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Reading Your Postal Mail Online

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the now-you-really-better-do-backups dept.

173

An anonymous reader writes "Remote Control Mail gives us one more reason not to leave our computers. Their service lets you access your postal mail on the Web. They offer scanning of mail contents, shredding, recycling and shipping. There's a good writeup on Techcrunch, complete with a CAD animation showing some robotics technology (Flash Movie) that RCM is developing to automate mail handling. The service costs $25 to get started and $20 a month for individuals." Now if we could only reply the same way.

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wait till NetFlix hears about this! (5, Funny)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006202)

This is very cool! But I'm not sure what NetFlix and Blockbuster (among others) are going to think about this! Finally, an easy way to get DVD's onto my computer!

Re:wait till NetFlix hears about this! (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006246)

think of all the people who get their checks mailed to them instead of direct deposit...

Wow, that check looked nice... Sure wish I could deposit it electronically.

They probably have something to allow you to get a desired item forwarded to you and not shredded, it's probably mentioned in TFA if I weren't to lazy to read it.

Re:wait till NetFlix hears about this! (1)

damirl (988199) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006326)

"They probably have something to allow you to get a desired item forwarded to you and not shredded, it's probably mentioned in TFA if I weren't to lazy to read it." Indeed they do, I thought the same thing but apparently they allow you to choose before the mail is even opened, if you want to: open then scan, shred, forward, or store. I do wonder if their system can shred cds though ;-)

Re:wait till NetFlix hears about this! (0)

gt_mattex (1016103) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006292)

On a more serious note...

Tampering with mail is a federal offense...assuming the mail's location is sanctioned by the government. I'm assuming you'd have to sign something that would allow them to receive and therefor access your mail.

My point is, if this isn't a government sanctioned facility, is mail tampering still a federal crime and if not would the risk/reward of ID theft be worth the lower penalty of base theft.

Re:wait till NetFlix hears about this! (4, Informative)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006648)

if this isn't a government sanctioned facility, is mail tampering still a federal crime
Tampering is. Handling, i.e. processing someone's mail on their behalf and with their permission isn't. I remember way back when there were these people employed in normal offices called secretaries who used to do that for managers. And - get this - they were mostly chicks!

would the risk/reward of ID theft be worth the lower penalty of base theft.
Base theft? They are all belong to us anyway!

Seriously, I think your foil hat's a bit too tight.

Re:wait till NetFlix hears about this! (1)

gt_mattex (1016103) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006800)

Since I was referring to ID theft I'd wage that'd be tampering.

As to my foil hat, I'd have to say the idea of someone taking advantage of this system for their own material gain is truly ludicrous. People don't do that anymore.

Re:wait till NetFlix hears about this! (2, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007128)

secretaries who used to do that for managers. And - get this - they were mostly chicks!

      Chicks are good at opening other people's mail anyway. Just ask your mother or your wife - "oh sorry I opened it I thought it was for me...". Never heard THAT one before...

This is most certainly news! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17006316)

Well, not quite news considering that DIGG [digg.com] had this three days ago. Quit playing with yourself kdawson and get with the game.

Re:This is most certainly news! (1)

MollyB (162595) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006814)

Funny. After reading your post, I searched Digg and found an entry made 4 seconds earlier!

Is Digg duping or are you mistaken?
http://blog.o7c.net/2006/11/28/postal-mail-to-your -e-mail-box-id-never-leave-the-house/ [o7c.net]

Re:This is most certainly news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17007934)

No, just a different article [techcrunch.com] , found here [digg.com]

Re:wait till NetFlix hears about this! (1)

go007go (578347) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007502)

I travel a lot. This is kinda interesting. If there's a video record of everything that happens when I request a scan, I'm ok with that. They only scan the envelope first, no?

Re:wait till NetFlix hears about this! (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007660)

This is very cool! But I'm not sure what NetFlix and Blockbuster (among others) are going to think about this! Finally, an easy way to get DVD's onto my computer!
The site recommends not having your Netflix dvds sent to them :)

Doubleplusgood! (4, Insightful)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006234)

And we all know that our mail contents will be kept 100% private.

Snail mail is the ONLY private form of communications we have left.

Re:Doubleplusgood! (3, Insightful)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006256)

You think they don't open letters sometimes?

