My experience with refusing United States Postal Service junk mail

Earlier today I discovered that I had 8.5 lbs. of mail in my house – none of it really important as evidenced by the fact that I ignore it to no ill effect for long stretches at a time – in this case, several months.

I had been refusing my mail using the process described in the USPS Domestic Mail Manual section 508 part 1.1.3 “Refusal After Delivery”.

But how did I get that much junk if I’m refusing it?  Well, I took a break because we added a new member to our family and I honestly didn’t have time to interact with mail at all – not even enough to refuse it.

But I did use this approach before for several months and here’s what happened.

At first, the mail simply disappeared.  This happened for a few weeks.  Then, one day when I wasn’t home, the letter carrier asked my wife a strange question.

Does your husband live here anymore?

My wife suspected something fishy and said that yes, of course I still lived here, and asked him what led to his question.

He said:

Oh, well, we’ve been getting a lot of mail addressed to him that is refused… so we’re going to assume that he doesn’t live here anymore and hold all of his mail.

Seriously? Threats?!? They didn’t like what I was doing so they were going to hold my mail hostage and make me go to their post office to beg for it – no doubt with a complimentary tongue lashing?

My wife responded that the mail man would need to discuss that with me first.

It took me a few days to catch my letter carrier to discuss it with him.

I asked him what the issue was and he explained that my refusal was causing a lot of confusion and frustration at the local post office.

Specifically, he was concerned that it was his sworn duty to deliver every piece of mail with proper postage to my house.

I explained that I did not in any way wish to interfere with anyone’s attempts to do so – only that, as documented in the Domestic Mail Manual, I would be exercising my authority to refuse any mail allowed by the policy.

He said that this left them in a bit of a pickle.

According to him, anything mailed first class would be sent back to the sender – at the sender’s expense (which is an easy way to use market forces to encourage organizations to stop sending junk mail – who wants to pay for useless junk mail?).

That was a hassle for them – but at least they knew what to do with it.

The problem was “bulk mail” that is delivered to everyone in an area as a service of the Postal Service.  Apparently they don’t have a process for returning it – and my junk mail was piling up in the post office.  Worse yet, they have strict policies against destroying or disposing of mail.

His proposal was that I continue to accept delivery of mail as before – and continue expending time and energy processing it as garbage or recycling.

I expressed that I was simply trying to simplify my life, and that while I planned to deal with any requested mail, the junk mail was tantamount to someone stopping by each day and littering in my living room.

I explained that I was unsympathetic to the concern that the perpetrators of this littering would now have to shoulder 100% of the burden for the trouble they’ve caused me and countless other Americans for years.

Since I have nothing against my letter carriers or US Postal Service employees personally, I notified him that I opted out of “bulk mail” and that as a result he would no longer have to shoulder my mail both to my home, and back to the post office after I had refused it.

Unfortunately, he was unwilling to accept my proposal, once again admonishing me that he was bound by sacred trust to deliver every fake foreign lottery winning notice some fraudster felt like sending.

I also explained that, perhaps he could obtain some relief by asking the USPS to amend the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) or other policies to address his concerns.  It was a real shame that people reading and following the instructions in the DMM were causing so many internal issues – but those were issues between the USPS and it’s employees, and as a customer there was little I could do about them.

Disappointed, he smiled and said that his supervisor would be paying me a visit and I responded by sharing my schedule so she could catch me on a weekday when I was home.

Unfortunately, I have yet to discuss the matter with a supervisor as none have ever attempted to contact me.

So, there you have it… refusing mail in compliance with DMM guidelines may result in threats and attempts to coerce you to stop, but so far I have not explored the limits of adhering to this approach in the long run, so my apologies if it results in less favorable outcomes in your particular case.

How to Set Messenger to Auto Sign-In

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller (the round silver button with the green “x” on it) to bring up the Xbox Guide.
  2. Navigate to the Settings tab on the far right.
  3. Select the Profile option at the top of the list.
  4. Select Sign-in Preferences near the middle of the list.
  5. In the Messenger Auto Sign-In section, select either On or Off, then press the Xbox button to return to the screen you started from.

