own time; I know it sucks but we don’t wanna read about SWAT busting down the door in the wee hours in Tiny Town ’cause of the wrong name/address again.

    And yes, the cops here also have scads of time available to scan us for flipped-down license plates, expired inspection/reg tags, a cracked taillight, or we’re driving rigidly at attention with both hands at 10 and 2 on the wheel. Or they just feel like stopping us and looking for stuff. Meanwhile the speed zones in front of the house here and on the lake road that winds behind us are a joke, as is the noise level of the local yokel jack-offs scrubbing out and revving engines constantly. And on my way down to my VA appointment in a few minutes I’ll invariably see people doing a buck and over in the fast lane and not a cop in sight for thirty-five miles.

  25. or we’re driving rigidly at attention with both hands at 10 and 2 on the wheel.

    Actually that is no longer recommended because of airbags. If the bags deploy with your hands in that position the bag may break your hand or force your hand to slam into to the window. Recommended position now is 9 and 3. Unless the cops stop you at which time you must insert one thumb up your ass.

    I’ll invariably see people doing a buck and over in the fast lane and not a cop in sight for thirty-five miles

    Speed limit in Knoxville is 55. I drive that stretch every day. People are doing 70 or more. Even the local police are known to exceed 80 on the stretch as I followed one once until I decided it was too fast. The police are around, they just don’t bother. Always makes me wonder when I see someone pulled over what they did wrong as speeding was most assuredly not the issue.

    Then there is the issue of the truckers that ignore lane restrictions. Four lane highway, trucks restricted to left two lanes as shown by multiple signs. Yet trucks will routinely be in the left two lanes when there is no compelling reason to do so. I figure the truckers 1) cannot count, 2) cannot read, 3) don’t care, or a combination of all three. When I can get their truck information I call them in and report the violation.

  26. Heh. Back in the early 80’s when I was commuting to Greensboro on I-40, it was generally about 70 in the slow lane and 85 or so in the fast lane. One day, I must have lost my senses. I was cruising along in the fast lane at about 75 with traffic stacked up behind me. The problem was the car immediately in front of me, which was cruising in the left lane at about 75. So I flashed my headlights, the guy immediately moved over into the slow lane, and I blew past him. I say I must have lost my senses, because the guy I flashed my headlights at was driving a State Police cruiser.

  27. Also back in the late 80s I was driving to work at DEC one night on 495 South in Maffachufetts and I was passing a long tractor-trailer truck but not speeding real fast to do so; a car came up fast behind me flashing the high-beams but I couldn’t pull over yet ’cause the truck was still on my right and it took another 30 seconds or so. The dude in back of me kept flashing his highs at me anyway. I finally passed the truck and reflexively flipped off the guy as he passed me, naturally, a state trooper. He pulled ME over and lectured me about how roadside courtesy like that could get me shot out in southern Kalifornia. Asshole. Probably retired now and working a nice private security gig and pulling down multiple pensions.

    Drove 35 miles down and back on the interstate without seeing a single cop this morning; only cop I saw was when I got back in town and was on the road home and a local oncoming huckleberry eyeballed the inspection sticker, natch, ’cause it expires tomorrow. Probably hopes he can nail us tomorrow and will be looking. This seems to be their main function now; nickel-and-dime-ing revenue enhancement with occasional jollies to be had with SWAT busting in on overdue library cards and organic veggie gardens.

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