Re:Doubleplusgood! (2, Funny)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006334)

"Snail mail is the ONLY private form of communications we have left."

And as long as they keep destroying or losing my letters, or as long as they remain in Hefty trashbags stacked around Newman's living room, they will remain private.

Re:Doubleplusgood! (1)

Legatic (318255) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006402)

but will they use genuine Ministry of Information memory holes? I won't accept imitations!

Re:Doubleplusgood! (5, Insightful)

NiteShaed (315799) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006628)

Snail mail is the ONLY private form of communications we have left.


Until of course someone steals your mail, reads through it all, and steals your identity. But hey, at least it keeps the crystal meth users [msn.com] busy. If someone wants to steal your mail, they'll find a way.

Also, Doubleplusgood? How do you equate the police of the Ministry of Love reading messages specifically looking for "crimes" against Big Brother, with automated document scanning by a private company that you hire? There are plenty of times when 1984 references are on target, but this doesn't seem to be one of them.....

Re:Doubleplusgood! (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006638)

Snail mail is the ONLY private form of communications we have left.

Unless you are deemed "suspicious." It's a Brave New World.

KFG

Re:Doubleplusgood! (4, Interesting)

Josh Lindenmuth (1029922) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006782)

Snail mail would be private if it got to the desired recipient 100% of the time. About 1/2 of my mail ends up in a neighbor's mailbox (and vice versa). I can't tell you how many times I've had an important bill (such as property tax) delivered by a neighbor who accidentally received it. Every time we call the post office, they ask us to file a report (which we do), but nothing changes. Luckily we live in a pretty trustworthy neighborhood, or I'd be in trouble.

Re:Doubleplusgood! (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006996)

Newman!
(makes fist and clenches teeth)

Re:Doubleplusgood! (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007278)

Snail mail would be private if it got to the desired recipient 100% of the time. About 1/2 of my mail ends up in a neighbor's mailbox (and vice versa).

I've actually had to call the Postal police (or whatever you call them) because either the postman was not delivering the mail or throwing it away. Of course I live in a major city, but my room mate found that a credit card she ordered had been tried in an ATM about 50 miles away so obviously something happened to the mail being delivered.

I'm not sure what became of it... Although, at my new residence, my mail isn't delivered with 100% accuracy.

Re:Doubleplusgood! (1)

zecg (521666) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006864)

Snail mail is the ONLY private form of communications we have left.

Many people replied to say how stupid that is, so I'll skip that part. If you want private communication, exchange private keys with your correspondents and encrypt your electronic mail. That's the only private form of communications you have and it's not "left", it's a fairly recent one.

Re:Doubleplusgood! (1)

zecg (521666) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006896)

If you want private communication, exchange private keys

Or, you could do it with public and avoid looking like a moron.

Re:Doubleplusgood! (1)

rodgster (671476) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007112)

I had to re-read the title a number of times. I was sure it should have read, "NSA reading your postal mail, your rights online".

Does anybody have tinfoil hat instructions (5, Insightful)

HolyCrapSCOsux (700114) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006254)

Normally I'm not a super-huge privacy advocate, but something about this makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Re:Does anybody have tinfoil hat instructions (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006286)

I'm not worried. Now if we were forced to subscribe to it, I'd be joining you in making the tin-foil hats...

Re:Does anybody have tinfoil hat instructions (1)

Duggeek (1015705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006322)

Maybe that "something" is the apparent potential for abuse?

...or is it that it requires complete trust in a mechanical system?

We must consider that, being a mechanical system, it will have failures.
Ergo... we must put complete trust in the system's technicians.

Would that trust be appreciated by the technician that "goofs", performs a C.Y.A. and makes your critical check/legal-document/other-correspondence disappear completely?

Count me out.

Re:Does anybody have tinfoil hat instructions (3, Insightful)

HairyCanary (688865) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006498)

Errr... all of your postal mail is already routinely handled not only mechanically, but by real live people.

Re:Does anybody have tinfoil hat instructions (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006752)

your postal mail is already routinely handled not only mechanically, by real live people.
Real and live? I know they can't be robots - you couldn't fake the BO that postal workers have. You just couldn't. But what about zombies?

Re:Does anybody have tinfoil hat instructions (3, Informative)

Duggeek (1015705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006870)

Sorry, but that's irrelevant. Those employees are bound directly by Federal Law to deliver the mail to you, un-opened.