Using this method you can set your Profile Auto Sign-In as well as your Messenger sign-in status. The benefit of auto sign-on with messenger is that any friends with Messenger on their phones or computers will see that you are playing Xbox and be more inclined to join you for a gaming session. Smile

Replacing Turn Signal Bulb in 2010 Ford Fusion

Replacing tail/brake/turn signal/backup lamp bulbs
The tail/brake/turn signal and backup lamp bulbs are located in the tail
lamp assembly. Follow the same steps to replace either bulb.

  1. Make sure the headlamp control is in the off position and open the
    trunk.
  2. Lift out trunk floor carpeting panel to access a luggage scuff plate
    (hard molding) and a trunk side panel (dark grey, soft wheelhouse side
    trim panel) at the lamp area.
  3. Carefully pull/push the trunk side panel (dark grey, soft wheelhouse
    side trim panel) outboard to expose the lamp assembly. The most
    effective point to grasp the trunk side panel when pulling it out from the
    luggage scuff plate is at it’s bottom edge where that edge meets the
    exposed sheet metal of the trunk floor.
    Note: Do not allow the trunk side panel to remain bent and untucked
    from the luggage scuff plate (hard molding) for a long period of time.
    Doing so may result in permanent deformation.
  4. Remove the bulb socket byimage
    turning it counterclockwise and
    pulling it straight out.
  5. Pull the bulb from the socket and
    push in the new bulb.
  6. Install the bulb socket into the
    lamp assembly by rotating it
    clockwise.
  7. Carefully push the trunk side
    panel (dark grey, soft wheelhouse
    side trim panel) back in position to the luggage scuff plate (hard
    molding).
  8. Install trunk floor carpeting panel.

SOURCE: 2010 Ford Fusion Owner Guide 4th Printing, Page 70

Windows Media Player Skins

People seemed to love using Weeplayer since the footprint is so small. It was originally designed for people running high resolutions, but for people on computers running at a very low resolutions I wanted to offer Microplayer; something smaller that would even keep out of the way, yet “always on top” at lower resolutions as well.

Windows Media Player Skin Downloads

Microplayer

Microplayer Thumbnail
Microplayer.wmz (8.24 KB)
Released 6/28/2002

Microplayer is the second skin I have made – based largely on feedback I recieved from users of the original Weeplayer. Microplayer is designed to reside in the title bar of a maximized window near the upper-right corner of your screen.

Weeplayer

Weeplayer Thumbnail
Weeplayer.wmz (7.86 KB)
Released 11/10/2001

Weeplayer is the first WMP skin I made. I spent a few hours one weekend reading the WMP SDK and figuring out how things worked. The rest was suprisingly easy. Weeplayer is designed for users who have high-resolution video cards. It has a large “Play/Pause” button so that it’s easy to control music and audio streams even though the interface is so small.

Feel free to share your opinion of the skin via my feedback chat (no login or software download required).

A Brief HTML Tutorial

By: Mark Noble
V 1.0

Part One: Overview

HTML stands for “HyperText Markup Language”

HTML is not a programming language; it’s a markup language.

When you write HTML code, you are simply importing raw text data and marking it up with tags that indicate where certain formatting options begin and end.

What makes a tag? Well, a tag is a word or abbreviation that represents a formatting option and is enclosed in the “less than” symbol “<” and the “greater than” symbol “>”. Examples of common tag names would be:

 
<P>
<I>
<B>
<BR>
<FONT>
<TABLE>

If you have a string of text such as “The rabid orangutan darted swiftly through the canopy”, and you insert a <B> tag before “orangutan”, you will tell the browser that from that point on, it should make everything BOLD. So the following line of code:

The rabid <B>orangutan darted swiftly through the canopy

Will yield the following text in the browser:

The rabid orangutan darted swiftly through the canopy

You’ll notice that everywhere after the <B> tag, the text is now bold. How do you fix that? Use an end tag! End tags are the second half of a tag and tell the browser where to stop applying the formatting that is caused by the first half of the tag. They look the same as the first part of the tag except for one minor difference. They contain a forward slash “/”. Here are examples of common start tags and their companion end tags.