We trust the folks at USPS, and the UPS store (et al) to handle mail, not open and scan it. To me, that's a HUGE difference when you're talking privacy and secure correspondence.

If there's a better example for your comparison, it would be payment-processing facilities. (a.k.a. lockboxes [wikipedia.org] )

Their operations are strictly controlled, managed and audited, yet heavily automated with mail-opening and scanning devcies. Employees and contractors are often bonded for the sheer volume of currency they are apt to handle. OTOH, there's so much labor-intensive work that it's hard for such operations to turn a profit. Many organizations, especially cable-service providers and land-line telephone services, consider it a necessary evil, even though the entire department often shows quarterly losses.

Despite all that, it only affects how your intended payment reaches the proper account; the model being proposed in TFA is a method to disseminate all of your incoming, private mail. Currently, we don't really have a model to compare; unless you're a butler.

If a lockbox struggles to show a profit, just how would this business model work anyway?

Re:Does anybody have tinfoil hat instructions (2, Insightful)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006366)

Normally I'm not a super-huge privacy advocate, but something about this makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Yeah, the instructions are simple: Don't sign up.

Are you really hurting that much for Karma that you have to pander to the tinfoil hat crowd?

Re:Does anybody have tinfoil hat instructions (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006526)

Normally I'm not a super-huge privacy advocate, but something about this makes me a bit uncomfortable.

It's not like the USPS is putting this out there and mandating that we all use it. Instead, stupid people are paying someone else to do it for them. I'm not sure why you are concerning yourself with stupid people who are willing to pay for something pointless.

It's the privacy problem (2, Insightful)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007094)

... something about this makes me a bit uncomfortable.
If your mail is anything like mine, you get lots of credit card offers - or even in rare cases, actual credit cards - that you did not ask for. I trust my wife to sift through all this crap and properly dispose of it, but would I trust employees at some company like this to do the same? Nope. Sure, someone can raid your mailbox, but that's different than consistently passing all the stuff through the hands of a low paid employee at a 3rd party company.

Excellent (2, Insightful)

sitturat (550687) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006272)

Hopefully this idea will prompt the companies that still send out bills by post to reconsider this pointless waste of money/paper/time. Then this service will eventually become redundant, but will have served its purpose.

Re:Excellent (4, Insightful)

planetmn (724378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006392)

With few exceptions (Taxes are the only thing that comes to mind), I can get all of my statements paper free. This includes Credit Card, Cable, Phone, Gas, Electricity. In fact, they would prefer (and push) the electronic methods of receiving your bill. Some people (me included) just prefer paper bills. An easy to store and reference method of your account history.

-dave

Re:Excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17006872)

I find PDF statements are a lot more convenient. I have PDF bank statements dating back to 2000 I can access from my hard drive or CD-R backups (encrypted) at anytime. Adding to the convenience, I use Quicken to see how much I've spent per month on utilities/gas/whatever since 1995 without sifting through piles of paper.

Paper is cumbersome, require storage space, and most of the time you don't ever look at them except possibly during tax season. When do you ever look at your electricity bill from 2003? Most people throw away their paper statements anyways.

To each their own.

Re:Excellent (2, Insightful)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007098)

Which is all fine and dandy until your hard drive dies. On tax day. And yeah, you can scream "backup" all you want, but I can tell you now it is easier to walk over to my filing cabinet than it is to rebuild a system, put an OS on it, and restore the backup. Besides, all my paper bills take up far less space than my computer, monitor, scanner, and printer. Unfortunately computers are cumbersome, require storage space, and most of the time you don't ever look at them except possibly while surfing porn.

Re:Excellent (2, Insightful)

kkwst2 (992504) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007582)

You paper bills take up less space? OK, so you're 22? Or perhaps you're using hardware built in the 1980's? Regarding backup, I actually use FolderShare to distribute my important files (encrypted transfer) to several computers including my laptop. All my Money files, Taxcut returns, important scanned receipts, etc. are shared between a few computers. All these files, including my digital pictures, are around 12 gig. So for the cost of around 50 gig, I have quadruple redundancy of important files. I also manually back up to an external drive occasionally. But one computer crashing won't really affect me in the short-term, as I always have three backups. Later, I just do a clean install and then restore important files. As for the porn comment, I guess you are 22! ;)

Re:Excellent (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007726)

Yes, it isn't that hard to believe that several hundred individual sheets of paper take up less space than a full tower, 22" CRT, scanner and laserjet printer... And for the record I am much older than 22, although age is a complete non sequitur in this argument. I save my paper bills for 3 years, and I have 2 file drawers full. Much less space than my system takes. And if you think only 22 year olds look at porn, you had better do some research.