<P>		</P>
<I>		</I>
<B>		</B>
<BR>		</BR>
<TABLE>		</TABLE>

If you add the appropriate end tag after the word orangutan, you will see the following.

The rabid <B>orangutan</B> darted swiftly through the canopy

Which will yield the following text in the browser:

The rabid orangutan darted swiftly through the canopy

NOTE: Generally, I do not like to leave space between the HTML tags and the code they affect. The reason for this is that it may be possible to apply several text formatting attributes to an invisible character such as a space ” ” which could wreak havoc on your troubleshooting efforts.

NEXT PAGE >>

A Brief HTML Tutorial (Part 2)

By: Mark Noble
V 1.0

Part Two: Layout

Now it’s time to learn about the basic layout of an HTML file. These are just a few simple rules that will keep you out of trouble down the road and ensure that each of your documents meets the lowest standards of compatibility in order to be viewable by the widest variety of browsers.

It is important to note that HTML is an Object Oriented Language. This means that it relies heavily on the concept of maintaining a container structure for web documents. In many cases, if you forget a closing tag, it will not affect the document appearance – however – I strongly advise against being careless with tags. If you are careful, you will be happy with yourself as it will be easier to debug your own code, and other programmers will be happy with you as well if they ever need to expand on your code.

Some programmers write in a way that is intentionally difficult to understand. Others are simply careless and sloppy with their tag arrangement. I myself prescribe to the philosophy that every page of code I write should serve as an example to new programmers as to how code should be written. If you maintain this philosophy, you will thank yourself for ensuring that your code is easy to understand, reuse and manipulate down the road. It is never faster to code something the sloppy way first – then go back and fix it later.

Below is a simple framework for HTML that you should work from. HTML documents written without this framework will be functional in most browsers, but this just helps organize some of the information (which is very important in complex professional websites). After the example code, I will explain what the tags are for.

<HTML>

<HEAD>

<TITLE>Untitled</TITLE>

</HEAD>

<BODY>

</BODY>

</HTML>

<HTML> – This tag encloses all of the HTML code on the page. It should be the first tag in your code as well as the last closing tag.

<HEAD> – This is a very important tag. It holds information that affects your entire page. Information such as the color of the background, various link colors and the title of your document as it will appear in the title bar of the users browser window.

<TITLE> – The title tag contains the name of your HTML document, as it will appear in the title bar of the users browser. The information within this tag is also often used when a user bookmarks a page. For instance, if the HTML programmer puts “Ed’s Pet Shop” in the title bar, it will appear in the title bar of the browser as well as the default name for any bookmarks to that page (unless otherwise specified).

<BODY> – This tag contains the real meat of an HTML page. Most of your work will take place inside this tag. Any text, images or links on an HTML page will be listed within this section of code.


Now let’s try our first page. We will write a sample page about Elvis with a sample block of text.

Elvis Presley came from a very poor family. He was born on 8 January 1935 in Mississippi. Elvis loved music. He went to church every Sunday and sang in the choir. When he was 13, his mother bought him a guitar. One day in 1954 he went to a recording studio called Sun Records. He wanted to make a record for his mother’s birthday. The secretary at the studio, heard Elvis and told her boss, Sam Philips. Elvis was his dream – “a white boy with a black voice”.

In 1955, Elvis appeared on TV in New York. Then he went to Hollywood and made his first film “Love Me Tender”. In the next two years he had many hit records and soon became a millionaire. In his last years, Elvis became fat and depressed. He died of a heart attack in 1977 in his house at Graceland. But for many fans, Elvis Presley is still alive and his songs are still popular.

Next we add the base code framework that you should always start from when creating an HTML document. Simply fill in the title of the document and place your copy between the <BODY> tags.

<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>The King of Rock 'n Roll</TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY>

Elvis Presley came from a very poor family.  He was born on 8 January 1935 
in Mississippi.  Elvis loved music.  He went to church every Sunday and 
sang in the choir.  When he was 13, his mother bought him a guitar.  One 
day in 1954 he went to a recording studio called Sun Records.  He wanted to 
make a record for his mother's birthday.  The secretary at the studio, heard 
Elvis and told her boss, Sam Philips.  Elvis was his dream - "a white boy 
with a black voice".