Re:Excellent (1)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 7 years ago | (#17008060)

Which is all fine and dandy until your hard drive dies.

Like parent, I like to store the paper.
Like grandparent, I download statements from my banks, credit cards, etc.

Unlike parent, I'm painfully aware that there is an equal likeliness to my hard drive dying of my files catching fire, eating liquid death (flooding insurance is only so helpful), getting lost during a move, and so on.

I much prefer paper statements since I actually read them, making little marks when necessary ($43.22 at "CHARLIE PATRIOT"- WTF was that?). I'm not going to rely on them lasting, and don't want to keep them forever. I would like to keep the information, so a file will be sufficient in the long run. I wish my bank did that for me, but OTOH, they don't care to, and can they really be trusted to?

Re:Excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17006506)

I receive bank, credit card, utility, car insurance, and internet statements online. Progressive Insurance sends paper copies, but payments can be made online. Being able to do things electronically instead of through the mail is very convenient. It saves paper, postage, and time.

Re:Excellent (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006576)

The only thing that will solve that is someone going and physically beating the crap out of the executives and Finance departments at these companies. Here in Michigan several of the utilities CHARGE EXTRA for you to pay electronically. Yes, the payment method that is cheaper for them costs you more! There are 3 companies I still send a check in the mail for them to have someone physically handle,open and input the payment instead of having it 100% electronic and therefore cost less.

check out paytrust... (3, Interesting)

pw700z (679598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006578)

http://www.paytrust.com/ [paytrust.com] - They receive your bills, open them, post them online, and allow you to pay them. It's awesome... i've moved 4 times since i started using the service, and only had to notify the gas/electric company!

Re:check out paytrust... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17006858)

I would like to second paytrust! I've been using them for 7 years and I LOVE LOVE LOVE their service!

Excellent-The price of convienence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17007126)

"Hopefully this idea will prompt the companies that still send out bills by post to reconsider this pointless waste of money/paper/time."

I wouldn't say it's pointless. The non-geek crowd needs it. There's the issue of "your word vs theirs" when it comes to disputes. Plus the internet isn't %100 reliable yet.* Otherwise I agree with you.

*Oh,and did I mention the danger of man in the middle attacks. When was the last time the post office got hit by one of those?

Shredding Is Now Easier (4, Interesting)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006354)

I bought a new shredder [fellowes.com] a few months back (thanks for the bargain, eBay). It's powerful enough to shred the whole envelope and its contents without opening, even with those fake credit cards inside. Junk mail management is now so much easier.

Congrats: You slashdotted fellowes.com (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006412)

Subject says it all.

Re:Congrats: You slashdotted fellowes.com (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006610)

D'oh! Must've been temporary because it came up fine when I tried it just now.

Re:Shredding Is Now Easier (2, Interesting)

Deagol (323173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007440)

I usually send any junk mail with a postage-paid envelope back to the sender. Just fold, spindle, and mutilate everything to fit it in the envelope, then drop it back in the mail box. Let someone else deal w/ the trash. If you're lucky, you may jam up one of those big mail handling machines at the credit card processing shop. Everything else gets tossed into the wood stove. As much as I like shredding, fire (being old tech) is much less prone to malfunction, and I don't send yet more crap off to the landfill.

Re:Shredding Is Now Easier (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007496)

Sure, you can do that ... but don't kid yourself about the "environmental advantages" of it. That "crap" getting sent off to the landfill is biodegradable paper! It's not going to be a problem. On the other hand, your action of mailing the junk mail back to the sender means an increase in the amount of mail to be transported. Sure, your individual letters won't have much impact -- but if everyone started taking your suggestion, the post office would waste a *lot* of fuel delivering unnecessary mail around.

Re:Shredding Is Now Easier (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007718)


but if everyone started taking your suggestion, the post office would waste a *lot* of fuel delivering unnecessary mail around

Actually what's more likely is that the people sending out junk mail would likely be a lot more selective in who they send out junk mail too.