In 1955, Elvis appeared on TV in New York.  Then he went to Hollywood and 
made his first film "Love Me Tender".  In the next two years he had many 
hit records and soon became a millionaire.  In his last years, Elvis became 
fat and depressed.  He died of a heart attack in 1977 in his house at 
Graceland.  But for many fans, Elvis Presley is still alive and his songs 
are still popular.

</BODY>
</HTML>

Now it’s just a matter of adding several tags to this basic source code to improve the overall aesthetic of the document. The following is the code for my finished page as well as a basic explanation of the HTML tags used to generate the page.

<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>The King of Rock 'n Roll</TITLE>
</HEAD>

<BODY BGCOLOR="white" ALINK="red">

<BLOCKQUOTE>

<H1 ALIGN="center"><U>ELVIS</U> 
<IMG SRC="sneer.jpg" WIDTH="95" HEIGHT="123" BORDER=0 
ALT="Sneering Elvis" ALIGN="middle">
<U>PRESLEY</U></H1>

<P ALIGN="justify">
<A HREF="http://www.elvis.com/">Elvis Presley</A> 
came from a <I>very</I> poor family.  He was born on 8 January 
1935 in Mississippi.  Elvis loved music.  He went to church every Sunday 
and sang in the choir.  When he was 13, his mother bought him a guitar.  
One day in 1954 he went to a recording studio called Sun Records.  He 
wanted to make a record for his mother's birthday.  The secretary at the 
studio, heard Elvis and told her boss, Sam Philips.  Elvis was his dream 
- "a white boy with a "black <A HREF="cruel.mp3">voice</A>".
</P>

<P ALIGN="justify">
In 1955, Elvis appeared on TV in New York.  Then he went to Hollywood and 
made his first film "Love Me Tender".  In the next two years he had many 
hit records and soon became a millionaire.  In his last years, Elvis 
became <B>fat</B> and depressed.  He 
<A HREF="elvis.wav">died</A> of a heart attack in 1977 in 
his house at Graceland.  But for many 
<A HREF="http://www.ibiblio.org/elvis/elvishom.html">fans</A>, 
Elvis Presley is still alive and his songs are still popular.</P>

<H6 ALIGN="center">HTML Demonstration Copyright © 1998 
<A HREF="http://www.marknoble.com">Mark M. Noble</A></H6>
</BLOCKQUOTE>

</BODY>
</HTML>

<BLOCKQUOTE> – Applies a margin to everything within tag.

<BODY BGCOLOR=”white” ALINK=”red”> – BGCOLOR is an attribute of the body tag that affects the background color of the document. ALINK is the color of a link when a user clicks on it.

<P ALIGN=”center”> – ALIGN is an attribute of the Paragraph tag ”

“. Some values I used in this document are “justify” and “center” which allow users to control how a block of text behaves.

<H1 ALIGN=”center”> – The heading tag is used to specify heading size. In the example case, H1 indicates the largest heading size while H6 which appears later in the document represents the smallest heading size.

<U> – Underlined text attribute.

<IMG SRC=”sneer.gif” WIDTH=95 HEIGHT=123 BORDER=0 ALT=”Sneering Elvis” ALIGN=”middle”> – The IMG tag allows you to insert images into an HTML document. The SRC attribute indicates the filename and location on the server. WIDTH and HEIGHT attributes define the width and height of the image in pixels. BORDER allows you to put a border around the image that is the same color as all links on the page (in the early days this was used to illustrate that an image was clickable). ALT is an attribute of the IMG tag which allows users to provide a brief text description of the image (originally for folks with text only browsers, used now to provide commentary or additional information on an image). The ALIGN attribute specifies the alignment of the image with respect to the other text and images in the vicinity.

<A HREF=http://www.marknoble.com>Mark Noble</A> – This is how we make a link. The URL of the linked page belongs within the HREF attribute.

<I> – Italicize text.

<B> – Bold text.

&copy; – This is an ASCII Character Code for the copyright symbol. Any special symbols such as this have a special code that can be looked up in an HTML reference book or on a web page containing a list of the codes and the characters they represent.

Now that you understand how the code works, take a look at the finished page by clicking here.

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