As far as the environmental thing is concerned, if that's your only concern in life you should probbably just shoot yourself in the middle of a forrest full of hungry bears. You'll quickly be re-cycled and won't contribute to any further useage of energy, paper, emissions of CO2, etc. Just be sure to use bullets without lead, wouldn't want to pollute the forrest.

Re:Shredding Is Now Easier (2, Interesting)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007832)

That "crap" getting sent off to the landfill is biodegradable paper!

Paper in landfills does not degrade [csun.edu] significantly; newspapers have been dug up after 50 years, still legible.

Please recycle your paper and cardboard. Thanks.

if everyone started taking your suggestion, the post office would waste a *lot* of fuel delivering unnecessary mail around.

The point is that if everyone started doing it, junk mailers would be paying for a lot of return postage, and would perhaps finally have an incentive to send out less junk.

There's some sort of loop involved... (3, Funny)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006388)

There's some sort of pointless loop involved if all I use this service for is to read my paper-mailed ISP and "Remote Control Mail" bills online. A veritable Mobius-strip of "what the hell FOR???!?!?".

How do you mean "reply" ? (1)

Uninvited Guest (237316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006394)

Now if we could only reply the same way.
How? By "shredding, recycling and shipping?" I already answer most of my mail that way.

Dollar bills (1)

plankrwf (929870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006400)

Hi there, I just sent you some dollar bills through snailmail... What? You shredded them?

Re:Dollar bills (1)

devilspgd (652955) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007170)

Your ideas intrigue me and I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter. Do you have a daily option?

reading about yOUR reputation online (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17006422)

requires visiting sites not under corepirate nazi .controll.

from previous post: many demand corepirate nazi execrable stop abusing US

we the peepoles?

how is it allowed? just like corn passing through a bird's butt eye gas.

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for many of US, the only way out is up.

don't forget, for each of the creators' innocents harmed (in any way) there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/US as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile will not be available after the big flash occurs.

'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi life0cidal glowbull warmongering execrable.

some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the corepirate nazi life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

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consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

Re:reading about yOUR reputation online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17006614)

so...do you have some kind of news letter that you could send to me at regular intervals?

love letters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17006474)

do they ship the perfume, too?

Checks? (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006502)

So this means I don't get checks, or origional documents.

Don't find that very appealing.

Re:Checks? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006778)

It's not like they remove your ability to have mail sent to your house or anything. The service is that they give you a new address to which you can have things shipped. So if you have checks or original documents, you can give them your home/business address, but if you have other mail you just want to be able to read/archive/shred, you give this other address, and then you can access your mail from anywhere.

Re:Checks? (1)

CagedBear (902435) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007002)

Mail forwarding is one of the features of the service. After reviewing the check online, you can have it sent to your house, your office, your hotel, the Dali Lama, whatever you want.

Reply online too! (2, Interesting)

tedhiltonhead (654502) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006524)

> Now if we could only reply the same way.

You can, with USPS's (US Postal Service) NetPost service [usps.com]

Re:Reply online too! (0, Flamebait)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006550)

"You can, with USPS's (US Postal Service) NetPost service [usps.com]"

Is that the "USPS Simulator" where they have an ingenious algorithm to ensure that 30% of the emails never make it, and that the typical delivery time to the destination inbox averages 5.5 days? And, of course, no delivery ever occurs on Sundays or during any one of 78 other designated Federal and/or other postal holidays during the year?

But.... (2, Informative)

KeepQuiet (992584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006534)

Who is opening and scanning the mail? Automated machines? How do I know they don't read my mail? How do we know that they don't lose any mail? Also wouldn't there be an additional delay before I get my mail (wait to be scanned and then wait to be delivered to you physically)?

Re:But.... (1)

CagedBear (902435) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007100)

It's all in the article. They scan the front of the mail without opening it. Then you decide if you want them to open it or just forward it on.

Obviously this will create unnecessary delay for the average homebody. They are targeting people who are on the road a lot and usually have to wait until they get home or rely on a neighbor to check their mail.

Re:But.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17007236)

Just appending my $0.02 as answers to your rhetorical questions...

How do I know they don't read my mail?

You don't, so assume they do. The mail is stored as PDF documents, so BOFHs, hackers, and improper handling of storage devices (e.g. selling drives with recoverable data) all come to mind.

How do we know that they don't lose any mail?

You can't, so assume they will. If you want your mail to be forwarded to you after they get it, there's actually an extra chance of it getting mishandled.

Add checks, bank statements, medical bills, and credit card offers to the mix and people would have to be crazy to subscribe to this "service".

Re:But.... (1)

devilspgd (652955) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007254)

Who is opening and scanning the mail? Automated machines?
Meat based machines.
How do I know they don't read my mail?
Your life isn't that interesting.
How do we know that they don't lose any mail?
How do you know USPS didn't lose any mail?
Also wouldn't there be an additional delay before I get my mail (wait to be scanned and then wait to be delivered to you physically)?
If you wanted all your mail delivered physically, then don't use this service. The idea is that you'll get mail electronically and the majority of items won't need to be sent physically at any point.

Re:But.... (1)

KeepQuiet (992584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007392)

> Your life isn't that interesting. Of course not... but my credit card numbers on the statements are... > How do you know USPS didn't lose any mail? You missed the point. If that mail is delivered to these guys, then it is not lost. There is now a second stage. They may lose mail. Also there is another step of USPS, once you want some of your mail delivered to you. > If you wanted all your mail delivered physically, then don't use this service. Again you missed the point. I don't want all the mail. If I want to have anything physical then I have wait it to be delivered. It doesn't matter one or one thousand.

Extra services (4, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006564)

For an extra $3 a month we can tell your creditors to bite you.

For another $5 we can break up with your scary ex for you.

And for an extra $10 a month we can forward your up coming invitation to visit Iraq from your Uncle Sam to an address in Canada.

Re:Extra services (1)

devilspgd (652955) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007304)

For an extra $3 a month we can tell your creditors to bite you.
Seems high, I'd rather do that personally.
For another $5 we can break up with your scary ex for you.
Sweet!
And for an extra $10 a month we can forward your up coming invitation to visit Iraq from your Uncle Sam to an address in Canada.
Can you relabel it and forward it to the whitehouse instead?

I'm in favor (3, Funny)

Hennell (1005107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006572)

I think this is a brilliant idea. I'll be perfectly safe from all those angry letter bombs I'm sent...

Do they have a form of penalty system if your mail blows-up the shredder?

Non-letter contents (4, Funny)

identity0 (77976) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006592)

But if someone mails me anthrax, will they convert it to a Outlook macro for me?

If my gf sends me panties, will someone sniff it for me?

When the brother of the ex-president of Nigeria sends me his check, will they PayPal it to me?

See, unless it does all the things I use my snail mail for, it's useless to me.

And why did I want this ? (5, Insightful)

richg74 (650636) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006630)

Let's see. When I get postal mail now, I:
  1. Get it from the mail box
  2. Open it
  3. Read it
With this service, I would:
  1. Get it from the server
  2. Open it
  3. Read it
  4. Pay $20 per month
BRILLIANT ! Where do I sign?

More seriously, I can see that this might appeal to people who travel a lot, but for everyone else ?

Re:And why did I want this ? (1)

rosciol (925673) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007490)

More seriously, I can see that this might appeal to people who travel a lot, but for everyone else ?

You're probably right, but since I am one of those individuals with a 100% travel job, the first time I heard of this service I said "finally!". While I usually make it home on weekends, I can often be gone for two or three weeks at a time. In the best of situations I can get my snail mail once a week, but often it's much worse than that. With this service, I can get all of my snail mail when it arrives like a normal person.

The only thing keeping me from signing up is that, because of my situation, I very intentionally avoid having anything important snail mailed to me. Hence, I'm not sure that $20/month to see my junk mail faster is worthwhile. I think I've phased snail mail out of my life too much to justify the cost, but the service is exactly something I'd want.

From a more digital age perspective though, I also just thought the idea of having digital copies of all of my mail and trashing the originals was really cool (i.e. without my personal effort involved). Anything that's not sentimental I have no desire to have an original of anymore; filing cabinets are for people born before I was. This takes out the effort but still allows me to maintain my perfect paperless office.

Re:And why did I want this ? (1)

DreadPiratePizz (803402) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007536)

More seriously, I can see that this might appeal to people who travel a lot, but for everyone else ?

I think it would be useful to somebody who has a P.O. Box, and doesn't want to go down to the post office to pick up their mail. That way, it could be even more private, since they won't have to be seen opening their box.

Other variations have been around a while. (2, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006634)

An interesting example is Anybill.com [anybill.com] , which runs a service handling accounts payable for you. Basically, you have your company's invoices sent to their postal address, and they open them and do some data entry and document scanning. You get e-mail whenever stuff lands there, and surf to their web app to review and authorize payment of the bills (some of which get paid electronically, some by having checks sent out on your behalf, as appropriate).

This sort of service-economy stuff is popping up in lots of little corners. If you're an office-less operation (say, a consulting group that work from the road or from your home[s]), it's pretty appealing. But yes, you've got to really trust all the players. But it does (gaa!) help you to "concentrate on your core competancies," assuming that dealing with the physical paperwork of billpaying isn't one of them.

Swiss Equivalent (1)

fuzzybunny (112938) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006720)

...is called Postbutler [postmail.ch] , and costs a damn sight more (CHF 162.- per month, CHF 486.- for up to 12 months, divide by 1.25 per dollar) but they email it to you.

I think I trust the Swiss post office a lot more than a private US company in terms of privacy, but to be honest, being able to check your mail on a website is way more practical than getting a bunch of PDFs -- I'm thinking about using this while I'm spending 3 months travelling around South America next year and don't relish the thought about grabbing massive loads of marketing mail attachments over Bolivian dial-up.

I guess I'll just use GMail or something.

Not worth at all (1)

HAL9000_mirror (1029222) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006748)

Most of us receive all the important/critical mails by either e-mail or fax. And if we *ever* need a hard copy of important/critical mails, we receive them via fed-ex kinds. And who cares about other junk mails. I don't see how this business model is going to ever succeed --leave alone the privacy issues and silly pricing ($20-$25 per month? What were they smoking?!).

no chance in hell (1)

Asrynachs (1000570) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006758)

I can just see it now, I open up my email to find the latest listings of my recent mail.. And there's a picture of my GST rebate cheque... And it's been shredded for my convenience. Thankyou remote mail you've certainly made my life easier.

Mail-In Rebates Industry (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006776)

I wonder if they use this already in the Mail-In Rebates Processing industry?

If not, it's a huge opportunity for them.

Spam? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17006792)

So will it scan paper junk mail and move it to my junk mail folder?

thought it sounded good, but (1)

syrinx (106469) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006822)

from TFA: "Customers provide a Remote Control Mail address to anyone sending them mail and the company will forward selected mail wherever you request."

Ok, suddenly much less interesting. I never gave my address to any of the people who send me crap in the mail, they just got it when I bought my house (public record!) or something. I was hoping this might be a way to deal with junk mail easier. (Of course, even if it was, I don't think I'd pay $20/month for it, but it'd be a good idea at least.) But this sounds like I'd still get all the junk mail at my house.

See also: http://www.seinology.com/scripts/script-161.shtml [seinology.com]

NEWMAN: All right, it's true! Of course nobody needs mail. What do you think, you're so clever for figuring that out? But you don't know the half of what goes on here. So just walk away, Kramer. I beg of you.

Easy solution (1)

fuzzybunny (112938) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006866)

Just have all your legitimate mail sent to Remote Control Mail, and don't publish your physical MX to any of the junk mai....uh...

Okay, just have all your legitimate mail sent to RCM and buy a big red "DECEASED, RETURN TO SENDER" rubber stamp for all the rest.

Or keep a hungry ferret in your mail box, that works for me.

Missing the Point (2, Insightful)

prichardson (603676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006936)

One of the great things about snail mail for me is the physicality. For personal letters nothing beats having something that your correspondent spent time with.

Of course for things like junk mail I'd much prefer it not be sent at all, but I'm happy to take the junk if it means being able to hold an occasional letter from an old friend or family member. To read it scanned on a screen would seem so wrong.

Oh my goodness, the fine print (3, Informative)

jyoull (512280) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006940)

um, it might LOOK like $20 a month, but keep reading. The price schedule has ten dense footnotes!

http://www.remotecontrolmail.com/pricing.php [remotecontrolmail.com]

Gotta learn all about mail induction, flats, storage days, document prep fees charged by the minute but billed by the second, the assumption that eveyr piece of mail weighs a minimum of one ounce for shredding-weight-per-day calculations.

omfg

Thanks but I'll wait til I can figure out if this will cost $20 or $200 per month since I have no control over my inbound mail.

Is it just me... (1)

thewiz (24994) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006980)

or does anyone else think that this would make stealing your identity a snap?
Just think of all the things you get in the mail that have sensitive information:
Correspondance with the IRS
Your debit/credit cards
PIN numbers come by mail
Health records
X-rays
Test results (both school and health related)
Bills with your account numbers and buying habits

I'm not subscribing to this...

Unopened mail may not necessarily be secure today. (2, Interesting)

Peter Trepan (572016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007048)

If I were Big Brother, I'd send each piece of mail past an extremely bright lamp, such as a projector lamp, and photograph it from the other side. Reading it would basically be text recognition, but with the added twist that the text to be parsed is overlaid in thirds, with the mailing address superimposed on top. Reading every letter might be beyond the power of even the best text recognition software running on the fastest computers, but the images could be saved until text recognition *is* powerful enough to do that.

Conclusion: Although the system in TFA does none of this, it still wouldn't hurt to assume that snail mail is *not* secure.

no big deal (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007426)

Lots of companies scan their incoming mail in their mail rooms; this company is simply providing an outsourcing option for that kind of service.

People are willing to pay for this? (2, Informative)

ironicsky (569792) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007460)

I don't know about that... Up here in Canada(For those of you who don't know its that place north of you) our postal system has been doing that for years. We call it http://www.epost.ca [epost.ca] They will put all of our bills and registered mail online for us so they dont come to our house. They'll even do pay check stubs online. The only thing they won't do is personal mail.

I have friends who live in Asia (1)

go007go (578347) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007630)

And they need US addresses sometimes. To do business with vendors. But there's lot of us who work remotely or virtually. It's kinda the last bit of communication that's still location dependent.

Re:People are willing to pay for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17007730)

How come y'all don't try to swim across our border like the guys SOUTH of us?

NetPost (2, Interesting)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007574)

Now if we could only reply the same way.

USPS's NetPost [usps.com] service lets you send letters, cards, and postcards from your browser.

How to Shutdown this company: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17007638)

/me mails self a letter bomb.

checks (1)

theeddie55 (982783) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007712)

what do i do with this next time i get a check in the post, take my laptop down to the bank and tell them i'd like to cash the check on the screen?

Anyone use paymybills.com? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007816)

I used a service, paymybills.com, back in the day. It was a bill-pay site that was about the same as the fees banks charged for online payment services. I would direct mail to the PO box. I don't recall exactly where, but it was east, maybe a Carolina. Everything they got would be scanned and emailed to me. I would tell them what to pay to whom (and could set up all the same automatic things as everyone else does now). They'd e-pay if they could or send out a check if they had to. The extra stuff would get scanned too. I could have gotten regular mail delivered there and scanned as well. Though, about the time I thought of that (which would make it a service not unlike the one here, plus the free bill-pay) it was sold off and changed how it operated. It is now paytrust.com and the cost (they charge you $.50 just to receive a bill) is much higer, so I live with my bank's free bill-pay. But, if you want to pay $.50 per letter received, you could have been getting all your mail sent there since 2000 or so.

I want a robot to bring in my mail ... (1)

constantnormal (512494) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007916)

"R2D2, peel me a grape".

Interesting (1)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007940)

I'll be watching this to see how it turns out. I had the same idea about 7 or 8 years ago, and went as far as designing a prototype system and selecting scanning hardware, but I gave up when it came to the legal issues. It was looking like the ability to actually open and scan the mail would require some serious legal wrangling - as far as I can tell that's not covered by the normal commercial mail receiving agent stuff. And then the domain name I'd bought for it (back in the Network Solutions monopoly days) got snatched, and I just gave up.

Nothing new here (1)

hcostelha (973974) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007952)

We have this in Portugal for about 6 month, and it is free!! Here it is called viactt.

certified email (1)

sckeener (137243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007992)

As cool as this is, I'd like to see a certified 'e'mail system that courts accepted. Maybe something from USPS.

I'd like the target person to get an email saying he has an email to retrieve, go to the usps site to retrieve the message, have the option to save the message or delete, and have the sender get an email saying the message has been read.

The key is something the courts would accept.
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